When on top of the sand dune near my camp at Andamooka Waterhole in outback South Australia, I noticed another waterhole, a kilometre or so further up Myall Creek, and just had to check it out with a view to getting some good arid region landscape photos.
Myall Creek comes from about 25 kilometres to the south, getting close to the boundary with Arcoona station and empties into Lake Torrens, not so far downstream, from Andamooka Waterhole.
Along Myall Creek are a couple of dams, Stone Wall Dam and Nick of Time Dam, as well as Nick of Time Well.
The creeks of the arid region are dry most of the time. Waterholes and dams may hold water for up to a couple of years. But when the floods come it must be a frightening thing. The clay country of the gibber plains sheds the rain rapidly and the usually dry creeks run a banker.
Flood debris may be seen along the creek banks such as Myall Creek, a hundred metres wide and easily six metres above creek bed level. In this area, all the water apart from what is saved in the dams and waterholes, empties into Lake Torrens where the salt pollutes it making it unfit for agricultural and pastoral use.
In many cases, waterholes on the lower reaches of the creeks, close to Lake Torrens, although flushed out with fresh water in a flood, soon turn salty when the flow stops, salt water infiltrating from the surrounding water table.
Strangely, Andamooka Waterhole remains fresh. Salt lies in the bed of Myall Creek, upstream and downstream, but Andamooka Waterhole remains sweet water for stock and human use.
So it’s in this context that I was keen to check out the waterhole further up Myall Creek. There turned out to be several waterholes, though none apeared as deep as Andamooka Waterhole and I wondered if they remain sweet.
Although not far, the ride on the quadbike was hard over the rocky ground and I was forced to leave the bike well back from the creek bed wherever I wanted to photograph.