Australia is known for its strong Aboriginal history and culture, and this is clearly evident in the Mungo National Park. This is one of those rare treasures that has captured the soul and beauty of this land as it was in the dream times. It is located 110 kilometers from Mildura in south west New South Wales,and is well worth the drive if you are keen to experience Aboriginal culture at its best. Be sure to bring plenty of water, petrol and food as civilization ends at the beginning of this cultural step back in time.
Positioned within the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area, this National Park is largely centred on the conservation and preservation of the natural widlife and atmosphere. The main camp here is located just off Arumpo Road near the Mungo Visitor Centre and is a popular place to stay. Facilities are basic but the surrounds are visually stunning. Hot showers and toilets are a stones throw away at the Visitor Centre ensuring a small slice of civillization. There is something so special about camping under the stars away from the hustle and bustle of the city that it will keep you wanting more.
An alternative choice to staying in the heart of the outback is to set up camp in Mildura, which is only a short drive from the park. Here the Murray River is at its best and offers a number of great accommodation options 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. Or, if you have hired a campervan, you can pick and choose where to set up for the night!
After visiting the Mungo National Park, whichever destination you choose to visit next, you will be met with walks that take you on ancient, sacred ground with the past a lot closer than you may realise. Fossil sightings are prevalent along the tracks, with ancient stories seemingly woven around every boulder and shadow.
One of the most famous natural attractions in this area is the Walls of China, which stretches for over thirty kilometres and brings the appearance of a lonely moonscape. This is a photographer’s dream, especially at dusk and dawn, when scenery is at its best. In order to preserve this amazing area, strict monitoring is present which means that you will need to stick to the tracks and resist the urge to take keep sakes from here home. However, you will be able to capture these sights with your camera, so be sure to bring it along.
Lake Mungo is somewhat misleading in its title, as it is now completely dry and 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 for a step back in time.
As you may have gathered, The Mungo National Park is most popular as a cultural step back in time. This widens apprecitations of the land and its people, with Aboriginal guides happy to explain meaning behind the beauty. If you do choose to take a tour, consider the sunset tours, that demonstrates the radiant colours that daily transform 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.
The fact that this park is run by the Aboriginal people signifies its importance and significance to Australia. 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 that you can cherish forever.