ANZPT Adelaide: Save a few chips for a rainy day

The gardens and parkland that surround the Adelaide CBD belie the fact that South Australia's largest city sits on the fringe of the great Australian outback. You don't have to travel too far north of Adelaide before farmland starts to give way to scrubby pasture and desert that stretches thousands of kilometres to the nation's northern fringes.

But that arid wasteland is occasionally brought to life by torrential weather systems that drift across the outback from the tropics, and nowhere is this better evidenced than at Lake Eyre, Australia's largest lake and the lowest point of the continent at 15m below sea level.


Pack the sunscreen ... there's only thing missing at ABC Bay on the southern shores of Lake Eyre

Located about 700 kilometres north of Adelaide, Lake Eyre is mostly a vast expanse of saltpans with the occasional puddle remaining from past inundations. But if enough monsoonal rain falls to the north of Lake Eyre, it takes on the appearance of a vast inland sea.

The lake was last filled to near capacity in 1974, with the highest water depth reaching six metres and as recently as 2009, the lake was filled to almost 15 per cent capacity. But almost as quickly as the water arrives, it begins to seep away and evaporate, much to the chagrin of one of Australia's most eccentric sporting organisations, the Lake Eyre Yacht Club.


Definition of optimism: the salubrious home of the Lake Eyre Yacht Club

In contrast, the flat and firm saltpans have regularly hosted lad speed record attempts, the most famous of which occurred in the 1960s when Sir Donald Campbell rocketed Bluebird-Proteus CN7 to a speed of more than 400mph.

Pulse rates will also be high in Adelaide's Casino Poker Zone today as a new generation of thrill seekers chase glory in the ANZPT Adelaide Main Event. A total of 122 players will be back today from 12.30pm to chase one of 27 spots in the money and the ultimate prize: $165,900 and the first ANZPT title for 2010.