Australia // New South Wales and the ACT //

Mungo National Park

Mungo National Park, 135km northeast of Wentworth, is most easily reached from the river townships of Wentworth, and Mildura (over the Victorian border about 110km away).

The park is part of the dried-up Willandra Lakes System, which contains the longest continuous record of Aboriginal life in Australia, dating back more than forty thousand years. During the last Ice Age the system formed a vast chain of freshwater lakes, teeming with fish and attracting water birds and mammals. Aborigines camped at the shores of the lake to fish and hunt, and buried their dead in the sand dunes. When the lakes started drying out fifteen thousand years ago, Aborigines continued to live near soaks along the old river channel. The park covers most of one of these dry lake beds, and its dominant feature is a long, crescent-shaped dune, at the eastern edge of the lake, commonly referred to as the Walls of China.

Nearby, the impressive old Mungo Woolshed is open for inspection at any time. From here a 50km loop road heads out across the dry lake bed to the dunes, then around behind them and back through malee scrub to the visitor centre. Many people just drive the first 10km to a car park from where a short boardwalk takes you onto the Walls of China dunes. This low dune system barely rises 30m from the level of the lake bed, but it is a dramatic spot especially around dawn and sunset when the otherworldly shapes and ripple patterns glow golden, and kangaroos and goats make their way onto the dunes for meagre pickings. It is a 500m walk to the top of the dunes and views over the other side.

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