Friday Five: Great outdoor things to do this week 17 August 2012

Mungo!  This is a great time to be in Mungo!  Mungo is to Australia what the Taj Mahal is to India, and the Colloseum is to Italy.  Few know that on the south-western corner of NSW right near the Vic border is a site of world significance for humankind.  The oldest human ritual buirial IN THE WORLD occurs here.  The oldest human cremation IN THE WORLD – here.  The oldest group of human footprints IN THE WORLD.  Here again.  Not in Africa, not in Europe.  Here.  And, a dry lake bed full of wild Kangaroos, Emus.  Sand dunes littered with fossils.  UNBELIEVABLE.  Come with us on our Mungo Outback Journey.  Or get yourself up there, stay in Wentworth (lovely Outback town) and get on a tour with Graeme Clarke at Harry Nanya Tours.  We work with Graeme on our Mungo Outback Journey and he is awesome!

2. Birrarung Marr, Melbourne’s newest major park.  It is just east of the Federation Square complex on the north bank of the Yarra and an easy walk.  A great place for a picnic, or a refreshing stroll on a beautiful sunny winter day.  Views along the Yarra towards  Melbourne give you a sense for the land before the city grew: a bountiful place of river and hills. I don’t know what it is about this park that gives that feeling.  It is unlike any other park in Melbourne in its sense of long history.  The Aboriginal Culture of Melbourne is represented here, maybe that’s the special essence.  Touch-screen displays on the wall of the ArtPlay building have recordings of Aboriginal People telling their stories, and the art and sculpture throughout the park have a strong indigenous theme.

3. Ian Potter Gallery of Australian Art.  Just near Birrarung Marr, and a great place to run to if it rains! It’s not really outdoors but it has pictures of the outdoors!  Watch out! This marvellous FREE gallery will trap you for several magical hours!  I never want to leave.  The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections are incredible.  Ever wondered why Emily Kngwarreye’s paintings fetch millions?  For years I was a bit lost on that.  But then I went to Ian Potter and stood in the room with one of her enormous paintings and I was hooked.  No photographic representation does it, you have it to see the real thing.  Open Tuesday to Sunday 10 – 5.

4. Hidden Secrets Tours.  Get out into Melbourne’s laneways and cafes with an expert. This is a great way to see a city, with all its life and vibe – cities are living organisms, a bit like coral reefs.  All these creatures creating their own habitat!  The other great thing about these tours is that they are truly sustainable & eco-friendly!  It’s a walking tour!  No fuel required!  No takeaway cups – drink coffee in the way it should be drunk: from a proper cup sitting at a table! Support small, independent shops that employ local people and keep their profits here in Australia.

5.  Ouyen/Hattah Kulkyne NP. If you’re feeling the chill at the end of winter go north!  You don’t have to go to another state – just crossing the Great Divide takes you to a land of sunshine and sand.  Head north-west to Roger’s childhood home near Ouyen (south of Mildura).  Stay in a simple but comfortable motel, eat in the marvellous Ouyen Pub (great meals, great prices, very friendly locals!).  During the day head out to the Hattah Lakes and take a walk around a brimming lake in the middle of a desert.  Full of birds, it is just a wonderful place at this time of year.


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