Dream of living the #farmlife, but you live on a suburban block?
While pulling up your caravan on happy hour at the in-town caravan park will allow you to explore Outback Queensland at ease with the bonus of making mates with your new caravanning neighbours; there’s plenty of outback locals who have opened their farms (aka stations), providing you a whole new avenue to experience the real Outback Queensland.
If not seeing the neighbours, feeding farm animals and soaking up a good old serve of country hospitality sounds like the kind of holiday you’re in need of, grab your boots and don’t be afraid to get a little dirty, these six Outback Queensland station stays are just for you.
1. Shandonvale Station
Almost smack bang in the middle of Queensland – you’ll find the geographical centre of Queensland in Muttaburra – where the 15,000 acre Shandonvale Station plays home to approximately 4,000 sheep alongside extra company including kangaroos, camels, donkeys and goats.
You’ll earn your tucker at this working farm after a day of helimustering (yep, you’ll be taking to the skies), mustering on buggies and casting lines to catch yabbies. Be wined and dined with a full paddock to plate experience before hitting the hay in Shandonvale Station’s luxe renovated century old Shearer’s Quarters.
With four bedrooms, complete with queen beds and 1000-thread-count sheets, a fully functioning kitchen to cook up locally produced goodies, a fireplace and old school claw foot bath.
If petting camel calves and viewing sunsets from outdoor artesian spa baths aren’t enough to get you racing to Shandonvale Station, here’s 6 reasons Shandonvale Station should be on your bucket list.
P.S. if you’ve got your own set of wings, take advantage of the station’s airstrip.
2. Kilcowera Station
If you’re hailing from the southern states, you can get your Outback Queensland fix just above the border at Kilcowera Station. On a monstrous 94,000 acres, you won’t miss the organically run cattle property halfway along the Dowling Track, between Thargomindah and Hungerford.
Unhitch the caravan or camper trailer and set your wheels for their various self-drive tours of the station, exploring the diverse wildlife and changing landscapes. It scores bonus points with ultimate national park explorers, Kilcowera neighbours Currawinya National Park and by staying at the station, you’ll get exclusive access to the western side of the park’s saline Lake Wyara, making up some of inland Australia’s most important wetlands.
Whether you pick your campsite at the grassy shearer’s Quarters or with a waterfront view at their Cardenyabba Lagoon, both come with five (or a million) star views at night.
3. Charlotte Plains
While you may not encounter any barn house spiders or talking pigs while at Charlotte Plains, you will come across our favourite type of bore – the steaming hot artesian type. Outback Queensland’s crisp winter mornings and nights won’t make you shy to slip straight into one of their baths. Watch big sky country transform from pastel sunset hues to clear night skies with the Milky Way in full view right from a tub; cue jaw dropping ooohhs and ahhhs.
If soaking up the minerals of artesian water isn’t on your jam-packed agenda, pull out your binoculars to spot wedgetail eagles and brolgas at this birdlife abundant part of the outback. For those who want to play jackaroo or jillaroo for a day, lend a hand on the property and step into the station’s shearers shed where in its hay day the shed saw 60,000 sheep through a year.
4. Noonbah Station
The 52,000-hectare station has more than enough room for you, your caravan, your hound and your mates too amongst the ghost gum trees.
Take your pick from two waterholes, Noonbah Night Camp and Vergemont Night Camp and say g’day to your new home away from home.
Jump on one of their half-day natural history tours with Station Owner Angus Emmott, in which the property’s been in his family’s hands for more than 100 years. A life on the land means he has a deep knowledge of it and the creatures that it inhabits; he’s even identified new species and subspecies at Noonbah. The tours have a limit of four, so you’re sure to receive enough knowledge to almost call yourself an expert, as well as your fair share of the hearty homestead smoko.
From fishing to swimming, to bushwalking to birdwatching, you’ll be hooked to stay at this remote outback station.
5. Bonus Downs Farmstay
Looking for a dose of true-blue outback hospitality? Bonus Downs Farmstay is your answer.
For that true outback experience roll out your swag in the shearer’s shed. Otherwise, if comfort is more your calling, the Jackaroo’s cottage is for you. Caravans are welcome too, with powered and non-powered sites available with bonus use of the smokehouse – spit roast anyone?
They’ll teach you and the kids some serious station skills too from whip cracking to mustering – yep, the kids won’t want to go home. If your outback adventure isn’t about upskilling, head to the dam for a canoe, stretch out your legs on a bush walk on the property or have a serious chin-wag with owners Madonna and Lyle Connolly.
Best of all your pooch is welcome to join in on the outback fun; no one will be left behind on this family holiday. Looking to add to your Mitchell experience? Here’s 5 ways to make the most of nature in Mitchell.
6. Wallaroo Outback Retreat
No need for setting up camp, their safari-styled glamping tents are already erected for you amongst the towering eucalypts. This camping experience replaces air mattresses with Posturepedic beds to snuggle into after diving into a hearty camp open meal cooked for you (it’s called glamping for a reason, right?).
For those with their hiking boots ready, Wallaroo is the place for an on-foot adventure. Take a guided or unguided bushwalk of the station or head out to National Park heaven (Carnarvon Gorge), situated less than 100kms drive away. Wanting to see the Carnarvon Ranges in its full beauty? Wallaroo will organise you seeing it from helicopter in no time.
If you’re chasing the ultimate experience, BookBook Ecotours will take you there for a fully catered and guided experience. Your ecologist (aka your own personal David Attenborough) will guide you to Wallaroo’s indigenous art sites, enormous populations of native cycad trees amongst sandstone ridges and vantage points that beat city skyscraper views any day of the week.
Have you experienced a station stay in Outback Queensland?
Let us know in the comments below about your experience.