About Mungo National Park
This fantastic and magic place is of great significance to the Ngyiampaa, Mutthi Mutthi and Southern Paakantyi people, whose connection with the land reaches back more than 40,000 years.
Mungo National Park is about 150kms North of Balranald, NSW, 876kms west of Sydney and 720 from Melbourne. Mungo National Park is part of the Willandra Lakes Region, a World Heritage Site covering 2,400 square kilometres, and incorporating seventeen dry lakes.
The area is known worldwide for the outstanding archaeological finds like Mungo Man (the world’s oldest human cremation), Mungo Woman, and human footprints dating back to the last ice age that tell an incredible story about the long history of Australian Aboriginal people.
Another great attraction are the incredible Walls of China, where erosion has sculpted sand and clay into fragile yet imposing formations and each of its layers rich with the remains of the life that existed here between 26,000 and 44,000 years ago.
A visitor centre, is located near the old Mungo woolshed and the entrance to the park, where further information and a map may be acquired. Mungo National Park was acquired for the National Reserve System in 1979 by the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife.
For the past 50,000 years the climate has changed time and time again and its print has been left on the landscape. With each climatic fluctuation there came changes in the kinds of plants and the animals which could live on those plant communities.
At the beginning of the period there were many animal species which are now extinct. Living on the plains and by the lakes were the great flightless bird, Genyornis, with legs as solid as those of a horse; the towering Shortfaced Kangaroo which browsed the woodland trees; and buffalo sized Zygomaturus which grazed upon plants at the lake’s edge.
These were some of the larger animals, but there were many species of smaller marsupials, including Hairy-nosed Wombats, Bettongs, Bilbys and Thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger.
By the time Europeans arrived at Mungo, there were six kinds of natural living community in this dry lake area: Mallee, Belah Woodland, Grassland; Cypress Pine Woodland; Mixed Shrubland Bluebush/Saltbush Shrubland.
What we see today of these communities, however are the remnants left after a century or more of sheep, goat, cattle and rabbit grazing; today’s plant communities are but shadows of the original living systems of the 1850s. Many species of vertebrate and invertebrate live here and have adapted to the sometimes adverse climate conditions.
The best time to see animals is when the temperature is moderate, and the best place to see them is where vegetation is thick and varied. Both the mallee and lake communities support a wide variety of animal life including the spectacular Pink (or Major Mitchell) Cockatoo the extremely well adapted Red Kangaroo and Mungo’s largest lizard the Gould’s Goanna.