Out 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.
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.
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!?
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.
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.
With 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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
You might be wondering is the sunset the only attraction?
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.
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.
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.
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