I know we're well south of China and not a prawn dumpling in sight, but these are the Great Walls of China in Mungo National Park. The sand and rocks are part of the lunette dominating the dry bed of ancient Lake Mungo. You may only walk here with an elder from the tribe and we were fortunate enough to be accompanied by Graham, a Paakantji man and one of the traditional owners of this magnificent and unique land.
Visiting Mungo has been a dream of mine since I was little. I was asked by a friend why it had taken me so long to visit this place. I'll try to tell you. Firstly there is the distance. Australia is 7,692,024 square kilometres in size. It is 20,000 kilometres from Europe and most of us as young Aussies spend all our time seeing what the rest of the world holds. Australia will always be there for us, right?
Not only is Mungo a 2,000 kilometre round trip from home, it is situated in some of the most remote, inhospitable landscape I've ever seen. It would be madness to drive here in anything but a 4 wheel drive vehicle, especially in The Wet, when it comes. Mungo has been in drought for 25 years. Every lake, river and creek is dried up. We camped out here for a week in temperatures around 40 degrees centigrade every day. There was no drinking water, no showers, no food, no petrol, no refrigeration. No reprieve from the heat or the flies. It's no country for old men - or for old women let me tell you.
Maybe I'm not making sense, maybe the heat got to me. I'll try harder. Whenever I "go Bush" in Australia, what always strikes me is the distance and isolation. This indescribable feeling of peace and freedom. Big skies, blazing sun, millions of stars. Light and colours like you wouldn't believe. The rest of the world seems anaemic to me. My country has scenery that will leave your soul gasping, but it is scenery you have to work hard for. In places like Europe and Asia, I feel claustrophic, crowded-in. Even the sky and stars look smaller and the beautiful things I see there look like a chocolate box to me, handed to me on a silver platter.
Too pretty. Too tame. Too easy.
I invite you to come and see The Outback. You'll never be the same. But you'll understand what I mean.
I love to go Bush :-) No, not THIS Bush ... but the Australian Outback. I have spent many weeks out there if not months (not as far out as you write but enough for a Swiss chick at that time) and it took me quite some time to definitely return to Europe although once you leave the centre of Europe East-bound, it has a lot of space too but differently, it has too many problems besides. It is also the light that is so magic in the Outback and especially in the heart land with the wonderful ocker colored sand. Many moons ago I have read the book Tracks by Robyn Davidson. Probably she made me go to Australia besides a school friend that left our class and moved to Sydney with her parents. So I packed my rucksack right after school and a little money from a job and discovered the Outback and the cities too. It never lets you go. Talking about getting lost: A friend had ineeded troubles with her car and they feared they would not survive. She just recently told me this.
Beautiful your words, Lisa, I know 100 % how you mean it. Interesting the tiny "mountains" building this wall, fun the shadow play from you guys in the sand. What an adventure to explore the area with someone that belongs to this land.
plimrn (2016/04/14 18:30:18): It sounds like a wonderful trip and the perfect time of life to go. I was busy raising a baby then so I had to wait until I was old to travel
Great picture for the situation and colors.
A long and interesting note to go with.
Australia is the destination i've in mind since I was young because I lived in Brisbane when I was a baby!.
One year perhaps :)
Interesting name they called this rock chain. Surely it wasn't so called by the Native Australians?
The colour of the red rock is gorgeous, enhanced no doubt by the low light from the setting/rising sun, which is also providing the shadow play in the ruts and ridges.
Not having been to Australia it is difficult to get a true understanding of your words, especially coming from a country which is probably one of the most overpopulated in the western world (England especially, as opposed to the UK as a whole). However I far prefer the countryside to the urban environment so I do kind of "get it".
I get your feeling and the understand the immense size of your continent. Here in the USA, especially in the west and southwest, we can get away from it all without the problem of great distances. Like the "Outback" the American SW is an arid land and some place like :Death Valley" in California resemble what you describe to a tee. Our urban places are getting too big and too crowed and some of our places of solitude and reflection have become over crowded they are no longer the place to go so the desert is now the place to go because those spoilers don't understand and it is too hard to get to and there are no services.
I am glad your park service has restricted access and only allow access with a tribal elder. This is beautiful; the erosion, the sparse trees and shrubs, and the golden light. The only negative and I am sure you know what it is. On a tripod you and Graham could have stepped away to avoid the shadow. Anyway, it is still beautiful and your wish was fulfilled.
Great, simply great! The play of light and shadows - caused by the low sun - in this really mystic landscape is intriguing and the ochre rocks offer an incredible contrast to the pale blue sky. The shadow of the photographer in thhis case doesn't diturb at all - it somehow looks "admiring".
Thank you for the wonderful enthusiastic note. I really enjoyed it.
By the way, I must smile about your words "forget Berlin" in your today's comment to my photo. I can understand you ... ;-)
Greetings from still cool and grey Germany! Spring still is hesitting.
Hum. and I was expecting some Peking duck and some dumpling for dinner :( This Great Wall is just too remote the have a Chinese Restaurant :(
Anyway, glade your finally reach your dream destination. Yes, I understand, there are places that sound easy to get to but reality is really the opposite, Australia is about the size of the U.S or China. Some of the desert landscape you see from the like of Peter and others, It take days to get to and you have drive on dirt road with pot holes of sand that can trap you car, and so remote that you may be stuck for days before you can get help. I think in many way the Australian Outback are similar to our U.S. desert.
This is gorgeous, the light making the wall glow like a mount of gold. Love all the wonderful details of the erosion pattern of this wall.
I only wish one day I get to see parts of Australia, but for now, I'll just have to satisfied with your photo, the next best thing to being there myself.
Although I have never stepped foot in Australia I think I understand what you mean, having lived when I was younger in a remote village in Himachal Pradesh in India, a day's walk from the nearest town, often on a hot day slogging up the mountain with supplies I wondered why but at night and especially on full moon nights I thought I was in heaven. It's no coincidence that our daughter is called Chandra Devi - moon goddess.
Sorry back to the photo apart from the gorgeous low light that brings out the textures in the rocks, I like the inclusion of your shadow even more than if someone real had been standing there.
I TOTALLY get it. Your words and thoughts express the very same feelings I have towards the American Southwest. Although, I have never been to Australia (yet) I believe that the remoteness of places like Mungo is even more extreme to what I can experience here in the Southwest.
We should get together ... you show me the untamed, pretty not easy Australia and I show you the stark beauty of the American deserts. Deal? ;-)
The low light and shadows really bring out the color and detail of these formations. The photographer shadow makes a good addition. Your description of the trip sounds a lot like our early June trip to the Alvord desert, but not quite as spiritual since we won't have one of the owners of the land as our guide.
I do appreciate your invitation, we have an Australia/New Zealand trip in the first planning stages for early fall; just kidding, I know it wasn't a personal invitation and I'm not sure we'll get to the outback; my travel companions are both new to Australia and neither are leisurely travel types. I would really like to go because I only got as far north as Port Townsend on the east and Coral Bay on the west. Still, my travels make me strongly support your description of space and spectacular vistas. I've always said that Europeans do NOT come to the US for the food so it must be the space. HLJ, Patricia