A desert but full of life.

We love road trips and Australia is a pretty big country with lots to see and really long distances between towns, so it’s a good thing we like driving. I posted earlier about about our road trip to Lake Mungo and thought it worth posting a selection of some of the photographic highlights of our trip.

Have a look at my Lake Mungo post for more information about locations and some history for the area. While we were there was a bushfire burning for days and the smoke haze created the most specular sunsets and sunrises. The sky is a clear blue and within the Mungo National Park the remnants of deserted houses and in the photograph above an old outhouse toilet and chimney. Lots of wildlife including all types of birds, kangaroos, emus and gorgeous lizards everywhere. It’s a harsh climate but the animals are adapted to the desert conditions and very low rainfall.

We are so excited about another road-trip we have planned for end-May which will take us out west through our state of New South Wales into South Australia and north into the Red Centre. Stops along the way with include Uluru (Ayres Rock). More about this trip later. Looks like the journey will total around 12,000 kms in total and away for 2 months. Should be incredible.

A Lake without water…… Lake Mungo.

The Walls of China, Lake Mungo

Our holidays lately have been overseas, usually to Italy or France, however it’s nice to visit your own backyard.

Amazing straight roads that drops off the horizon.

Our road-trip would take us to Lake Mungo, an ancient dried lake bed in the south-west of New South Wales, Australia. The area is within the Lake Mungo National Park and is part of a series of dried lake beds within the national park, Mungo being the largest with a circumference of around 33 kilometres.

The lake dried up during the last ice age, however going back 120,000 years there was water in the lake. The sediment of the lake shows many different layers and some of the most recent ones contain the bones of extinct megafauna (including giant kangaroos and wombats) and some of the oldest human remains on earth estimated to be around 40,000 years.

Me on the top of the lake wall dunes.

Dunes of the lake shores have been held together by sparse vegetation, unfortunately due to grazing by the early settlers a large proportion of this has been destroyed leading to the collapse and erosion of the walls.

Structures remain of an old sheep station within the lake, the walls of the lake are in the distance.

There was a bush fire burning near the lake made a very beautiful sight at sunset. Otherwise, the landscape during the day is stark and clear, sky was so blue.

The walls of the lake are eroding as most of the vegetation has disappeared.

As this area is quite remote, internet and phone coverage is minimal (mostly not existent), its therefore a time to reflect, observe and marvel at the beauty of nature. Life goes on even in the desert and the area still supports some amazing creatures.

Shingle back lizards are everywhere. You have to watch while driving as they are often on the roads. We stopped for this one as was crossing. Great blue tongues – no teeth.

There’s a couple of places to stay while in Lake Mungo. National parks and wildlife have campsites and provide some huts near the ranger’s station. Check out their website for more information.

We stayed at Mungo Lodge, in a small shearers hut with shared ammenities and kitchen facilities, wasn’t too bad as we were the only ones staying there. One of the staff at the Lodge told us about a visitor who turned up with a surf ski on his car looking for the lake, I think he might have been disappointed to have driven all that way!

The funny thing is on our SATNAV the lake area showed as blue, so I guess if you don’t do your research you might think there is water in the area.

Basic hut, but is was very private and a great place to watch the sunrise and the local wildlife.

The roads into Mungo are mostly dirt – we found them not too bad – we don’t have a 4W4, however they are not passable when it rains so check the weather conditions if you are planning to head out that way. Also, over the hottest parts of summer the lodge is largely closed – its just too hot for most people.

Sunrise looking out from our cabin