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My trip to Mungo was something I almost didn’t do. To explain why I need to back up a bit…
One of the fundamental decisions you have to make (over and over) when you are on a trip like mine is “what do you see?” Australia is a big country and there’s lots of things to see and places to explore. There are many national parks which are not well known. Trying to visit all of them would be impossible. On the other hand, if you limit yourself to just Uluru, Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef, you are missing out on a most of the country.
One of the things which I use as a rough guide is the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The idea is if it was important enough to get on the list, it is probably worthwhile seeing. This isn’t always the case. The Melbourne Exhibition Pavilion was pretty underwhelming as was the Sangiran Early Man site in Indonesia. I also can’t visit all of them. I didn’t get to any of the sites in northern Japan for instance and had to pass on a few in Indonesia and South Korea. Some of the neatest things I’ve seen were not on the World Heritage List and probably never will be. Nonetheless, it is a good rule of thumb. If you are in the area, it is probably worth visiting.
The Willandra Lakes Region is in the far South West of New South Wales, just across the border from Mildura, Victoria. It was one of the places which I didn’t know much about other than it was a World Heritage Site. The primary site in the World Heritage area is Mungo National park. Looking at a road map, there appeared to only be one, unpaved road going to Mungo. I had no idea if there was a visitor center or if it was open to the public (if I used guidebooks, I’d probably have known those things, but that is another discussion)
I figured with a large city nearby, there was probably some sort of tourism industry and there was probably some way to go visit the park. I rolled the bones and drove up to Mildura not knowing what to expect.
My hunch turned out to be true. Mungo, it turns out, is a pretty popular destination for people visiting the Mildura area (they call it Sunraysia) and there were tours available every day going to the park. The visitor’s information center in Mildura was easy to find and they were able to set me up.
Prior to this point on my trip I had been to rainforests, coral reefs, glaciers, fiords, tropical islands, mountains, megacities,