Wednesday 14 October 2009

Mutawintji National Park

We spent a night camping in the dust at Mutawintji National Park, about 2 hours NE of Broken hill down a fairly rough dirt road.
It was an interesting park, we ticked all the walks, and barely saw another soul on them:
  • Byngnano Range Walk (7.5 km, 4 hours) loop. This was a great walk through dry creek beds into the gorges, with some great views out over the rocky cliffs. Saw a fair bit of aboriginal art (paint and carvings), which the guys from the Burke and Wills expedition kindly painted over in 1860-61 (blue triangle in the picture).
  • Off-track in the wilderness area off the end of old coach road drive. I managed to convince Em she wanted to walk off-track :) We (I) headed straight for the most interesting rock face I could find and walked/scrambled to the top. Found a few bits of aboriginal art (hand prints) under the ledges. I think you could easily spend a couple of days in this area exploring and looking for art. Water is pretty much non-existent.
  • Mutawintji Gorge Walk (6 km, 3 hours). Beautiful gorge and waterhole at the end. Tons of wildlife. We were the first walkers of the day, so we scared a few wallabies out of the waterhole and about 30 wild goats. Goats are a massive problem in the park - they have contracts out for commercial hunters who sell the meat. They herded and sold 2,300 goats out of the park just in July 2009!!
  • Western Ridge Walk (6 km, 2 hours). Some nice views, but not that interesting. I'd give this one a miss.

The area designated as the Mutawintji historic site can only be entered with a guide. The aboriginal land council used to do tours, but now the only option is the commercial tour companies. Unfortunately we didn't realise this until we were out there, and without mobile coverage or a working payphone there was no way to get on a tour. We talked to a guy who had been and he said the aboriginal art on the tour was quite good, but the best gorge scenery is on the public walks.

1 comment:

Lydia said...

I guess after 100 years, graffiti becomes a historic remnant. Looks like you had an amazing time exploring the outback - a bit terrifying, being so far away from everything. Hope you didn't get too thirsty.