Thaaklatjika Mingkana walking track

Mutawintji National Park

Open, check current alerts 

Overview

A short, easy walk, suitable for wheelchairs, that winds into the splendour of Mutawintji's gorges to Thaaklatjika (Wright's Cave). Within this rocky overhang are some fascinating examples of Aboriginal and post-colonial history, including paintings and stencils.

Where
Mutawintji National Park
Accessibility
Medium
Distance
0.8km return
Time suggested
30min - 1hr
Grade
Grade 2
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note
  • In wet weather, access within the park maybe closed, and the public roads are susceptible to weather closures. Please check with the Broken Hill park office before you head out.
  • Outback NSW can be very hot in summer. If travelling at this time, please be well-prepared for the extreme conditions and read our safety tips.
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to bird watch

An oasis in the desert, Thaaklatjika Mingkana walking track offers an accessible outback experience for everyone. This short walk takes you through the ancient lands of the Malyankapa and Pandjikali people in far western NSW.

At the Thaaklatjika overhang, also known as Wrights Cave, you’ll see an array of Aboriginal paintings, stencils and engravings. 

From rock art kangaroos and emus, gaze across the wooded grasslands for a chance to spot the real thing.

Meandering the easy track through the Mutawintji gorges, take in the spectacular rich red sandstone cliffs of the Bynguano Ranges. Pause for a moment in the shade of the massive river red gums lining the picturesque creek. This is a real birdwatchers delight, so keep an eye out for the distinct zebra finches, short-billed correllas and budgerigars.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Map


Map legend

Map legend

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/thaaklatjika-mingkana-walking-track/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Thaaklatjika Mingkana walking track.

Track grading

Grade 2

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    30min - 1hr

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Gentle hills

  • Distance

    0.8km return

  • Steps

    No steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

On entering Mutawintji National Park, drive past the visitor centre, take the road to Homestead Creek campground and follow the signs to Thaaklatjika Mingkana walking track.

Road quality

Check the weather before you set out as the road to Thaaklatjika Mingkana walking track can become boggy when it rains.

Parking

Parking is available at Thaaklatjika Mingkana walking track.

Best times to visit

Mutawintji National Park is best visited during autumn, winter and spring when daytime weather is pleasant. Summer in the outback can be very hot.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

30°C and 35°C

Highest recorded

48.6°C

Winter temperature

Average

17°C and 31°C

Lowest recorded

-3.3°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

January

Driest month

September

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

140.2mm

Facilities

  • No fuel or food is available at Mutawintji National Park, so bring sufficient supplies of each for an extended stay in the event of rain.
  • Drinking water, toilet facilities and picnic tables are situated at the Mutawintji Visitor Centre.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Bushwalking safety

If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency Plus app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Outback safety

Safety is of high priority in outback areas. In summer, temperatures can reach up to 50°C in some places. Food, water and fuel supplies can be scarce. Before you head off, check for road closures and use our contacts to stay safe in the outback.

Accessibility

Disability access level - medium

  • This 800m return walk from the carpark follows a bitumen pathway with a gentle but steady slope.
  • It's suitable for wheelchairs, prams, and visitors with limited mobility, however some assistance may be required along sloping bitumen surface.

Medium access presents some minor difficulties, such as a grassy surface. You may require a little assistance to get around in some areas.

Prohibited

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dogs and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Visitor centre

  • Mutawintji Visitor Centre
    51 Old Coach Road, Mutawintji, NSW 2880
  • Mutawintji Visitor Centre is always open but it's unstaffed (self service).

Learn more

Thaaklatjika Mingkana walking track is in Mutawintji National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A wildlife wonderland

Bobtail (Tiliqua rugosa), Mutawintji National Park. Photo: John Spencer

It might feel peaceful here, but Mutawintji teems with the wildlife that has occupied these lands since ancient times. You might see a wedge-tailed eagle or even a peregrine falcon and enjoy the chatter of noisy short-billed correllas, zebra finches, budgerigars, apostle birds and magpies. Crossing your path may be goannas and snakes, and look out for members of the only colony in NSW of the endangered yellow-footed rock wallaby. The largest of the rock-wallabies, it is Australia's most brightly coloured mammal - look for them on rocky ridges in the park.

  • Homestead Gorge walking track Take a breathtaking walk along Homestead Gorge walking track for scenic landscape vistas and ancient Aboriginal rock engravings. Plus you might see wallabies, emus and birds.
  • Old Coach Road drive The Old Coach Road drive is a piece of Australian history, following a section of the historic Broken Hill to White Cliffs Coach Run that connected these two outback towns. 

An important Aboriginal site

Thaaklatjika Mingkana walk, Mutawintj National Park. Photo: John Spencer

The traditional home of the Malyankapa and Pandjikali people, Mutawintji National Park has been a significant meeting place for local cultures for thousands of years. Communities have performed initiations, rainmaking and other ceremonies here in gatherings of up to 1000 people. A short, easy walk, suitable for wheelchairs, will guide you amid the splendour of Mutawintji's gorges to the rocky overhang Thaaklatjika (Wright's Cave). Here you'll find paintings, stencils and engravings that depict pre and post colonial Aboriginal history, as well as the animals that live in the area, including kangaroos and emus.

  • Homestead Gorge walking track Take a breathtaking walk along Homestead Gorge walking track for scenic landscape vistas and ancient Aboriginal rock engravings. Plus you might see wallabies, emus and birds.
  • Rockholes Loop walking track Rockholes Loop walking track is an adventurous extension to Homestead Gorge walking track, in Mutawintji National Park. This short but steep hike includes Aboriginal engravings and splendid views of rockholes, Homestead Gorge and Bynguano Range.

Iconic scenery

Mutawintji Gorge walk, Mutawintji National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Mutawintji National Park displays the classic outback landscape for which Australia is famous around the world. Driving along red dirt roads among rugged gorges and desert, against the backdrop of the ever-changing colour of the Byngnano Ranges, you'll discover the peace and space of the desert. Beyond the ridges, the saltbush and mulga plains stretch to the horizon, making city life seem a long, long way away.

  • Homestead Gorge walking track Take a breathtaking walk along Homestead Gorge walking track for scenic landscape vistas and ancient Aboriginal rock engravings. Plus you might see wallabies, emus and birds.
  • Mutawintji Gorge walking track Mutawintji Gorge walking track takes you on a hike through one of the park’s most scenic gorges. Enjoy a picnic at the end or simply spend some time taking in the view.
  • Rockholes Loop walking track Rockholes Loop walking track is an adventurous extension to Homestead Gorge walking track, in Mutawintji National Park. This short but steep hike includes Aboriginal engravings and splendid views of rockholes, Homestead Gorge and Bynguano Range.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Wedge-tailed eagle. Photo: Kelly Nowak

    Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax)

    With a wingspan of up to 2.5m, the wedge-tailed eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey. These Australian animals are found in woodlands across NSW, and have the ability to soar to heights of over 2km. If you’re bird watching, look out for the distinctive diamond-shaped tail of the eagle.

  • Red kangaroo, Sturt National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus)

    The red kangaroo is one of the most iconic Australian animals and the largest marsupial in the world. Large males have reddish fur and can reach a height of 2m, while females are considerably smaller and have blue-grey fur. Red kangaroos are herbivores and mainly eat grass.

  • Emu, Paroo Darling National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

    The largest of Australian birds, the emu stands up to 2m high and is the second largest bird in the world, after the ostrich. Emus live in pairs or family groups. The male emu incubates and rears the young, which will stay with the adult emus for up to 2 years.

Plants

  • Sturt's desert pea. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Sturt's desert pea (Swainsona formosa)

    One of Australia’s most famous desert wildflowers, Sturt’s desert pea is found across inland arid regions of Australia, including far west NSW. One of the most easily-recognised Australian native plants, Sturt’s desert pea thrives in red sandy soil, or loam, and has vibrant red leaf-shaped flowers with a black centre, known as a ‘boss’.

  • Saltbush. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Saltbush (Atriplex nummularia)

    A hardy Australian native plant, the saltbush is a small spreading shrub that can withstand dry salty soils such as those found in the desert plains of western NSW. It is grey-white in colour and has small spear-shaped succulent leaves. It flowers from December to April.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)