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Mungo Run 2017 – The final run home

Urgh! All  trips have them, that final day, the one you’ve been dreading all trip. Well this was it for us. We woke to the sounds of the birds on the Reservoir, packed up, headed to the fuel stop to fill all the tanks for the last long chug home. We had a good trip home and arrived early evening for a very quiet New Years Eve after long and very much needed hot showers. The boys well they had to wait one more day before they got their wash.

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Red dust everywhere.

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We weren’t seeing too much out the back window by the end of the trip.

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Thanks for following on another of our little adventures.

Emm + Tash, Leeroy + Charlie.

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Mungo Run 2017 – Day 8 – Kinchega to Cobar

The morning didn’t start off too great when we managed to not put a stabiliser leg up correctly resulting in a very cracked stabiliser leg needing to be removed from the van before we’d even left the campsite *Sigh*.

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The offending leg

After fixing our little ‘issue’ and getting on the road, we headed back to the fuel stop in town to fill up and grab another of those ice cold chocolate milks.

Menindee-Wilcannia Road

It was then onto the Menindee-Wilcannia Rd to start the homeward trek. The track across to Wilcannia was one of the more difficult we encountered, lots of different roads, sandy, loose gravel, corrugated, hard dirt with about 150km taking us nearly 3 hours.

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Hard Red top road
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The landscape changed almost as much as the road.

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The boys are not very clean!
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The rains from about 4 weeks ago has painted some lovely greens across the plains.
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Chunky gravel is always fun – or not so much!
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A very dry Bonley Creek, creek bed.
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The rains have collected in the little streams but haven’t made their way to the creek, creating a little green oasis along the roadside.
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Spoonies!

Oh my goodness i love these little guys. We found them hanging out on one of the floodplains by the roadside. Of course they were hanging out where the water was still pooled, which also meant the road had suffered when the rains went through and the road crew had ‘fixed’ the road with a few inches of slippery, boggy sand – not so good for pulling over with a truck and trailer.

After pulling a few U-Turns we managed to find an edge hard enough to pull over on and attempted to get some shots, unfortunately all the little skittish birds scared them off before i get any decent photos.

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Needed waders and camouflage to get any closer, oh and no little skittish birdies.
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Black necked stilts
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Ducks flying away
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Ducks landing
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More ducks

Wilcannia

We arrived into Wilcannia and conducted the always glamorous task of emptying and cleaning the porta-pottie. There are some totally stunning, and absolutely unexpected sandstone buildings. An unexpected spot to put on the “return to” list.

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Historic sandstone building possibly used by merchants trading on the Darling River
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Police Station

From Wilcannia we were headed for our stop for the night – Cobar. We arrived at Newey Reserve, a gorgeous free camp site right next to the reservoir.

Newey Reserve – Cobar

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The Newey was built in 1910 as a 150,000 cubic yard reservoir in an attempt to combat the lack of water Cobar suffers.
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In times of rain, the reservoir is big enough for recreational power boats to use.
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Yay more Spoonies!

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… and there they go again LOL
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A great little spot for kids to fish and play.
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Pop the Top and we’re done for the night.
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Cooking dinner by sunset.
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Sunset over the Reservoir.

 

 

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Mungo Run – Day 7 – Kinchega NP

After a very restless and sleepless night due to the temperature and total lack of breeze it was a bit of a slow start to the morning watching the boaties drive on by hoping for a good catch on the river. We managed to get our act together and head off to the other side of the park to check out the historic Kinchega woolshed.

Kinchega Woolshed

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The Killing Shed – the station needed to be self-sufficient to feed the family and workers.
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One of the old engines that would have provided power the station.

There’s lots of old machinery, tools and equipment on the grounds and inside the woolshed giving a really good insight into how the old shed would have functioned.

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The historic Kinchega Woolshed.

Sometime before the 1920’s the western end of the Woolshed was demolished, and the shed would have been twice the size of the current Woolshed.

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Crab Winch and Boom – used to help lift bales of wool onto the bullock wagons, so get them onto the waiting paddle steamers.

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Steam Traction Engine, provided power to the station until about 1920.
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Inside the woolshed’s machine workshop.
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The floor of the woolshed and one of the old wool presses.
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The old “Dust Flocker” – used to shake and beat the dust out of the wool.
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An old hand operated C Koerstz wool press

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Humble & Sons Wool Press
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Old cart
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Full view of the C Koerstz Wool Press.
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The Shearer’s Line.
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The shearer’s Line
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Out the ramp to the sorting pens

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Looking back to the Woolshed from the pens
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The holding pens. The sheep were moved up here for a few hours before being moved into the smaller pens inside to help them cool down, making shearing easier.

From the woolshed we took the river road back to camp

The old Homestead

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The ruins of the old Homestead.
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The brickworks – not a whole lot left of the old homestead anymore unfortunately.
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If you look closely there’s more than bricks to be found.
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The foundations.
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The old chimney is almost the only recognisable feature.

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These little guys are not your friend !!!! and they were everywhere in their millions at the homestead.
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The billabong.
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The old pump and power machinery stills rusting on the hill above the billabong.
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Emu Bush
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Emu Bush
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More of the old machinery around the homestead.
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The natural environment slowly reclaiming the homestead grounds.
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The bend of the Darling River where the Billabong drains into.

From the homestead ruins we drove the remainder of “River Drive” heading out of the park and back out to the main road.

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Flood Height measurements and in 1976 we would have been well under water!

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More wildlife running away from me LOL
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Somebody’s got a  little joey that doesn’t want to leave home.
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Clearly a toolbox meeting going on here.
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There’s always that one that is late!

Menindee Lake System

After exiting the park, we headed off to see if there was any water in Lake Menindee. We managed to find a way to get somewhat close to the water.

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Gates at the Lake Menindee Inlet Regulator.

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Lake Menindee

From Lake Menindee we headed out to Copi Dam and across to Lake Pamamaroo and Main Weir.

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Main Weir at Lake Pamamaroo.
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One of the campsites used by the Burke and Wills expedition between October 1860 to January 1861.
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2nd campsite of the Burke and Wills Expedition
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Lake Pamamaroo – from a distance it seems like dead trees, up close they are still very much alive.
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Lake Pamamaroo
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Lake Pamamaroo

After checking out the lakes we headed back to camp hoping for a breeze, which thankfully we found. We also got a lovely sunset over the river.

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Sunset on the Darling River, Kinchega NP
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Mungo Run – Day 6 – Mungo to Menindee

Well, the time to leave Mungo had finally arrived. We packed up and headed out of the park via top hat road, our destination Menindee.

We hadn’t had any service in the park and i wasn’t sure at what point we might get service, so before we left i punched in the we survived text to our folks and hit send so whenever we did hit a service spot it would zing its way to them. It felt a little strange exiting the park after nearly 4 days of no service, papers, news etc, a little like entering the unknown.

Pooncarie

As we arrived into Pooncarie we also hit mobile service, and that’s when the notifications started. I decided to pull into the rest area and let the phone catch up, whilst we stretched our legs and checked out the Darling River. We really do need the equivalent of Ctrl Alt Delete on phones!

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Short stop at Pooncarie
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Darling River at Pooncarie
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Darling River at Pooncarie

From Pooncarie it was back to the dirt roads and barren landscapes until we hit Menindee.

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Wide dusty roads
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Very barren Mallee scrub
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Very harsh environments out this way
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Noooo, dont run away again. Damn Emu’s. They were sitting in the water, never seen them sit in water before!

Menindee

The return to black top signaled we weren’t too far away from Menindee. Once in Menindee we refueled the truck and jerry cans, and grabbed the coldest, yummiest chocolate milk from the servo – it was like heaven!

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We found black top again.

Kinchega National Park

The entrance to Kinchega National Park is only a few kms from the centre of town.

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Kinchega National Park – Menindee
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Back to dirt roads in the National Park

We stopped at the park info rotunda, grabbed our camping slip and map and headed off down river drive to find a campsite. We settled on campsite 9.

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The Darling River at Kinchega NP, and the view upstream from our campsite.
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The Darling River at Kinchega NP, and the view downstream from our campsite.
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All set up on site number 9.
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It was a hot and muggy work, with no breeze hence the somewhat pained face.
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There are about 34 sites in the NP, all along the river, all have drive in, drive out access, but are different shapes and sizes.

With the trailer all set up, we headed off for a short drive down to Weir 32.

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Weir 32
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Kind of like fishing in a barrel for pelicans ?
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They were big buggers, but no idea what they were.
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How long is that tail! Haven’t noticed the different colours in the tail before.
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Lazy fishing as the water falls over the weir.
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It’s clearly an accepted behaviour though 🙂

From the Weir we made a last minute decision to duck across to the Shearer’s quarters for a quick shower – albeit minus towels and toiletries LOL .. thank goodness we had some old towels in the car. Clean water was better than nothing, after a very muggy hot day.

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Mungo Run – Day 3/4/5 – The Lunette. 

I’ve saved the best of Mungo ’till last.

Mungo Landscape.

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 lake bed soils are a mosaic of grey and red heavy clays.

The Lunette

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.

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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.

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The lunettes are major landforms of great importance to the ancient heritage of the area.
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Didn’t quite hit the sunburst just right, so i ended up with some lens flare.
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As the sun dipped and the light went off the formations, the pastels behind the Lunette began to light up.

Out on the Lunette

The following morning we headed down to the visitor centre ready to join our National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Aboriginal Discovery Tour with one of the park rangers.

Well 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.

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Ivan Johnstone a Paakantji MNP Ranger
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Our first step out on the Lunette, well technically our second, as when we were here in 2009 you were still able to freely walk over the Lunette.

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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.

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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.

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As you move about on the Lunette the landscape continually changes, from flat down low, to formations in the middle and sweeping sand dunes at the top.
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Depending on the light the colours also change, or become more defined.
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Some of the formations are small, others like this one tower over you.
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The White Walls wrap themselves right around the lake, seen here up on the right hand side.
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The upper three layers contain a vast amount of evidence of human occupation including hearths, middens, stone tools and burials; as well as megafaunal remains. Ivan is showing us some of the bones and tools that have been unearthed on the Lunette.
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Almost at the top.
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An unexpected delight when we reached the top, dunes, dunes and more dunes!
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Looking towards Vigors Well, where we climbed the sand dune the day before.
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One could say it was a little windy when we got to the top!
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Footprints lead down into the gully
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How amazing are these! about 8ft tall as we walked between the, down the gully
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All of this from wind, water, sand and clay. Nature is amazing.
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Looking back to the gully.

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Those colours and patterns.

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).

Sunset on the Lunette

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.

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The colours as sunset descended on the lunette were just gorgeous and the clouds were playing along perfectly.
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The difference in light from the bright, intense searing morning heat to the slightly chilled, cloudy sunset was immediately obvious. The different layers were clearly able to be seen.
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As the winds blow, and the water washes across the lunette more bones and artifacts are uncovered. Some of the date as old as 22,0000 yrs.
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Calcified trees are found across the lunette, and give some idea of the landscape 10,000s yrs ago, and how the stack formations were formed. The sand and clay would get around the tree and slowly build up, the tree dies and over time calcifies.
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Each stack and formation is different
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oh my sandy waves of sand patterns make me very happy
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Not quite at the top, looking back over Lake Mungo and the sun dips below the horizon.
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As sunset descended the air changed, and the as the cars left the car park and headed back to the visitor centre, the dust floated across the road and then remained, it looked awesome.
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Back at the gully

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Inside the gully.
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Mungo Stacks.
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Some of the vegetation survives.