Probably the best known, Mungo National Park and its iconic ‘Walls of China’ is a must see national park not only for the shear beauty of the lunette and the dunes which make up the Walls but for the highly sensitive and spiritually moving anthropological significance of the area which has evidence of continual indigenous habitation extending over 40,000 years.
On first glance, Mungo National Park seem little more than the remnants of an ancient lake (completely dry and with ancient sand dunes running 20+ km along one side) in the middle of the New South Wales outback. In reality it is one of the most significant anthropological and archaeological sites in the world.
Lake Mungo, located in Mungo National Park, is one of 17 dry lakes which constitute the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area (1981).
The Lake last experienced permanent water over 10,000 years ago and has recorded continuous indigenous habitation for 40,000+ years – making it the site of the oldest known human occupation in Australia. From the lake, Aboriginal people gathered mussels, fished for Murray cod & golden perch, hunted wallabies and rat kangaroos and collected emu eggs.
Over time, prevailing winds that blow across the dry lake bed collected sediment and deposited it on the western shore forming an elevated bank that extends almost 20 kms along the side of the lake. The transposed lake bed layers of sedimentary sands and clays that form the ridge, known as ‘The Walls of China’, have in turn then been then been eroded by wind and rain to form the spectacular lunette.
As the lunette erodes, it reveals the secrets of the past; ancient fireplaces, indigenous burial sites, fossilized remnants of extinct species like Thylocene and short-faced kangaroo as well as wonderful specimens of contemporary species.
Mungo National Park also affords the visitor a glimpse into the European past of the area as it was an operational sheep station prior to becoming a National Park and many buildings from the era remain.
For more information on Mungo National Park GPS:-33.7184* 143.047*