Duration: 4 days/ 3 nights
Type: Private Charter.
Departs: On Request
Interests: Birds, Land Mammals & Marsupials, Reptiles & Amphibians.
This private outback adventure explores the magnificent Lake Mungo in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area. Guests will be captivated by the expansive red sand plains and dunes, riverine ecosystems of the famous Murray and Darling Rivers and the arid land ecosystems around Lake Mungo, sprinkled with Kangaroos, Emus, Pink Cockatoos, several parrot species including Mulga, Red-rumped, Mallee Ringnecks and Blue-bonnets, raptor birds including the Wedge-tailed Eagle and several species of lizard basking in the sun.
Travellers will gather a deeper understanding of Aboriginal People and their culture, dating back 50,000 years, with Mungo National Park being the site of the oldest cremation of any human. The region has been continuously occupied by Aboriginal People since that time, the longest known occupation of any land by any people on earth.
About Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours was founded by Roger Smith and Janine Duffy in 1993, with the vision to bring people and wildlife together for mutual benefit. The award-winning team believes that observing and connecting with wildlife is a key element in enriching the lives for people of all backgrounds; whether this interaction is for pleasure, new experiences and learning, for connection to the land or the basic needs for humans to breathe clean air and drink clean water via healthy ecosystems.
When guests travel with Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours, part of the trip involves travellers contributing to a project that actively helps wildlife.
Upon arrival into Mildura from Melbourne Airport (MEL), guests will meet their Echidna Walkabout wildlife guide to commence an epic private adventure across the Australian outback at Lake Mungo in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area.
The day commences at one of Australia' most significant places, at the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers. Of special significance to both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, travellers will be captivated by stark contrasts of this beautiful watercourse flowing through semi-arid landscapes.
After a delicious lunch, guests will check into accommodation overlooking Thegoa Lagoon, a major billabong (water hole) of the Murray River and home to many species of bird. The afternoon offers guided walks across the region in search of birds, marsupials and reptiles taking refuge along the rivers and billabongs of the arid country.
This is a delight for bird lovers, with abundant opportunities to see parrots, cockatoos and other bushbirds, as they arrive out of the desert looking for food and water near the rivers. Amazing photographic opportunities await when the group walks across vivid red sand dunes, also home to several reptile species and raptor birds, before the group heads back for dinner.
Accommodation: Two Rivers Motel
After breakfast, guests will travel south to Hattah-Kulkyne National Park; a 50,000 hectare reserve famed for its incredible mix of dryland and wetland bird life and rich landscapes including red and yellow sand dunes, riverine forests, natural lakes and wetlands. Hattah Kulkyne is home to a wide range of birds and reptiles, including two species of large monitors. This lake system provides the perfect backdrop for lunch, before the groups's next stop at Lake Mungo in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area along straight dirt roads deep into the desert.
Later in the afternoon, travellers will check into Mungo Lodge, where two days of safari walks and drives will commence. To begin this journey we walk to a lookout over the dry lakebed of Lake Mungo near sunset, where the guide will share how the Willandra Lakes System dried out over thousands of years as the climate warmed.
The remarkable landscapes provide abundant opportunities to see Major Mitchell Cockatoos and Cockatiels, Emus 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, with two species of kangaroo also residing in the area.
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.
Accommodation: Mungo Lodge
An early start awaits guests, to catch the sunrise whilst exploring the ancient shoreline of dry Lake Mungo. This is the ideal time to spot cockatoos, parrots, kangaroos and emus, often seen in large numbers.
Additional photo opportunities await as the group drives across the dry bed to reach the spectacular lunettes (wind-curved sand dunes). Travellers will be fascinated with the “story line” through 50,000 years of Aboriginal History beginning at the lake bed and rising high into the eroded dunes. Insights will be shared about how the Aboriginal people lived within the region, with evidence of their camp sites, remains of their cooking fires and, depending on the movement of the sand and soil, it may even be possible to discover new sites!
The guide will also point out evidence of extinct fauna and share this once thriving wetland, where large numbers of waterbirds and animals co-existed beside a vibrant population of Aboriginal People for tens of thousands of years. 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.
Traversing by vehicle and on foot, guests will encounter four different ecosystems during a circumnavigation of Lake Mungo, ranging from dry lakebeds to rich sandy bush country. This will provide the perfect opportunity to search for birds and other animals and learn about the vegetation in this constantly changing landscape.
For those looking for some exercise, the opportunity to climb high into the huge Mungo dune field for stunning views across the desert is an option. Depending on weather and time of year, dinner this afternoon will be out in the desert before returning to the Lodge as the sun sets. As the daylight fades we often see large numbers of both Western-grey and Red Kangaroos grazing beside the road along with Australia's largest flightless bird, the Emu.
Accommodation: Mungo Lodge or similar
After an optional early morning bird walk, guests will enjoy a final breakfast at Mungo Lodge before driving out of the desert to Mildura Airport, ready for the next adventure (return flights from Melbourne to Mildura not included as part of tour).
Private Tour Pricing: from $1,950 per adult (based on a party of 5 or more), from $3,000 per adult (based on a party of 2 people), twin share including touring, meals & accommodation).
Group Size: Maximum of 8 guests.
Pick-up and Drop Off Point: Mildura Airport
Pick-up and Drop-off Time: Dependent on scheduled flights in and out.
Private Touring: This is a private tour and will be quoted based on your interests and group size, so can not be immediately booked via the webiste. Please contact us for details.
Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours is internationally-recognised in wildlife in the wild conservation travel, and winner of the 2014 World Responsible Travel Award. Our extensive policies with respect to conservation and social enterprise are available for your reference. As a social enterprise tour company, we invest more than 50% of our profit into our mission. Most of that investment is through our Koala Research Project, and through in-kind and direct financial support to the Koala Clancy Foundation.
We strongly support the concept of privately-owned land to increase the habitat available to wildlife – this is essential if wildlife is to survive the upcoming challenges of climate change. Through Koala Clancy Foundation we plant koala food trees in river valleys and along creeks on private farmland near Melbourne – returning the indigenous flora to that denuded environment.
WINNER Best for Wildlife Conservation at the World Responsible Tourism Awards London • 2014
WINNER Seatrade Cruise Award for World’s Most Innovative Shore Excursion • 2017
WINNER TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2018 • 2017 • 2016 • 2015 • 2014
"This trip was great from the moment Martin picked me up from my hotel to the moment he dropped me off 4 days later. We covered an amazing range of different areas in East Gippsland; from an island sanctuary where we saw at least 15 different wild koalas! (as well as 4 echidnas) to the rugged mountain forests of Snowy River. Other highlights included excellent views of red-necked wallaby and eastern grey kangaroos. The birdlife was wonderful too...Martin was the perfect guide; informative, knowledgeable and friendly! The accommodation in the Snowy River Homestead was perfect with very welcoming hosts and a lovely peaceful setting. I would recommend this tour to anyone wanting to have an in-depth experience of Aussie Wildlife.!" - Marilyn, UK
"Great 4 days exploring and watching wildlife. Beautiful parks, forests, beaches. Tons of wildlife each day. B&B itself lovely with great hosts. Comfortable vehicle, not a van. Brett guide knowledgeable, flexible, fun. Food great. Time passed too quickly. Great way to see Australia and wildlife up close. Worth every penny. Picnic dinner watching sunset at beach incredible. Learned tremendous amount about animals and history of land." - Dexmorris, North Carolina
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