Midweek Mungo Meander - or when Jessica put on a jacket! 28th to 31st of July 2015
By Jessica Walsh
With members coming from different parts of the city at different times, the caravan park in Mildura was chosen as the place to meet. Jamie was the first to arrive - on Saturday, no less. He made himself comfortable and then did some touring of the local area. Jessica was the next to arrive on Monday afternoon and headed to the caravan park where Jamie had already set up, only to find him having a little-lie-down. Michael was the third one to arrive, with Tim not long after.
We were all quickly set up, and then we sauntered to the club across the road for dinner. It was cheap Tuesday, so the place was very busy, but we were seated quickly. After ordering the meals didn’t take too long to arrive, and I am not actually sure if anyone was able to finish theirs. The servings were generous, and there was a self serve vegetable and salad bar as well. We waddled back to the caravan park and it was not long before we were all fast asleep, with an assurance of a lazy start the next day.
A relaxed start to the day saw us packed up and off to the supermarket for some last minute supplies. After shopping and fuelling up we enjoyed coffees and a bite to eat. Then it was into the vehicles and we headed north. The trip out to Mungo was pretty uneventful, and it was obvious that the dirt road had been recently graded. So obvious in fact that we passed the grader hard at work. There was a rest stop on the way, however we chose not to use it.
We arrived at the Mungo Main Camp at about midday, so we staked out a claim, and had some lunch. There has been some work done at the campsite as there are now shelters with tables which looked very new. After lunch we made our way to the ranger station where we paid for the campsite and had a good look around the interpretive centre. Then it was back to camp where we got the fire going. Jamie had spotted a cache of old railway sleeper on the way to Mildura, so he and Jessica had stocked up. Not that they needed to as there was plenty of fallen timber on either side of the road from Mildura to Mungo. Once the fire was going it was time for dinner so we each did our own thing before coming together to eat. The discussion around the campfire went on for a few hours before one by one everyone made their way to bed.
We had another leisurely start to the day (this was always going to be a relaxed trip) with the intention of getting going by about 10am. As everyone was good to go by 9.30 we headed off. Michael was planning to join Jamie’s trip later that week so he joined Jessica in her car and was thereby dubbed the narrator for the self drive tour. There are numbered posts along the loop and the interpretive centre has brochures with the explanations.
We stopped often on the 70 kilometre drive to learn more about this fascinating area. There is still some discussion amongst the scientific community about the age of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man who were found in the area in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Estimates range from 30,000 to 42,000 years old. Nevertheless, it is agreed that they are the earliest signs of humanity outside Africa. So it is no surprise that this is now a world heritage area and access to the Walls of China is limited due to the damage done by visitors in the past.
Walls of China
There is an artesian well which was used to water the horses for the Cobb and Co coaches and riders that criss crossed the country. NSW National Parks are in the middle of building some more shelters here and the workmen were hard at work when we arrived. We hiked up the dunes and could just make out the ranger station on the other side of the lake, about 10 kilometres away.
We had lunch after the climb, and after building up an appetite, and fortunately the workmen left us in peace soon after. We continued our drive with a couple more stops for photos or to read the many information signs. We made it back to camp where we decided by mutual consent that it was
five o’clock somewhere. The campfire was lit again, this time using some of the wood that Tim had bought in Mildura. Nice little mallee roots that burnt very well.
After dinner we sat around solving the problems of the world, before eventually retiring for the night.
The dunes at the edge of Lake Mungo
We rose early and after breakfast started packing. It didn’t take long and Tim and Jessica were the first to leave as they were heading to Mildura and then on to Melbourne. Jamie and Michael had a leisurely drive to Pooncarrie for the start of Jamie’s trip to Minindie Lakes. On the way out of the campsite Jessica stopped to give the Subaru we had seen earlier a club brochure. Jessica and Tim then backtracked to Mildura where they went their separate ways.
It would be possible to do this trip in three days, but it would mean a long first day, and possibly setting up camp around dusk. The campsite got busier each afternoon as camper arrived, so the early setup meant we had the pick of the spots.
It was great to have a few days to relax in the middle of the week. Especially with such good company. I am looking forward to heading up there again.
Jamie Landcruiser (100 Series)
Tim Landcruiser (40 Series)
Disclaimer: No Subarus were harmed in the making of this trip.
##MD - photos to come