Never mind visiting the Great Wall of China – a mere 2000 years old. When compared with Mungo National Park’s Walls of China, the Chinese version just doesn’t stack up. Our Walls, for example, while admittedly a little shorter (33km versus more than 6000km) are way older – by about 13,000 years. Our Walls have fossils. Our Walls have displayed evidence that humans have continuously occupied the region for 45,000 years.
“To walk among middens with the remains of fish meals consumed thousands of years before Europa was even a goddess is a perspective you’ll never get while seeking the perfect cafe latte.”
– David Koch
Mungo is located in southwest NSW, 980km west of Sydney. The area incorporates 17 dry lakes, which have been eroded by years of wind, searing sun and droughts – leaving essentially a fossil landscape.
The largest formation etched by wind is of course the crescent of eroded rock dubbed The Walls of China. Along with large mobile sand dunes, these give Mungo a distinctive lunar-landscape feel. (See Tim Fischer’s Secret Spot for more on this fascinating region.)
Did you know?
Mungo Man was discovered in 1974, when shifting sand dunes in the park exposed his remains. He’s believed to have lived more than 40,000 years ago, in the Pleistocene epoch. He was found with his hands interlocked over his groin and sprinkled with red ochre, in what is the earliest incidence of such a sophisticated and artistic burial practice.
How to get there
Mungo National Park can be reached from a number of towns: Pooncarie (85 km), Mildura/Buronga (110 km), Balranald (146 km), Wentworth (160 km) and Broken Hill (316 km).
All roads leading to Mungo National Parks from these towns have unsealed sections, which become impassible after rain.
Best time to go
Anytime, though temperatures can easily top 40 degrees Celsius between December and March.
Official website of the Broken Hill Visitor Centre
The National Parks and Wildlife Service website
Official website of Mildura Tourism. Also has info on Wentworth.
** This is our original 100 Things to Do Before You Die. First published in 1996. There is an updated 100 Things To Do In Australia Before you die, published in 2011.