Saturday, 5 November 2011

Mungo National Park

Mungo National Park is part of the Willandra Lakes World Heritage area. Located 110 kilometres from Mildura or 316 kilometres from Broken Hill.  Travelling by car from Mildura you will need to travel approx 90 kilometres on dirt although its a well maintained road and not everyone was driving a 4WD.

The landscape is amazing with the centre piece being the Walls of China which are dramatic sand and clay structures sculptured by erosion.

Walls of China

Access to this area has now been restricted not only because its fragile but because of its significant to the Paakantji, Ngyiampaa and Mutthi Mutthi people who call the area home.  

Walls of China (lunette)

These walls formed the edge of what was once a great lake where Aboriginals are recognised as having roamed for 50,000 years. This makes it one of the most important Aboriginal sites in Australia and many important relics have been discovered in the area. Mungo Lady was found in the 1960's by a young geologist Jim Bowler and Mungo Man was found in 1974 by a slightly older Jim.

Mungo Man and Mungo Lady have been estimated to be 40,000 and up to 42,000 years old.  For more information on Mungo Man and Mungo Lady

Remarkable human footprints approx 20,000 years old were discovered in 2003 and many other interesting discoveries have been made over the years.

Aboriginal Discovery Tour

The Paakantji and Ngyiampaa are involved in the care and management of the park together with the NSW National Park and Wildlife Service. They conduct Aboriginal Discovery Tours to share their heritage with visitors. You can only gain access to the Walls of China (lunette) area with a licensed tour operator, traditional owner or Parks Ranger.  Cost is $10 per person for a 2.5 hour tag along tour to the Wall of China area. Tours commence at the Visitor Centre.  Its an amazing experience and fantastic value.

Red Top Tank

You can explore the area via a 70 kilometre one way track that takes you across the lake floor around the Walls of China and through dune and mallie country. There are information signs at points of interest along the way that explain the geological formation of the area, aboriginal history and pastoral settlement of the area.  If you don't have enough time to do this drive a shorter 10 kilometre Zanci Pastoral loop is an option.

Central Beaded Dragon

Wildlife and birdlife are prolific in the park. We observed kangaroos, goannas, emus and a range of birdlife.  We also saw a range of plant life including grasses, saltbush, white cypress pines, belah/rosewood, mallie and acacias.


In the 1850s the Gol Gol Station was established and the Mungo woolshed was built around 1869. This building still stands and is near the Visitor Centre. The remains of the Zanci homestead, shearing shed and yards can be found along the self drive tour. This was originally part of the Gol Gol Station and was carved off after World War 1. The remains include a dugout where they used to keep their food. Going down into the dugout the temprature drops a number of degrees which makes you understand how effective this structure was.

Zanci yards near the shearing sheds

There are 2 camps in the Park. We stayed at Main Camp as it was close to the Visitor Centre and enabled us to do the Aboriginal Discovery Tour in the evening before heading off to drive the loop the next morning.  The campground includes toilets but showers are only available at the Visitor Centre.

Camp fires are allowed in fire boxes which are provided except during summer (December to March). You are not allowed to pick up wood in the park as it provides a natural habitat for wildlife but you can obtain some for a small fee.


The second campground is Belah Camp located half way around the loop. No camp fires are allowed in this campground. Toilets are available at this site. Camping fees are via an honour system and paid via cash left in envelopes at the Visitor Centre.

Sunset at Main Camp

If you don't want to camp accomodation is available in the Shearers Quarters for a reasonable price. These include a communial kitchen and dining room with full access to utensils, crockery, fridges and stoves.  Shearers Quarters are located next to the Visitor Centre.

The Visitor Centre also includes a large display providing a range of insights into the Park its certainly worth spending some time at the Centre.

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