Lake Mungo & Darling River Run – 21-29 April 2018

Lake Mungo & Darling River Run (Wentworth to Burke)

21-29 April 2018

The Trip Report has been written by all of the participants on the trip.
A roster was made up and an exercise book was purchased (thanks Sue).
The book was handed around in the order of the roster for the daily entries.
Here are the adventures as written by the Crew.

Day 1 – Saturday 21st April – Adelaide – Wentworth
Ida & Gordon

We had the maximum allowed 8 cars booked for this trip. 5 of us met at 8am on a pleasant warm Saturday morning at 8am – temperature was heading for the low 30s. We picked up Deb & Bruce at Munno Para before continuing on the blacktop to Waikerie where we had a morning tea stop at the bakery on the highway. All those who sampled the wares were impressed with the goods.

From Waikerie we headed on to Renmark via Monash. From Renmark we headed slightly further north before leaving the bitumen turning off on to the Old Wentworth Rd. We travelled along here for a little way finding a clearing where we could eat lunch and let down tyre pressure for the corrugated road ahead. The lunch spot had little of interest except the tree under which we stood had many items hanging in the branches including caps & shoes as well as a couple of hard hats and right near the top was a witches hat.

Once everyone was sufficiently refreshed we headed on the dirt road towards Wentworth via Mt Rufus Road passing Lake Victoria. A reasonably sized wedge tail eagle watched with little interest as the 5 vehicles moved along in convoy towards Wentworth. 1km from Wentworth we stopped for Gary to use his fancy blower to clear the dust off his car.

We arrived in Wentworth around 3:30pm, and after a little re-organising had camp set up. We managed to put our swag up over a bull ant hole so soon moved it to a more suitable location closer to Allan & Celia – a pleasant little spot.

We met up with Trevor & Julie and Les & Eileen there at the Willow Bend caravan park in Wentworth as they had taken alternate routes to reach Wentworth. The proprietors of the park had taken over management 3 months ago and were very accommodating even organizing a fire complete with firewood for us.

Day 1 was our turn for organizing happy hour nibbles and doing the log so we had to work quickly to make sure people had nibbles early enough as we had been booked in for tea at the Crown Hotel in Wentworth.

Very nice meals had by all then a short break on return for a drink by the fire before heading off for some well-earned sleep.

Day 2 Wentworth – Lake Mungo
Barbara & Trevor

Les and Eileen led us on a tour of Wentworth as they lived there 40 odd years ago. We saw the memorial to the “Fergi” (Ferguson tractor) which was a small tractor used by many of the ‘blockies’ during land clearing and to build the town levies.

We continued on to the Old Gaol, huge sporting complex while we dodged the town ducks wandering around.

We stopped at Lock 10 on the Murry/Darling junction.

A large number of pelicans were just swimming around the way pelicans do.

Murry/Darling Confluence
We left town and headed to Pooncarie for lunch and had a look at the Old Wharf site. Nothing is left of the wharf but it was a hive of activity during the hey-day of the river boats. The plaque at the site said that because of the twists and turns of the River the sailing distance from Wentworth to Bourke was 5 times the distance as the crow flies.

A couple of our coffee tragics found a café close by.

From Pooncarie we drove back the 70 ks to the Lake Mungo National Park where we would be spending a couple of nights.

Camp sites have to be booked and paid for in a self-serve kiosk at the Visitors Centre. Cash only. After a bit of confusion we all booked into the camp ground and then had a look around the Visitors Centre. There is a large shearing shed from the era when Lake Mungo was an operating sheep station. Having been brought up on a farm Eileen gave us a running description of how the shed would have been set up and run.

After the inspection of the shed we drove the 3km to the camp ground. The camp sites are on a first come- first served basis and of course all of the best site were taken. We all eventually found a suitable site and set up for the next two nights.  4 o’clock nibbles were enjoyed.

The camp site has long drop toilets and is clean and tidy.

Day 3 Monday 23rd April 2018 Lake Mungo
Eileen & Les

Those that were up earlier enough saw another beautiful sun rise. Today’s journey was to take us around the self-drive track of Lake Mungo with the Littlewood’s as our leader. At 8:30 we headed for the Visitors Centre which was the start of the drive.

After a wrong turn we were soon on the right track past the old shearing shed. The woolshed was built in 1869 from locally hand cut Cypress Pine.

First stop was to view the “Walls of China”

We moved on to Red top tank look out. Some of our group were looking for a tank but in NSW they call dams tanks. The Tank was dry but when it does rain (which is not very often in this country) ducks and other water birds visit the area.

The above picture from the Red Tank Lookout shows the erosion.

Our next stop was for morning tea was at Rosewood Rest where we had shade with tables.

On the track again and we did a quick walk through the Mallee, a good place to spot lizards so the notes said but today the lizards had not read the notes as there were none spotted.

From here we dropped into a depression where early settlers established Allen’s Plain Tank. In 1956 it flooded enough to allow water skiing. (Hard to believe today).

Our next stop was the Belah camp grounds where there was a pit toilet and camp grounds.

Round tank picnic area and goat trap was our next stop. Once again Tank was dry. This area is used to trap wild goats as they are in large numbers and cause major damage to the vegetation.

Vigars Well was our next stop. Once again with toilets and shade. NSW Parks and Wildlife have done a very good job of looking after the area. We were amazed to see emus and kangaroos in the hole. This is a natural fresh water soak. A well was dug here and used to water the many drays and coaches that came through this area. Cob and Co came through this area.


Back to white sand hills, these are moving east up to 3 metres per year.
Our next stop was Zanki homestead. They had it tough back then.


It was then back to the Visitors Centre and the end of the ‘Driving the Mungo’ story. The trip was about 75 km.

The parks did a tag along tour of the area and 4 of our group joined the tour. The rest either went back to camp or journeyed to the Mungo Lodge for Scones and Coffee. It was then back to the visitor’s centre for a free hot shower and viewing a video story of the area.

Its amazing country from Salt flats, white sand hills, Red sandy country Mallee trees, Blue bush and Salt bush.

We finished the day with happy hour at the Butler’s

Day 4 – 24th April Lake Mungo to Medindie
Judy & Gary

After a magnificent sunrise as well as a quick update by our fearless leader (Trevor B) we had Bruce and Deb lead off for the day. There were many dead trees along the long straight we travelled from Lake Mungo heading for Medindie. These trees would be home for lizards and other small animals.

As usual Les was a font on information about this area, he and Eileen lived around this area for a while. Into Pooncarie for morning tea at the previously discovered new café.

We crossed to the west side of the Darling River heading for our next camp.

There were quite a few feral goats along the way and everything was exceptionally dry. The dust haze was fairly heavy at times.

We found track leading to the river where we had lunch.

We arrived in Medindie and had a quick tour of the town and then headed to the Main Weir campground. The large campground is 15 km out of town and we had it to ourselves. The ladies really enjoyed the flush toilets!

Les – ever the hunter, put out some yabby traps and surprised himself by catching a few.

A lovely evening by the fire capped off a very nice days drive.

To be continued in March magazine….