Uncover the beauty of Mutawintji National Park, NSW

Ian Bellert — 1 November 2023
Join Ian Bellert as he explores Mutawintji National Park in NSW, which features an Indigenous cultural connection that was well worth fighting for.

On a recent western New South Wales trip, I had an amazing time on Mutawintji Heritage Tours' Kuluwirru Dreaming half-day tour. Mark Sutton. Our guide from Mutawintji Heritage Tours led a three-hour tour that is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression, and the Heritage Tours motto of “come as a visitor, leave as a friend” certainly rings true.

Mutawintji National Park is located in Far West NSW and is an easy 197km drive from Broken Hill or 225km from Wilcannia if you’re coming from the east. It's easy dirt roads all the way through to the national park. There's camping available in the park at Homestead Creek campground, although you will need to book in advance (like all national parks). It's a spacious campground nestled among tall river red gums and offers amenities including toilets and a camp shower, sheltered picnic tables and free barbecues. The best time to visit is autumn, winter and spring, as the summer heat can be scorchingly hot in this part of Australia.

The park has a number of self-guided walks which range from an hour to a full day of trekking. A highly recommended walk is the Rockholes Loop walking track which takes you past Aboriginal rock art, then to the beautiful gorges of Mutawinjti on a 5.6km loop. This track is an extension of the Homestead Gorge walking track and Thaakalatjika walking track and can be quite steep in sections. Another popular route is the Mutawintji Gorge walking track that shows off the natural beauty of this part of outback NSW and views of the area's many gorges. It's a 6km return track and is moderately challenging.

Run by the Mutawintji Heritage Tours, the Kuluwirri Dreaming tour explores Mutawintji Historic Site and its cultural heritage. This is a restricted area within the national park, and a guided tour is the only way to see and appreciate it. Mark, a local man with a proud heritage to this country, shared dreamtime stories and history with the group. The recent history of how the land’s cultural significance has been protected is worth the tour price alone.

The tours are owned and operated by the Mutawintji Local Aboriginal Land Council in conjunction with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). In 1983 Mutawintjti elders fought to have the precious historic sites and artworks protected. It took a blockade and four years of negotiations before access to the park was allowed, and restrictions were put in place to protect the area's sacred sites. 

The tours have been operating informally since the 1970s but became a formal entity in 1996. Mark has been a guide on and off since 1993 and also spent time as a NPWS park ranger. His family is one of four that are recognised as Traditional Owners of Mutawintji country.

Mark provides insights and knowledge into the stories covering the rock art sites and styles, flora and fauna and the unbroken Indigenous cultural connection to the land. Along the trail different rock art techniques are explained, fossils highlighted and there are a stunning number of petroglyphs (rock carvings) to discover. Combined with stunning ancient rock formations, it creates a more than memorable experience.

Emu petroglyphFossils from the Devonian Period

Mark describes his job as the best in the world as he gets to play in “God's garden, meet new people every day and share stories close to his heart.”

The Mutawintji Heritage Tour adds to the immersion of the place if you spend a few days in this wonderful area of NSW.

Homestead Creek campground

Fast facts

Heritage Tours
P: 07 4054 7750 or 1800 77 55 33
E: info@heritagetours.com.au
W: mutawintjiheritagetours.com.au

All tours must be booked directly on the website.

Tours start strictly at 10am (Eastern Standard Time), and you meet at the Mutawintji Visitor Centre (first building on the left as you enter the national park).

You will need sensible walking shoes, drinking water and sun protection.

Bring your morning tea and/or lunch.

Tour duration is two to three hours.

The walking track is graded easy–moderate and is approximately 2km with plenty of stops and stories along the way.

Homestead Creek campground
Mutawintji Road,
Mutawintji NSW 2880

P: 1300 072 757
E: parks.info@environment.nsw.gov.au
W: nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/campgrounds/homestead-creek-campground

There are 50 camp sites, but you must book in advance. Head to the website to check availability and make bookings. Or contact the National Park Contact Centre via the phone number or email address above. 

Mutawintji Visitor Centre 
51 Old Coach Road
Mutawintji NSW 2880
P: 08 8080 3200
W: nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/visitor-centres/mutawintji-visitor-centre


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