Lake Woods

Latitude: -17.9, Longitude: 133.4333333

From Elliott, 31.81kms S
From Tennant Creek, 215.7kms N

Lake Woods is a large ephemeral wetland located on the western edge of the Barkly Tableland and is a bird watchers paradise, a popular swimming and fishing spot which can be reached by a dirt road. The Lake most frequently occupies an area of about 350 km², but during periods of major flooding it is broadly contiguous with the lower reaches of Newcastle Creek, and can reach 850 km² and, at times, nearer 1000 km², making it one of the largest temporary freshwater lakes in the Northern Territory and tropical Australia. The lake basin supports grass/sedge communities, including broad bands of lignum which comprise one of the largest areas of lignum swamp in the Northern Territory. The northern edge of the Lake and Newcastle Creek are fringed by river red gum and coolibah. The slopes of the Ashburton Range to the east are dominated by spinifex communities.

The Longreach Waterhole, at the northern end of Lake Woods has been included in many camping guides as a place to visit. This is no longer the case. The water body here is a protected environmental heritage area. Damage to the area by campers has led the local Traditional Owners and the Pastoral Managers to close all access. There are no plans to reopen the area.