Officially opened in November 2021, Yorke Peninsula Salt Lake Trail offers visitors an opportunity to witness some of the region's most stunning salt lakes. The trail is approximately 230 kilometres from Adelaide and definitely well worth the drive.
Yorketown and its surrounding areas were once a very busy place with major salt and gypsum industries employing thousands of workers. Communities thrived and the population of many townships increased. However, as these industries underwent the process of mechanisation, work started to become scarce and subsequently people left seeking greener pastures elsewhere. Only a few townships survived, but they are still surrounded by two hundred or so salt lakes.
The various colours of the salt lakes are indeed eye-catching and this self-drive trail will take you to the best vantage points for the perfect views. Depending on how much time you have, you can choose from among four different routes. The shortest would be a 15-minute drive, so do allow enough time in your schedule for at least that.
All routes start at Yorketown's Weaners Flat Reserve. Located on Stansbury Road, the reserve is home to the trail information sign which contains details about the salt lakes. There are also toilets here if you need to relieve yourself, and a playground for the kids to burn off some energy.
The short drive will satisfy your initial curiosity about these lakes. From the reserve, head west along St Vincent Highway and soon you'll see Domaschenz Lake on your right. Then, follow Boothill Station Road south to Geitz Lake and onwards to Pink Lake. The vibrant pink colour of Geitz Lake is simply remarkable. I reckon the most picturesque time to visit is on a sunny winter's day. The lake is full of water and its surrounds are beautifully green. At Pink Lake, a viewing area has been erected for all your photo-taking pleasure. There's a picnic table too where you can have morning tea or lunch by the lake. I could literally just sit here the whole day admiring the view. But, when you're ready to go, the most direct way back to Yorketown would be via Waterloo Bay Road.
For those who are interested in history, the school ruins & cemeteries tour would suit you best. As its name suggests, you'll be visiting school ruins at Dhalliwanggu - Lake Sunday and Sunbury, as well as a school site at Lake Fowler, before heading to the Pink Lake cemetery established by Lutheran Zion Church. Once you've completed this route, it might be worth making a detour to Geitz Lake on your way home. Or, delve further into history by driving around Lake Fowler.
Covering about 780 hectares, Lake Fowler is one of the largest salt lakes in the region. The Lake Fowler drive will lead you to two other historic sites. Being a large salt scraping operation, the ruins of its salt works and a length of dry stone walling can still be seen today. There's also a picnic area on Lake Fowler Road if you'd like to sip at your coffee while enjoying views of the lake.
And, last but not least, as you might have guessed, the fourth route is the full drive which incorporates all of the above. The roads are mostly unsealed, so do be careful and drive to the conditions. It is also advisable to remain within designated viewing areas as encroaching on private property, hmm, wouldn't really be such a great idea.
The salt lakes change throughout the year depending on the season. For example, it is very likely that they'll be dry during the summer months. Their colours change too depending on the time of day and can range from white to orange to silver to pink to purple to blue. So, I guess this keeps visitors coming back again and again to experience something different on each visit.