This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2007 Travels May 18


We’d had some discussion yesterday, about what to do next.

M and I were interested in visiting Muloorina Station and thus accessing Lake Eyre North at Level Post Bay. We had picked up a mud map when we checked in to the caravan park, yesterday. The question was whether we went and camped out there, or just did a day trip. But we were not sure of the camp ground quality, out there, nor of the road condition. Another factor was that John tended to find outback SA with all its ruins, depressing, so he was anxious to get moving further north. Part of that might have been that the Oodnadatta Track was familiar to him. In the end, it did not seem worthwhile dragging the van all that way, if John was only prepared to stay a night there. So we decided on a day trip, only.

Galah watching proceedings…..

The unsealed road out to Muloorina was reasonable quality, but the country was incredibly dry. We could have brought the van out, no problems. There were, of course, the inevitable gates to open and close – it was a pastoral property, after all.  Being in the leading vehicle, I got to be chief gate opener – and usually closer, as well…..

We checked out the campground, which was not far from the homestead. It was actually very pleasant, and would have been a great spot to stay for a couple of nights. There was a wetland area around a bore channel and Frome Creek, and plentiful bird life. There were a couple of decent toilets, a concrete table and seats, bush and informal park areas. One could swim in the waterhole – but the water was not drinkable. Charge was $2 a night! The only drawback was lots of flies!

Frome Creek at Muloorina

We chatted to a lady who was camping there, and whom we’d seen at Arkaroola. She was travelling in a Land Cruiser and had a sort of sleeping pod on the vehicle roof. It looked a bit like a blue and white Esky up there! She came from northern NSW, and was just making up her travels as she went – the best way to do it!

Muloorina wetlands

From there, we continued out to Level Post Bay on a fearsomely corrugated track.

Level Post Bay

Lake Eyre, is notable for being the largest lake in Australia – not that it fills very often. It also contains the lowest point of the Australian mainland, being some 15 metres below sea level at one place. It takes a fairly massive, prolonged rain event in SW Queensland to send water down the Warburton and Cooper Creeks, to fill water into the lake. Its base is salt, left from evaporation of previous fillings, so the water that arrives at the lake quickly becomes saline.

There are actually two parts to Lake Eyre: the northern, much larger section, and the much smaller Lake Eyre South, joined by the Goyder Channel which permits the latter to fill if the flood event is big enough.

Level Post Bay on the Madigan Gulf, was part of Lake Eyre North. The track ended here, by a small information board.

We were able to walk out on Lake Eyre North, for a few hundred metres. It was muddy, under the thick salt crust.

Out on Lake Eyre – looking back to our vehicles
The salt surface of the lake

It was disappointing to see tracks out on the lake surface, where vehicles had been driven out from the parking area. There was always some moron who has to do what signs explicitly instruct them not to do!

Level Post Bay and Madigan Gulf

We ate lunch out there, sitting up on the bank, looking out over the lake bed.

Drove back a short way, to the Goyder Channel that links the two parts  of the lake. Walked around, took photos.

Goyder Channel

There was a built up wide causeway across the channel here, not open for public vehicle access, but we were able to walk across on it. Presumably, it was used by the station people to access that part of the property and to move stock.

It would actually be quite something, to visit here when Lake Eyre was full enough for there to be water in Madigan Gulf and flowing through the Goyder Channel. I filed that in the mental wish list – but in the section that I recognized as fairly unlikely to happen!

Goyder Channel – dried salt, not water….

And so, back to Marree – with a couple of us thinking wistfully of the serenity of the Muloorina campground!

Muloorina country: 1. Muloorina campground 2. Goyder Channel

All up, we travelled 200kms. John refuelled back at Marree – $1.45cpl.

There had still been some cloud about today, but we had stopped on the way back in, to tune in to the 3pm road report on our HF radio. It had the Painted Desert road access open again, but with caution at Arkaringa Creek. Good! Maybe it would be nice and dry by the time we got up there.

Today’s jaunt had certainly been worthwhile and enjoyable – and new for all of us.

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1999 Travels May 25


Today was not as windy, thus it felt warmer.

I posted the letter to K, wondering how long the mail will take to get there from Marree.

We had earlier decided that, whilst passing through here, we would take a day and drive out to Muloorina Station and on to Lake Eyre. One can access Lake Eyre  at Level Post Bay, on the Madigan Gulf section of the Lake.

It was a very interesting drive, in both directions, and well worth doing, on a good gravel formed track. The gate-opening passenger got a bit of a work out! The country was unremittingly flat, for the most part, with shrub and sparse tree lines marking out dry watercourses. This is certainly arid country.

05-25-1999 01 muloorina gate.jpg

Muloorina Station

Muloorina Station homestead is found by a very pretty waterhole on the Frome River – the same one that we had encountered at Angepena. It winds its way around the range country of the area, as a series of mostly dry channels,  and northwards past here enters Lake Eyre.

05-25-1999 02 muloorina camp waterhole

Wetland at Muloorina, formed by bore outflow. Lots of birds in trees.

The Muloorina waterhole and wetland results from a bore outflow. The force of the water exiting this bore hole powers the 240v power plant at the station! It has created an oasis of greenery in the dry country – a place obviously appreciated by the birdlife we saw.

From Muloorina, drove on a track that took us to the shores of Lake Eyre South, then alongside the Goyder Channel that links this with the main Lake Eyre, and finally to Level Post Bay, the end of the track. This section of track was rougher, and slower going, and sandy in parts – but not enough that we had to let down the tyres.

05-25-1999 05 track near Level Post Bay.jpg

The track near Level Post Bay

Lake Eyre was dry, of course, and we walked out on it, on the salt crust. It was so impressive, just to be there, in this salty immensity. We were below sea level by some 15 metres, here.

05-25-1999 03 j on l eyre south

John walking on Lake Eyre at Level Post Bay

05-25-1999 04 seen from Lake Eyre bed

Taken from out on the Lake, looking back to Truck and the Information Bay

After our walkabout on the Lake, drove back to the Goyder Channel section and ate our packed lunch there.

05-25-1999 07 Goyder Channel looking sth.jpg

The Goyder Channel that joins Lake Eyre South with the main Lake

We dawdled back to Marree, stopping sometimes to look at birds, and to take photos. Up close, as we wandered around a bit away from Truck, there were interesting aspects to the scenery – low hills, dunes, depressions and the like.

05-25-1999 08 high tech windmill.jpg

Interesting to see new technology arriving in the Outback

It was a great day out and an excellent drive. We covered 210kms.

05-25-1999 mulorina.JPG

The country we traversed on our day out at Muloorina and Lake Eyre

Back at the van, John settled in for an afternoon nap.

I read the Adelaide Advertiser paper, which I’d picked up from the shop earlier. Had an early shower and washed my hair – the local water is alright for that. I got talking to the only other campers here – a retired NZ couple doing a 4 month trip with a 4WD and camper trailer, going the same way as us.

John reported in to the 4WD Radio Network at the 5.30pm sched slot.

Watched the news on TV, and needed the heater on, even that early.

Tea was more of the kumara soup; bacon, egg, tomato and crumpets, followed by strawberries, which were awful.