They were a system of lakes in the Pleistocene Epoch during the last Ice Age and today are dry lake beds with salt-tolerant low bushes and grasses. Dunes have been formed by prevailing winds, and erosion has sculpted the sand and clay into dramatic formations such as the Walls of China at Mungo National Park.
Access to this striking, awe-inspiring landscape is mostly made through Mungo National Park which is part of the Willandra Lakes Region inscribed by the United Nations as a World Heritage site because it is an "outstanding example representing the major stages in the earth's evolutionary history; and an outstanding example representing significant ongoing geological processes."
Murray Basin in southwestern New South Wales. The area is divided diagonally in a southwestern to northeastern direction by the boundary of Balranald Shire and Wentworth Shire. 34°S, 143°E.
240,000 hectares, including Mungo National Park's 27,847 hectares.
Some 20 mammalian species have been recorded, including red and grey kangaroos, echidnas and several species of bat.
Numerous radiocarbon dates establish that humans were in the region at least 30,000 years ago. Archaeological discoveries include a 26,000-year-old cremation site, a 30,000-year-old ochre burial site, the remains of giant marsupials, and grindstones or mortars from a period 18,000 years ago, which were used to crush wild grass.
Some 38,000 people visit Mungo National Park each year.
Broken Hill (316km)
Access roads include unpaved sections.
A vehicle entry fee is charged. There are camping grounds where a fee is charged.
Buronga park office, 613-5021-8900.