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About Paika

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“The gentle lap of water on the shore of Paika Lake is broken only by the chatter of banded stilts, their long pink legs probing the muddy shallows searching for dinner!"

Pipe Dreams - RM Williams Outback Magazine - Issue 111 Feb/Mar 2017 by James Carey

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“A 20 year vision has brought water to a long-dry lake bed in south-western New South Wales"

Pipe Dreams - RM Williams Outback Magazine - Issue 111 Feb/Mar 2017 by James Carey

Meet your hosts

Your hosts Dianne & Iain, warmly invite you to experience the magic of Lake Paika Accommodation & all the wonderful features it has to offer

Lake Paika Accommodation is nestled on a peninsula of Lake Paika.  This 450 hectares natural wetland which was reinstated in 2012 after more than a century of being "stranded" from its Murrumbidgee "lifeline". It has quickly responded with improved biodiversity of wildlife and significant vegetation regeneration.

Witness breathtaking sunsets and amazing birdlife. A bird watcher's and photographer's paradise, with over 20,000 waterbirds with almost 100 species having been observed. In November 2015 the endangered Little Bittern nested and hatched chicks in the surrounding wetlands!

Wake to the gentle sound of bird calls, bask in amazing sunsets that become star-studded skies, and arise to clear sunrises signalling the start of your day.  Paika is really where the Wetlands meet the Outback!

The following slideshow shows beautiful Lake Paika after being reinstated with water in 2012 and the improved biodiversity of birdlife and vegetation regeneration.

CLICK on the individual photos to expand viewing.

 

Features of Paika

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Take a step back in time, relax & enjoy the special features on offer at Lake Paika Accommodation.  You will wish that you had a little more time to stay longer

Situated halfway between Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide, Lake Paika Accommodation at Paika Station is the perfect overnight stop on your long journey!

 

With the wonderful features and facilities on offer at Paika it is no wonder that 95% of our Guests wish they had planned more than a one-night stay. 

Features include:​

  • Paika is approximately 1.5 hrs from World Heritage listed Willandra Lakes & Mungo National Park, a truly spectacular and spiritual place.  Tours to Mungo National Park can be organised from Paika.

  • Paika is only 20 minutes from the charming town of Balranald and from Yanga National Park which includes Yanga Lake, Yanga Woolshed and Yanga Homestead.

  • Stay and relax in the beautifully restored, self-contained Workman's Quarters with rooms facing the Lake with stunning views. The Workman's Quarters has excellent facilities including 5 bedrooms, a large communal dining and lounge area, self-contained kitchen, air condition in all rooms, open fireplace, and fans in all rooms.  Outside you have access to a gas BBQ and oven cooking fireplace. Learn more here!

  • There's also the charming and recently decorated Duff's Cottage which is perfect for families and features 3 bedrooms, bathroom, kitchenette with all the appliances you need, a wood burning fireplace, TV & WiFi and a central A/C unit.  This quaint cottage also has an entertaining deck which faces the Lake, large lawn area and fenced garden. Learn more here!

  • Paika also offers a number of lawned and powered sites (maximum 6) with a modern and clean 2 bathroom ablution block, camp kitchen overlooking the lake, hot water and BBQ. Learn more here!

  • Although both the Workmen's Quarters and Duff's Cottage are self-contained, your hostess Dianne is known to produce some beautiful treats. If you don't feel like cooking then Dianne offers morning and afternoon teas in the Homestead gardens, a variety of breakfast options, dinner hampers, picnic and lunch hampers!  Learn more here

 

  • The beautiful Lake, wetlands and surrounds offers a number of wonderful activities including birdwatching, photography, kayaking, fishing, picnicking, cycling, canoeing, explore historic buildings and more! Learn more here!

  • To top it all Dianne and Iain welcome guests to explore the stunning gardens of the Paika Homestead.  There is so much to see with a little piece of wonderment at every along with a wide variety of plants, flowers and garden ornaments. The garden is a perfect place to find a little nook for some quiet reflection.

The following slideshow shows the many wonderful FEATURES on offer at Paika.

CLICK on the individual photos to expand viewing.

 

History of Paika

Paika Landscape

The Murravian Gulf - around sixteen million years ago, the approximate final eastern shore line of this ‘inland sea’ was through today’s ‘Paika’ Station.

"Living on the Edge"

‘Paika’s’ location results in an ecologically rich landscape because it is at the interface of quite distinct geographical and ecological systems at global, continental, bioregional and local scales. Interfaces between different ecological systems are places of ecological ‘tension’ creating ‘hot-spots’ of biodiversity. 

 

Its two parts have sharply contrasting geomorphology, soils and vegetation communities with their associated fauna. The most obvious is the contrast between the semi-arid mallee to the west and the lower Murrumbidgee floodplain wetlands and red gum forest to the east. That interface was once a meeting place between land and ‘sea’. The sandy mallee area was once the floor of an ‘inland’ sea (the Murravian Gulf) and later a freshwater mega-lake (Lake Bungunnia). The floodplain was part of a giant delta formed as the ancestral Lachlan, Murrumbidgee and Murray rivers dropped sediment as they entered the sea, and lake.

Interesting Historical Facts

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Detail from A.C Macdonald's "Map of the Colony of NSW 1883" showing the extent of Paika Station between 1870 and 1923

Paika - Outbuildings showing drop-log construction and

reed-thatched roofing c1890 

Construction commenced on Paika Levee and Burrinjuck Dam in 1907

Bourke & Wills camped in Paika stables on 17th September, 1860

Did you know...
  • Lake Paika Station is one of the oldest properties in the area.

  • The first European squatter was George Hobler who squatted on Paika Lake in 1846. When it became part of the Lower Darling Squatting District in 1848, he tendered for the legal occupation of Paika, Yarrowal, Kooncoombera, and Juanbung runs that made up his ‘Lake Paika’ Station. William Charles Wentworth out-bid him and took them over in 1850. Hobler and most of his family migrated to California in 1851.

  • A syndicate purchased Wentworth’s lower Murrumbidge stations in 1853. Wentworth’s former Annanomy Run was integrated with ‘Lake Paika’ Station, so that it extended to Balranald, which became an important service hub and river port for surrounding pastoral properties. The boundaries of three large stations – ‘Canally’, ‘Paika’ and ‘Yanga’ - met at the town.

  • In 1855 Lake Paika was split into two parcels for sale and in 1865 the two sections were back together.

  • In 1870 Paika was incorporated with four adjacent runs - Bidura, Willibah, Toylambool and East Toylambool.  The property remained in that form until "broken-up" for closer settlement, to conform to the Border Railways Agreement, in 1923.

  • Paika homestead was constructed in 1875 from locally fired bricks at a cost of 8,000 pounds

  • In 1899 the area of the birthplace of Australia's first environmental movement to protect a wetland.  Walter Macpherson of ‘Paika’ was the chair of the Balranald group.

District Statistics 1916

Paika Station

District Population: 2,000

(Balranald: 800

Staff:  35 to 40

120 - 130 during shearing)

(One hundred & twenty-one World War 1 volunteers to March 1916)

Land area:  289,000 acres

(Freehold 80,000 acres,

Western Lands Lease - originally homestead lease - 200,000 acres)

Balranald Pastures Protection: average of 500,000 sheep & 200,000 lambs

Average Rainfall:  

9.30 inches

Steamer trade: On average 8,000 to 900 bales of wool shipped from Balranald each year and shops in the town receive around 1,000 tons of goods from Echuca.

Stock:  Sheep 50,000 - 60,000 (carrying capacity six acres to the sheep), cattle: 800, horses: 120

Average annual wool clip: 11,000 bales

Staff:  35 to 40

120 - 130 during shearing)

Quotes...

Sweet quandong (Santalum acuminatum)

"Charley and I took home as many quandongs as made 56 lbs. of jam ... it makes a very fine jam or preserve, and in the absence of garden fruit

is very acceptable.  

George Hobler, 18th October 1872

Sweet quandong

"The homestead is almost in a peninsula, for a fine broad lake with a green shelving shore, is on three sides. A thickly wooded island is in the centre. This lake abounds in wild fowl of every description, and the swans, pelicans, ducks and geese are remarkably tame on it. The spacious residence and coach house, stables, etc., are thatched in capital style"

Town and Country Journal, 21st September 1872

Swans at Lake Paika today

Lake Regeneration

Stranded areas total 65,000 ha

CLICK on photo to enlarge

Freckled duck 

Blue-billed duck 

The first water flowed into Paika Lake for over a century in May 2011

In 2008 action began to rehabilitate the stranded Paika- Penarie creeks system, on the western end of the lower Murrumbidgee floodplain (circled). The first water flowed into Paika Lake for over a century, in May 2011.

 

A partnership established in 2008 between the owners (Peter & Sue Morton, Dundomallee and Dianne Williams, Paika) of properties adjoining Paika Lake with assistance from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and CSIRO with the aim to restore life to Paika Lake, Paika Creek, and lower Penarie Creek, after being isolated from their Murrumbidgee lifeline since 1906.

 

The restoration area includes rare and ecologically strategic off-floodplain wetlands, including Paika Lake, and an inter-bioregional wildlife corridor. 

 

This landscape-altering undertaking required government funding for the relocation of power-lines; earthworks, including the cutting of existing levees; and the installation of water control structures to access environmental water from the Murrumbidgee River.

 

Some dramatic wildlife biodiversity and vegetation regeneration has already occurred in response to watering. Over 20 000 waterbirds of more than 35 species, including the threatened Freckled duck, Blue billed duck and Australian painted snipe, have been observed.

Dianne with Lake Paika custodians, past & present

Dianne & Iain with David Papps (CEWH) and James Maguire (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage)  viewing environmental watering at Paika Lake.

Article & video from the NSW Dept of Planning & Envrionment

READ the following article and WATCH the video about the Paika Lake's regeneration by the NSW Dept of Planning & Environment in 2015.  (Scroll down on the side to read the article & view the video.)

 
 

Paika Brochure

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The Lake Paika Station brochure includes a chronological summary of Paika's history and of key events that took place 

DOWNLOAD the Lake Paika Station brochure 

 
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Lake Paika Accommodation

1725 Ivanhoe Road, Balranald, NSW

0427 206 801

lakepaikaaccommodation@gmail.com

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