Six of the best salt lakes

By AG Staff 4 August 2010
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The harsh beauty of inland Australia is reflected in its cracked and creviced salt lakes.

1. Lake Lefroy, WA
Regular winds and the quality of traction on the lake’s thick, stark-white surface frequently attract land-yacht sailors – some of whom claim to have reached speeds of up to 100 km/h.

2. Lake Ballard, WA
Part of Lake Ballard’s 75,000 ha surface is studded with 51 stainless-steel statues. Produced in 2003 by British artist Antony Gormley, the statues are cast from moulds created from digital scans of unclothed residents from the town of Menzies, 30 km to the south-east.

3. Lake Amadeus, NT
Halting explorer Ernest Giles in his 1872 exploration of the area, Lake Amadeus is a 1032 sq. km saltpan that’s part of a 500 km east-flowing drainage system that eventually connects to the Finke River.

4. Lake Eyre, SA
Completely filled only three times in the past 150 years (See the gallery), Australia’s 9500 sq. km salty “dead heart” – which  comprises Lake Eyre North and Lake Eyre South – is devoid of vegetation. Before the advent of GPS, explorers of this expanse of white could only navigate by compass, as if they were at sea.

5. Lake Frome, SA
The Adnyamathanha tell the story of Akurra, the Rainbow Serpent, who travelled to Mudna (Lake Frome) and drank it dry. Today, the Adnyamathanha still hunt on the lake’s shores, but never venture onto its surface. This is one of an arc of salt lakes north-east of the Flinders Ranges whose origin is Lake Eyre.

6. Pink Lakes, Vic.
In overcast weather, this group of lakes in Murray-Sunset National Park has a startling colour range, from dusky mauve to bubblegum pink. The lakes’ hues are caused by a chemical compound exuded by Dunaliella salina, an algal species that inhabits saline waters.

Source: Australian Geographic Issue 95 (Jul – Sep 2009)