Lake Eyre News

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The flood waters from the Diamantina River have filled Goyders Lagoon approximately 65km south of Birdsville. The water is now flowing from Goyders Lagoon into the Warburton River which will take the water to Lake Eyre North. The latest report is that the Warburton is now flowing at Cowarie Station which is approximately 120km SW of Goyders Lagoon. This leaves about another 120km for the water to flow before it will reach Lake Eyre North. It then has to flow along the Goyder Channel before it will reach the SW corner of Lake Eyre North at Belt Bay the lowest point in Australia at 15m below sea level.

The DEWNR water gauge at Poothapoota Water Hole on the Warburton River near the Warburton Crossing 10km SW of Clifton Hills Homestead has risen 4.5m since the beginning of May. It has now peaked and begining to fall but there is still a sunstantial water in the Warburton to push the flood waters to Lake Eyre so within about a week there could water flows into the Goyder Channel making its way south toward Belt Bay. This could mean within the next few weeks we could see some water in Belt Bay.

Follwing are some recent articles and news items on the floodwaters flowing toward Lake Eyre.


Flood waters in the Diamantina River have passed through Birdsville and on their way toward Lake Eyre. The Diamantina River levels rose by 6.2m between March 17th and April 10th. Levels are dropping now but the waters have reach Goyders Lagoon and the Warburton is staring to flow so some water should be in the Lake by  mid to late May. This is estimated to maybe last until about August if no further local rain is received.

There will probaly not be enough water around to attract many birds but some local waterholes may have birdlife around them.

There is a minor flood in the Cooper Creek which has reached Innamincka. This will probably only reach the Coongie Lakes. The river levels at Cullyamurra Waterhole have risen about 1.4m and rising slowly.


There has been substantial falls of rain in the NE catchment of the Lake Eyre Basin.

Recordings of up to 300mm have fallen in central west Queensland which will all feed into the Diamantina, Eyre, Georgina, Barcoo, Thompson and Cooper Creeks and rivers. This is all lowing towards Lake Eyre but it may take several months to arrive at the north end of Lake Eyre.

At the moment there are minor to moderate flood warnings along most of these creeks and rivers with a major flood at the Diamantina Lakes on the Diamantina River about 350km NE of Birdsville.

If there are more falls of rain in the area these flows are likely to reach the Lake about mid year and if we get winter rains across the basin some water will be visble on the lake.

Weather forecasters were predicting that systems passing over central Qld were more severe than those in 1974 when Lake Eyre was last offiicially full.

More updates will be posted as floodwaters are monitored.


Large falls of rain have occurred across Outback South Australia and Central Australia over December and January 2017. This has resulted in floods in many areas causing floods in the Neales and Macumba Rivers as well as flows in the Warburton River. There is also flooding in the Diamantina, Georgina and Eyre Creeks in SE Queensland.

Flooding in the Macumba and Neales Rivers have fed into the Warburton Groove and flowing into Belt Bay in the SW corner of Lake Eyre North.Along the Oodnadatta Track between Marree and William Creek some of the local creeks are also flowing so a small trickle of water is also entering Lake Eyre South.

There is currently a lot of tropical storm activity over northern Australia so over the next month there could be some heavy falls over the Lake Eyre Basin.


Satellite Image 08/02/2017

Photo 16/01//2017

Photo 16/01/2017

Photo 16/01/2017

Photo 16/01/2017

Photo 16/01/2017


During March there has been significant rainfall across the Lake Eyre Basin including over the Lake .  Approximately 50-70mm was widespread across the area.

Local creeks are flowing again after retreating from the early January rain so water is entering the Lake again. Currently there is a thin film of water over a large portion of Lake Eyre North with deeper water in the Belt and Jackboot Bays. The Warburton Groove is flowing again with water from the Neales, Macumba and Warburton Rivers. Lake Eyre south is also filling from the flowing southern creeks like the Stuart, Margaret and  Warriner Creeks.

Following are 2 satellite images from March 16th and 22nd, 2016

Image Date 22/03/2016

Image Date 16/03/2016


Large falls of rain have occurred across Outback South Australia and Central Australia over New Year 2016. This has caused flooding in many areas and minor flood levels in the creeks and rivers within the Lake Eyre Basin.

Some of the rivers that feed into to Lake Eyre hav had short term 5m rises in the levels prior to the the rain. They have now dropped a little but the Algebuckina Waterhole is steady at 1m above the level of the last 12 months, the Warburton is steady at 4m above its static level, the Cooper Creek at Innamincka static at this stage and the Diamantina at Birdsville has levelled out at 1m above its previous level. The Macumba River also has small flood headwater moving toward the lake which with the Aligebuckina is feeding water into the Warburton Groove and flowing into Belt Bay in the SW corner of Lake Eyre North.

Along the Oodnadatta Track between Marree and William Creek some of the local creeks are also flowing so water will also be entering Lake Eyre South.

There is currently an estimated 600mm of water in the SW corner of Lake Eyre South which is visible from the Oodnadatta Track between Marree and William Creek. Belt Bay - Lake Eyre North is estimated to peak at about 1.5m.

All outback roads in northern South Australia have some restrictions or closed .

Following are recorded rainfalls for the last week in the Lake Eyre area:

Oodnadatta               24mm 

Marree                       19mm

Leigh Creek               5mm

The Plateau               15mm

Kalamurina Stn         183mm

Mt Dare                        63mm

Moomba                      21mm

Birdsville                     32mm

Cordillo Downs Stn   46mm

Macumba  Stn            70mm          

Image Date: 03/01/2016

Blue is indicating water on the Lake surface. The darker the colour the deeper the water.


Lake Eyre is currently dry.


Rain during the weekend has brought substantial falls over the Lake Eyre area. Currently there is water on the surface of Lake Eyre South and North. There are pools on Belt Bay and Halligan Bay and an estimated 300mm deep water in Lake Eyre South. The creeks flowing into Lake Eyre South have a slow trickle so this will increase over the next coupe of days.

Currently all roads to the Lake are closed due the rain but the road to Marree is open one of the bases for the Lake Eyre scenic flight operators.

Following are recorded rainfalls for the last week in the Lake Eyre area:

Oodnadatta  17mm 

Marree  30mm

Leigh Creek  37mm

the Plateau  31mm

Arkaroola  42mm

Image Date: 01/06/2015

Blue is indicating water on the Lake surface. The darker the colour the deeper the water.


Last week the Lake Eyre region received a small amount of rain. Marree (20mm), Leigh Creek (33mm) and Roxby Downs (20mm). This was sufficient rain to close the roads temporally but they are all open again. It also put a little water on the surface of both Lake Eyre South and North. There is currently some very shallow water covering about 50% of Lake Eyre North.


Satellite Image 22/04/2015: Red is indicating shallow water on the Lake surface.

Storm over Lake Eyre South 17/04/2015


Following is a report by National Parks Ranger, Tony Magor on the current (7/02/2015) status of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre. Also a collection of some excellent photos taken on an aerial inspection.

(If you right click on the image then "Image Properties" it gives you a location of where the photo was taken in the " image file"  field.)

Following the photos is a satellite image taken on 13/02/2015.

"Yesterday we went for another flight over Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, so time to report back with what we saw compared to 2 weeks ago and with an array of reduced images.

 Evaporation is taking its toll on the water.  The south lake has gone from about 15% and is all but dry.  The north lake has gone from around 40% coverage to about 25%. The north lake, the Frome, Clayton, Neales and Kalaweerina creeks are no longer contributing water.  The latter two are just reaching the lake but any water at the start of the crust is not making it to the main water body and evaporating away.  The water in Madigan Gulf has reduced by 50-60%.  There is more water though in Belt Bay as water finds its way to the lowest point and the Macumba River turbid water is making its way further to Belt Bay between Hughes and Dalhunty Islands.  When we flew there was a strong easterly wind so water was being pushed close to Halligan Bay Point but it was a thin coverage as you could see salt crust poking its way through the water.  The water either side of the main Warburton Groove from these islands to the north has reduced in width, especially in the northern half of the lake.  Land is now starting to come through at top of the Warburton Groove as it enters the lake.  The Macumba River and Warburton Creek have slowed down.   The Halligan Bay Point PAR re-opens March 16, Level Post Bay PAR is still closed due to rain and visitors won’t see water from the Lake Eyre South lookout, so at this stage it looks like no one will see water from these vantage points.  Despite all this, myself and our stand-in pilot believe that this is the best time to see the lake by plane.  It is not one white mass of salt, nor is it mainly a lake up to 80% full of water.  There are a lot of variations, colours, reflections, and you can see the old Cessna 210 fuselage again in Madigan Gulf, but hardly any birds on the lake with a number in the tributaries.  I would be promoting getting up into the air to visitors if you have queries. 

So we will fly up in another 3-4 weeks, to check the difference again.  The Macumba River may almost run out of flow by then, but we are still waiting to see if, when and how much floodwater from the Georgina Creek sub-catchment makes it to the lake.  Time will tell."


Satellite Image 13/02/2015



All roads are open to Lake South, Marree and William Creek for scenic flights over Lake Eyre South and North.

The Warburton Groove is flowing with water entering Lake Eyre North from the Macumba River. This is flowing into Belt Bay near Halligan Point at the SW corner of the Lake. Water flowing into Lake Eyre south from the southern creeks will be visible from the Oodnadatta Track.

Water in Madigan Gulf in the SE corner of LE North is increasing.

Lake Harry 35kms north of Marre on the Birdsville track is full.

Satellite Image 16/012015



Satellite image 13/01/2015.

The dark blue areas are water and the blue/green areas are wet or damp salt surface.


Recent rain across outback South and central Australia causing local flooding is bringing floodwater toward Lake Eyre North & South. Several of the local rivers have had substantial flows. There has been up to 5m rises in water levels in many of the creeks and rivers that drain into Lake Eyre. The Algebuckina River rose to 3m and is now static at 2m, the Macumba River rose by 5.4m and is currently at 4.6m, the Warburton has had a 3m rise since 4/1/2015 and appears to have stablised at 3.1m. The Cooper at Innamincka is 2m and rising and the Diamantina at Birdsville peaked at 2.2m above the static level and is now steady at 1.1m above the static level. Some of these flood headwaters are expected to reach Lake Eyre North, in particular the waters from the Algebuckina and Macumba Rivers which are expected to  flow into Lake Eyre North from the Northwest corner along the Warburton Groove and into Belt Bay in the SW corner of the Lake. This water should be visible at Halligan Point a 60km (2hrs) drive from the Oodnadatta Track and estimated to be >1m deep at the peak.

The Frome and Clayton Rivers are also flooding which should bring water to the Madigan Gulf in the SE corner of Lake Eyre North.

Many of the southern creeks leading into Lake Eyre South are likely to flow as a result of the rain so it is expected that <1.0m of water will accumulate in Lake Eyre South. This should be visible from the Information Bay on the Oodnadatta Track.

Some of the heavier falls of rains since January 9th are:

Tieyon Station (SA) 135mm       Alice Springs Desert Park (NT) 238mm    Bedourie (QLD) 45mm

Birdsville (QLD) 56mm   Boulia (QLD) 21mm  Durrie Station (QLD) 53mm 

Cameron Corner (QLD) 39mm    Coober Pedy (SA)  19mm   Arkaroola (SA) 165mm  

Kalamurina Station (SA)  76mm  Leigh Creek (SA) 77mm  Marree (SA) 79mm  Moomba (SA) 41

Oodnadatta (SA) 43mm  Roxby Downs (SA) 44mm

There is more possible thunderstorms forecast across central Australia, West and SW Queensland over the next couple of days so with the rain that has already fallen over these areas more waters may be on the way to Lake Eyre.


Rain in early April across outback South Australia has flowed into Lake Eyre South. An estimated 500mm deep water has accumulated on the southern shore of Lake Eyre South covering about 15% of the lake surface.

This is visible and accessible from the Oodnadatta Track.


 Water can be seen in Lake Eyre South from the viewing / information bay on the Oodnadatta Track approximately 100kms west of Marree. The water is estimated to be about 250mm deep and is covering about 5% of the Lake surface. There has been some more recent rain in the area allowing the local creeks to trickle into Lake Eyre South.

 There have been some substantial rainfalls in SW Queensland over the last month causing some minor flooding in the Georgina, Eyre and Diamantina river system heading toward Birdsville and also the Thompson, Barcoo and Cooper Creek system heading toward Innamincka. The waters from the Diamantina River  are starting to enter the Goyder Lagoon area south of Birdsville.

 The minor flood levels on the Cooper Creek are moving slowly. This has caused the water level at Cullyamurra Waterhole near Innamincka to rise by about 0.4m but appears to be rising steadily.

 There are some more thunderstorms forecast for NE South Australia and parts of SW Queensland over the next couple of days so if these do occur is may bring more heavy rain to the region causing some run off into the rivers and may be even into Lake Eyre South.


 Recent wide spread rain over central Australia has resulted in some heavy falls in Queensland and South Australia and in particular the Lake Eyre Basin.

 On February 14-15, 2014 heavy rain was experienced across the Flinders Ranges, Northern South Australia and SW Queensland with following falls recorded.

 Oodnadatta 13mm                Marree 54mm         Leigh Creek  27mm       Roxby Downs  13.5mm

 Coober Pedy 21mm              Mt Barry HS  60mm   Arkaroola  70mm       Andamooka   18mm

 Windorah  20mm      Bedourie  37mm   Boulia  37   Birdsville  8mm    Isisford   65mm  Longreach 70mm

 Most of this rain fell over a 1 - 2 hr period causing a lot of the local creeks to flow including those flowing into Lake Eyre and in particular Lake Eyre South. This has caused widespread flooding and most of the waters are destined for Lake Eyre.

 The Neales River south of Oodnadatta has had a 4.5m rise in the water level at Algebuckina WH. The Cullyamurra WH on the Cooper Creek near Innamincka has risen 1.5m following the rains.

 There is now some water on the surface of Lake Eyre North and a substantial amount of water in Lake Eyre South which should be visible from the Oodnadatta track 100km west of Marree.

 Some of the southern creeks are still flowing into Lake Eyre South causing restrictions on most of South Auatralia's outback unsealed roads.

 Following are 2 Satellite images of Lake Eyre North and South before and after the rains.

 Image Date: 6/02/2014 (Before)

 Image Date: 21/02/2014 (After)

  The dark blue is deeper water and the lighter blue is damp or shallow water


 The Lake Eyre Basin has not received any substantial rain since the middle of 2013.

 Currently some cyclonic activity across northern Australia which may bring some heavy rain to western, central and SW Queensland and possibly northern South Australia. If this happens the main rivers flowing into Lake Eyre may start to flow but don't hold your breath. If it does it could be some month before the waters reach the Lake.

 But as happened in 2011 with cyclone Yasi and 2012 with a significant rain cell northern South Australia was awash and Lake Eyre South filled very quickly with the water remaining for almost 12 months.

 "Bring on the Rains"


There has been recent rainfall in the William Creek, Lake Eyre, Marree area. Following are the official rainfall records for May and June to date.

Marree                             14.6mm & 25.8mm

Coober Pedy                   27.8mm & 39.0mm

Roxby Downs                 11.4mm & 54.0mm

On two previous tours in May I encountered heavy rainfall in the area and on the last tour (May 18 - 22) we were held up in Willian Creek due to local heavy falls of rain with all in roads closed.


Currently all roads in the area are closed due to recent rain.

A report from the Lake Eyre Yacht Club suggest there could be up to 600mm of water currently in Lake Eyre South which is visible from the Oodnadatta Track.

Reports from the scenic flight pilot supported this and indicated large areas of water are also visble on Lake Eyre North with more rain to come.

Hopefully I will have some aerial photos from the pilot within the next couple of days so these will be posted on this site when received.

Following is a colour enhanced image (date:11/06/2013) showing the water currently in the Lake.


Image Date: 10/06/2013  Darker blue areas are pools of water.


 It has been a dry summer in the inland of Australia so this year it is very unlikely that there will be any substantial water in Lake Eyre North or South but all it requires is a local event like the aftermath of cyclone Yasi in February 2011 and a similar weather system in late February 2012 to pass over the the lake causing the local rivers and creeks to flow and Lake Eyre South at least could fill for the third year in a row. There is still time for such an event.

There is still water and birds in Lake Harry 30kms north of Marree.

Regardless of whether the lake has water or not it is a great spectacle to fly over the system and the outback of South Australia.

There has been some minor flooding in the headwaters of the Diamantina and Cooper Creeks in February as a result of the weather systems that have caused severe flooding on the east coast of Australia but it is very unlikely that this will have any effect on the lake itself but it will refresh the river systems that feed into it.

I did a scenic flight on March 4th , 2013. Following are some photos from that flight as well as a satellite image from March 20th, 2013. The dark blue area (bottom right hand corner of image) is Lake Harry which filled from cyclone Yasi and was replenished in February 2012. It is likely this water will remain for most of the year.

Image Date:20/03/2013

Salt crusting on Lake Eyre - 4/3/2013

Silcrete Island - 4/3/2013

Shoreline - Lake Eyre North - 4/3/2013

General View - Lake Eyre North - 4/3/2013

General View - Lake Eyre North - 4/3/2013

Halligan Point - Lake Eyre North - 4/3/2013. Water was within 50m of shore in 2010 & 2011.

Shoreline - Lake Eyre North - 4/3/2013


  Latest Image:

Image Date 25/05/2012


  The Warburton Groove is about to start filling Belt Bay again. The flow from the Warburton River has rapidly made its way to Belt Bay over the last 22 days.

 Following are two satellite images from 28/04/2012 and 20/05/2012.

Image Date: 28/04/2012

Image Date: 20/05/2012



  After the rains in late February Lake Eyre North water content has reduced to about 5% and Lake Eyre South approximately 20%. Water in Lake Eyre south is accessible from the information bay on the Oodnadatta Track 100km west of Marree.

 The flood surge that came through Birdsville along the Diamantina has now reached Lake Eyre North after filling up Goyder Lagoon south of Birdsville. The Warburton River started to flow into Lake Eyre North about April 28th. The Warburton Groove is now flowing and water is rapidly heading toward Belt Bay and within the next few days it will start increasing the coverage in the Belt Bay area in the SW corner of Lake Eyre North and extending back toward Halligan Point

 Water levels peaked in the Warburton River at Poothapoota Waterhole on May 3rd at 5.1m. This suggest that a lot more water is yet to enter Lake Eyre North from the Warburton.

 A flood surge is still making its way down the Cooper Creek with water levels at the Coongie Lakes water gauge currently at 4.5m up from 3.0m in late January and is still rising. The Cullyamurra WH gauge peaked at 5.66m on March 5th and has been steady at around 3m since the March 26th. It is unpredictable whether there will be enough water in this to cut the Birdsville Track for a third year.

 Currently there is still plenty of water at Lake Killamperpunna where the vehicle ferry operated during 2010 -11 and plenty of birdlife to be seen.

  Lake Harry on the Birdsville Track approximately 35 km north of Marree still has a lot of water and the country side is looking great.

Birds on Lake Killamperpunna - Cooper Creek 11/04/2012

Caspian Terns - Lake Killamperpunna - Cooper Creek 11/05/2012

Car ferry crossing - Cooper Creek 11/05/2012


  The waters from the local rain that fell in late February have now all reached  Lake Eyre and are starting to evaporate. The coverage at its peak was approximately 70% on Lake Eyre North and 100% (full) on Lake Eyre South. Current estimates suggest about 40% water coverage on Lake Eyre North and 70% on Lake Eyre South. With some of the local creeks still trickling into the lake and the on set of winter and cooler temperatures the evaporation should slow down so water will remain in the Lakes for most of the season. Lake Eyre south which is visible from the Oodnadatta Track 100kms west of Marree will hold water until late in the year similar to 2011. Lake Eyre North will possibly dry a little earlier but there are still currently some minor to moderate flood fronts moving through the Diamantina River with water levels still rising at Birdsville and expected to stay at a high level until late April so some of this water may eventually reach Lake Eyre north via Goyder's Lagoon and Waburton River in a couple of months. A moderate flood front is progressing down the Thomson and Cooper Creek system as well with levels at Jundah on the Thomson River to peak mid week and the Cooper Creek to peak at Windorah later in the week. This water amy eventually reach the lower reaches of the Cooper but it will take several months so it may reach Lake Eyre north later in the year.

 Current status suggests it is similar to 2009 the first of this run of 4 years of water entering Lake Eyre North and South.

  Whether Lake Eyre is wet or dry it is a spectacular sight to be seen and especially at its current status with the contrast between the water , wet, damp and dry salt crusted lake surface and also the healthy condition of the desert plains that had suffered several years of drought prior to the last 4 years.

  After the February rains the wildflowers are starting to bloom with lots of Flinders Ranges Yacca, Bush tomatoes and lots more already in flower.

  Come and see Lake Eyre on a small group accommodated or camping tour with Swagabout Tours guided by a country lad who has spent 37 years working and touring in the bush.


  "All Rivers Flow"

   Following recent rain across the Lake Eyre Basin minor to moderating flooding is occurring in most of the rivers and creeks flowing into Lake Eyre north and south.

   From the northern areas the Neales, Macumba and Warburton Rivers are flowing causing the Warburton Groove to flow feeding water into Belt Bay on the SW corner of Lake Eyre North where at this stage the water is about 1m deep. From the south are the Clayton and Frome Creeks feeding water into Madigan Gulf on the SE corner of Lake Eyre North and currently estimated to be about 0.5m deep. There are also flows from Stuart, Margaret, Warrina and many smaller creeks into Lake Eyre South which is currently 100% covered and approximately 2m deep with expectation that it will fill as it did in 2011 after cyclone Yasi.


"The Rains have Come"

   Heavy rains have fallen over a large part of the Lake Eyre Basin particularly in the central to southern portion. Falls of up to 230mm ( 9" ) have been recorded in the Northern Flinders Ranges and over 100mm ( 4" ) have been recorded in western and SW Queensland during the last week causing many of the creeks and rivers to flow reaching flood levels. Some of the local drainage is already flowing water into Lake Eyre North and South.

  As a result of this rain event flood warnings are current over the area with river levels rising on the Cooper Creek at Windorah, the Diamantina at Diamantinna Lakes and the Burke River at Boulia and NE South Australia. It is also expected that creeks local to the Lake will flood including the Neales River,  Macumba River, Warburton River, Frome Creek, Margaret River, Stuart Creek and Clayton River all delivering large quantities of water. Currently all these drainages are flowing as the water drains toward the Lake from the extensive area over which this large weather system passed. It is expected that more rain will fall over the next few days as this system makes its way over SE Australia.

  Also as a result of this rainfall all unsealed roads in NE South Australia have been closed and some sealed roads have had temporary closures applied.

  Predictions from this rain event are that Lake Eyre South may actually fill with water for the second year in a row and a substantial amount will eventually flow into Lake Eyre North for the 4th year in a row. By the end of March 2012 it is expected that Lake Eyre South will be full and areas of Lake Eyre North at Belt Bay will have approximately 1.8m of water and Madigan Gulf, 1m of water.

  Following are some BoM weekly rainfall figures up to 9am Friday 2/3/2012 for the area:

   Arkaroola - Northern Flinders Ranges                                                                       229mm

    Beltana - Flinders Ranges                                                                                             160mm

    Clayton Station - Birdsville Track - Northern SA                                                       280mm (unconfirmed)

    Leigh Creek - Flinders Ranges                                                                                    200mm

    Kalamurina Station - Warburton River - Birdsville Track                                         149mm

    Mt Dare - Witjura NP - Northern SA                                                                               144mm

    Marree - Oodnadatta Track - Northern SA                                                                  96mm

    Oodnadatta - Oodnadatta Track - Northern SA                                                           63mm

    Kulgera - Stuart Hwy - Southern NT                                                                             103mm

    Birdsville - Diamantinna River - SW Queensland                                                       47mm

    Bedourie - Eyre Creek - SW Queensland                                                                    57mm

    Windorah - Cooper Creek - SW Queensland                                                              106mm

    Urandangi - Georgina River - Central Far West Queensland                                    94mm

    Glenormiston Station - Georgina River - Central Far West Queensland               109mm

   With the current system extending to and another tropical system developing over NW Australia and more to come there could be further follow up rain over the next several weeks which could make it another spectacular year to see Lake Eyre in flood for the 4th year in a row.


    Currently Lake Eyre is dry with all water evaporating over the summer period. There is still water laying in the Cooper Creek channel with abundant bird life present feeding on the smorgasbord of fish and other creatures stranded in the lagoons. These areas are accessible from the Birdsville track 120km north of Marree.

    The recent floods that have occurred in Queensland and NSW have been mainly within the Murray - Darling catchment but small amounts did fall in the upper reaches of the Lake  Eyre Basin. This caused up to moderate flood warnings along the Thomson, Barcoo, Cooper Creek and the Diamantina, Georgina, and Burke River systems. Currently the Cooper Creek flood headwaters have passed Windorah with levels dropping and the Diamantina flood headwaters are south of the Diamantina Lake and heading toward Birdsville. At this stage there is not enough water in the system to reach Lake Eyre but Goyders Lagoon south of Birdsville on the Diamantina will most likely receive some water and similarly on the Cooper Creek, Coongie Lakes will probably be replenished.

     Predictions for the year are that there will not be any major water flows into Lake Eyre but if there are a couple of major rain events like the recent ones in Qld & NSW in the Lake Eyre Basin whether it be in the local Lake region or in the northern sector of the basin then some water is likely to reach the Lake but we have seen the best through 2010-2011.

     Whether the Lake itself is wet or dry it is still an incredible sight both from the air or the ground so do not be deterred from visiting this great Australian icon.



     On December 30th, 2011 there was still approximately 15% water coverage on Lake Eyre North but decreasing rapidly with the hot dry summer conditions.

     Although there is little water on the Lake there has been an accumulation of pelicans on the lower reaches of the Cooper Creek as it retreats from the lakes edge. Trevor Wright from Wright Air scenic flights estimated there were 10's of thousands of pelican on water holes near the Cooper Creek estuary. It is assumed the pelicans are having a great feast on fish which are stranded and succumbing to the increased salinity in the water holes.

      The Cooper Creek crossing on the Birdsville Track was opened on Friday January 13th, 2012 after being closed since June 2011 for the second year in a row.

      There will be water in the large lakes in this area for some time so plenty of bird life will be present as they congregate near the water during the summer.


Forecast for 2012

Wetter season likely for parts of the west and east of Australia

The national outlook for January to March 2012 shows the following:

  • southeast Queensland and eastern NSW more likely to have wetter season
  • western WA more likely to have wetter season
  • parts of central and southern Australia more likely to have drier season

    A persistently warm Indian Ocean and cool conditions in the tropical Pacific associated with the La Niña are driving this outlook.

  • probability of exceeding median rainfall - click on the map for a larger version of the map

    The chances of receiving above median rainfall during the January to March period are between 60 and 70% over western parts of WA, southeast Queensland and most of eastern NSW (see map). Such odds mean that for every ten years with similar ocean patterns to those currently observed, about six or seven years would be expected to be wetter than average over these areas, while about three or four years would be expected to be drier during the January to March period.

    In contrast, the chances of receiving above normal rainfall are between 30 and 40% over southwestern Queensland, western NSW, the eastern half of SA and far northwestern Victoria. In other words, the chances of below normal rainfall range from 60 to 70%.

    An expanded set of seasonal rainfall outlook maps and tables, including the probabilities of seasonal rainfall exceeding given totals (e.g. chance of receiving at least 200 mm), is available on the "Water and the Land" (WATL) part of the Bureau's website.

    Outlook confidence is related to how consistently the Pacific and Indian Oceans affect Australian rainfall. During the January to March period, history shows the effect to be moderately consistent over the far eastern, southwestern and southern parts of the country. The effect is only weakly consistent elsewhere (see background information).

    La Niña conditions have strengthened across the tropical Pacific. The majority of leading climate models predict the La Niña is likely to peak during the next month and last at least until the end of summer. For routine updates and comprehensive discussion on any developments regarding El Niño and La Niña, please see the ENSO Wrap-Up.




     There is still water in Lake Eyre North although with the onset of higher temperatures it is receding. The opportunity to dip your toes in the water is still an option at Halligan Point at the Southwest corner of Lake Eyre north. Access to this area is via a public access route (PAR) which is a 60km corrugated station track leaving the Oodnadatta Track 7km southeast of William Creek. This track will be closed during the summer months.

   Although the Cooper Creek flowed for a second year in a row the volume of water entering the Lake was not as great as 2010 and it arrived much later. It didn't reach Lake Eyre North until mid August at the time when the ABC helicopter crashed resulting in the loss of a great media team. They were there to capture the waters from the Cooper Creek entering Lake Eyre North but sadly we will never see that footage.

    Currently the Birdsville Track is still flooded and the car ferry is operating. The crossing on the Birdsville Track is still flooded by up to a couple of kilometres of water although it be shallow. At the ferry the water level is still approximately 4m deep with nearby Lake Killamperpunna about 2m deep.

    Lake Eyre South which is viewable from the Oodnadatta Track 100km west of Marree is all but dry after filling with the run off from the aftermath of cyclone Yasi earlier in the year. Compared to 2010 there has been very little winter rain across the area. Although there is currently no water in Lake Eyre South it is a great stop as there is an information shelter displaying a lot of data on the Lake Eyre Basin, Great Artesian Basin, Aboriginal Heritage and European settlement of the Outback of South Australia and beyond.

     There is currently no bird life at the Lake due to the lack of food resulting from the increased salinity of the Lake water. The best location for birds is at the Cooper Creek either at the crossing on the Birdsville Track or the car ferry crossing 120kms and 135km respectively north of Marree. Birds are still in abundance such as darters, cormorants, egrets, herons, night herons, stilts, avocets, pelicans, black swans, silver gulls (seagulls), several varieties of ducks, waterfowls, grebes, raptors, waders and a lot more. An excellent way to experience this is on the "Cooper Discoverer Cruises" owned and operated by Peter Ware (Sat Ph: 0011 8 707 65062511)



      The Cooper Creek has cut the Birdsville Track for the second time in 2 years. The vehicle ferry is operating again carrying vehicles across the Cooper Creek.

      The water from the Copper is still slowly making its way to Lake Eyre North where it will flood the Madigans Gulf area of the Lake. Water is still flowing down the Warburton Groove filling the Halligan Point - Belt Bay area of the SW corner of Lake Eyre North. The shoreline has advanced some 200m since I first visited the area in April 2011.

      There is bird life at the Halligan Point area consisting of Stilts, Avocets, Silver Gulls, Dotterels and ducks.

      Water is estimated to be approximately 2.1m deep in Belt Bay, 1.5m in Madigan Gulf and 1.25 in Lake Eyre South. The water can still be seen from the Oodnadatta Track at the Lake Eyre South viewing area 100km from Marree.


Sunrise at Halligan Point, Lake Eyre North

Red Necked Avocet, Haligan Point, Lake Eyre North


      The water level in Eyre South is slowly falling but there is still plenty of water to see. Flood waters from Queensland are finally flowing into Lake Eyre North. As the flood waters from the Eyre, Georgina and Diamantina Rivers all come together they have filled the Goyder lagoon north of Lake Eyre. This is now flowing into the Warburton River and the Kallakoopah Creek which are staring to flood and flow into the Warburton Groove on the west side of Lake Eyre north. This is now flowing south into Halligan, Belt and Jackboot Bays in the SW portion of Lake Eyre North. The shoreline has moved approximately 50m since mid April and changing daly. The water has brought many birds, mainly Stilts, Dotterels,  Silver Gulls and Ducks to the Halligan Bay area where there is an abundance of salt water crustaceans for food. In some earlier floods an abundance of small fish were also flushed into the Lake but have since perished due to the salt water. The water is currently about 2m deep in Belt Bay and rising.

     The Cooper Creek is still flooding at Innamincka where the causeway is still closed due to approximately 4m of water flowing over it. Water level at the Cooper Creek punt on the Birdsville Track are rising and it is expected that the various flood surges coming down the Cooper will all merge and cut the Birdsville Track again in late June. This will then move rapidly toward Madigan Gulf on lake Eyre North filling the SE portion of the Lake.

     With some additional local rain some of the southern creeks have been flowing adding small amounts of water to the system and also adding to the numerous other large lakes and claypans which occur in the Lake Eyre basin.


Lake Killamperpunna - Cooper Creek Ferry Crossing, Birdsville Track detour

Pink Lake where the Cooper Creek enters Lake Eyre North

Madigans Gulf - Lake Eyre North

Birds, Halligan Point - Lake Eyre North

Small crustaceans, Halligan Point - Lake Eyre North

Late afternoon reflections, Halligan Point - Lake Eyre North

Fish on shore at Halligan Point -Lake Eyre North


       More rain has fallen across the outback during the last couple of weeks. Most of the unsealed roads in northern South Australia have been closed or are only accessible by 4WD.

     Moderate to major flood levels are current on the Georgina, Eyre, Diamantina and Cooper Creeks and are rising in several locations. The town of Birdsville is isolated and expected to be until the end of March. The causeway at Innamincka is still closed due to flooding of the Cooper Creek which is rising at Windorah with a current flood level of 5.1m and more water heading in that direction along the Barcoo and Thompson Rivers. This adds to a previous flood pulse which is already downstream from Innamincka along the Cooper Creek.

     Lake Eyre North currently has approximately 70% coverage of water although it be only shallow for the majority but in Belt Bay it is estimated to be up to 1.9m deep and Madigans Gulf up to 300mm deep and static. Lake Eyre South is considered full with up to 2.5m of water at the deepest point. Most of this water has come from local rain being fed in by the local creek system. Small flows are currently coming from the Macumba, Neales, Clayton, Frome and Warburton into Lake Eyre North and several creeks such as the Stuart, Screechowl, Warrina, Gregory and Margaret are trickling into the south lake.

    The outback has come alive for the third year in a row and is already looking amazing with many plants beginning to bloom along with abundant animal and birdlife.


          Tropical weather has crossed northern and central Australia bringing more heavy rain to the Lake Eyre basin. Falls of 135mm have been recorded at Kalamurina Station on the Warburton River NE of Lake Eyre and heavier falls have been recorded further north and east in SW Queensland. Recordings of 426mm at  Bedourie, 56mm at Boulia and 91mm at Birdsville all on the Diamantina, Georgina and Eyre Creeks system during the last week. The Eyre Creek at Glengyle (Qld) is currently 4.3m and rising fast, at Bedourie it peaked at 5.7m which is the highest since the 1974 floods. The Diamantina is at 7.7m and still rising at Birdsville with expectations it will exceed 8.0m within the next few days. The Barcoo, Thomson Rivers and Cooper Creek are experiencing local flooding with the Cooper Creek currently at 5.9m and expected to go past 6.0m over the next week at Windorah. This will develop river level rises downstream toward Innamincka in NE South Australia. The causeway at Innamincka has already been cut for several weeks from flooding from heavy rains during January and February. These rains have caused a head of water flowing down the Cooper Creek toward Lake Eyre. It is expected that the Birdsville track will be cut again during 2011 and the Cooper Creek punt will be in operation for the second year in a row. SA Transport Dept workers are currently carrying out some improvements on the punt and the approaches in preparation for river levels expected to be higher than 2010.

Belt Bay on Lake Eyre north currently has an estimated 1.9m of water, Madigan Gulf, 300mm and Lake Eyre South 2.0m at their deepest points. This water has come from the tropical system of cyclone Yasi via local creeks.

           Last year saw regular rain storms throughout the year across the north and far north of South Australia. This with good rainfalls during 2009 created the ideal conditions for a major regrowth of many plants and prolific breading of birds and other wildlife that had not been seen for years through the long period of drought in the pastoral regions of South Australia.

            Wildflowers such the Sturt Desert Pea, Darling Pea, Poached Egg Daisy, Stuart’s Pea, Parakylia, Fox Tail Mulla, Silver Mulla Mulla, Bush Tomato, Wild Hops, Waxy Hopbush, Eromophila, Butterfly Bush and lots more were common through the Flinders Ranges and outback South Australia.

            Many birds seen in large numbers for some years were budgerigar, zebra finches, inland plovers, cockatiels, red kneed dotterel, water birds like grebes, whistling ducks, stilts, coots, pelicans, cormorants, ibis and more. Emus were breeding with flocks up 12 chicks and kangaroos and euros with young but because of the good pasture were sometimes very elusive.

Already with above average summer rainfalls recorded in many locations across South Australia, it being the third year in a row and seed stocks being replenished it is looking like another great year to venture into the outback and experience what happens in the Australian deserts after Rain.


Tropical Cyclone Yasi delivers heavy rainfall to Lake Eyre Basin!


           From the coast TC Yasi moved inland across Queensland, the Northern Territory and into South Australia bringing with it large amounts of rain. Substantial rainfall was recorded in SW Queensland as well as record breaking rains in the western and southern part of the basin around Oodnadatta, William Creek and Marree. Water is currently flowing into Lake Eyre North from the flooded Neales and Macumba Rivers with river level rises recorded on the Diamantina, Georgina and Thompson Rivers in SW Queensland. Creeks in the William Creek and Marree area are flowing into Lake Eyre South and the SW corner of Lake Eyre North.

        Current estimates suggest there is about 1.5m of water in Lake Eyre South and Belt Bay, Lake Eyre North and rising.

       The year 2010 saw the Cooper Creek flow for the first time in 20 years cutting the famous Birdsville Track to vehicle traffic for several months forcing the car ferry to be retrieved from the sand dunes to move vehicles across the flooded Cooper.

       2009-2010 experienced drought breaking rains across the Outback. With plenty of moisture in the soil and persistent rain throughout the year, 2010 was one of the best wild flower seasons for many years. Now, with the La Nina weather pattern, predictions of many cyclones across northern Australia, already, more rain in the outback and a good supply of seed, 2011 will hopefully be a better year for the flowers, wildlife and to see Lake Eyre.