17/10/15 Tick off “Lowest Point in Australia” on my travel list. We stood on the shore of Lake Eyre, at a place called Halligan Bay, the only point of access to the lake from the west, and looked out through a swirling cloud of flies at the lake bed, twelve metres below sea level. As it is most of the time, Lake Eyre was a dry expanse of flatness as far as the horizon, white from the salt crystals. The sun was belting down and radiating off the salt, and it felt like we were in a big oven.
We were the only targets there for a million flies that zeroed in on us as soon as we arrived. There’s a trick for getting back in the car without bringing in any flies – don’t get out in the first place. Nothing deterred these guys, not even the cream that had been so successful till then. Driving away, I lowered the window to shoo some flies out and more were flying along outside and got in! They were like the greyhounds of the fly world.
Our camp for the night was at William Creek, 164kms east of Coober Pedy. We had left the Kruiser there and driven the 70kms in to Lake Eyre. Back at William Creek, a few cold beers and Sav Blancs were downed with a really good dinner at the little pub, the focal point for the community of only a couple of houses and sheds, and a historical park featuring a couple of used rocket stages from the old Woomera Rocket Range. We met a French couple who arrived after a six hour wait on the Oodnadatta Track to change a tyre because their hire vehicle hadn’t come with a jack. Criminal.
William Creek is located inside Anna Creek Station, six million acres in size and the largest cattle station in the world. On the track to Lake Eyre, we came across a mob of cattle being moved, and stopped to watch the group of jillaroos on motorbikes muster them into yards. The cattle looked to be in excellent condition with young poddy calves under foot. One straggler seemed to be newly born.
“I‘d rather have a free bottle in front of me than a prefrontal lobotomy.” – Fred Allen’s Motto