Lake Gairdner

We left the Gawler Ranges and headed north and further into arid country. This is the first time in our remote travels over the past 15yrs we have seen one of these signs. Too many silly people out here needing to be rescued I guess.

warning sign rd to lake gairdner

We decided to take a ‘short cut’ and passed this remote old out station ruin and farm watering point in the middle of nowhere. The road was pretty rough so not so short in the end.

watering point
Sheep watering trough used by all animals in this drought.
house at bore
Outstation hut ruin. It looked like the little house on the prairie. It was just an area totally eaten out by sheep around a watering trough. We see very few sheep but a lot of erosion from them. There were many dead sheep and kangaroos near this place. It seems everything goes to water and shade to die.
bore and tank
The old stone water tank still working and trough behind it. The solar panel replaced the old broken down windmill nearby and inside the little stone hut was an old steam pump.
tank and trough
The old stone water tank still works 100 yrs on. Not so good for a swim though. Bird were coming here to have a drink as most of these tanks that you find are covered.
Kingoonya to coober pedy back road
The roads we are driving on are SERIOUSLY dusty now! In some parts they look like this where the road goes over a sand hill. At other places it is just gravel and gibber with pockets of bull dust. Bull dust is ultra fine powder sand that collects in pockets on the road and when you hit it the dust goes straight up and out from the car and can be seen for miles. Not to mention inside every little gap it can find into the caravan!!! You can also move around sideways in it. Don’t like this feeling especially with nearly 4 tons behind. The kedron seems to cope OK though. We saw nobody on the road all day and just passed remote farms far in the distance.
nbn precursor
I call this the old bush telegragh. Steve calls it pre NBN.
paddy melons
These melons grow on the side of the road and nothing eats them. They look a bit like a water melon if you break them open. They are bitter and poisonous and can make humans and many animals sick. They are called paddymelons out here and we were told they were brought out by the Egyptian cameliers as food for they camels over a hundred years ago. Now they are a pest that you see all over the arid country on disturbed soil on the sides of the road.

Lake Gairdner is a big  salt lake and our next free bush camp. We drove here without passing anyone on the road. We also had the place to ourselves. It is in the middle of nowhere with just remote farms around but not so nearby, we felt like we had the whole world to ourselves. It was so quiet next to the lake that your ears did a weird sort of buzzing. The moon and stars felt so low you could touch them. M

lake gairdner signview of lake gairdner

We went for a walk up on the hill side behind camp and then out on to the Lake. The lake was quite hard once you got away from the edge. It was much firmer than other salt lakes we have seen which you needed to be careful not to break through to the shoe sucking mud beneath. I guess the drought has dried it out. M

roo feet in lake gairdner
Kangaroos jumping prints on the soft lake edge.
camel footprint
Feral camel prints
Maddy in Lake Gairdner
There were funny ridges on the salt surface ? from the constant wind that blows across these lakes. It was very crunchy walking.
salt fault
The salt cracked and lifted up like a fault line in places
salt crystals on lake
The salt looked like snow in places
lake gairdner
A salty moonscape
salt crystal
We collected a bit of salt for the salt grinder


ants nest at lake gairdner camp
Weird ants nest on our walk around the hills
red capped robin 4
Red capped robin- these are so tiny but so striking when you see them head on.
hooded robin with red capped robin
New bird- hooded robin upper with red capped robin below
splendid fairy wren non breeding male 2
Sweet little Splendid fairy wren- non breading male

Later in the evening Steve went out for a jog straight out on the lake and back again once it was dark. The lake surface was lit by moon light. He said he laid down on his back on the salt and watched the stars come out. I couldn’t see him but could hear him “crunching” back in the dark. M

stars over lake with moonshine
This is what the stars looked like at camp- only better in real life. You feel like there is a ceiling over your head full of lights you might hit your head on!

2 thoughts on “Lake Gairdner

    1. Thanks Brian. These latest digital cameras make birding a bit easier these days. Now if you see a bird you don’t know, you can just take a photo then study it later to figure out which bird it is. Without this luxury, I don’t think I would be able to figure out half of the new birds I see.


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