Australia / Night Pictures / Travel / Wildlife

Mungo National Park

6 Apr ’14

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Mungo National Park at sunset

Following one of my previous articles, about Warrumbungle National Park , here is our next stop during the road trip we took over Christmas. Mungo National Park is a special place, located 100km North-East of Mildura in Central NSW, it is where the Mungo Man and the Mungo Lady remains were found and dated to 42,000 years old. It was one of the first places listed as World Heritage in Australia and is shared by the Paakantji, Ngyiampaa and Mutthi Mutthi people. The archeology, the geology (and the amazing lunette), and the environment are quite special features for this area and definitely a draw card for the park. A lot of Australian kids have heard about the Mungo Man, but to learn more and to make the connections to the present day National Park is truly exciting. If you would like to look into the subject, the Mungo website, http://www.visitmungo.com.au/, is an amazing source of information.

Apres notre précédent stop dans le Warrumbungle National Park, voila l’étape suivante de notre road trip de noel. Mungo NP est un endroit special, situé a 100km au nord-est de Mildura dans le centre de la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud, il s’agit de l’endroit ou les fossiles de Mungo Man et Mungo Lady on été retrouvés et datés a plus de 42000 ans. Il s’agit d’un des premier endroits a avoir été listé au patrimoine mondial de l’UNSECO en Australie et il appartient aux peuples Paakantji, Ngyiampaa et Mutthi Mutthi. L’archéologie, la geologie et l’environnement naturel sont des elements importants du parc.

Below are two images. The first one is of the typical ecosystem, bluebush/saltbush scrublands that you would find in the dried lakes of Mungo National Park. It was a great spot to look for White-winged Fairy-wrens. The second image is part of the famous ‘Walls of China’ rock formation, which resulted from the formation of the lunette and subsequent weathering and erosion events. The sunsets are unbelievably long and colourful in this part of the world.

La premiere image ci dessous représente le biotope typique que l’on trouve dans les lacs asséchés de Mungo avec une vegetation dominée par le genre Atriplex. Ce biotope est un endroit parfait pour observer les mérions leucoptere. La seconde image illustre la formation géologique appelle “Les murs de Chine” qui est le résultat de l’erosion du sol. Les coucher de soleil sont très long dans cette partie de l’Australie et ca donne une palette de couleur interessante.

© Nicolas Rakotopare - Bluebush Saltbush / Shrublands in Mungo Lake, NSW© Nicolas Rakotopare - Mungo Lunette at sunset, NSW

Taking the long exposure below was enjoyable on numerous levels, the sun had been gone a few hours and therefore we were not melting anymore, the flies were gone and there was no wind at all. This eerie, in a good way, feeling while kicking back in a chair and setting up the shot is one of my favorite memories. No city light, noise or anything aggressive to our senses.

Faire cette pause longue (l’image ci dessous) a été une bonne experience pour différentes raisons. Le soleil avait disparu depuis plusieurs heures donc on n’était plus en train de fondre a cause de la temperature, le mouches n’étaient plus présentes et il n’y avait pas de vent! Ce sentiment de repos, pose dans la chaise a déclencher toute les 20minutes, ou presque, est un souvenir grave dans ma memoire.

© Nicolas Rakotopare - Long Exposure photograhy in Mungo National Park

The Wildlife of Mungo National Park

Some very interesting wildlife can be found in the park, 110 species of birds, 22 mammal species and 62 reptile species! This was of course, along with the culture and the history of the place, a major draw for us to go and spend a few days there.

Il y a des espèces très interessantes présentes dans ce parc avec 110 espèces d’oiseau, 22 mammifères et 62 reptiles recensés! Ces animaux et l’aspect culturel de ce parc ont été les elements qui nous ont decide a le visiter et y passer quelques jours.

Mulga Parrots Psephotus varius Mungo National Park

Above is a pair of male Mulga Parrots (Psephotus varius), I love the contrast of their colourful feathers against the dull colours of their environment. they are named after the Mulga tree (Acacia aneura) but besides both occurring in the drier inland parts of Australia and the parrots feeding on the Mulga seeds, amongst other things, they have no other specific relationship. I heard a flock and their characteristic ‘swit’ call fly by as we we finishing the afternoon walk, they landed on that branch and started pecking at each other. I took a few shots and they all flew off again. L’image d’au dessus est un duo de males Perruches multicolores (Psephotus varius). J’adore le contraste avec les couleurs pastels de l’outback.

Western Grey Kangaroos Macropus fuliginosus Mungo national Park

People are used to see kangaroos in Australia but not everyone knows that there is a few different species. This is a Western Grey Kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus) are a common sight around the campgrounds and the visitor centre. It is differentiated from the Eastern Grey Kangaroo that we commonly see (I write from South-East Queensland) by its prominent white on the ears and the darker muzzle. Beaucoup de voyageurs savent qu’il y a des kangourous en Australie mais peu realisent qu’il existe plusieurs especes differentes. Ici il s’agit d’un kangourou gris (Macropus fuliginosus) et il ressemble beaucoup au kangourou geant de l’est de l’Australie.

Thick-tailed Gecko Underwoodisaurus milii mungo national park

I wanted to photograph Pigmy Knob-tail Geckoes at some point during this trip. We did not manage to find this particular species but after finishing photographing a sunset (10:30pm) we did our usual bit of spotlighting and Rach spotted this amazing Thick-tailed Gecko (Underwoodisaurus milii). A first for all of us and quite an amazing animal. Bien que l’on ait pas trouve l’espece de gecko que j’esperais photographier on a eu droit a une bonne surprise avec ce Thick-tailed Gecko (litteralement gecko a queue large) (Underwoodisaurus milii) que Rachel a trouve le long de la piste.

© Nicolas Rakotopare - Painted Dragon (Ctenophorus pictus)

Above is Painted Dragon (Ctenophorus pictus) in a non -breeding state. They become more colourful when in breeding season. He was very calm and we got pretty close to get some images. Ce lezard est un dragon peint (Ctenophorus pictus) en couleur inter-nuptilae. Ils deviennent bien plus colorés pendant la saison de reproduction.

It wouldn’t be outback Australia without a few Emus kicking around. We saw a fair number of Emus as it was very hot during our stay (December) and there was a puddle of water on the track near the camp that brought the wildlife in, including Kangaroos, Cockatoos and Emus. Ca ne serait pas l’outback Australien sans émeu! On a pu en observer pas mal car il faisait tres chaud et les flaques d’eau sur les pistes du camping les attiraient.

© Nicolas Rakotopare - Emu drinking in Mungo National Park© Nicolas Rakotopare - Emus in Mungo National ParkEmus Mungo National Park

Near the visitor center you can take a short walk to discover the old Woolshed, constructed sometime around the year 1877 of locally harvested cypress pines. It’s a great jump back in time to wander through the shed and imagine, all without the aid of modern technologies, a crew of shearers working hard to shear the sheep, woolclassers assessing the quality of the wool and packers bundling it up and using the old presser, which still resides in the shed today, to package up the wool. Pres du centre des visiteurs on peut faire une petite ballade a travers les anciennes granges et zones de tonte. On a vraiment l’impression de revenir dans le temps.

© Nicolas Rakotopare - Mungo Woolshed © Nicolas Rakotopare - Mungo Woolshed

If you are ever looking for a new destination to visit in Australia, Mungo should definitively be on your list. The culture, the history, the wildlife and the geology all make for a trip you will never forget, I certainly won’t and I already want to go back to see more. Make sure you visit the website to check for road conditions, all the options for accommodations, camping, where the water is and all the other things to check and ensure that your trip will be as pleasant as possible!

Si vous êtes a la recherche d’une nouvelle destination en Australie, le parc national de Mungo devrait définitivement être sur votre liste. Ce parc a tout pour plaire grace a la riche histoire, culture et biodiversité. Soyez sur de verifier l’état des routes avant d’y aller car elles peuvent être facilement inondées la bas.

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I am a nature photographer specialising in wildlife photography. I have a special passion for this type of photography which comes from my background as an ecologist & conservation biologist.

Comments (3)

  • April 7, 2014 by Visitor Information

    Visitor Information

    Absolutely amazing Photos of Mungo and great Information, I am letting you know Mungo National Park is 150 Kms North of the Town of Balranald and can be accessed via Balranald on the Ivanhoe Road and the Marma Box Creek Road, this is the shortest route to Mungo N.P. from the Eastern and Southern Areas of Australia.

    • April 7, 2014 by rqko

      rqko

      Thank you for adding this information! We realised later that this was a possible route.

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