Info on Sunset Country and Big Desert??

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 10:28
ThreadID: 96258 Views:2198 Replies:3 FollowUps:8
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Hi all
Just doing some final planning for our yearly getaway- including the 'Darling River Run' from Bourke to Mildura. As I was looking at the maps last night, saw the Sunset Country and Big desert just down the road- so may add that area into our itinerary.
Seeking information on that area. Nothing too extreme but including any 'must see' points. What would be a typical route through the area?? Will possibly be returning to the East via Echuca.
Thanks in Advance...

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Reply By: Member - Rob K (VIC) - Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 15:35

Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 15:35
Hi Wombat 100,

If you intend heading further south from Mildura, you could consider visiting the Murray-Sunset NP and stay at the Pink Lakes camping area about 2 hours out of Mildura via Underbool. Easy base camp site with toilets right on the edge of a salt lake. There are some very easy day trip tracks in the Park and you could visit Mt Crozier and a few other sites in the area. It's all mallee country with either clay or sand tracks which are generally in good condition (at least they were a few years ago when I was last there) and not too much in the way of sand dunes to get over. Just visit the Parks Victoria website for more information on what's available. There are some PDF brochures available on the website with more info on tracks, places and things of interest. Good research matter on the website.

As an alternative, had you considered going to Lake Mungo NP in NSW? It's another interesting NP with easy access and things to see but there is a camp fee involved. It's NE of Mildura and about 3 hours out of town (I think)


Rob K
AnswerID: 488451

Reply By: Crackles - Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 20:27

Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 20:27
How much time do you have Wombat/what vehicle/towing? With so much to see you could spend up to 2 weeks exploring the area.
Cheers Craig......................
AnswerID: 488480

Follow Up By: tuck - Friday, Jun 15, 2012 at 09:01

Friday, Jun 15, 2012 at 09:01
When finished in Sunset Country head south thru Underbool to Wyperfield Nat Park to Albacutya Well worth visit and not many tourists
FollowupID: 763673

Follow Up By: wombat100 - Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012 at 15:07

Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012 at 15:07
Thanks for your response Craig...
I reckon we will allow about 7 to 10 days.
Not towing anything- have a trayback mounted slide-on camper.
Not looking for anything real extreme- but would like to do some interesting adventuring/touring.
What map would you suggest for the area???
Any comments or suggestions greatly appreciated !!
FollowupID: 764053

Follow Up By: Crackles - Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012 at 20:07

Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012 at 20:07
David Victoria's Deserts 4WD map touring guide is currently the best map on the area & Mallee Tracks the best guide book. While there are a few big dunes in the area, the vast majority is easy intermediate sand driving through Mallee scrub so ideal for a trayback camper.
From the North you could come down through Rocket Lake, Mopoke Hut, Mt Crozier then onto the Pink Lakes. Worth a stay with Salt mining history, great photography & plenty of walks in the area. Pick up fuel at Underbool then into the Big Desert State Park where there is a maze of interesting tracks passing through White Springs, Big K Lookout & Big Billy Bore (water available).
Heading west stop off at Cactus Bore & try to get up Coburns lookout. Nice camps at Yellow Gum, Red Gum & Coburns Pines leading over to the Border Track. This section south has a few challenges climbing parrallel sand dunes not unlike the Simpson although most have chicken routes around. Red Bluff is another nice camp & the climb to watch the sunset worthwhile. We like to cut accross the Southern Firebreak Track then into the Wyperfeld National Park taking either Milmed or Chinaman tracks to Lake Albacutya. (Fuel at Rainbow) Again plenty to see with quite alot of wildlife along the usually dry Outlet Creek. To the North you'll find the main Park Office at Wonga which has an excellent display & campground. Heaps of marked trails, info boards & lookout.
Continuing North on Eagle track leads you up to the historic Pine Plains, a 5 star log cabin in the middle of the Park. Treat yourself to a stay here with Sue & Adrian who'll show you the area (they even have their own astronomy tower).
Close by is the snow drift, Wirrengren Plain & several walks to lookouts.
This loop could be done in 5 days but I'd allow 7 or 8 if you like to explore with the option of slipping into the nearby local towns for a counter meal or coffee.
Have fun.....Craig.
FollowupID: 764099

Follow Up By: wombat100 - Wednesday, Jun 20, 2012 at 11:06

Wednesday, Jun 20, 2012 at 11:06
All noted Craig...Sounds very interesting.
Spose we could pick up the 'Desert 4WD Map' in Mildura???
On the countdown now. 25 days and we're off !!

FollowupID: 764141

Follow Up By: Crackles - Wednesday, Jun 20, 2012 at 16:48

Wednesday, Jun 20, 2012 at 16:48
"Spose we could pick up the 'Desert 4WD Map' in Mildura???"

Would expect so or buy it online here in the shop so you can do some pre planning. They deliver pretty quick if in stock.
Cheers Craig...............
FollowupID: 764170

Follow Up By: wombat100 - Tuesday, Jun 26, 2012 at 11:01

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2012 at 11:01
Hi again Craig
We got the map yesterday (from ExplorOz shop). Have marked up all the places you have recommended.
Is there any areas that are, or can be, difficult terrain?? We are travelling alone so don't want to end up stranded. We will be watching the weather for adverse conditions.
Any other tips greatly appreciated.
David (& Janet)
FollowupID: 764618

Follow Up By: Crackles - Tuesday, Jun 26, 2012 at 17:04

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2012 at 17:04
If you reduce tyre pressures under 20 psi for the softer sand then it's unlikely you'll have issues anywhere. The Border track is the most difficult section on the suggested route but it has detours on anything that could give you trouble plus with some recent light rain the sand will be hard packed so relatively easy. The beauty of the Bid Desert area is generally if you get stuck you can just back up for another go.
The other thing to be wary of this time of year is if you get heavy rain then some of the clay pans can be very greasy. In this case I'd normally follow tracks around the perimiter. If very wet avoid the middle section of the Nhil Murryville rd (which is clay capped) Rocket lake, Wirrengren Plain & possibly Milmed Rock track. The vast majority of the area is just loose sandy driving suitable for soft roaders with main roads not too far away if you need to get out.
Cheers Craig................
FollowupID: 764642

Follow Up By: Bushranger1 - Tuesday, Jun 26, 2012 at 17:57

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2012 at 17:57
Yep those claypans will give your vehicle a mind of its own as far as directional control.
As Craig said the sand is pretty well compacted at this time of the year. Was up there a few weeks ago & the claypans were still dry but I believe there has been a bit of rain up that way over the past week.

FollowupID: 764647

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Jun 26, 2012 at 11:52

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2012 at 11:52
Wrote a couple of blogs after a trip to that area a few years ago. They might give you some ideas - have a look at the link here


J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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