Mungo National Park is the traditional meeting place of the Muthi Muthi, Nyiampaar and Barkinji Aboriginal Nations.
Home to the famous archeological discovery of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, the World Heritage Mungo National Park is a region rich in Aboriginal history and natural beauty.
The visit centre or meeting place is the start of the Loop.
Remarkable human footprints walked straight out of the last ice age when they were re-discovered at Willandra Lakes in 2003 during a routine survey for archaeological sites. The footprints may have been exposed for some time before 2003, and some local Aboriginal people say they already knew they were there. Research has revealed that the well preserved footprints are about 20,000 years old, and can tell some amazing stories. They are the oldest footprints ever found in Australia and the largest set of ice age footprints in the world.
3D generates impressions of some of the footprints and the story they tell have been laid at the back of the centre. The story goes mum was walking with a child, child runs off and is chased down, men are hunting and catch food. One of the men is one legged. They are said to have been around 7ft tall. The story was followed and interpreted by experienced outback elder trackers brought in specifically to tell the story of the footprints in the ancient clay pan.
There are plenty of places to see and stop on the Loop Rd self drive tour. The Loop is 50-70km (dependence on if you do all the roads) and mostly one way except for the start and finish.
The next stop is right next to the visitor centre – the Woolshed.
The woolshed was constructed in 1869 from locally sourced and hand-cut Cypress Pine.
Obviously when the woolshed was built iron water tanks didn’t, so they dug these to help conserve water. This is a reconstruction finished in 2016 and covered to preserve it and skylights added so you can see into the construction.
Inside view of the water tank.
Many of the traditional woodshed items are still there, like this sorting table and bale scales.
The holding pens.
The shearers shoots.
The Shearers line
Literally the engine room of the woolshed.
From the sorting pens up the ramp to the holding pens.
Those white walls are visible from almost all angles in the park. Next stop – The Walls Walk.
The information boards at the beginning of the Walls Walk.
A tribute to one of the guides that passed away, representing his tribe, his family and the park including the lake and walls of China.
The flat dry lake bed of Lake Mungo stretches as far as the eye can see.
Even after some rain a few weeks back the ground is still so dry!
From the Walls Walk you head around to Red Top lookout. This is the last of the two-way road from here on The Loop it’s one way so make that’s where you want to head!
The lunette like landscape Mungo is famous for is evident here and quite close. In krder to protect and preserve both the indigenous and geological history, you can no longer walk out onto the “lunette” without an accredited and authorised Guide. This lookout gives the best close up view of the Lunette if you don’t want to take a tour (I’d highly advise you do but more about that in another post to come).
This mumma and her baby we’re keeping an eye on us.
Can you spot Charlie 🚙 .. Nothing like vast landscapes to remind you have how small you really are.
From here you travel over the walls and along the eastern side of the park where the landscape changed at every turn. From stands of Rosewood and Belah, to grasslands, and over the red dunes and mallee scrub down into the depression where a number of old wells were located, past the remote Belah campground and old goat trap.
Our next stop was Paradise Tank. One of the many artificial watering holes in the park, a legacy of the past pastoral activities.
Relics of the pastoralists can still be found in the park. They were very clever for their time and technology.
Welcome water for the animals, shame about the 40 degrees keeping them away lol 😂
Nooo, don’t run away!
Next stop – Vigors Well, a very worthwhile detour.
Plenty of opportunities to spot emu particularly given the ‘hidden’ watersource.
Can you spot the emus sitting in the holes?
It took us a little while to figure it out, but watching them we realised they weren’t just sitting the holes, they were digging, digging for water! The well is a natural soak and they know it. So clever.
Can you see the tail and footprints of the kangaroo?
Emu prints in the sand, see the palm tree like print of their feet.
Seriously who needs a drone when you’ve got legs 🤔🙄 … Yep that’s where we walked!
The sand was super glarey and gave an almost optical illusion of being a straight drop off as we walked along the crest of the dune, when in fact it sloped down away from us. The view was pretty spectacular.
That’s Tash in the distance! Lol she’d had enough waiting around and was headed for the shade of the shelters back at the carpark 😂
Emu patrol heading back to their watering holes
Next stop – Zanci
The old Zanci property stables.
An example of the thatch roof that would have been used.
Zanci Station – Woolshed.
The White walls are back in view on the horizon again.
Inside the old Zanci shearing shed. By 1922 Mungo shed had been reduced to 4 machine shearers, so a section was removed and rebuilt on Zanci.
The old Zanci station homestead ruins. Zanci is also the name given to the upper grey-green clay and sandy sediment of the ‘lunette’
Ahh the old outhouse is still standing.
The dugout – built deep into the ground to help store provisions away from the searing heat above the surface. It was a good 10 degrees cooler down there! I reckon the rabbits and wombats are onto something 😁
The loop now takes you back to the Visitor centre.