12-14 April 2015
So we made the call to skip all the way down to Mungo NP, so had a big day behind the wheel in front of us. Back into Broken Hill to stock up on supplies and fill the water tanks, before getting back on the road, heading south to Mungo. Some mandatory afternoon refreshments at the Pooncarie pub before turning east away from the Darling River and into the National Park.
The visitor centre was remarkably fresh and civilised – there were even hot showers there which would get a workout over the next couple of days. We moved up to the main camp ground and found a site big enough for both of us to set up side by side.
The locals here were very friendly, there were a number of kangaroos who clearly were quite comfortable with the tourists visiting their home. They even needed to be chased away from rubbish bins – smart enough to know where they could get a free feed.
Mungo National Park is well known for its Aboriginal heritage so we booked to go on a guided tour the following afternoon. Our guide took us through the highlights of where the ancient lake was, and took great pride in explaining the importance to her people. It was amazing to imagine a lake here, people gathering for celebrations around large fires. Since then, erosion has slowly been uncovering the 40 – 60000 year old stories of another time. Fascinating stuff. Trying to keep the 4 kids from charging through and trampling fossils and bones was challenging for incredibly patient parents!
There was also one particular fire pit that was slowly being uncovered that the guide believed to be of particular significance. So important, that a collection of Elders were to come to the park the following day to inspect the site and recommend the best way to preserve it.
The Walls of China have been formed by this erosion and are another highlight of the park. Somehow I had the impression in my head that they were much larger – so when we saw them I felt like I was walking through one of those miniature world type places – like Cockington Green in Canberra. Nonetheless, the formations were pretty incredible. The slowly setting sun and high cloud added to the effect.
A hot shower at the visitor centre cleaned off the latest layer of red dirt before heading back to the camp site for an enjoyable meal. The following day was a complete rest day at camp. A couple of short walks to break up the sitting around and just enjoying being here.
Next day the plan was to begin our journey back towards home, stopping somewhere on the Murrumbidgee for a few nights to experience another iconic NSW river while we were here. We stopped at Balranald in southern NSW on the banks of the Murrumbidgee for lunch and checked the weather…
… and it wasn’t looking good. A significant rain event was sweeping across the country from the west, and was going to bring some wet to the area over the next couple of days. (Hindsight tells us that it swept across the country and joined up with another system to become one of the biggest East Coast Lows in recent history.) After much deliberation, the call was made to make a run for home. We’d had a great time, the canvas was dry and home was only a short 900km away.
So we set the cruise control and made for home. Our Darling River trip was done. I loved it and think that I could spend heaps more time out in western NSW. The feeling of space and the red dirt just worked for me. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer until we can get back out here again.
This 3 nights takes our total in the Trackabout to 191.
- Distance: 3509km
- Average: 250.6km/day
- $967.35 in fuel
- Average economy: 18.39 L/100km
- Best economy: 17.0 L/100km
- Worst economy: 20.5 L/100km
- Average fuel price: $1.499 / L