Travelling Australia - Journal 2012
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May 2012 - Perry Sandhills
People on dunes
Visitors walking up dunes at Perry Sandhills.
Dune field
Extended dunes in the Perry Sandhills.
Perry Sandhills is 10 hectares of red sandhill about six kilometres from the town of Wentworth and easily reached from Mildura. Access is from the bitumen Old Renmark road via a short gravelled road.

The sandhills formed after ice ages many thousands of years ago and are claimed to have been part of the Willandra Lakes System. The sandhills now lie on Thegoa Lagoon floodplain.

Vegetation of Perry Sandhills has unusual features. The swales (the lower land between the dunes) are partly vegetated while most dunes are wind sculptured sand, but one dune near the car park has the crown of a healthy river red gum growing through the top. Visitors on the dune can easily walk through the tree's upper branches; it is easy to clamber over branches or to examine leaves, buds and nuts to confirm this is a healthy tree.

The river red gum is a species usually found along watercourses and needs to be flooded periodically to remain healthy (about every three years is sometimes quoted). Around Mildura, river red gums grow along the banks of the Murray River immediately beside the river while Black Box Eucalyptus trees dominate further away from the river on less frequently flooded ground. A river red gum is unlikely to grow in a sand dune but probably the tree was growing on the Thegoa Lagoon floodplain where it reached maturity before the dune migrated to surround the tree to a depth of between six and ten metres of sand giving rise to the anomoly of the crown of a river red gum growing on top of a sand dune.

Perry Sandhills can be reached from Wentworth along the old Renmark Road. The turn off is to the left past the aerodrome on the right. GPS co-ordinates for the turnoff are 34° 05' 26.1"S, 141° 52' 12.2"E. The car park at the end of the gravel road into the sandhills is at 34° 05' 57.4"S, 141° 52' 05.3"E.
access road Access road into the Perry Sandhills car park runs across scrub covered floodplain.

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