We are all guilty of spending too much time mindlessly trawling the ‘gram, but when you come across posts like these on @visitnsw it makes it all worthwhile.
Mars, or in reality, the outback of NSW had to be the magical shoot location for our latest collection, Nomada.
When we were designing this collection at the same time, we were selecting new pictures from Arnhem’s childhood for our About page. Reminiscing and exploring Arnhem’s nomadic family history, rich with adventure and colour, inspired a collection that epitomises freedom and an everlasting feeling of connection with nature. So, when we found this post on Insta, we knew that this otherworldly landscape had to be the backdrop for this collection.
In April we flew into Broken Hill and then took a short car journey to Silverton to stay and shoot part one of the campaign at the iconic, Silverton Hotel. If you’ve ever watched Mad Max II then you’ve seen this landmark pub. It’s like something straight out of a country and western movie. Donkeys roam free, there’s classic Aussie memorabilia everywhere, and dust whirlwinds make this place was such a vibe. The people are so sweet and lovely, we naturally had to get onboard and pay homage to the outback by sinking a cold beer and trying the famous hotdogs, all while taking in the sheer beauty of the landscape from the verandas and the porch. The Silverton was the absolute dream for our day one shoot and was an awesome introduction to what was about to become one of the most wondrous adventure trips of our lifetime.
The next morning after the shoot at Silverton, we set off before sunrise, taking a five-hour car journey through untouched land on roads that seemingly ran on forever. You could literally drive for kilometres without ever seeing a soul, other than perhaps an emu that punctuates the scrub and endless sea of reds and browns. We were headed for the Mungo Lodge that would act as our basecamp from which to explore the World Heritage, Mungo National Park.
Super remote, the Mungo Lodge was the perfect location for us to maximise our time, right on the doorstep of Mungo National Park. It was a beautiful place to stay, with incredible food and amazingly friendly staff. The team at Mungo Lodge helped us to organise our tour with a NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Aboriginal Discovery guide, and this tour literally blew our mind.
The one thing that we were not prepared for was the weather: it was freezing! After piling on literally the entire contents of our carry-on luggage we headed out to Mungo to start the tour. We were welcomed to Country and then followed our guide to the Walls of China to learn about the immense cultural and geological significance of the site.
In awe of this otherworldly landscape, we discovered that over 40 years ago the remains of a man were found that proved what the traditional custodians of the land already knew; Aboriginals had inhabited the land forever. The Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area covers 2400sq.km of semi-arid saltbush plains of south-western NSW. In geological layers dating back 50,000 years the bones of both Mungo Man and Mungo Lady were found at Willandra. Archaeologists unearthed evidence of occupation, burials and ceremonies making it the world’s oldest ritual site. This discovery helped to propel the growing indigenous rights movement.
The Willandra Lakes Region dried up about 18,500 years ago, but they left behind precious relics of the Pleistocene era. Excavation revealed evidence of early human history from tools to materials and seeds, and it’s said up to 460 fossilized Aboriginal footprints - the largest such collection in the world. We felt privileged and humbled to walk in the footsteps of the Ngyiampaa, Mutthi Mutthi and Southern Paakantyi Aboriginal people who have lived here for millennia.
Mungo Man cared for his Country and kept safe the special men's knowledge. By his lore and ritual activity, he kept the land strong and his culture thriving. This indigenous tribes of this area to this day keep this precious cultural heritage and traditional knowledge alive.
We then went on to learn more about this unique, Mars-like landscape and the work that goes into protecting this fragile environment to ensure that it’s preserved for future generations to come. We learnt about how climate change since the last ice age has shaped the land’s geography creating the etched dunes called the Walls of China and the breathtaking lunettes. It’s astonishing to think that the force of Mother Nature will continue to evolve this ever-changing landscape long after we have gone.
Spending two days in this breathtaking natural environment reminded us to take a step back and revel in the complex simplicity of life. Being so isolated allowed us to be void of light pollution by night and open ourselves to the majesty of the galaxy under the perfect dome of stars. The gentle rhythms of colour and light from the spectacular sunrises to the burnt tones of sunsets reset our circadian clocks in a way that no amount of meditation ever could.
We are forever grateful to Mother Earth and the Ngyiampaa, Mutthi Mutthi and Southern Paakantyi Aboriginal people to have experienced the magic of Mungo.
So, what are you waiting for?
Visit: Mungo National Park