Outback Station Stays Around Australia
Station properties can offer camper trailer travellers the ultimate outback experience. Here’s our top six around the country.
El Questro Wilderness Park, Kimberley, WA
If you’d like to see the Kimberley, but are concerned that your camper trailer might not be up to the rigours of the Gibb River Road, then El Questro is the place for you.
With bitumen/2WD access from Kununurra, you can set up base in a choice of campsites then explore some of the most beautiful gorges in the Kimberley unencumbered.
At one million acres in size, the diversity of El Questro’s landscape is matched only by the range of activities on offer – from a relaxing soak in the warm thermal pools of Zebedee Springs to an exhilarating climb in your 4WD to Branco’s Lookout, or an energetic hike through the magnificent El Questro Gorge and the serenity of floating along the Pentecost River through Chamberlain Gorge as the sun sets.
Home Valley Station, Kimberley, WA
As well as being a working cattle station and training facility, Home Valley Station offers a range of accommodation, tours and activities for the traveller. Horse riding, fishing, helicopter and 4WD tours are all on offer and there are numerous self-guided walking trails.
The Dusty Bar & Grill is the epicentre of the social scene at the station. From a pre-dinner drink to a full meal from the a-la-carte menu, it has a great atmosphere with its decor of station memorabilia.
Willow Springs Station, Flinders Ranges, SA
Willow Springs is a working sheep station of about 70,000 acres, abutting the Flinders Ranges National Park. First taken up by the Reynolds family in 1952, Willow Springs Station supported Steve Reynolds and his three sons for 30 years.
In 1985, Brendan Reynolds and his wife Carmel took the first steps in diversifying into the tourism industry. They developed the existing shearers’ quarters into visitor accommodation, as well as establishing a number of private campsites on the station.
A major highlight of their endeavours would have to be the magnificent Skytrek, which opened in 1995. The 60-odd kilometres of 4WD track winds its way around the station and up and over Mt Caernarvon, providing magnificent views of the Flinders Ranges.
Lorella Springs Wilderness Park, Savannah Way, NT
Lorella Springs Wilderness Park is owned by the Walker family. The park itself is a one-million-acre former cattle station of largely unspoilt wilderness facing the Limmen Bight, dotted with billabongs, thermal springs, waterfalls and bird-filled wetlands.
Eighty natural springs have been identified on the property, and they are claimed to flow through the subterranean waterways from New Guinea to the Gulf of Carpentaria. This makes Lorella the best and safest place to swim on the gulf, with a range of croc-free hot and cold springs, waterfalls, deep plunge pools and everything in between.
Visitors can drive the Billabong Loop around Rosie Creek, paddle the canoe at Flying Fox Swamp, climb the Tawallah Range for spectacular views, and walk a few feet off the beach to scoop up massive mud crabs or haul in a sizeable barramundi.
Mt Ive Station, Gawler Ranges, SA
Mt Ive Station is a 250,000 acre working sheep property set against the volcanic rock of SA’s Gawler Ranges, said to be over 1500 million years old. The property provides a place for campers to take in the raw beauty of the ranges while still enjoying the comforts of powered sites, fuel, water and a licensed kiosk. It offers a number of 4WDing tracks, including a private access route to Lake Gairdner — one of Australia’s most pristine salt lakes.
The campground is well laid out, with centralised facilities and powered and unpowered sites shaded by young gums.
For those so inclined, the station offers a number of optional tracks to explore either by conventional or 4WD vehicle. Mud maps, trip notes and a key provide access to and highlight the points of interest, as well as supplementary information about the landscape.
Ningaloo Station, Coral Coast, WA
Ningaloo Station is 1500ha of pastoral land and is wilderness camping at its best. The spectacular bush camp is located south of Exmouth and provides access to the Cape Range NP via Yardie Creek.
Ningaloo Reef is just metres offshore, so there’s plenty of sealife around and, if you’re lucky enough, you might just get a visit from a few of the local dolphins that like to frolic in the shallows. It’s 4WD-access only along corrugated roads and soft sand to campsites.
The property has been managed by the Lefroy family since 1934, and they are rightfully protective of their piece of paradise, so ensure you are respectful at all times.
Check out the full feature in issue #82 November 2014 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.