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Easter in Bourke’s National Parks

Wendy and Rusty hiking in Gundabooka National Park. PHOTO TWH

As the weather cools down in the Australian outback, Easter is the perfect time to explore the stunning scenery, artwork, walking tracks, and campgrounds that our local National Parks offer.

Bourke is lucky to have the iconic Gundabooka and Toorale National Parks so close to town – with so many natural and cultural features to enjoy.

These National Parks are rich in Aboriginal and European heritage that stretch from the banks of the Darling River, across the plains and over to Mount Gundabooka and the Gundabooka Ranges.

“Due to the rain that we have been getting recently,” Park Ranger Jessica Ellis said, “the landscape here is magnificent; the green in the trees brings out the red in the soil and vice versa, so everything looks picture-perfect under a royal blue sky.”

When visiting the parks, you are met with raw beauty, untouched landscapes, ancient artwork, wild animals, and wild terrain; but now, due to the new camping amenities at both parks, visitors can enjoy the rough landscape without a rough sleep.

“We have new amenities at the Dry Tank Campground out at Gundabooka,” Ranger Jessica Ellis continued. “It has a brand-new BBQ and toilet area and we have increased the number of campsites from four to twenty.

“Likewise, the Darling River Campground at Toorale National Park has newly installed toilet facilities.

“Bookings can be made via the online bookings system through the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website,” Ranger Ellis said.

The parks, featuring woodlands, floodplains, sandhills and rugged mountains, are of great significance to the local Ngemba Aboriginal people.

It is well worth taking a stroll along the Yapa Aboriginal art site walking track at Mulgowan to see some ancient Aboriginal rock art up close.

“People can expect to see quite a bit of wildlife at the moment,” Ranger Ellis said.

“Because the weather is cooling down, there are lots of lizards – bearded dragons and sand goannas – on the road, and through the walking tracks, and you will see a range of beautiful native birds.”

Some of the wildlife you could encounter include birds such as the wedged tailed eagle, brown falcon, emus, black swans, and a range of cockatoo species to name just a few.

The reptiles and mammals you might encounter stem include common animals such as kangaroos, echidnas, shingle backed lizards and brown snakes through to the more rare Fat-tailed Dunnart.

Ranger Ellis said that on Good Friday, starting at midday, there will a BBQ at Toorale homestead.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service will be providing fish, chips, and salad for everyone who wants to travel out to Toorale and join in on the festivities.

“Then on Monday, at midday, NPWS will be holding a free sausage sizzle at the Mulgowan carpark at Gundabooka National Park, right near the Aboriginal art site.

“This is an ideal place to have a wander around to look at the scenery, artwork, and all the natural beauty that the park has to offer,” Ranger Ellis said.

Read more local news in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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