In the late 1960s, a young geologist was studying the Australian landscape and climate when he happened upon one of the world’s most remarkable discoveries: human remains that date back more than 40,000 years. The area where these remains and many other artefacts have been found is now designated as Mungo National Park. Outside of Africa, Mungo remains highly unique and it tells of the very long history of the Australian Aboriginal people.
Since we were in the area, we decided to take a day trip to see Mungo. Upon arrival, I must admit to being fairly uninspired by the place.
It’s hard to believe by looking around at the sandy landscape that this was once a lush area of lakes and wildlife. The now dry ancient lake bed is somewhat interesting in its own way, but absolutely fascinating when you consider the now-extinct animals that used to roam here and the humans who enjoyed all of the fruits of the area.
However, the key thing in being able to appreciate Mungo is to go deeper into the Park. A great deal more can be seen by taking a tour with an Aboriginal guide. Unfortunately, no tours happened to be available on the day we arrived so we opted to do the 60 km self-drive tour.
On this drive, we were treated to the sightings of many kangaroos and emus! And perhaps more spectacularly, we gained access to the sand dunes. Stretching approximately 40 kms in length, and just as high, these dunes have been eroded into amazing shapes and a variety of sand colours. (Without a vehicle or a guided tour, this area is inaccessible from the Visitors’ Center.)
Above all, the sand dunes were the highlight for all involved. Despite being the only one who didn’t whip off my shoes and start rolling about in the cold sand, I, too, enjoyed the majesty of these dunes. The pure white sand and the sheer size of them was something to be seen!
If this post has piqued your interest at all and you’ll be in this general area of Australia, check out the video below. It features Mungo local Graham Clarke who gives tours to visitors and includes some great imagery of the area to give you a real feel for the place.
Are you going to go?
Cost: $7 per vehicle, paid via an envelope at the Visitors’ Center
- If you’re travelling with camping gear, there is a camp site in the Park which is really inexpensive ($5 per adult, $3 per child) but come prepared with your own water, food, and plenty of fuel since Mungo is in a pretty isolated area.
- The self-drive tour that we took does not require a 4WD, but since the road is unsealed, you won’t want to take a caravan on it.
- Check the weather before making the trek. If it’s wet weather, the unsealed roads might be inaccessible.
Website for more information: http://www.visitmungo.com.au/