I’ve saved the best of Mungo ’till last – the Lunette.
The iconic, the famous views that Mungo is known for. The Mungo landscape continues to be moulded by wind and rain. From the ancient dry lake basins of Mungo, Leaghur and Garnpang, lunettes on the eastern shores and dunefields to the west. According to the NP materials, the lakebed soils are a mosaic of grey and red heavy clays. The Mungo lunette (the Walls of China) is made up mostly of loosely cemented whitish sands and well consolidated clays, with considerable gully erosion. The Leaghur and Garnpang lunettes have only suffered minor erosion and have abundant vegetative cover.
It’s strictly forbidden to climb on the lunette features or disturb artifacts. To access the Lunette you need to go on a guided tour.
After missing the sunset on our first afternoon, we staked out a what we thought would be a good sunset position when did the “Loop” on our second day – Red Top Tank Lookout. We arrived just as the sun started to hit the peaks of the formations.
The following morning we headed down to the visitor centre ready to join our “Discovery Tour” with one of the park rangers. We we scored big time with our guide.
Ivan is an amazing guide and fellow. His tribe is the Paakantji tribe, from around Balranald. He is a school teacher by trade if you like, and discovery ranger by choice. He also sits on the World heritage committee that looks after the Willandra Lakes World Heritage area, and was heavily involved in getting “Mungo Man” returned to country, including being part of the party that escorted him back to Mungo.
Over thousands of years, wind and water have carved the lunette into spectacular formations comprised of sand and clay. Rain washes away the soft sands and muds, creating the rilled ridges and residuals that characterise the Walls of China. The dislodged sand is then picked up by the wind and heaped into huge mobile dunes along the back of the lunette.
There are four major layers of sediment form the Mungo lunette, and each represents a different period of time and different environmental condition. The layers have been named after the local pastoral stations Golgol, Mungo, Arumpo and Zanci, and were deposited in that order.
After the morning walk out on the Lunette with Ivan the temperature continued to rise, searing the air around us, so we opted to kick back and relax at the van in the shade, cause no-one needed to be out in that heat! On the way back to camp we ducked over to Mungo Lodge, a privately run lodge to see if they were running any sunset trips and luckily enough they were. We booked ourselves onto the tour and headed back to camp for the day avoiding the 46 degree heat (urgh).
7pm finally ticked around and it was time to head back to the lodge to join the evening sunset walk on the Lunette. The clouds had even hung around and i had everything crossed they continued to hang around.