For Airplanista Aviation Blog
Having mentioned Mungo Lodge in her last article for Airplanista, Kathy Mexted decided to go and check it out for herself. She found a great airstrip, beautiful accommodation and the best roast duck in Australia.
|Expansive scene near Australia's Mungo Lodge|
This year I’m getting reacquainted with my flying past, and to gain currency I’ve gathered three friends – a commercial pilot and two earthlings -- for a quick outback hit. Perhaps now one of the most appealing things is that the airstrip is only 100 meters from the 4 star restaurant!
World Heritage Listed Lake Mungo has been dry for over 15,000 years. Since the discovery of the 40,000 year old human remains of “Mungo Woman” in 1968 and “Mungo Man” in 1974, the location has been established as one of Australia’s most important archaeological sites.
|Great Wall of China, near Mungo Lodge|
The jewel in the crown of this location is the Lake Mungo Guest Lodge, which is owned by Indigenous Business Australia (IBA). The Lodge celebrates its 20th birthday this November, and only three years ago had a complete makeover. With its high-pitched roof, highly polished spotted gum floors, open fireplace, bar, and outdoor dining deck, there is little to deter the weary traveler from settling in. In fact, I could have stayed a lot longer!
|Jacques and Catherine Barichard|
Jacques and Catherine brought with them the best of French hospitality and cuisine know-how and it quickly became obvious that not only were we in one of Australia’s best outback locations only 90 minutes north of Melbourne, we'd struck amazing chefs. While I drank in my roast duck, which was melting off the bone, we congratulated ourselves on this fantastic find.
|Mungo Lodge Dining Room|
The 2009 makeover included a freshen-up on the airstrip as well. A cross strip was added, and from the air it was easy to spot the runways, each with a large pleasing turning circle at each end. The runways are maintained weekly. We sure had no trouble in the Bonanza, and taxied to the parking bay from where we walked about 100 meters across to the Lodge.
|Mungo Lodge is a desirable destination for Aussie GA pilots|
|The unique cross runway configuration at Mungo Lodge|
The eco friendly Lodge aims for minimal environmental disturbance. Presumably the recycled water will be used to water the partially completed golf course. Jacques smiled as he discussed his folly, and pouring us a glass of local wine, we acknowledged the benefits of golf, but were secretly more excited at having a knowledgeable French man in charge of the wine list.
Although it was a revelation to me, Mungo Lodge has long been a favorite meeting place for Aussie aviators. It’s hoped that game will soon be on the menu, so by the time you get here they might be cooking ‘roo. Or is that a roux?
The girls have just arrived back with my breakfast. The Bonanza is eyeing me from the strip. “Hurry up,” it says. “I’m coming,” I reply. “Just let me finish my home-made freshly-cooked melt-in-the-mouth croissant.” There’s more to the Aussie outback than just red dirt, and some of it is easily accessible in an airplane.
You can listen to Kathy's podcast on Plane Crazy Down Under about her outback trip to Lake Mungo and Wilpena Pound.