Camping on the Murrumbidgee River

On the banks of the Murrumbidgee

We arrive at Mamanga Campground in the Yanga National Park with about 90 minutes of light left. The clayey ground was sticky from the recent rains on this drought affected land. We had to be careful where to setup camp as the red gums and black box trees were potential hazards as they drop their limbs, but it was extremely peaceful.

Yanga National Park is located south east of Balranald on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. Although not really flowing when we were there, the Murrumbidgee is one of the main tributaries of the Murray River. Evidence around the campground hinted to the height of the last flood in 2016, which was about 60cm above the top of the steep riverbank.

Yanga Woolshed

This is an absolutely amazing shed and the largest we’ve ever come across. Built in the 1800s, it could house 3,000 sheep and 40 working shearers at any one time. The woodshed closed in 2005. We spent about 2 hours photographing and exploring the shed, shearer’s quarters and dilapidated homestead.

Yanga Homestead

Yanga Homestead is another beautiful homestead set above Yanga Lake. The homestead is a popular tourist spot with lovely gardens and lots of historical equipment lying around.

Yanga Lake is important as a native fish hatchery and it receives important water for the environment releases.

Aboriginal culture all around

Being out bush, away from cities and mass light pollution, means you get to really experience the Milky Way in all its glory. This was a great spot for some astrophotography practice. It was also the first time I’ve really seen the Emu in the Sky - an Aboriginal story about how the placement of the emu in the milky way determines when the men can go out and collect emu eggs.

To see the emu you need a very dark sky as the emu is visible in the dark patches of the Milky Way. The head of the emu is known as the coal sack, located between the southern cross and the two pointers. Once you see this, you can make out the rest of the emu’s body, legs and eggs.

The Mamanga Campground was also abundant with scarred trees, showing evidence of Aboriginal use of the area over thousands of years. Bush tucker was also easy to find, including ruby saltbush and lots of emus... mmmmm tasty!

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