Float across croc-infested floodplains, immerse yourself in natural waterholes or discover the wonder of ancient Aboriginal rock art, all whilst staying in some of the most remote and remarkable places in Australia.
Station stays are gaining popularity and raising the bar with a tapestry of memorable experiences. They offer a chance to feel the beating heart of the Australian bush, in spectacular and offbeat locations, without compromising on comfort. From simple to swanky, here are seven station stays you’ll wish to linger longer.
1. Bullara Station, WA
At this cattle station, in the Exmouth Gulf, it’s more than ochre dirt that sinks into your skin. Found near World Heritage-listed Ningaloo (Nyinggulu) Marine Park, it’s 90 kilometres south of Exmouth.
Bullara Station is found near Ningaloo (Nyinggulu) Marine Park.
Damper tasting, cattle mustering and star gazing all add to the Aussie outback feel. Adventure along 4WD tracks to access remote fishing, shower outside beneath the gumtrees and taste homemade scones in a Banjo Paterson-style converted wool shed.
Red dirt spans across Bullara Station.
Live music and festoon lights set the scene for a bush party for their Friday “Burger Night” – made with homegrown beef, of course. Take your pick of accommodation at Bullara Station from camping, camp cottages, bell tents and safari huts.
Stay in a rustic safari hut at Bullara Station.
2. Quobba Station, WA
At Quobba Station, an eco-stay an hour’s drive north of Carnarvon, the Outback and ocean converge in a rugged display of natural beauty. Just like the famous blowholes here, this coastline will blow your mind. The homestead has a range of individual quarters to stay in, some sleeping up to eight people. ‘The Chalets’ sleep two and deliver a salty Indian Ocean view.
Sunset paints the bluff fiery red at Quobba Station. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
At Red Bluff, further north, this spectacular setting has prime camping sites, a stone’s throw from the powder-white beach. The safari tents that cling to the craggy hillside are the hero; from here you can gaze at the turquoise Indian Ocean to spot whales or watch as surfers glide, leaving white froth piping in their wake. Sunset is a sight to behold as it sizzles into the sea and paints the bluff fiery red.
Quobba Station is nestled north of Carnarvon. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
3. Bullo River, NT
Set on 400,000 acres, the road to Bullo River cattle station is 4WD access only. A plane charter will have you there in 30 minutes from Kununurra, or 90 minutes from Darwin. Twelve guest rooms provide an air-conditioned sanctuary and the palm-fringed pool is a cool oasis.
Feel at home at Bullo River Station. (Image: Tourism NT/Bullo River Station)
Guests can float down the Bullo River Gorge, walled by towering red cliffs and riverbanks dripping with fig trees and pandanus. Storytelling, throw net fishing, and ancient Aboriginal rock art make up a day rich of wonder when embarking on a cultural tour with a local guide. Soar in a helicopter above Djarrany-Djarrany Country where chasms of gorges cut scars into the landscape and creeks criss-cross, veinlike, across the land.
Bullo River is situated on the edge of the Kimberley. (Image: Tourism NT)
4. Finniss River Lodge, NT
This family-owned cattle station, 90 kilometres from Darwin delivers luxurious lodgings, on the edge of vast wetlands that are ever-changing with the seasons. With six suites, catering for up to 12 guests, Finniss River Lodge offers a personalised stay.
Lounge by the pool at Finniss River Lodge. (Image: Tourism NT/Tourism Australia)
Immerse yourself in station life on a cattle muster, check troughs and fences or feed gangly poddy calves. Adventure on a guided airboat tour where native water lilies sit pretty, a contrast to the feral pigs and stealth resident crocs that dwell here.
Finniss River Lodge is a hidden outback gem. (Image: Tourism NT/Tourism Australia)
Learn how to make fire or forage for bush tucker that chefs will prepare for your dinner. Finish your day, cocktail in hand, astounded by an immense fire-red sunset over the floodplains from the poolside deck.
Sip wine by the pool at sundown. (Image: Tourism NT/Tourism Australia)
5. Gilberton Outback Retreat, QLD
The ‘quick’ way to Gilberton is via helicopter where you’ll touchdown on a heart-shaped pink landing pad. It’s a unique arrival to set your heart aflutter at this seventh-generation working cattle station in Far North Queensland. The Retreat at Gilberton is perched atop the bluff overlooking the Gilbert River and meals and activities are all-inclusive. Their spacious digs are draped in understated luxury, including a pillow-top king bed and fluffy robes that will have you feeling like bush royalty.
Disconnect from the world (there’s no phone coverage) and connect with life in the bush. Wander amongst eucalyptus trees with a guide to taste bush tucker and spot local wildlife such as rare albino wallabies. Spend a day fossicking for gold in an area rich in mining history. Soak off the gold dust in your balcony bath overlooking the meandering river.
Immerse in the wilderness at Gilberton Outback Retreat. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
6. Callubri Station, NSW
Taste rural life, literally, at Callubri Station, a merino sheep station that offers stays for a maximum of 12 guests. You won’t go hungry with their wine and dine packages, delivering seasonal produce that’ll have your belly as plump as the wool on the sheep’s back. Catch yabby from the dams or join in on farming life helping fix fences and check on lambing ewes.
Relax in a hammock at Callubri Station. (Image: Monique Wye)
Look out for wildlife such as comical long-legged emus or pink and grey galahs chattering like class clowns. Take a farm tour to learn about wool production and finish with canapes and drinks at ‘The Lookout’, gazing over the Western Plains.
Experience a luxury outback stay at Callubri Station. (Image: Monique Wye)
7. Flinders Bush Retreats, SA
Flinders Bush Retreats offer eco-tent glamping, privately positioned in a secluded gorge, just outside of Hawker, in the Flinders Ranges. Accommodating two people, it’s completely off-grid. There’s a soft sheet-clad queen-sized bed, plus a kitchenette and ensuite with a self-composting toilet.
Flinders Bush Retreats is completely off-grid. (Image: Isaac Foreman)
The scenic views and spectacular walks on your doorstep are a great way to settle into the rhythm of nature. Spot strutting emus, curious kangaroos, or even spiky, roly-poly echidna. At night, listen to the crackle of your open campfire and marvel as stars traverse an unpolluted celestial sky.
Sleep under the stars. (Image: Flinders Bush Retreats)
For those that prefer extra mod cons, book the historic 1900s Mount Scott Homestead or ‘The Quarters’ to experience this sixth-generation grazier’s property.
Check into the Flinders Bush Retreats in the middle of the rugged landscape. (Image: Isaac Foreman)