Australia is known for its Aboriginal history and culture, and the Mungo National Park is one of those rare treasures that has captured the soul and beauty of this land as it was so long ago.
Located 110 kilometers from Mildura in south west New South Wales, it is well worth the trek to experience this diverse and captivating region. Bring plenty of water, petrol and food as civilization ends at the beginning of this cultural step back in time.
The Mungo National Park is an important part of the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area, and the biggest focus here is conservation and preserving this magnificent region. Camping is popular in the main camp which is on Arumpo Road near the Mungo Visitor Centre. Facilities are basic although the surrounds are visually stunning. Hot showers and toilets area stones throw away at the Visitor Centre. There is something so special about camping under the stars away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
An alternative choice to camping in the sticks is to base yourself in Mildura and enjoy day trips to the park. The Murray River is an attraction in itself and offers a number of great accommodation such as the All Seasons Holiday Park, located in a prime location near the river and town. You might want to hire a houseboat for a day or so and enjoy the birdlife and beauty of the great Murray.
Once you visit the Mungo National Park, it doesn't matter what direction you head, you will be walking on ancient, sacred ground with the past a lot closer than you may realise. Fossil sightings are prevalent here close to the track, with ancient stories seemingly woven around every boulder and shadow. One of the most famous natural attractions is the Walls of China, stretching for over thirty kilometres and bringing the appearance of a lonely moonscape. It is photographic scenery at its best especially at dusk and dawn. You need to stick to the walking tracks, as this whole area is so carefully preserved and monitored. Whatever you pick up needs to be put back, and the only thing you can capture are photos.
Lake Mungo is completely dry and is now a lake filled with salt bush. There are a number of theories explaining why the lake dried up, most popular being that the extensive sheep properties surrounding the lake were a literal drain on the environment. The Mungo shearing shed has been restored to resemble this time in history and is worth a visit.
The Mungo National Park is most popular as a cultural step back in time. Just being here brings a greater respect for the land and its people, with Aboriginal guides happy to explain meaning behind the beauty. Once you have experienced the Walls of China, there are plenty of other things to do. The sunset tours are popular, with radiant colours daily transforming the horizon. The Visitor Centre offers displays that will give you a greater understanding about the history of the park, and just driving and enjoying the wild scenery is what brings people back.
You can appreciate how important this region is to the people and their culture by the fact that three aboriginal tribes are involved in running the park. Not only is this a place of beauty, but history, culture and amazing diversity. Come prepared and you will bring home a lifetime of memories.
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Jenny Brewer is a travel agent whose passion is writing. For more of her articles visit Discovery Campervans Australia