Mungo Outback & Conservation Journey, Victoria & New South Wales

AT A GLANCE

Dates23–28 October 2022
30 October4 November 2022
29 April4 May 2023
611 May 2023
1318 May 2023
1419 October 2023
2025 October 2023

We can tailor dates to your needs, including private tours. Email travel@australiangeographic.com or call 1300 241 141 to check available dates.
Activity LevelModerate
Duration6 days, 5 nights
PricesFrom $2490 twin share per person
From $735 single supplement
Group sizeMinimum 6, maximum 8 guests
Featuring RegionMungo National Park, Hattah Kulkyne National Park, Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area, Kings Billabong

WHAT TO EXPECT

Come and join us on one of the best Outback wildlife experiences in Australia. 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 an experienced Wildlife Guide who reveals Mungo’s arid land, wildlife and ancient Aboriginal Heritage.Walk in the shade of Desert Pines searching for brilliant parrots and sleepy lizards. Climb mighty sand dunes for expansive views over the desert. Experience the peace of the Australian Outback while staying in 4-star accommodation at remote Mungo Lodge beside Lake Mungo.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit Hattah Kulkyne National Park beside the Murray River, famous for birdlife and incredibly diverse dryland vegetation
  • Learn about the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area, famous for its links to the oldest-living culture on Earth and to the ancient megafauna of Australia
  • Participate in an important citizen science program looking into the impact of climate change on wildlife and vegetation
  • Stay in 4-star accommodation at remote Mungo Lodge beside Lake Mungo
  • Travel with specialised guides who are expert bird watchers, conservationists and naturalists who appreciate the distinctive and remarkable diversity of this region

CONSERVATION COMPONENT ON THIS TOUR

These tours include opportunities to help with the conservation of wildlife and in ensuring the natural environment that supports wildlife remains healthy.

They also work tirelessly to improve human understanding of the impacts of climate change and other human-induced changes to our environment. Leading by example they aim to ensure that wildlife continues to thrive in Australia and elsewhere in the world. ‘Citizen science’ is playing a signifi ant role in helping scientists and others to understand the major changes that are occurring in the world and that work such as theirs is bringing about changes that help wildlife.

This tour offers significant opportunities to experience and document wildlife in a near-pristine environment doing the following:

Bird & wildlife surveys: for the entire trip, you are helping wildlife – your wildlife guide records all species seen and uploads this data to online atlases for wildlife conservation purposes.

Vegetation evaluation: to assess the impact of reduced rainfall and higher temperatures on vegetation communities.

Why Conservation Travel ?

This is a special trip to Lake Mungo (in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area) and Hattah-Kulkyne National Parks as both display significant indicators of climate change. The arid-land lake systems of both parks have been subjected to the processes of climate change, not only by recent man-made changes but also in prehistoric times through planetary changes in temperatures.

The primary purpose of this trip is to monitor and learn about the impacts of climate change on wildlife and vegetation. We’ll do this by searching out indicators of change and comparing the past with the present. You will be guided on this trip by one or more world-renowned wildlife guides who will help you understand nature while you enjoy your holiday.

Conservation travel is all about making a difference by getting out into the bush and bringing about real change; it’s opening our minds to what we, as individuals, can do to bring about change in perceptions of some of the world’s biggest issues. By travelling into areas such as Mungo and Hattah-Kulkyne we can monitor change and, as citizen scientists, we can tell the world what we’ve seen and hopefully bring about change.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival in Mildura and tour briefing

Make your own way fly or self-drive to Mildura arriving late afternoon. Airport pick-up by your guide and transfer to your accommodation. Check in is available from 2pm.

Guide will provide a trip briefing in the evening.

Accommodation: Quality Hotel Mildura Grand

DAY 2: Hattah Kulkyne National Park

Breakfast at hotel.

Hattah-Kulkyne NP contains some exceptionally diverse examples of Australia’s semi-arid zones. Situated on a floodplain of the Murray River and extending into the red sand dunes of the Mallee deserts this park has a little of everything. Ephemeral lakes are the key feature of this 48,000 hectare park; the water levels of these lakes ebb and flow with the years – attracting a wide and diverse range of wildlife. Hattah-Kulkyne is also famous for its birdlife and incredibly diverse dryland vegetation. 

Today we’ll head south from Mildura and spend all day in this magnificent park. We’ll document the condition of the lakes and search for some of its most elusive species including the Mallee emu-wren, the mallee fowl and numerous other species of parrots and cockatoos. We’ll also keep an eye out for reptiles including geckos, skinks, snakes and the shy and beautifully marked sand goanna. 

Towards the end of the day we’ll traverse the entire centre of the park, through beautiful sand dunes and vast open vistas en route back to Mildura.

Accommodation: Quality Hotel Mildura Grand 

Breakfast and lunch provided.    

Day 3: The Murray River and Lake Mungo

Breakfast at hotel.

Today we head Outback but before we do we explore the Murray River and associated billabongs (waterholes). Sometimes large numbers of parrots, cockatoos and other birds are seen here as they arrive out of the desert looking for food and water near the rivers. In the afternoon we depart the Murray and head out into arid lands towards Lake Mungo. 

En route we enter the vast – 2400sq.km – Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area (WHA) and walk along an ancient ‘fossilised’ watercourse that gave its name to this gigantic lake system. This is the Willandra Creek that, like the entire system, has been dry for 18,000 years. Later we enter Mungo National Park – within the WHA – and watch the sunset over the dry bed of Lake Mungo, a magical experience. Here 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. We often have our first sightings of desert parrots and cockatoos and the marvellous macropods: western-grey kangaroos and red kangaroos. 

Accommodation: Mungo Lodge (3 nights)

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.   

Day 4 & 5: Lake Mungo – Wildlife & Culture a 50,000 year journey

Breakfast at the lodge. 

Why the Mungo Outback is special?

Australian Aboriginal People have lived and hunted beside Lake Mungo for 50,000 years. 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. 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 still found around Lake Mungo. Today the land boasts two of Australia’s five species of great kangaroos, many rare and beautiful parrots, birds of prey, reptiles and a rich arid land flora. 

Discovering Mungo National Park

Over the next two days we will explore Mungo National Park in detail on a journey that will help you appreciate the enormous significance of this region to human and wildlife history. The park itself covers over 1,110 km² surrounding the ancient bed of Lake Mungo.

Now dry, Lake Mungo has been a living place for Aboriginal people for at least 50,000 years. The dunes beside the lake have eroded to expose the oldest human living site on earth which is the main reason for the creation of the World Heritage Area. Another reason for WHA status is a unique layer of exposed megafauna skeletal remains that tell of a cooler, wetter time in Australia when giant marsupials and Aboriginal people coexisted beside a magnificent freshwater lake system. Lake Mungo was a massive overflow from the Willandra Lakes system which, before the system dried, had an inlet but no outlet.

On a series of walks and drives we’ll investigate the wildlife of this place including an amazing number of birds (including emus), two species of kangaroos, reptiles and a remarkable variety of desert vegetation. 

We travel through a diverse array of habitats varying from dense mallee woodlands, cypress pine/buloke woodlands, mulga scrub and vast expanses of saltbush. Huge white sand dunes rise high above the dry lake beds and have been eroded in some areas allowing burrowing birds like the white-backed swallow to build their nests. We often see pink cockatoos and occasional cockatiels in this region along with chats and arid land fairy wrens. The crested bellbird is often heard and sometimes seen. Raptors including the spotted harrier, black falcon, grey falcon and wedge-tailed eagle are known to nest in the area. There is a possibility of seeing malleefowl but they are extremely rare. Emus are abundant.

During our journey 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 campsites, 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 co-existed 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. Due to the sacred nature of these burial sites they are not accessible to the general public. As we travel we’ll stop often to search for birds and other animals and learn about the vegetation in this constantly changing landscape. You have the opportunity to climb high into the huge Mungo dunefield for stunning views across the desert.

Accommodation Day 4 & Day 5: Mungo Lodge 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided (Day 4 & 5).

Day 6: Return to civilisation and transfer onwards

After an optional early morning bird walk we enjoy a final breakfast at Mungo Lodge before driving out of the desert back to Mildura where you will depart.

Breakfast provided.

Note: This itinerary represents the most current information for this itinerary, including but not limited to the itinerary and price. The itinerary should be seen as a guide only. This itinerary may change at any time due to inclement weather, forces of nature and other circumstances beyond our control. Please refer to our terms and conditions for more information.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • 5 nights accommodation as per itinerary
  • Experienced wildlife guide throughout days 1–6
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary by private air-conditioned charter vehicle
  • Meals included: daily breakfast, 4x lunches, 3x dinners

COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • Domestic or international airfares
  • Pre-registration, late check-out or day use at hotels other than specified above
  • Guide services other than specified
  • Meals/beverages other than specified, alcohol
  • Tips and gratuities Optional tours/services.

Trip testimonials and reviews

“I had a great time on the trip. Everything went swimmingly well. The tour leaders were top notch and extremely knowledgeable, especially on bird identification. The accommodation was good and all meals were great, the vehicles provided were excellent. I loved the chance to view ancient artefacts strewn throughout the dunes. 10 out of 10.” – Denis Minehan, Cooma NSW

“Julie & I had a wonderful trip to Hattah & Mungo areas with our guides Roger & Martin. Both men were great fun to be with & both had fantastic knowledge of the areas visited & terrific animal/birds spotting skills. Accommodation, facilities, service & meals in Mildura & Mungo Lodge were excellent & we would be happy to recommend both venues. Vehicles were very comfortable, spotlessly clean & well maintained. Once again thanks to Roger & Martin who made this trip one to remember, we wanted for nothing (except pink cockatoos!)” – Julie & John Nixon, VIC

COVID-19

Until further notice: from 1 October 2021 we will require that all participants on our tours must be fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved vaccine against Covid-19 with the final dose administered no later than two weeks prior to departure. See terms and conditions for more details.

CONTACT US

Want to know more or register your interest?

Send us an email to travel@australiangeographic.com or call 1300 241 141. 

We look forward to hearing from you!

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