LAKE GREGORY - PARUKU

 

Lake Gregory - Paruku
(C) Australia's NorthWest

 

GPS 20 12 45.13 S 127 26 51.53 E

 

 

 

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Sight seeing area Walk trails Site may flood or be inaccessible during rain 4 wheel drive access only

 

 

 

 

Located in the north east of the great Sandy Desert, Lake Gregory is not somewhere that is on the usual tourist routes. The closest settlement is Mulan which is located in the shire of Halls Creek and lies about 10 kilometres east of the lake.

The lake is fed by Sturt Creek the waters of the lake are dependant on water coming in from the creek and from monsoonal rains. As there is no outflow from the lake, water loss is due to evaporation only. Lake depth can vary from zero to ten metres.

The lake was named after Augustus Gregory who travelled through the area in 1856.

Despite the remote location, Lake Gregory is a very important bird habitat and regularly supports over 100,000 water birds. This is more than any other inland freshwater lake in Australia. In 1988 more than half a million water birds were seen at the lake encompassing at least 67 different species.

Pelicans,  Caspian terns, grey teal, pied cormorants, red-capped plovers and magpie geese are just some of the birds that visit the lake. A species more associated with the Northern Territory, the brolga, can also be found here in their thousands.

Although regarded as a freshwater lake, Gregory's salinity depends mostly on the amount of water it contains. After sufficient rain the lake water is fresh but as it dries it becomes increasingly salty to the point where it will eventually equal seawater in salt content.

Invertebrates and insects that live in the lake are adapted to these changes and their huge numbers are the main reason for the presence of birds.

It is thought that the lake was once 15 times larger than it is today but rainfall patterns have changed and the lake has gradually shrunk to its present size.

The area remains important to local Aborigines and the land is administered by the Aboriginal Lands Trust.

 

NPW Website for more information

 

 

Best time to visit:

Jan

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