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Lake Peery during one of its flood periods. Photo Neal Foster

Active spring mound at Lake Peery. Photo Neal Foster
Lake Peery after sunset. Photo Neal Foster

Lake Peery Mound Springs

Latitude -30.787499, Longitude 143.596037

Located in the Outback Region of NSW, nearest town White Cliffs


Link to Detailed Map

Peery Lake is located in the Paroo-Darling National Park just east of White Cliffs, New South Wales. Peery Lake and its associated wetlands form part of the Paroo overflow which is an important ecosystem for native wildlife. The lake covers 5,026 hectares when in flood and is the largest of the Paroo Overflow lakes.

Lake Peery Mound Springs

Lake Peery Mound Springs are the largest and most active complex of mound springs in NSW. This lake is a water bird haven and when full it will hold water for several years. When dry, Peery Lake is the only location in NSW where Great Australian Basin (formally known as Great Artesian Basin) mound springs are visible in a lakebed.

As a permanent and secure source of water, the springs were vitally important to the Ngiyeempaa and Paakantyi Aboriginal people living in the area and are considered culturally significant. Peery Lake features in stories such as Kuluwirru Dreaming, which chronicles the creation of the Peery landscape and Darling River and describes the reasons for the lake being emptied at various times.

Mound springs occurred in Lake Peery when water from the Great Australian Basin reached the surface through fault lines in overlying rock. Mounds were formed from the sediments and salts that were deposited by the spring water as it evaporated.

Some mounds may sprout trees and bushes, indicating the spring water is less mineralised than in other places. Evaporation from the artesian mound springs creates deposits of calcium carbonate and other water borne minerals (evaporite) over many millennia. These rocky mound springs build from the top, often forming pools (Keane 2003). The springs support unique micro ecosystems, which in turn support rare plants and fauna that are thought to be surviving remnants of an earlier period when the area was part of a tropical environment.

Two groups of mound springs (active and extinct) occur at Peery Lake, on the western and eastern shorelines (Pickard 1992b). The western group consists of more than 20 individual springs, some of which are no longer flowing. The extinct springs are by far the larger structures, reaching 100m in diameter and 2m in height (Pickard 1992b). Mounds of active springs vary in size from 3m to 15m in diameter and reach up to 2m in height (Pickard 1992b). The eastern group is made up of more than ten mostly extinct spring outlets.

Surrounding Lanscape

The Peery Hills offer rugged gorges and low escarpments. The lunettes associated with Peery and Poloko Lakes are similar to the significant lunettes of Mungo, Lake Menindee and Lake Victoria. The broad gibber plains, the Darling River floodplain and the gently undulating sandplains of Coonavitra and Tilpilly offer the visitor the "wide open spaces" for which outback NSW is world-renowned.

Getting There

The Paroo-Darling National Park is located east of White Cliffs and can be accessed via dry weather roads, from either White Cliffs (20km) or Wilcannia (90km). The National Park's Visitor Centre at White Cliffs is able to provide further up-to-date information on the Paroo-Darling National Park. Phone 08 8083 7900.

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