During my spare day at Balranald I visited Mungo National Park. It’s 150km from the town along mostly dirt roads.
This is the official blurb from the National Parks brochure:
“Mungo National Park covers most of an ancient dry lake bed on the plains of south western NSW. During the ice ages, Lake Mungo was one of a chain of freshwater lakes strung along Willandra Creek, then the main channel of the Lachlan River.
“These dry lakes preserve one of the longest records of Aboriginal life in Australia, dating back around 50,000 years ago to the present day. Dating of ancient burials shows that these are the oldest known fully modern humans outside of Africa.”
There’s an old woolshed at the park entrance, also a modern visitors’ centre and good amenities. Bunk accommodation can be booked in restored shearers’ huts.
I completed a 2.5km “foreshore walk” and read the interpretive signs, which were interesting and informative. There are diverse geological formations and a mix of other natural features in close proximity. Kangaroos were hopping among the cypress pine.
You can easily believe it was once a lake bed. As you stand inside it you can see the lake walls on each horizon. The eastern shore is called the “Walls of China”. These are windblown sand dunes that eerily resemble Saharan desert sands.
There had been some rain and the tracks were pretty slippery. A strong wind also made it rather cold. Mungo only has about 250mm of rain per year and would be baking hot in summer.
Mungo is about 110km from Mildura and 120km from Euston. I returned to Balranald via Euston, which is on the Murray River. It was interesting to see how much bigger the Murray was after being joined by the Murrumbidgee.