You probably didn’t realise that I was away all of last week – (that’s the power of scheduling posts) – not only was I away, I was completely off the grid. Yes, two hours from the nearest shop (no chance to duck out for more gin and salty snacks) and three hours from mobile reception. Such circumstances are equal parts wonderful and terrifying. So, where was I? Mungo National Park.
For those who aren’t sure of where Mungo is, it’s north of Mildura and east of Broken Hill. If that means nothing, just know that it’s in the desert, but not quite in the middle of Australia.
Mungo is most famous for Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, and more recently for preserved human footsteps, which happen to be the only human tracks of Pleistocene age yet discovered in Australia (and the largest collection of such prints anywhere in the world).
Apart from having significant and internationally important old stuff, Mungo is also a place that reflects more recent Australian history – the area that is now a National Park was once the site of two large sheep stations and some of the historic farm buildings remain (and yes, of course the children all lifted the lid…).
We didn’t completely rough it on this trip, instead staying in the ‘Shearer’s Quarters’ (certainly not luxury but after some long hikes, my bunk bed and access to a shower felt positively five-star).
The landscape is semi-arid – stretches of desert and extensive sand dunes are broken by ancient dried lake beds and mallee scrub.
We met up with friends at Mungo and spent our days hiking and introducing sand to every available pocket and crevice – the kids mastered the slopes and invented a million new uses for paddy melons.
Our holiday also included a visit to Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, where I made the kids listen to my long-winded (and no doubt boring) lectures on the importance of wetlands. Nothing better than a captive audience.
The trip from Mungo back to Melbourne was over ten hours in the car. Thankfully there were lots of visual distractions – kangaroos, emus and eagles; the town of Robinvale (where Love Serenade was shot); and the many Art Deco joys to be found in Victoria’s Wimmera region.
A great holiday!