Founder of Sea Lake Tyrrell Tours, Local Tour Guide
Tourism at Lake Tyrrell started with a photo. In 2014, local entrepreneur Julie Pringle was the subject of a photo taken by a family member, featuring her standing in the shallow salt lake, with clouds reflecting above and below. She sent this photo, amongst others, to a Melbourne tour agency, which shared the image on social media. Three days later, the first tour bus arrived. This was quickly followed by another two buses that first week and five the next, and the visits snowballed from there as each group shared their photos on social media. Some 900 visitors arrive every week now, domestic, European and Asian.
Julie has been extremely proactive in promoting Lake Tyrrell. She was a 2019 finalist in the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards. Julie is currently training under a mentoring program with Visit Victoria and working together with other communities to promote regional tourism. She is also a member of the Mallee Rising Advisory Board, which focuses on developing entrepreneurship and digital innovation in the local area.
She is passionate about Lake Tyrrell, a vast, shallow salt lake that turns pink at sunset and, on a calm night, acts as a giant mirror, reflecting the many stars that can be seen in the dark night skies. Visitors are greeted by Julie's smiling face, and her infectious energy and enthusiasm encourage them to enjoy the spectacular scenery and sensational atmosphere of the lake.
Looking up at a mass of clouds, Yuko always felt her heart soar with excitement. As a trained counsellor with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, she was particularly interested in a concept called cloud therapy, in which it is believed that people interpret the clouds differently depending upon their emotional state; where a happy person might see a bunny, someone pessimistic might fear it as gremlin. Growing up in Singapore, Yuko experienced school bullying and child abuse in a stressful society; being around nature and staring into the clouds helped Yuko pull through the dark times.
In 2019, Yuko stumbled upon Lake Tyrrell during a holiday in Melbourne, over a four hours’ drive away. Being a cloud therapist, imagine the awe and shock she felt when she encountered the giant salt lake, which opened out before her like a mirror. On a cloudy day, when the lake is filled with natural brine water, it looks as though you are walking upon a giant cloud. During sunrise and sunset, it becomes vividly alive as the sky changes colour, creating a shimmering mirror-like surface. At night, it is as though you are walking amongst the stars.
Yuko met Julie at Lake Tyrrell. Perhaps in a divine calling, she found herself working at Julie’s company, as Julie’s assistant and a receptionist at the Sea Lake Information Centre. Yuko is multilingual and they team up with one common mission – promoting regional tourism and introducing the amazing beauties of Lake Tyrrell to the world.