Lake Amadeus (Pitjantjatjara: Pantu) is a huge salt lake in the
southwest corner of Australia's Northern Territory, about 50 km north
Due to the aridity of the area, the surface of Lake Amadeus is
usually a dry salt crust. In times of sufficient rainfall, it is part
of an east-flowing drainage system that eventually connects to the
Finke River. Lake Amadeus is 180 km long and 10 km wide, making it the
largest salt lake in the Northern Territory. It contains up to 600
million tonnes of salt; however, harvesting it has not proved viable,
owing to its remote location.
The first European to discover the lake was the explorer Ernest
Giles, who had originally intended to honour his benefactor Baron
Ferdinand von Mueller with the eponym Lake Ferdinand. However Mueller
prevailed upon Giles to instead honour King Amadeo I of Spain (known in
English as King Amadeus I), who had previously bestowed honour on him.
The lakes expanse was a barrier for Giles who could see both the as yet
un-discovered Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta but could not reach them as the
dry lake bed wasn't able to support the weight of the horses. The next
year, William Gosse climbed and named both rises.