Explore one of the world's most significant archaeological sites and see where Mungo Man was discovered in this World Heritage-listed national park.
By Martha Tattersall
You won't see many landscapes on Earth quite like Mungo National Park. A chain of dried-up lake beds and sand dunes make up this archaeological wonderland, an isolated, lunar landscape rich in natural beauty. It was here that the remains of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, said to be roughly 40,000 years old, were discovered, preserved by low humidity and carbonite present in the sand. Tour the park with an Aboriginal guide and see where ancient burial sites, fireplaces, stone tools and fish bones continue to be discovered, offering a precious window into Australia’s past.
- Enjoy sunset at the historic Aboriginal site, the Walls of China
- See where burial sites and fireplaces have stood for more than 40,000 years
- Retreat to a comfy bed and relax under the stars by the campfire at Mungo Lodge
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Top things to do in Mungo National Park
Explore the Walls of China
While it’s 14,000 years since water filled Lake Mungo, the 33 kilometre (21 mile) chain of white dunes that once surrounded it is a feast for the imagination. This breathtaking lunar landscape – known as the Walls of China – is accessible on foot. The Walls of China Boardwalks are open to public access, however access beyond the boardwalk is available only with a tour. See where rain has washed away the soft sand and mud, creating characteristic ridges and cracks. Don't miss the sunset spectacular, when the striking chain turns yellow, orange and deep wine-red.
Book a local Aboriginal guide
The best way to learn about Mungo National Park is with an Aboriginal guided tour. For a full cultural experience, book a tour with Harry Nanya Tours or connect with an Aboriginal Discovery Tour ranger at the Mungo Visitor Centre, who will likely be descended from one of the three groups of the region: the Paakantji, Ngyiampaa or Mutthi Mutthi. You'll see evidence of ancient campfires, and learn about the adaptation and resilience of a people who have lived in the landscape for at least 45,000 years.
Spend the night under the stars
Experience the park at your leisure and return to a hot shower and comfortable bed at the end of the day. For a touch of luxury, relax in an air-conditioned cabin at Mungo Lodge. This outback property, located just outside the park, offers warm hospitality and is committed to eco-tourism. Modern furnishings, local artworks and sophisticated amenities will welcome you home. If you want to stay in the heart of the park, Mungo Shearers Quarters offers cosy facilities close to key park attractions. At this unique heritage accommodation, you will discover the area’s pastoral and Aboriginal history.
Explore at your own pace
Follow the 65 kilometre (40 mile) self-drive tour of the park which takes you to 15 stops along the way. The route includes the iconic dunes and the Walls of China and traces the northeast shores of Lake Mungo. More than 120,000 hectares (300,000 acres) of remote landscape provide a window into the dawn of human life on Earth. Please note, the weather in this area can be extreme: temperatures in summer frequently rise above 40° (104° Fahrenheit) and night time winter temperatures often drop below zero (32° Fahrenheit).
How to get there
You will need your own vehicle to explore Mungo National Park, or you can book an organised tour. Located in the far southwestern pocket of New South Wales, Mungo National Park can be accessed by car from Wentworth, Mildura, Balranald and Broken Hill. There are airports at Mildura and Broken Hill, with daily flights from most capital cities.