Murray-Sunset and Wyperfeld National Parks, Australia
The darker patches of land amidst the Australia’s orangey brown terrain are actually two national parks, rich in plant- and wild-life.
Murray-Sunset National Park (above) is the second largest national park in Victoria, located 438 km northwest of Melbourne. It is in the northwestern corner of the state, bordering South Australia to the west and the Murray River to the north.
The park was created in 1991, and expanded to encompass Pink Lakes State Park in 1999. The lakes are dubbed “pink” after the beta-carotene pigment that colours it in late summer, caused by the algae Dunaliella salina. Over 600 species of plants have been recorded, and 300 species of birds in the rich mudflats.
Below Murray-Sunset is another protected area: Wyperfeld National Park, the third largest national park in Victoria. Declared in 1921 and expanded significantly since, it protects more than 3,500 km² of mallee, woodland, and heathland in Victoria’s north-west, about 450 km northwest of Melbourne.
In good years, the Wimmera River fills Lake Hindmarsh to the south of the park, which overflows along Outlet Creek, which then fills Lake Albacutya to the immediate south of the park, and (given sufficient rain) flows further north into Wyperfeld itself, forming a series of smaller lakes which support rich floral and faunal communities based around black box and river red gum.