Full of beauty, history and wonder, Mungo National Park in New South Wales is a magical place perfect for exploring. Recently, I was lucky enough to get to experience this beautiful slice of Australia and I’d like to share my story with you!
We were in Broken Hill, NSW, returning from a trip to Lake Eyre, when we got a call from my Dad.
“Hi! I’m checking whereabouts you two are on your travels…”
“Hey Dad, we’re heading home to Melbourne soon, just taking it slow. We may stay at Mildura for a couple of nights”.
Then he said, “Have you heard of Lake Mungo National Park? You’re so close! If the roads are open after all this rain you should try and get through because…it’s a special place to see!”
Not like any other National Park
It’s always good to get a recommendation, but when it came from my Dad (who has been to almost every National Park in Australia!) we were instantly intrigued.
Unfortunately, the lady behind the Pooncarie milkbar told us, “The roads to Mungo are closed…They may open if it dries out but they’ve been closed for days…”
Needless to say, we were disappointed. However, still keen to experience Mungo, we decided to chill out in Pooncarie on the off-chance the authorities might open the roads the next day.
After two hours, and feeling like we’d met everyone in Pooncarie (it’s tiny!), a local found us at the café and told us the road to Mungo had been opened. Wonderful! It was 3 pm, so we farewelled Pooncarie and made it to the Mungo campground by nightfall.
Where the Earth meets the Moon
For me, Mungo was an intense and breath-taking experience.
Bewilderingly beautiful, everything about Lake Mungo National Park demanded that I stand still and experience the land, and its fascinating history, with all of my senses.
The westerly wind raced across the ancient salt lake plain carrying the whispers of tribal generations past that I felt, but that I couldn’t understand.
At the heart of the Willandra Lakes World Heritage region, the texturally exquisite lunar landscape of Lake Mungo’s baked eroding banks is a haunting backdrop to the rich archaeological history hidden beneath.
I was, and still am, deeply captivated by Mungo and its secrets.
Messages from the past
Once full of water and teeming with life, Lake Mungo was a significant meeting place for generations of Aboriginal people, as well as the sacred resting place for many Aboriginal ancestors.
Today this unique lake bed overflows with extraordinary evidence of early human existence, prehistoric megafauna, indigenous customs and Aboriginal Australian culture.
Mungo Man and Mungo Lady, whose remains were discovered in 1974 and 1967 respectively, are two of Australia’s most significant and remarkable archaeological discoveries. Mungo Man has given scientists clues on how ancient tribes lived and adapted to climate change over 40,000 years ago.
The Mungo Visitors Centre provides an excellent display of Aboriginal artefacts, archaeological information, lifesize megafauna exhibits and much more.
Start your Mungo adventure with a couple of hours (at least!) at the Mungo Visitors Centre. You will better understand the rich natural history and cultural significance of Mungo before you step foot on this amazing landscape.
Plan your trip
Fantastic tourist information is available online about Lake Mungo National Park. Find out what to do, where to stay, how to get there and more.
Visit these great links for all the essential information you’ll need to plan your trip to Lake Mungo National Park:
- Mungo National Park
- NSW National Parks
- Lonely Planet
On a final note
When I decided to write about Mungo, I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to convey how fascinating this region of Australia is and what an effect it had on me.
I’ve always loved archaeology and learning about the Aboriginal culture, so Mungo is the perfect combination. After writing this article and trawling through all our photos of Mungo, I’ve decided to visit Mungo again as soon as I can. It’s not a place you can only visit once…
Feel free to share your Lake Mungo stories here. I’d love to know more about your experience and what Mungo means to you. Plus you never know, I may see you there soon!
Have you ever been to Mungo National Park?
About the writer...