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.
Thanks for following on another of our little adventures.
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*.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From the woolshed we took the river road back to camp
The old Homestead
From the homestead ruins we drove the remainder of “River Drive” heading out of the park and back out to the main road.
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.
From Lake Menindee we headed out to Copi Dam and across to Lake Pamamaroo and Main Weir.
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.
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.
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!
From Pooncarie it was back to the dirt roads and barren landscapes until we hit 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!
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.
With the trailer all set up, we headed off for a short drive down to Weir 32.
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.
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 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.
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.
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).
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.