Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre and the Channel Country

Join our 3-day Desert Floods air tour for a unique experience of the Australian outback


The Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre basin is one of the largest internally draining systems in the world and covers about 1.3 million square kilometres. The main river systems on the east side of the basin are the Cooper, the Diamantina-Warburton and the Georgina, which arise in the humid sub-tropics and discharge towards Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, about 1,000km away in the inwardly draining centre of the continent.

Cooper Creek spreads out into a vast area of meandering ephemeral channels, making its way roughly south into the far south-west corner of Queensland, before turning due west into South Australia and on towards Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre. In most years, the Cooper is absorbed into the earth, goes to fill channels or permanent waterholes, or simply evaporates without ever reaching Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre.

In wet years like 2010 and 2011, the Cooper manages to flood the entire Channel Country and reaches Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre after flowing through several dry desert areas. Typically, during floods, the rivers expand to extraordinary widths, resulting in sheets of water up to 70km wide on the Cooper below Windorah and up to 500km wide on the Diamantina and adjacent channels above Birdsville.

The rainfall of the Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre basin is exceedingly erratic, and catastrophic droughts and floods tend to be the normal state of affairs throughout this region. Historically, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre has a 1.5m flood every three years; a 4m flood every decade and a fill or near fill, four times a century. After our recent extraordinary weather patterns, this could be the last year for some time that we see the lowest point of Australia filling with water. So come and see it while you can!

Your tour includes:

  • All flights and transfers
  • Tour of the Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum in Broken Hill
  • Dinner, bed and breakfast at The Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in the ruggedly spectacular northern Flinders Ranges
  • Astronomy Tour of the beautiful outback night skies (Weather permitting)
  • Dinner, bed and breakfast at the Innamincka Hotel, one of the most remote outpost settlements in Australia
  • 1 hour cruise on the Cooper Creek at Innamincka
  • Experiences of the Dig Tree and the Back O’ Bourke Exhibition

Travel dates:
Charter flights will commence 22 April 2016 and continue fortnightly through the winter months. Please contact us for the latest information.

Tour price:
From $3199 per person, subject to departure point and based on 6 people travelling. Please specify if you would prefer the private use of the aircraft or are happy to share with others

$3199 from Albury
$3299 from Wagga
$3349 from Bathurst
$3399 from Canberra
$3499 from Bankstown

A 50% deposit is required to secure your booking and the balance is payable 14 days prior to departure.

How to book:
Phone (02) 6021 2929 or email Smartair to book, and we’ll help you with the paperwork and payments.

Sorry but we cannot accept cancellations less than 21 days prior to departure. Prior to that you will be charged a percentage of the fare if you cancel.

Luggage & weight:
Please make sure you travel with a small, soft bag weighing a maximum of 7kg. Don't pack a rucksack or hard case. When booking, let us know your approximate weight.

The fine print

  • Itinerary is subject to variation if deemed necessary for operational reasons such as bad weather.
  • Dinner (in the restaurant) and breakfast (in your room) are included. Lunch, snacks and alchohol are not included and are at your own expense.
  • You are travelling to the outback and the standard of food and accommodation in Bedourie is basic, but it's clean and comfortable, and we love it!
  • Car parking is available free of charge at Smartair and we can transfer you to Smartair on request. Complimentary drink bottle and hat provided.

Lake Eyre
  • Lake Eyre
  • Lake Eyre
  • Lake Eyre
  • Lake Eyre

Call us on 02 6021 2929

Photos in our Desert Floods gallery courtesy of David Taylor photography.

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