Mungo Outback Journey
3 days in the desert
Mungo National Park
Experienced Wildlife and Aboriginal Guides reveal an arid land, rich in wildlife and ancient Aboriginal Heritage.
WILDLIFE BOOM 2017: Recent rain in The Outback has created boom conditions for wildlife. 2017 will be the best year yet to book this tour.
Discover the animals and history of the Australian Outback at Lake Mungo in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area. Track majestic wildlife and travel expansive red sand plains sprinkled with Kangaroos, Emus, and Pink Cockatoos.
Your private nature tour is conducted by experienced Wildlife and Aboriginal Guides who reveal Mungo’s arid land, wildlife and ancient Aboriginal Heritage.
Walk in the shade of Desert Pines searching for brilliant parrots and sleepy lizards. Climb ancient sand dunes with an Aboriginal Guide who will show you the stone tools and artifacts of his culture.
Experience the peace of the Australian Outback whilst staying in the small town of Wentworth beside the junction of Australia’s iconic rivers, the Murray and Darling. Your comfortable accommodation overlooks Thegoa Lagoon, a billabong (waterhole) of the Murray River, with abundant birdlife.
About Mungo Outback
Australian Aboriginal People have lived and hunted beside Lake Mungo for 50,000 years. Mungo National Park is also home to many arid land animals and birds including kangaroos, rare parrots and cockatoos, birds of prey, reptiles and many others. Skeletal remains of extinct marsupials, the forebears of Australia’s unique suite of wildlife, are another example of the huge significance of Lake Mungo.
Mungo National Park is the site of the oldest cremation of any human – dating back 50,000 years. The region has been continuously occupied by Aboriginal People since that time – the longest known occupation of any land by any people on earth.
Ongoing research found the area to be so important it was listed as a World Heritage Area in 1981. Mungo National Park also offers a unique insight into climate change, its effect on human habitation and the environment over many thousands of years.
The wildlife of Lake Mungo is also uniquely Australian – the flora and fauna have evolved through dramatic changes in climate encompassing total inundation, rich wetland and desertification. The bones of the ancestors of Australia’s unique marsupials are often found protruding from the ground at Mungo!
Today the land boasts 2 of Australia’s 5 species of great kangaroos, many rare and beautiful parrots, birds of prey, reptiles and a rich arid land flora.
Your Private Tour includes: Full interpretation by experienced Wildlife Guides, meals and accommodation as described below, entry fees and on ground transport ex Mildura Airport.
Location: North-west of Melbourne, including Mungo National Park, Wentworth, the junction of the Murray & Darling Rivers. Tour departs from Mildura Airport – flights arranged by others.
Duration: 3 Days – Grade – easy.
Departs: On request – 01 March to 30 November
Meals included: 2 lunches, 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts
Expert Wildlife Guides: Echidna Walkabout’s Wildlife Guides are recognised as some of the best in Australia. Our Wildlife Guide training program ensures that all Guides have an in-depth knowledge of the wildlife and environments you will see. They are friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about wildlife – some of them have over 20 years’ experience working with wild animals, several are volunteer wildlife carers and rescuers and most have travelled extensively throughout Australia and the world.
Many hours of wildlife research work precede the tour to ensure that you see and learn about native wildlife in its natural environment. Guides carry two way radios and mobile phones which link them to other Wildlife Guides and to emergency services. Guest safety is of paramount importance to us.
Accommodation: Two nights at the Two Rivers Motel (****) overlooking beautiful Thegoa Lagoon, a natural “billabong” of the Murray River. Breakfasts are provided in your room.
Meals on tour: Meals are provided as noted in the itinerary. Dinners are 2 courses. Weather permitting, dinner on Day 2 is a bush barbecue in the desert. Picnic lunches are provided on tour. NB Vegetarian, gluten-free, pork-free or other food preferences must be provided at the time of booking. We will always do our best to cater for special needs but please keep in mind that we are operating in a very remote environment. Some meals are carried on board the vehicle, others are ordered in advance.
Transport: In comfortable air conditioned vehicle
Drinking Water: Tap water is completely safe and drinkable and available at the accommodation, and a large storage is carried on board the vehicle each day. We recommend you bring a re-usable water bottle which we can refill during the day. If you don’t like to drink tap water we highly recommend you bring a filter to reduce plastic waste.
NOT INCLUDED tour price: Flights. Airport transfers to and from Melbourne Airport. Alcoholic beverages.
One of the best wildlife tours in Australia, the Mungo Outback Journey will bring you closer to many native Australian birds & animals. At dawn and dusk Red and Western Grey Kangaroos graze together in the low vegetation – heads raising and lowering silently in the solitude of the vast dry lake-bed.
Bird life at Mungo is both rich and rare – resident Wedge-tailed Eagles soar overhead and nest in the few desert trees, giant flightless Emus swagger about the plains in small bands. Falcons & Kestrels hunt low flying birds and insects. We take time to search for the spectacular Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (also known as the Pink Cockatoo) with its multicoloured crest. Some of Australia’s most vividly colourful parrots are seen at Mungo, often in the desert pines where noisy Babblers also live & make their large communal nests.
Shingleback & Bearded Dragon lizards are often seen basking in the sun in these delicate arid ecosystems.
This nature tour in Australia is perfect for birdwatching and wildlife photography. Our Wildlife Guide will ensure that you are in the right place at the right time to see many Australian Outback animals.
Accommodation & Geography
For two nights you will stay in the town of Wentworth in well appointed (ensuites) 4 star accommodation overlooking bird-filled Thegoa Lagoon. Across the road the Darling River nears its final junction with the Murray River. These two rivers drain 1/3rd of the Australian continent – much of their courses travel though semi-arid land.
The dramatically contrasting interface between the riverine and arid land ecosystems around Wentworth means we often view wildly differing and unexpected species. Because of this – although our journey focuses on Lake Mungo – we also visit other important wildlife and Aboriginal sites in the region.
Wentworth is the perfect base to explore this magnificent area on foot & by vehicle, escorted by your personal guides. Meals are traditional Australian bush fare – a genuine taste of Australia.
What to bring
Strong walking shoes or boots, clothing to suit variable weather conditions (please check weather forecasts for expected temperatures or call us), sun hat, rain proof coat, small torch, insect repellent, sunscreen, day pack and 1 litre re-usable water bottle.
Weather: Be prepared for extremes in both seasonal and daily temperatures in the Australian Outback. Winter days are cool to warm and nights cold to frosty. Spring and Autumn days are warm to very hot. Desert winds can be penetrating, very cold in Winter and hot and dusty at other times of year. Shelter from the elements is minimal.
Cancellations or Modifications
Before the tour – On the occasions when rain does fall at Mungo, dirt roads into the area may become waterlogged and impassable meaning that the tour may be modified or cancelled.
If you have booked and paid for a tour that is cancelled by us due to rain, prior to the departure date, we may do one only of the following:
- Offer you the tour on another occasion
- Offer an alternative tour
- If neither of the above is possible we will refund the amount you have paid us for the tour (this amount does not include flight).
During the tour – Echidna Walkabout will always attempt to run your tour as per our itinerary. Please note that Outback travel can be influenced by a wide range of conditions and factors that are often out of our control and which may cause us to disrupt or change the tour.
On some occasions we may have to modify the itinerary due to extreme heat or wet weather or poor road conditions. We will always try to get you back for your flight out. However, please be aware that we will not compensate you in any way whatsoever for any losses or liabilities you may incur.
Fly to Mildura and meet your Echidna Walkabout Wildlife Guide and begin your Private Outback Journey. Two nights accommodation are included, along with your meals and transport through the Lake Mungo National Park.
Rivers and Lakes of the Outback
Depart Melbourne airport in the morning on a short flight (flight by others) to Mildura on the edge of the Outback. Upon arrival you will meet your Echidna Walkabout Wildlife Guide and begin your private Outback journey.
Your first stop will be at the junction of Australia’s two great rivers – the Murray and the Darling – where they meet in the Outback. This is a very significant place to both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. It is surprising to see so much water flowing through this semi-arid region.
We have lunch then drop your gear at your accommodation located overlooking Thegoa Lagoon, a major billabong of the Murray River and home to many birds.
Next we drive away from civilisation into the arid country searching for wildlife and birds along the billabongs. Often extraordinary numbers of water birds are seen here as they arrive out of the desert looking for food and water near the rivers. This is a very important place for the local Aboriginal People.
At the end of the day we head back to your accommodation to prepare for tomorrow’s journey to Mungo National Park then on to dinner in the town of Wentworth. O/n Two Rivers Motel (L,D included).
Lake Mungo – Wildlife & Culture on a 50,000-year journey
This morning we depart for our special nature tour at Lake Mungo.
After breakfast we head out to the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area along straight dirt roads deep into the desert. Upon our arrival at Lake Mungo we begin a wildlife journey of walks and drives that allow us to investigate the wildlife of this place including an amazing variety of desert birds, two species of kangaroos, emus and unusual vegetation.
You will learn how the Willandra Lakes System dried out over thousands of years as the climate warmed. Because the country is flat, any rise places you on top of a world that stretches from you direct to an endless 360 degree horizon.
During the day you will meet your experienced Aboriginal Guide who will interpret the culture of this region. We drive across the dry bed of Lake Mungo to lunettes (wind-curved sand dunes) to begin a “story line” through 50,000 years of Aboriginal History beginning at the lake bed and rising high into the eroded dunes.
You will learn about the people who lived at this place, see evidence of their camp sites, view the remains of their cooking fires and, depending on the movement of the sand and soil, you may even help with the discovery of new sites!
Your Guide will also point out evidence of extinct fauna. It will become obvious that this now dry arid area was once a thriving wetland where large numbers of waterbirds and animals coexisted beside a vibrant population of Aboriginal People for tens of thousands of years.
Where people lived they also died and not far from where you will be walking is the oldest recorded human cremation in the world. Burial sites continue to be exposed throughout the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area and are monitored carefully by Traditional Owners to minimise disturbance and engender respect for their ancestors.
We cannot take you to these sacred areas (they are not accessible) but it is wonderful to know that the person who is guiding you is a descendent of these enduring people. The Mungo Outback Journey will help give you a deeper understanding of Aboriginal People and their Culture.
During our circumnavigation of Lake Mungo by vehicle and on foot you will travel through 4 ecosystems ranging from dry lakebeds to rich sandy bush country. As we travel we’ll stop often to search for birds and animals and learn about the vegetation in this constantly changing landscape.
O/n Two Rivers Motel or similar (B,L,D included).
Red Dunes of the Inland
Take a relaxing morning walk at your accommodation and enjoy the birds that are constantly on the move about Thegoa Lagoon. One of the real surprises here are the Blue-faced honeyeaters that live and breed in the trees surrounding the motel.
As a grand finale we head out to one of Australia’s signature emblems – the red sand dunes of the Mungo Outback. They sweep in endless moving waves across vast areas of the country engulfing all before them, sometimes settling when vegetation ties them down.
Just out of Wentorth a large meandering dune has been caught up by a stand of eucalyptus trees and as the sand has increased in height the trees have grown taller to keep above the advancing sands. Some of the trees are massive representatives of their species, they may be up to 400 years old.
All sorts of birds use these trees as feeding and resting places in the arid zone. We walk the dune field discovering the plants and wildlife that inhabit these remarkable systems and your Guide explains how these magnificent icons of Australia are formed.
After our walk we’ll have lunch (at your own expense) then depart Wentworth to Mildura for your return flight to Melbourne (flight by others). (B included).