Here in Western Australia, we are blessed to have an incredibly unique landscape. From towering cliffs and white-sand beaches to waterfalls and red outback deserts. One of our famous natural wonders are our beautiful salt lakes, scattered throughout the state.
These salt lakes come in all shapes, sizes, and even colours – they’re magical to experience and change so much from season to season – from crispy and white to sticky, oozy, red mud.
One of the most loved salt lakes in the Golden Outback region is Lake Ballard. Located in the Goldfields, near the town of Menzies. This stunning, gigantic salt lake is home to Australia’s largest outdoor art gallery, the “Inside Australia” exhibition by artist Antony Gormley.
Gormley is a UK artist who focuses on using metal alloys to represent his artwork. He accepted the challenge to create something to celebrate the Perth International Arts Festival’s 50th anniversary in 2003. He stated: “I just wanted somewhere with an absolutely flat, more or less 360-degree horizon. [I chose] the west of Lake Ballard, which is an extraordinary lake 70 miles long and 30 miles wide, with this sodium crust that makes everything stand out absolutely clearly. It’s an amazing place. It’s in the middle of what’s called the Yilgarn Craton, which is one of the oldest bits of the surface of the earth. It’s between 2.9 and 3.5 billion years old.”
After months of preparation, Gormley supervised the creation and installation of 51 metal ‘human-like’ statues across the lake, which took influence from the residents of nearby towns. These statues need to be seen to be believed. As the lake and its surrounding location provide a silent, yet eerie environment, walking through and gazing upon these statues is something truly unforgettable. Visitors say they feel totally at peace while walking through while making their own explanations of the installation.
If you’re planning a road trip around the Goldfields region or embarking along the Golden Quest Discovery Trail, be sure to add Lake Ballard and the Inside Australia exhibit to the itinerary.
Explore for the day, and if you can, set up camp for the night. There are fire pits, camp spots and a toilet here, but you need to bring water and supplies. As night falls you can experience a truly dark, outback sky and soak up the views of a starry sky and the Milky Way. A true outback experience to add to your bucket list!
Lake Ballard is a magnificent place to camp, as well as the perfect spot to watch the sun go down as it creates new, striking colours across the salt. After a bit of rain, the lake becomes slightly muddy and sticky with changing colours, adding to the fun of exploring the vast plains and making your way out to the “Salt Lake Hill”, which provides great views of the surrounding land.
FYI it can be pretty hot and fly-heavy here in Summer, so either plan your trip in the cooler months or come prepared with lots of water, fly nets and avoid the warmest parts of the day. (we think Lake Ballard is especially magical at sunrise and sunset anyway!)
Check out the Golden Quest Discovery Trail self-drive itinerary and start planning your trip today!