The Perry Sandhills are a natural set of giant sand dunes just outside the town of Wentworth in south western NSW.
These huge red dunes rise conspicuously from the surrounding plain while the wind carves endless patterns into the sand. Ancient tree stumps and scattered rocks evoke a feeling of being much deeper in the desert and further away from the every day, not just three kilometres from a town with all the creature comforts.
Geologists say that the Perry Sandhills originated 40-50,000 years ago and were formed by wind erosion over thousands of years. The sandhills are a unique formation of 333 hectares (822 acres) of continuously shifting sand dunes.
The Perry Sandhills are named after the first Land Commissioner in the area, George Perry. The sandhills were used as a bombing range during WWII and now the area is a popular backdrop for film and TV productions.
The Perry Sandhills feel as old as time. Footprints, paw prints, and bird tracks cover the dunes as a record of all the traveller's past. The 'God Tree' is a magnificent River Red Gum which has been consumed by the sand. Over time, the sand has completely covered the trunk and you can now walk within the canopy of the ancient tree. It's just over the first dune from the main car park.
Skeletal remains of giant mega-fauna (kangaroos, lions, emus and wombats) have been found among the hills and aboriginal tribes once used the area to camp and hunt. The evidence is still being uncovered as the sands shift.
There's not much in the way of facilities at Perry Sandhills. There's just a large open shed with information and picnic tables so you can get out of the sun, and a toilet block. You are advised to plan ahead.
Wentworth is in far south-west NSW and is about half an hour north-west from Mildura, just across the Murray River. It sits at the junction of the Darling and Murray Rivers, making it of historical importance and interest to travellers.
The signs to the sandhills are easy to follow from town. You can park at the car park and shelter shed at the northern entrance to the sand hills and climb up the dunes. The more inquisitive may like to take a drive around the base of the sandhills to find some of the less disturbed areas.
Next time you're in the Sunraysia region, head across the river to Wentworth to investigate these awesome red sandhills. It's a perfect location for a family picnic or outing. Bring sand boards and slide down the face of the steeper dunes or bring a camera and enjoy wandering in a desert photographers paradise.