Mungo National Park
Mungo National Park is 100 km north east of Mildura, but seems less off the beaten path these days than the last time we visited (several years ago) where the gravel road into the park was in much worse condition and the maximum speed a car or mini 4x4 could expect to go was about 50 km hr....this time, we had no trouble travelling most of the way at 100, so were there in no time.
This place is SO worth a visit... I'll explain more later when I've time.
For now I'll leave you some photos of the lunettes (formations of sand and silt and mud) at the most popular feature of the park, the Great Walls of China.
The city of Mildura (pop. approx 50,000) is a looong way from the sea, but it really has that style of climate, which seems odd even to me, considering it is situated only 8 hours drive inland north of Melbourne.
Climate is one of the many great things this city has going for it, unless high heat with an average daily temperature of around 30 degrees for 5 months of the year isn't your thing.
But why don't I start by telling you where this place is, and where it began?
The city of Mildura is located at the far North Western corner of Victora, bordering close to South Australia. New South Wales is only a couple of minutes away over the bridge of the mighty Murray River.
This city is where two of Australia's mightiest rivers - the Murray and the Darling, meet.
This region is called the Riverina, and stretches for several hundred kilometres.
It began as Australia's first irrigation settlement in the 1880's, and after troubled early years, really began to flourish.
These days it is one of the largest fruit farming/growing and wine growing regions in the whole of Australia. Certainly there is nowhere else I've travelled in Australia where the vineyards seem to stretch on for over 100 kms along the river, greening up what would otherwise be fairly monotonous countryside, with salt bush appearing to be the main vegetation outside this main irrigation area.
River trade was also very important in the early years, and you can still take rides up and down the river on historic paddlesteamers today.
The city may be relatively small, but it is larger than its population warrants, as it is really the only town with over a few thousand people for over 300 kms in every direction, so as you can imagine, it has to be quite self -sufficient.
A bit like an oasis, though not quite on the edge of proper sandy desert land. That doesn't start for around another 100 kms or so. ..so it's close.
Mildura is also an important tourism centre, with a great Tourist info centre that gives you all the information you could want on the area.
It is also a good starting point for visiting Mungo National Park, Mootwingee, Kingchega National Park and Broken Hill.
These Jacaranda trees were flowering everywhere in and around Mildura city.
I'd only ever seen them once before, in north Queensland, and I fell in love with them.
Not only is Mildura famous for its grape growing for wine, but also the dried fruit industry here is huge.