Porter Lagoon is just off the Barrier Highway near Burra. It's likely that most travellers pass by without stopping on long journeys to or from Adelaide. One might not even expect to come across a large body of water in this part of the country.
Consequently, Porter Lagoon is a little known and little written about scenic South Australian spot.
The area around Porter Lagoon was originally the territory of the Ngadjuri people and is on the northern edge of South Australia's agricultural districts. It's a stark landscape that changes from green to brown with the crops and the seasons. There's few trees and the bare hills stand in stark contrast to the big sky. The lagoon is the most outstanding feature in the area and you do get a glimpse of it from the highway as you drive past.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, it was a popular waterside destination for locals. The lake is very salty so it was a bit like spending a day at the seaside for those living on the edge of the desert! Depending on the season, the lake hosts thousands and thousands of waterbirds including black swans, pelicans and gulls.
The area around the lake is being revegetated with native grasses, helping to return native flora and fauna to the area. An information sign will tell you all about that project. There's no facilities at the lake. It's on private land but is accessible to the public by a short 2WD-suitable dirt track.
Water levels can vary widely. The lake is popular with birdwatchers and photographers when the levels are high enough.
Porter Lagoon is worth a visit to experience the quiet majesty of the 'sky mirror' effect on the lake on calm days. It's not far south from Burra, about 25 minutes east of Clare and almost two hours from Adelaide by car. Next time you're out that way, put Porter Lagoon on your list of local natural attractions to visit.