"Casting a long shadow over the Outback" Lake Lefroy by CatherineReichardt

Lake Lefroy Travel Guide: 4 reviews and 5 photos

Lake Lefroy is a large salt lake in the arid interior of Western Australia, adjacent to the mining town of Kambalda. It is moderately big by the standard of salt lakes in the region (with a surface area of approximately 510 square kilometres), but its defining feature is not its size, but rather its dazzlingly white surface crust of salt.

There are many, many salt lakes in Australia's arid interior, which, for most of the year - or sometimes years on end - are dry, shallow depressions in the landscape which only accumulate water after particularly torrential rain (in this part of the world, usually when the tail end of a cyclone from the north travels inland). Once the storm has passed, the temporary lake becomes progressively smaller as the water evaporates, leaving behind the dissolved salts, which become more and more concentrated with time. This impacts not just on the quality of surface water, but also seeps to the subsurface, and as a result, groundwater in this area has a dissolved salt concentration of anything up to 350,000mg/L of dissolved salts (about seven times as concentrated as sea water) - no wonder there's little in the way of agriculture or human habitation!

Unusually in a landscape that is usually pancake flat, Lake Lefroy has a vantage point - the Red Hill lookout - which allows visitors a rare opportunity to get a panoramic view of a salt lake. From here, you can fully appreciate the distinctive white salt crust (most of the other saline lakes in the area have a reddish brown crust) ... and the mining activity on the lake. What appear to be a series of dark islands rising up from the lake surface are sometimes natural rock outcrops (which become temporary 'islands' after heavy rain), but are more likely to be waste rock dumps generated by gold mining beneath the lake surface, linked by linear causeways to provide all weather access for heavy vehicles.

I'm a mining person, so naturally I find these developments quite fascinating. However, I appreciate that not many people have interests as bizarre as I do, so what's more likely to appeal to you as a tourist is the fact that Lake Lefroy is arguably the best place in the world to 'land sail'. I have never tried this, but apparently the large size of the lake and the hard, dry, relatively uniform surface make it ideal for land sailing, and the lake even played host to the Pacific Rim Land Sailing Championships in 2006!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:No crowds!
  • Cons:Punishingly hot and dry in summer and miles from anywhere!
  • In a nutshell:If you're looking for an 'off the beaten track' tourist destinations, look no further!
  • Intro Updated Oct 10, 2011
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Reviews (4)

Comments (2)

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
    Jun 5, 2012 at 5:02 AM

    I very much enjoyed your photos. great tip about the wildlife

  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
    Oct 10, 2011 at 4:06 AM

    Hi Cathy, came back to check out your other pages about WA outback! Beautiful pictures on this page! I saw and heard goats when hiking in the Flinders Ranges... It felt surreal!
    Anyway, I'm looking forward to more :-)


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