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From Coast to Coast

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Today's journey.Today's journey.

The morning at the Kosciuszko is just beautiful. The rising sun coaxes a few strands of mists out of the ground, which travel far and wide along the grass-covered plain between the mountains and the river. With the sun come the kangaroos: a whole herd of them scatters around, foraging for breakfast. A couple of them stops right next to my vehicle, apparently very interested in what I'm having for a brekkie myself. It's the middle of the summer, but the air feels quite shivery: 10 or 12 degrees, maybe? Must be very frosty here, come June or July.

The sun rises... and the roos rise with it.The sun rises... and the roos rise with it.

Some are more curious than the others.Some are more curious than the others.

And some are just playful!And some are just playful!

And obviously very much used to the tourists.And obviously very much used to the tourists.

Once I'm done with my food, I walk around and check out the river (no good shots there, although it does look very peaceful) and pack up my tent to drive off and check a few lookout spots along the road (no good shots there either, because the day is cloudless, and the sun rises quickly). It gets warmer and warmer with each covered kilometre, because by now I'm on the other side of the Snowy Mountains and going down the valley, and very shortly after I'm out of the New South Wales and enter Victoria.

Last look at the local vegetation...Last look at the local vegetation...

...and the mountains....and the mountains.

Hello, Victoria!Hello, Victoria!

Out of many possible roads that could take me to Mildura – my destination for today – I choose the one that takes me along the mighty Murray River, which is the longest in Australia. I became a bit familiar with its lower stretches while I lived in South Australia, so it's time to check out how it looks like earlier in the run.

Of course, there's lots and lots of dead trees sticking out of the water that I love so much. The road often comes very close to the river, and they aren't a rare sight at all. Beautiful stuff. In winter, the river must be even wider and fuller, but I'm sure that many of those trees remain visible even then.

The Murray River.The Murray River.

Interesting colour of the water.Interesting colour of the water.

More dead trees!More dead trees!

And more farms and cows.And more farms and cows.

No adventures till Mildura, which is where I refuel and set out towards my final destination: the Mungo National Park. The road there – about 50 km one way – is unsealed, but quite good. The park is famous for its archeological findings (some of the earliest specimen of humans were found there) and for the Walls of China, which is a long stretch of sand dunes, now largely devoid of sand and stripped down to their cores by numerous winds and rains. That, in my opinion, could definitely look cool during sunset, which by now is very near.

The official lookout spot, however, turns out to be quite a disappointment. You can't even walk up closer to any of the rigid, ribbed dune cores: all you can do is look from afar, confined to the footpaths and a few benches. Understandable, of course, but still. On one of the benches I hear some agitated talk between the participants, performed entirely in Russian: now that's an interesting find in the middle of nowhere. However, I still want to get my cool sunset shots in a unique setting, so I promptly retreat to the car and drive a little further away, hoping to approach the dunes from a slightly less restrictive side.

And I manage to do just that! And just in a nick of time, because the sun is pretty low over the horizon by now. Up close, the weirdly shaped dunes and crevices look otherwordly. It's very easy to imagine yourself on another planet when you walk around them, not seeing a single human footprint around. I see a few wild rabbits and goats, though, who disappear before I can even lift my camera up. Clearly, these guys are familiar with humans only too well.

At the Mungo National Park.At the Mungo National Park.

The land of wrinkles!The land of wrinkles!

All the light will soon be gone.All the light will soon be gone.

The shadows are getting longer.The shadows are getting longer.

A creek bed.A creek bed.

The alien landscape.The alien landscape.

Tough life for a tree around here.Tough life for a tree around here.

The sun is setting fast.The sun is setting fast.

The land of wrinkles is about to fall asleep.The land of wrinkles is about to fall asleep.

The silence of ages long gone.The silence of ages long gone.

After I'm done with my shooting – which I'm very pleased with – I arrive to my camping ground in almost total darkness. It takes a bit of driving to get there, and there's no mobile signal at all; but the grounds are quite spacious and secluded, and a few campers who are already there are no hassle at all. The place even has toilets and a water tank, which is always a bonus, and is cosily surrounded by mallee scrub. A very quiet and tranquil place to stay, and the night is full of stars and warm and balmy. Perfect!

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