Pink Lake Tiny House at Lochiel, South Australia | Review
For the first time, visitors can stay just across the road from SA’s most accessible and iconic pink lake, Lake Bumbunga – in an eco-friendly “tiny house”.
by Carla Caruso
I’ve seen two pink salt-lakes up-close in my life – one en-route to the Grampians in Victoria and the other on the way to South Australia’s outback.
What’s cool about the latter, known as Lake Bumbunga, is that it’s super-easy for South Aussies to get to – just 1.5 hours’ drive north of Adelaide.
Even better, you can now stay directly opposite the natural phenomenon (and its famed new Loch-Eel Monster) in a hand-built, eco-friendly “tiny house”.
Adelaide couple Michael and Christina Seeliger, behind the tiny house, were inspired to try the concept after facing difficult times due to COVID-19. (They’re international travel agents.) One day, they visited Lake Bumbunga and saw many visitors coming to see it, but no places to stay nearby.
“Most people drive up on a day trip from Adelaide and miss out on the stunning sunsets and sunrise views of the lake,” Christina says.
The couple bought some land directly across the road and had a custom-made tiny house built by a quality manufacturer. The place opened in July 2020. They’ve since opened another such house in April 2021, which is suitable for couples. A third (family-friendly) home is currently being built and should be open for bookings from July 2021.
Michael says a stay at the self-contained accommodation is “gentle on the planet and climate-friendly”.
“Electricity is off-the-grid, being generated through solar panels on the roof and then stored in a 5KW battery. The tiny houses use rainwater collected on the roof and stored in a 5000L tank. Shower greywater is filtered and then waters a plant bed. Mains water and electricity are connected as backup if required.”
I’ve long been fascinated by pink lakes. So I couldn’t wait to book an overnighter, with the family, in the original ‘tiny house’ this April (2021).
Even though I’d seen accommodation pics, and ‘tiny’ is in its name, I was still surprised to see just how small the house is up-close. A teeny 17sq m, in fact. It feels a bit like being in a chic, roomy caravan, but with an upstairs area.
As you explore, though, you notice all the clever design details, making room for everything, like the storage under the staircase (including space for your suitcases) and the authentic Japanese futons in the loft bedrooms. (The internal décor draws inspiration from Japan, where Michael has lived, including the cute toys and ‘washi’ paper artwork.)
Entertainment options were also tucked away in drawers, like games and karaoke microphones. Although, please note – there’s no TV (but you can get free Wi-Fi).
Other quality touches were dotted throughout, including a Nespresso coffee pod machine in the kitchen and L’Occitane shower products. Everything looked really clean and new too.
Then there’s the quirky toilet …
It’s totally bio-composting, using no water and creating no sewerage. Instead of flushing ‘solids’, you’re instructed, via a sign, to chuck in a handful of bulking agent and then do 10 squirts of a Nature Flush Enzymes spray. Surprisingly, the loo area doesn’t smell at all, care of an external exhaust fan.
For dinner, we pre-ordered fare from Jitter Bean Oasis cafe next door for heating up in the microwave. In a case of bad timing on our part, the iconic cafe’s shut on Mondays and Tuesdays, the days we were there.
But the food we ordered – homemade lasagne, chicken/bacon/mushroom pie, and salad – was just as delicious enjoyed in our accommodation. (The café owners, Vicki Myhre and Heather James, are originally from Melbourne. They also threw in a few complimentary sweet tarts for us, which went down a treat.)
After the family and I’d enjoyed a few rounds of UNO and karaoke – and hot showers – it was time for bed. The kids felt like they were in a cosy cubby in their upstairs loft room.
With the accommodation located on a national highway, you do hear a constant rumble of trucks and cars as you nod off.
At sunrise, we awoke to get some specky shots of the lake and visit the local tourist attraction, Loch-Eel.
Wandering across the salt-lake, spanning 13 sq km, feels a bit like walking on an ice-skating rink – or the moon. The first part can be a little sludgy before it dries out, so it’s best to wear thongs or old shoes, or buy shoe covers from Jitter Bean.
With international borders closed, there’s really never been a better time to get out and discover (or rediscover) the natural wonders in your own backyard.
And as we found out, staying in an eco-friendly tiny house only adds to the experience!
What we like about it:
- Be the first among your friends to try the tiny house concept at the pink lake. As Christina says: “It has huge appeal for the Asian clientele, but it’s still getting onto local people’s radar.”
- The accommodation’s less than two hours’ drive from Adelaide.
- It’s super eco-friendly with minimal impact on the environment and climate.
- It’s fun to chill out on the egg chair on the tiny house’s patio deck at sunset with snacks and drinks.
- You can see the stars of the Milky Way at night and wake up in the countryside.
- On the lake itself, SA Tourism says: “Lake Bumbunga’s bubble-gum shores draw an eclectic crowd, from casual photographers to high-end fashion brands.” But ignore the Photoshopped pics… “The lake is known to change colour from pink to white to blue, depending on the salinity of the water throughout the year.”
- The lake’s pinkness is said to be at its best between October and February, but there’s always an element of pink whenever you go. You can take photos of the lake at sunset – and more in the morning. It’s constantly changing in hue. Michael advises: “Sunset and sunrise are the best times for photography; daylight tends to be fairly flat on the lake.
Things to consider:
- The accommodation’s located on a highway and the trucks don’t slow down. Even though there’s a fence around the property, it’s best to keep an eye on younger kids. Expect to also hear the continual rumble of traffic through the night. (Complimentary earplugs are provided.)
- For safety, the accommodation’s not recommended for kids under five or those with mobility impairments as access to the lofts requires the use of stairs or a ladder.
- With the houses being tiny, you have to watch out for bumping your head on occasion, such as on the ceiling in the loft bedrooms!
- In the small confines, there’s no escape from guests, so you’ll want to stay with those you’re close to. As Michael says: “The cosy, compact size makes it easy to enjoy a simple life and really connect with the people you are with and care about.”
- The tiny house has free Wi-Fi, but no TV or washing machine. And the hairdryer provided is low wattage to go with the accommodation’s eco vibe.
- The town of Lochiel is as tiny as the house, with other attractions only including the adjacent café, an art gallery, and a football oval. Even the pub burned down. Still, as Michael says, the accommodation is “ideally located to be a base for day trips to the food and wine mecca of the Clare region and the scenic coastal scenery of the Yorke Peninsula region around Moonta Bay and Wallaroo.”
- As for the lake, when it’s wet, it’s only a couple of inches deep. So you can’t swim or boat in it. Naturally, fish can’t survive in such salty conditions either, so fishing’s out.
- It’s good to pack a spare jar so you can collect some salt from the lake as a memento of your stay.
Coffee and food options nearby:
Support local business by buying brekkie, lunch or dinner at the adjacent Jitter Bean Oasis cafe. Take-home packs can also be pre-ordered. The coastal towns of Wallaroo and Moonta Bay are also only a short drive away; The Bond Store is a good option for lunch, beer and gin.
For more information and all enquiries please visit the Pink Lake Tiny House website.
What: Pink Lake Tiny House | Review
Where: Lot 14 Frances Terrace | Lochiel, South Australia
Who: Couples, families, and small groups (please note: the accommodation’s not recommended for kids under five or those with mobility impairments as access to the lofts requires the use of stairs or a ladder)
All photos by James Elsby for Play & Go Adelaide
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
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