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Fours days in the Queensland Outback

Fat Mum Slim /

I’m lucky enough to live just minutes from Queensland. I get to experience all the beauty and deliciousness that it has to offer, and I’ve also traveled up and down the coast and seeing more that it has to offer. When I think of Queensland, I think stunning beaches and beautiful sand, so when I was recently invited to visit the Outback it threw me a little bit. Of course there’s more to Queensland, but I’d ignorantly not really thought past the coast.

Now having visited the coast, I realised what a mistake that was. The Outback was one of the best experiences of my life, and one that I’ll definitely be doing again. Here’s how we recently spent four days exploring another side to Queensland.

FOUR DAYS IN THE QUEENSLAND OUTBACK

DAY ONE

Longreach is a two-part flight from Brisbane. We boarded the small-ish plane, and took a small pit stop in Barcaldine to pick up passengers and then landed after just over two hours in beautiful Longreach. Flying in, it was beautiful to see the vast landscape, and the red of the earth, something we’re not quite used to around the coast.

We picked up our hire care, and then headed out towards our farm stay. The directions simply said, ‘Drive for 100km and turn right’. I quickly learned that this was indicative of the outback spirit, laidback and simplistic. It was something I fell in love with.

I also fell in love with how intrigued we were by the different landscape. I was thrilled as the red dirt on the unsealed roads puffed up behind us, and the wildlife we spotted along our drive. We spotted an emu, and Hubby immediately took a u-turn so we could get a closer look.

The landscape just made me so happy. I took a gazillion photos while we drove along, because it was nothing like I’d experienced before. Of course, we made a quick top to get the drone out. It was amazing to drive for such long periods and not pass a single car. Also, everyone waves at each other as they pass on the road. Not a big enthusiastic wave, just a one finger raise on the steering wheel as we drove on by.

Shandonvale Estate is a working outback station in Central Queensland, and home to Deon and Lane. It offers luxury accommodation, as well as the opportunity to experience life on the farm. As we pulled up, I was like an excited kid who had just binged on sugar at a party, and bombarded Lane with a million questions; What was the plan? Where should we put our bags? Is there anything I can do to help? Where is our house? What animals did they have?

It took a moment for me to realise that the pace that my mind moved at, was about to slow down a few gears because there was no rush. We were in the Outback. Life moves beautifully slower, and it was something I realised I needed MUCH more of in my life by the end of the trip.

Our first stop was to check out the baby lambs, to appease the kids and myself, of course.

After we’d had a very healthy dose {but still not enough} of cuddling baby lambs, we were assigned a buggy for our stay and headed over to our house to settle in.

The house is a mere 100 years old, but lovingly refurbished respecting the heritage of the home. It’s beautifully furnished, and somewhere I would have loved to settle in for a week-long stay. It felt like home, only less toys, stuff and technology.

After settling in and choosing bedrooms, we headed over to the boat house, where Deon had prepared us a grazing platter and generously loaded us up with all the beverages.

We watched the sun set while happily munching away, embracing the outback life.

After sunset, we headed to the main house, where Deon and Lane live, for a gourmet dinner. Deon is quite the cook, offering a true paddock to plate experience. We feasted on slow-cooked lamb, vegetables, and a beautiful haloumi salad.

DAY TWO

Deon and Lane provided us with a generous basket for breakfast, with warm, freshly baked bread. We made our own brekky in the beautiful kitchen, and then headed out to help feed all the animals and do a few chores with Lane.

We fed the chickens, the cows, as well as the pigs.

We then headed over to the sheep, to feed them. Hilariously to us, there’s an emu that lives with the sheep and thinks it’s a sheep. It’s cool to watch.

My girls get to do some pretty seriously cool stuff. They love being busy and active, but most of all they love exploring and discovering outdoors. This trip was dreamy for them. They loved the animals, and having responsibilities. This was one of, if not ‘the’ best trip they’ve ever done.

Check out Coco the camel! She’s feisty and very curious. Lacey and Lulu collected eggs, ready for breakfast the next day.

The lambs need feeding three times a day, and of course the girls wanted to be there for every single one of them. Can you even with the cuteness?

After all our ‘hard’ work we headed to enjoy a lunch provided by Deon and Lane. Is there anything better than warm fresh bread, a chunk of delicious cheese and all the bits?

After lunch we headed out to the Gun Shed to practice shooting. In all honesty, this was something that I was hesitant to do but I wanted to embrace farm life so I gave it a go {plus we were only shooting targets}. I am a competitive soul, so I was determined to beat Hubby {who happens to shoot regularly with his job}. We actually scored evenly, and I was a little bit chuffed with myself.

On the farm, every thing or animal has a purpose. There are camels to eat the acacia trees, and there are donkeys to get rid of the wild dogs that would otherwise eat the sheep. There’s so much intention on the farm, and lack of waste. I liked that.

We then headed out for a drive to check on the sheep, and cover off more of the property.

In the afternoon, Lulu hung out on the hammock while I had a lazy bath with a glass of champagne. It was absolutely bliss.

While Lulu and I relaxed, Lacey and Hubby headed out and set yabby pots so that we could catch ourselves some dinner. We ended up catching 12 yabbies which Deon bathed in garlic and butter and cooked on the BBQ. So good!

Hidden in the treetops, there is natural springs spa bath, where the water is consistently warm and perfect. Deon had arranged another platter of food, and more drinks so that we could all chill and watch the sun set. I took a moment to take stock and be grateful for the experience. It really was magic.

We finished the night with a delicious dinner with Deon and Lane, and then invited everyone back to our house for marshmallows around the open fire.

DAY THREE

When I fall in love with a place, I fall hard… and this was one of those times. I had fallen incredibly hard. My little family was so relaxed. I’d arrived all wound up, tense and fast-paced, and I was leaving feeling calm and content. We were exciting without TV or WiFi and I had no idea what was going on in the world, and I quite liked it {there is an option for Wifi, which is available at Deon and Lane’s property – we opted out}.

We did one more round of feeding the animals and packed up our gear to head out.

These people. Deon and Lane are special kinda people. They’re amazing hosts, so talented {can cook, build houses, run a farm and so much more}. Saying goodbye was hard, and while they meet new people all the time, I really wanted to take a piece of that Outback magic with us and not forget it.

We drove out of Shandonvalue and into Barcaldine, making a pit stop at the local bakery for a pie. Hubby is obsessed with pies and it’s become a thing where we try them where ever we go. This one was particularly good.

We stopped by the Tree Of Knowledge, a heritage listed tree in the main street of the town. Barcaldine is the birth place of the Labor party and has a whole lot of history. It was nice to stop in for a little pit stop.

On our drive back to Longreach, we spotted a little roadside pub, the Wellshot Hotel, and while we didn’t feel overly hungry we had to stop in for a late lunch. Look at this chicken burger!

Our stop for the night was the Outback Pioneer cottages. They offer a range of accommodation, we stayed in a newly built horse stables that were so beautifully made.

Our night started with a Starlight Cruise on the Thomson River. Aboard a paddlewheel boat, we nibbled on snacks and learned a little about the history of the area.

I don’t have many photos of this experience, because we were so immersed in it. It was something that I’d recommend to anyone and everyone {young and old}. We sat around a fire and heard stories from the Kinnon family, ate a delicious dinner, and then finished with damper cooked on the fire. We also watched a show. It was all so beautifully organised. Put it on your to-do list.

DAY FOUR

Our last day in the Outback happened to be Mother’s Day, so we headed into town for a yummy breakfast and to explore a little. Being a Sunday the town was quiet, but I was delighted to see that they had two newsagents. I love a good newsagent and they’re hard to come by now.

Before catching our flight home, we headed to the Qantas Founders Museum to do a guided tour and explore their range of planes. This is another experience I’d highly recommend. I loved seeing and hearing about the planes, and how considered the making of planes are {of course they have to be, but there’s so much detail and it made me less of an anxious flyer}.

We left Longreach and headed back to Brisbane with loads of new memories and experiences. Outback Queensland hadn’t been on our radar, and now I think what a tragedy it would have been if we’d never experienced it.

It was the landscape, the history, the stories, the beauty, the food, and most of all, the people. Put it on your bucket list. Pronto.

Have you ever experience the Outback? What did you think?


We stayed as guests of Tourism & Events Queensland.

@Fatmumslim