Mungo National Park NSW

Monday, Oct 04, 2010 at 00:00

Member - Michael O (NSW)

Sunday October 3
Hit the road west out of Wagga by late morning with the old faithful camper trailer on behind. Through Narrandera, and on to Carrathool for lunch. Had hoped to have a beer at the Pub in Carrathool only to find it had burnt down only a week before!!Sad when these small villages lose their Pub as they become a real social hub but it seems the locals are having Friday afternoons sessions at the Recreation Ground instead...
Into Hay for a fuel stop, then west to the Oxley Road. We crossed the Lachlan River here, close to where it joins the Murrumbidgee, and it was running high. Down to the main Mungo Road at Penarie where we had planned to watch the NRL Grand Final at the Homebush Pub but it had closed at 4pm. Someone didn’t want us to have a beer!
Arrived at Turlee Station mid afternoon. Nathen and Sophie from "Turlee" advertise here on exploroz and they have a great place!!!! The check-in "desk" at "Turlee" is actually a 2-way UHF to the homestead!! To our surprise, we found that the footy was on the TV in the shearing shed. We had listened to the first half on the radio but the second half was a walkover, the Dragons eventually winning 32-8 over the Roosters. By the time the game was over and we had a yarn to the travellers gathered there, it was almost dark as I headed down to the “campground” a couple of kilometres from the shearing shed.
We were camped next to a family from Lismore with their 2 kids and a great couple from the South Coast of NSW.
Monday October 4
The road to Mungo from “Turlee” is an easy one by outback standards; sitting on 90ks is a breeze. We passed over a sand hill and into the remnants of Lake Arumpo, one of the 16 lakes in this ancient chain that in the mists of time was a tributary of the Lachlan. We were met by the Guide a Paakantji named Ernie Mitchell, who led us on a fascinating walk across the foreshore of the ancient Lake Mungo. He pointed out animals and bush tucker and was full of great stories and humour! Wandered through the excellent Visitor Centre full of interesting displays of both the Aboriginal and European history of the Park.
There are some BBQ's at the rear of the Centre so we stopped there for lunch before exploring the large woolshed at Mungo that last saw shearers in 1984. Amazing how all the yards are constructed of cypress logs. No wonder there are so few cypress still around here!
Called in to the Mungo Lodge. No-one around and we were stunned to see how opulent and luxurious it all is with no-one staying there. What's the go with that place? Also had a quick look at the Mungo campsite but we were glad we were staying at "Turlee".
Collected some wood on our return to "Turlee" and cooked up a feast while watching the sun set and the amazing stars.
Tuesday October 5
Set off on the 70km Mungo Pastoral drive which loops out across the old lake bed, across the lunette and out in the mallee and belah scrub east of the Lake. We saw more wildlife, a goat catching fence at Round Tank and had a fantastic walk across the sand dunes at Vigar’s Well.
Had hoped to do the Walls of China walk but as proof we were in holiday mode, we got there only to find it was Tuesday and there was no walk. Had a BBQ at the Visitor’s Centre instead and then headed north to the ruins of Zanci Station where they had built an underground shelter to protect from the savage summer heat. The stables are made of whiteant resistant cypress pine. No nails either, all joined with clever timberwork and thick gauge wire.
Back to camp in time for a roast dinner in the camp oven and a couple of glasses of red. Bliss!
Wednesday October 6
With rain falling steadily and the supplies of bread and milk running low, we decided to take a run into Pooncarie, about 80km to the west. Again the road was in good condition and the last 20- odd km into Pooncarie is sealed. I remembered Slim Dusty’s old tune about “When the bitumen reaches Pooncarie…” and I noted on a plaque on the main street that when the sealed road was eventually completed in 1993, guess who opened it? Slim himself…
Lunch in a shelter from the rain opposite the Pooncarie Store and drove back and back across the flats in time for the Walls of China walk. Ernie was our Guide again, as well as a Muthi Muthi named Trish. We met at the Visitors’ Centre and drove in a convoy of vehicles through the rain to the car park at the Walls of China.
Very interesting walk through a section of the dune where remains of 15-20000 year old campsites are coming to the surface due to erosion, Made me wonder how they can protect these precious areas as the dunes are blowing to the east uncovering the sites, at the same time as rain is eroding them away to the west.
Ernie explained lots about traditional life, the scene as it would have been all those years ago and more bush tucker.
Back at camp and the weather had turned. We met a young couple from Traralgon in Vic on their big lap around the country and Bob the Builder from Sydney.
Day 4
Pack up day. always a sad one. We headed south from "Turlee", past the Homebush Pub and into Balranald with beautiful yellow and red and orange daisies everywhere. Lunch then back on the road with a stop by the Murrumbidgee at Birdcage Reserve.
Home to Wagga and unpacked the trailer before heading to Bathurst for the 1000.
But that's another story...
Monday I have Friday on my mind...
The Easybeats 1966
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