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How To Find This Stunning Reflective Salt Lake In Regional Victoria

How To Find This Stunning Reflective Salt Lake In Regional Victoria

One of my favourite pastimes is scrolling the Instagram travel hashtag and dreaming about where I want to go next – although it can be a bit of a tease during the Covid era. So over the past year, I’ve been mostly trawling regional areas for picturesque gems that I probably wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Sea Lake is one of those gems.

Never heard of Sea Lake? I’m not surprised. This tiny town in the northwest of Victoria is four hours drive from Melbourne, and about two hours from its nearest regional hubs – Echuca, Bendigo and Mildura. But what it lacks in accessibility, it more than makes up for in Instagramability.

You see, Sea Lake is perched on the edge of a breathtaking reflective salt plain that makes for some absolutely stunning photos. Not that I travelled those four long, Wiggles-fuelled, toddler-in-tow hours in the car just for a social media bump. Well ok, maybe I did — BUT THE PICS, I TELL YOU!

So, if I can do it with a bored bub, you can most definitely do it without. And it’s totally worth it. Here’s my suggested itinerary – including my top pics of where to eat, stay and play in sleepy Sea Lake.

Day One: Tackle the four-hour haul via Bendigo

 

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It’s a bit of a trek to Sea Lake, so this is really a three-day, two-night operation. On the first day, break up your drive by stopping in Bendigo – one of my favourite regional spots for undiscovered culinary delights. Try The Dispensary in trendy Chancery Lane, or Wine Bank for a quick bite, or grab a table outdoors for a long lunch at my personal pub pick, The Rifle Brigade.

Now, Sea Lake is also known for one other thing; it’s a stop along the very cool (and very long) Silo Art Trail. One of the trail’s famed pieces is actually in Sea Lake, but you can make a few extra art stops along the way – the one at Nullawil is actually right on the Calder Highway. If you want to check out the whole trail you’ll need a western detour that’ll add on a few hours.

When you arrive at Sea Lake, you have scant accommodation options, so book in advance. I chose to stay in this cute retro Airbnb for a little blast from the past, which included a delicious breakfast hamper. Considering there weren’t many crunching venues around, this was particularly handy.

Basically, your only choice for dinner in town is the Royal Hotel. It’s a comfy, classic regional pub with all the usuals on the menu – no need to book really, they have plenty of space for blow-ins.

Day two: The salt plains

 

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A post shared by Bianca O’Neill (@bianca.oneill)

It’s time to get salty. No really, don’t wear anything you don’t want absolutely ruined by crusts of mineral salt. RIP my favourite sneakers, which – despite cleaning post-visit – oozed salt crystals for weeks until the leather broke down and I had to throw them out.

There are a few options for your visit to the Salt Lake. You can catch the morning light at sunrise as it tints the mirrored super-shallow lake a pale pink, enjoy the vivid blue sky reflected in the plains so it looks like you’re floating on air, or wait around for a glorious sunset firing into the seemingly-endless void.

If you’re short on time and keen on a sunset visit, you could potentially catch it on your first day, thereby allowing you to trek all the way home the next day. It’s a lot of driving for one weekend, but it can be done. I did both daytime and sunset when I was there, and personally, I loved the images we captured during the day.

The main entrance to the lake, including a lookout platform, is down Baileys Road – or you can try a more scenic route via Saltworks Road, which turns into Lake Tyrrell Road and forms a circuit passing by the outer southern edges of the 120,000-year-old lake.

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Some words of advice: do not drive on the salt plains, or attempt to go offroad at any time. The salt renders the ground super slippery and bog-like, and you will get stuck very quickly – plus there’s little to no reception in the area if you need to call for help.

 

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A post shared by Ronda Woolgar (@rondawoolgar13)

Park your car somewhere safe and solid, then wander into the shallow depths for some fun photos. It’s super slippery, so be careful. Be sure to bring bottled water so you can immediately wash any salt off your skin and clothes once you return to the car.

After your visit, there are a few other options to fill the afternoon. My top pick is a hike in Murray Sunset National Park, just under two hours northwest of Sea Lake. There you will find similar salt lakes that are a favourite with the Insta crowd thanks to their pink-tinged water (under the right conditions). You can find more details on the pink lakes at the Parks Vic website.

If you’re looking to extend your stay in the region head to Mildura for the night, and lock in a tour to the ethereal Mungo National Park, just over the NSW border. It’s kind of like you’re in Death Valley, without the long haul flight.

Day three: Follow the silos home

Wind your way home via the Silo Art trail, if you didn’t do it on the way up. Or, you could stop in a regional gem like the historic Castlemaine, or the shiraz-lovers paradise of Heathcote. You’re socials


(Lead image: Instagram / @rondawoolgar13)

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