Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt LakeOut of this world scenery and picture-perfect backdrops are what you can find during Christmas at Lake Tyrrell.

Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to spend Christmas day at some interesting places and it doesn’t get much more interesting than Lake Tyrrell.

Tucked away in a remote corner of Victoria, Australia this unique salt lake has a funky pink tint and offers some tremendous photograph opportunities.

Being a good half day’s drive (including pit stops) from the Melbourne, spending Christmas at Lake Tyrel often gets overlooked for closer and more popular destinations such as the Great Ocean Road.

However, over the past year or so coverage from various news agencies and bloggers in Asia has seen an increase in Chinese travellers venturing away from the city highlights to explore this beautiful salt lake.

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

When my friend from Hong Kong suggested spending Christmas at Lake Tyrrell, I must have been the only one in the group who had no idea where and what this place was.

Even though Melbourne has been my base for the past few months, visiting Lake Tyrrell is not something you see advertised or promoted.

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

Flying in from Tasmania, we binned our original plan of hiring car from Melbourne Airport.

With the Xmas rush, it turned out to be around three times cheaper to rent a car from Europcar in Blackburn. So we locked it in and collected the vehicle on Christmas Eve morning

It turned out to be a great choice and a big shout out to the guys at Blackburn who upgraded our original Toyota Camry to a BMW 320i. Who doesn’t love a free upgrade!?

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

Driving to Lake Tyrrell from Melbourne isn’t the most exciting in regarding scenery and things to view, but the upside is the traffic isn’t bad. Once you’re on the open road, it’s just a case of flip the cruise control to on and turn up the music.

Even with a break at Bendigo, the drive is a fair old slog. Nadia said it should take us about 2 ½ hours or so to arrive. Lesson learned – don’t listen to girlfriends!

Before heading to Lake Tyrrell, we took a little detour to the accommodation the group had booked for next couple of nights, Murry Downs Marina luxury floating apartments.

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

With a huge four bedrooms, two bathrooms cooking area, BBQ and jacuzzi, this fantastic floating apartment had everything a group or size could need for a relaxing Christmas.

Then later that evening we headed to Lake Tyrrell for Christmas Eve. The lake is located around 7kms north of the town Sea Lake.

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt LakeWith a size of 20,860 hectares, Lake Tyrrell is Victoria’s largest salt lake and even without GPS it relatively easy to find.

Just simply head north on the Calder Highway, and from there it’s well signposted and located your right-hand side.

Our first sunset visit was to the empty north side of the lake.

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

Once off the main road, the dirt tracks can be a little slow going for a road car but nothing too crazy. A 4×4 off-road vehicle would be helpful, although not necessary.

We managed to guide the hire car down the tracks to the lake without getting bogged in or stuck.

The following day we returned again for Christmas at Lake Tyrrell.

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

Due to it being Xmas the only place we could find open selling cold drinks was the nearby pub The Royal Hotel. They also offer accommodation for those looking to stay nearby.

After stocking up on drinks, we headed to Lake Tyrrell for the second visit and arrived at the slightly earlier but much hotter 6 pm.

This time we visited the more popular south side of the lake.

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

Again no one was around up until around 8 pm when a few others cars full of people turned up to enjoy the sunset.

To compare the two sides of the lake we visited – the north side Lake Tyrrell was totally dry, whereas the south side had a shallow layer of water which provides the mirror like photos you can see.

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

With the temperature topping 40c during our visit, the heat at the lake is above what most would say is comfortable. Lucky the temperature does start to drop when the sun goes down.

The evaporation caused by this heat is what creates a salt layer to form on the lake. Just to be sure I had to try, and it’s true, it tastes exactly like salt should.

Next time I might bring a jar and take some home…

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

You might be wondering is the sunset the only attraction?

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

Well, the sunset is great but it isn’t the only attraction.

Due to the remote location and lack of light pollution, after dark, it’s possible to see what seems like every single star ever created. While we had no telescope and took photos with our cameras, bringing one along would certainly have been fun.

We also saw a Kangaroo.

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

Even though I wouldn’t say Christmas at Lake Tyrrell as particularly touristy compared to other Australian hotspots, it’s easy to see why a small but increasing number of international visitors are coming to this secluded part of Australia.

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

With its incredible photo opportunities bringing your camera to Lake Tyrrell should be mandatory.

The only downside of the trip that I can think of is with 40c temperatures and enough flies to overthrow a small government; you need to bring plenty of water, sunscreen and sunglasses.

If I spent Christmas at Lake Tyrrell again, I would certainly bring some fly repellent, plus a few more music tracks for the hours of driving.

You may like: How to Save Money on Accommodation in Australia

Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

Barry Sproston

Barry is a traveller and expat who spends most of his time between Asia and Australia. He has spent 12 months training at a Gung Fu school learning Wing Chun. Explored the island of Taiwan by scooter more than once. Been tricked into eating raw horse meat sushi in Japan. Even tried to overcome the fear of heights by bungee jumping in Thailand. One day he plans to open a guesthouse.


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34 thoughts on “Christmas at Lake Tyrrell Salt Lake

  1. Raymond Carroll

    Australia is on my bucket list. And now… so is Lake Tyrrell. Those pictures are fantastic – that sunset is giving me itchy feet. The stars look amazing – not much light pollution there. Nice post! All the best on your travels

  2. David

    Even though I’m from Melbourne and been to Swan Hill on a family trip, I’ve never heard of Lake Tyrrell before. Seems a pity as it looks like a really pretty place especially at sunset. Great photo of the night sky by the way. Country Victoria has so much going for it and so much to explore clearly.

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      From what I saw Swan Hill was nice but we spent most of the time there on the houseboat. Totally agree about country Victoria comment. I’ve been doing my best to explore as much as I can but there’s still so many places I’m still yet to see.

  3. Tracy Collins

    Looks amazing – unfortunately I am on my phone and the share buttons keep covering the images as I scroll down (they appear right in the middle!!)

    Definitely somewhere I would love to visit! Australia has so much to offer!

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Ah ok, didn’t realise the image sharing feature was causing issues on mobile platforms. I have moved it to the bottom of the picture now and will see how it goes. Thanks for letting me know Tracy.

  4. SamH Travels

    This place looks amazing and the photos you have taken are beautiful. I particularly like the stunning photo of the stars. I am not sure when I will get to Australia, but I will definitely add this to my todo list for when I visit. Pinned for future reference 🙂

  5. Kreete

    Awesome photography! It really is a beautiful place! I love how you tasted the salt to make sure haha! Is there anywhere to camp over there? We have a 4WD and I think my partner would love to go driving on the dry side of the lake. I admire people who manage to stay up late enough to see the stars haha! I usually get really tired around 8 or 9 pm and there is no way I’m getting up for anything at night haha!

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Thanks Kreete. I didn’t see any official campsites nearby, although according to Find A Camp there are some on the way. They are still a fair drive from the lake though. Having said that it’s mainly bush so it would be possible to camp anywhere near the lake – depending on what facilities and comforts you are looking for.

  6. Laura

    Wow, incredible photos, and great insight into a place I didn’t even know existed! Saving this for future reference for sure. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. James Smith

    I’ve never heard of Lake Tyrrell, but then again, I’ve never been to Australia. Well done with the free car hire upgrade and what an upgrade it was! Beautiful photos of the lake, it was worth being in the hot temperatures for the views!

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Thanks James. The lake is a great place to visit but yeah very hot during the Aussie summer Xmas. The car upgrade was a bonus and believe me I drove the wheels off that thing!

  8. Travel Lexx

    Wow, stunning way to spend Christmas and I don’t even know where to begin with that night sky. I had a similar view of the Milky Way at Apollo Bay. Love the post and will aim to get down to the lake when I am next in Aus!

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      I know what you mean Lexx. In my eyes, the photo is only a fraction of what it was like to see it first hand. Apollo Bay is another great spot and probably a bit closer to Melbourne

  9. Lisa

    Thanks for sharing a place I was not familiar with. Those stars at night are just beautiful. You took some great shots, love the sunset one. A great Christmas for you topped off with a kangaroo. Keep this in mind for a future visit.,

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Yeah, I think all our group got some great shots from our Xmas visit but the one that surprised us the most was the night sky. It was just so clear that it almost seemed unreal.

  10. Garth

    Wow, never heard of this place! I love the idea of going here for photography, the side of the lake where you’ve captured mirror reflections looks cool and dark skies, oo love dark skies and taking starry night shots!! and cool you saw a kangaroo too! tick!

  11. Angie (FeetDoTravel)Angie (FeetDoTravel)

    Oh wow Barry, these photos are truly incredible – what amazing photographic opportunities you had here! I seriously cannot believe the stars at night photo – absolutely stunning but I think the photo that wins hands down has to be the pink flamingo inflatable 😀 (only joking!). What a truly fabulous Christmas you had, I am pinning this for when I visit Melbourne! Thank you so much for sharing this little known place #feetdotravel

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