Travelling Australia - Journal 2009
22 April 2009 - Lake Mungo Nat Pk
After breakfast in our unit I packed a small lunch and set off to spend daylight completing the self-guided tour.

The road continued passing through different plant communities (such as Mallee, Belah she-oak, and an environment classified as Grassland but which has very little grass remaining on the bare clay/sand). The NPWS had provided a useful guide-sheet and map for the self-guided tour and I stopped frequently to look at, and photograph, items mentioned.
Apostle Bird One of several apostle birds at Belah Camp which ran up to the Pathfinder as if it was expecting food.

Mallee Mallee with spinifex ground cover; this is one of several plant combinations passed on the self-guided tour of the National Park.

I completed a Mallee Walk (30 minutes) designed and signed by National Parks to show the plants in the mallee environment then stopped briefly at Belah Camp which is a remote camping area (with toilet) in a Belah she-oak forest. Yesterday I had stopped here and Apostle birds ran up to me then stayed less than a metre from my feet as if they expected to be fed.

Mungo Park National Park was formerly grazing leases and traces of pastoral activity are signed and explained. These are mostly tanks dug in the hope of retaining some water for stock, and some buildings including the remains of Zanci homestead, Mungo woolshed, Zanci stables and woolshed. National Parks has restored buildings as much as practicable and invites visitors to enter and wander around.

A side road from the main self-guided tour goes to Vigars Well; this was a soak turned into a well providing water for Cobb and Co coaches which served this area when pastoral activity was more intense. Vigars Well is also the point where visitors can climb the large sand dune formed on the eastern side of the lunette by sand continually being abraded from the lunette by the prevailing westerly wind. Erosion of the lunette is inevitable; the extent is underscored by seeing plants with roots exposed when the surrounding clay is blown away.

The road goes onto Lake Leaghur, just as dry as Mungo, while returning to the Visitor Centre. The road across Mungo has been filled with crushed limestone leaving a corrugated but adequate wet-weather road; across Lake Leaghur the road is simple clay/silt/soil which has formed large sandy patches making me glad I was in a 4WD vehicle. Road works in progress are laying an imported red clay/gravel road on the worst parts.

I had hoped to complete the self-guided tour in time to undertake a Ranger-led Discovery tour of the lunette but this didn't happen and I arrived near the Visitor Centre far too late for that. So I drove to the lunette for some final photographs then returned to the unit for the evening. Mary had spent the day happily working on crosswords, word puzzles and knitting with some watching of satellite television.

Weather for the day had been excellent for exploring the national park. Sunny with some cloud, warm but not too hot. Definitely no rain which would cause us some problems because the access road and roads in the park could not tolerate much rain.