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Camper family four wing north by Swan

July 21, 2005

The four McMahons from Pakenham, Victoria, are typical of what getting full use, all year, from a camper trailer, caravan, RV,campervan or motorhomeis all about.

In early July Louise and Stephen McMahon needed some space and fresh air in their lives. So they hooked their Jayco Swan Camper trailerto their faithful Commodore and headed north to the Murray-Mallee.

Louise says they stopped at Swan Hill Riverside Caravan Park, where GSA met them, because: 'We had not seen that part of the country before' and they liked the atmosphere of the clean, friendly Murray riverside Top Tourist chain member park run by Phil and Barb Camm.

 Phil & Barbara Camm at Swan Hill Riverside Caravan ParkThe young couple did a lot of travelling throughout Australia before the younger members of the family came along, but the children, Jessica and blonde Laura, fit right into life on the road.

Sure, Louise says, it requires some management to be warm and comfortable in Victorias mid-winter, but like many others now on the move there is no such thing as bad weather only poor preparation and the wrong clothes.

'We use a small fan electric heater during the day inside the campervan and I found a tiny oil heater for use at night,' Louise says.

'They are both safe for the children and the oil heater can be left running to take the edge off the night air while we sleep', she said.

It also has the practical benefit of helping keep condensation at bay.

'We love the space in the Swan, it is much bigger than a caravan and the girls are not falling all over each other and play games in the big bunks when it rains, Louise said.

She said their Commodore made easy work of towing the lightweight Swan on an 11 day holiday which took them to Mildura. They left the camper trailerthere in deference to the rugged ruts, sandy ridges and wash-aways of the Arumpo Road when they crossed the Murray into NSW and took the girls to see Lake Mungo.

One of the great National Parks of New South Wales is at Willandra Lakes. Here remains, which have been discovered at lonely Lake Mungo, identify a human culture more than 40,000 years old.

Avan Aliner at Swan Hill Riverside Caravan ParkLake Mungo is one the most important archaeological sites in the world.

In Mungo National Park, the first park to be World Heritage listed in Australia, archaeologists have dug up human skeletons and artifacts which show a continuous record of human occupation for more than 40,000 years.

As well they have found evidence of a variety of animals extinct on the Australian mainland. They include Tasmanian Devils and Tasmanian Tigers that wandered across the tropical landscape alongside giant kangaroos, giant emus, and even giant hairy nosed wombats.

Images of the mega fauna are on show at the National Parks Wildlife Service centre at Mungo. The famous Mungo Woolshed is also a must see. Mungo National Park also features the The Walls of China, a dramatic formation naturally carved by the erosion of the white sand dunes near Lake Mungo.

If you are worried about the weather remember that the Echuca, Swan Hill, Mildura Wentworth stretch of the Murray has more sunshine hours per year than the Gold Coast.

Mungo is the 'birthplace' of human culture in Australia; with a skyscape the stretches forever above the strangely beautiful profiles of the sandy sculpture of the Walls of China.

This was once a lush and tropical lake. Aboriginal camps and fires from 40,000 years ago can be found, complete with middens that still show mussel shells and the bones of fish from ancient tribal feasts.

Coromal Seka 535 Swan Hill Riverside Caravan ParkRoom for the Biguns at Swan Hill Riverside Caravan Park

It was an 'Eden' complete with mega fauna. It is best seen with the help of tribal eyes available through local tour operators. Then amazing things are revealed about bush tucker, the animals, the landscape and Australias evolution. Once, after sudden heavy storms, a Lake Mungo wash-away revealed the bones of a Tasmanian Tiger to your correspondent.

The McMahons say they, 'love the remoteness!' So instead of sitting at home through the Victorian winter school holidays they take off by Swan.