Chasing the Milky Way in Lake Bonney
Sometimes, well, often, we see photographs and absolutely have to add the destination to our ever growing list. Lake Bonney is one of those places.
Lake Bonney is in South Australia, about a two-hour drive from Mildura, Victoria (or a three-hour drive from Adelaide, or an eight-hour drive from Melbourne). The town of Barmera, which as a few restaurants, places to stay, and a grocery store, is located at the southern end of the lake.
We stayed at the Discovery Holiday Park, in a Deluxe Sunset Villa. It was super clean, very quiet, and we loved having a kitchen.
Another added bonus was that there were some great dead trees about a five minute walk from our cabin thingy.
We took a quick drive around the lake to scout out locations for sunset and night sky photography, and decided on a spot on the East side of the lake, kind of near the gun club (yep). According to the PhotoPills app, the Milky Way would be in perfect position around 9:20pm.
We returned about an hour before sunset to set up and get some long exposures. The wind had picked up, and it took both of us to stabilise the tripod. We were able to get a few images that we liked, despite the challenging conditions.
We decided to return to the area around the holiday park and try a few star shots. We got few shots but it began to cloud up and the wind was just too strong for long exposures using a travel-friendly tripod.
We had originally planned to drive halfway back to Melbourne the next day, but the weather looked to be clearing so we decided to stay another night. We took a walk into town for brekkie and wound up at the Lakes Bakery Cafe.
This part of Australia is known as the Riverland, and in addition to being on the Murray River, it is also the largest wine producing region in the country. Not Barossa, or the Yarra Valley, or Hunter Valley, or Margaret River. The Riverland. Who knew ?!?
That night we headed back to the location on the East side of the lake. We were a little surprised to find a small group of people camping nearby, but they kept to themselves so wouldn’t be a nuisance. The wind had died down and the sky was mostly cloud-free. We waited.
The conditions were fairly perfect. Unfortunately, this time of the year there is little time between nautical darkness and when the Milky Way sets, so we needed to move quickly and make the most of it.
Now we just have to come back in winter for more shots !