Gail Liston has hit the road and distilled her extensive travel knowledge to bring us the 20 Top Tours from all around Australia.

As soon as the Cessna lifts off the runway, the magnitude of Wilpena Pound and the Flinders Ranges becomes obvious. Banking over St Mary Peak, red hills stretch behind the aircraft like the spine of an ancient creature. Climbing to 4500ft, the plane tracks northwest across the remote cattle country of northern SA en route to Lake Eyre, the attention-grabbing “salt sink” that has only filled to capacity three times in 160 years, and in 2009 promises the first big inflow since 2000.

Whether it’s the half-day, full-day or two-day flight, winging your way over Brachina and Parachilna Gorges, Marree Man and South Lake Eyre then dropping to 1000ft to engage the panorama of fingers of water inching into Lake Eyre North is something to remember forever. Beneath the aircraft, hundreds of pelicans, terns and gulls take flight and from every angle you see the colours of life as the blue-green water consumes the stark white salt.

Brag Factor // Witnessing a once in a lifetime event as floodwaters from far north Qld spill into Lake Eyre thousands of kilometres to the south.

Details // Tour by Air Wilpena, half-day flights start $660 per person, full-day $750, including lunch. Two-day scenic flight and outback stay start at $1735 per person, including accom and meals. (08) 8648 0004,

Enjoy this article?

You can find it in Issue 27 along with
loads of other great stories and tips.