Sheep and Cattle stations have been the backbone of West Australia’s Outback for over 130 years. And hospitality is nothing new for them.
It’s one of the most authentic experiences you can have along the Outback Pathways. Watch the day-to-day work of running a station (or get in and get your hands dirty!), otherwise head-off on a self-drive adventure, hike or birdwatch the day away. Most stations will offer you a patch to roll out your swag or set up your camper, surrounded by stunning scenery, history, heritage and culture.
Here are our top 5 reasons you must try camping at a Station Stay this year!
If a little space is what you crave then camping at an outback station is a must. Most stations offer a choice of campsite close to the homestead and amenities as well as remote camps. You know that no matter which you choose, you will always have a large patch of outback to call your own – for the duration of your stay at least. For absolute solitude try Rocky Outcrop campsite at Wooleen Station where your nearest neighbours will be at the homestead 7km away.
History and character
The charm of old homesteads and shearing sheds just invites you to wander in and see what historical treasures you will find within. Most have been left as they were the day they sheared their last sheep, a testament to the pastoral history and pioneering families. It is not hard to imagine yourself living in the past, long before air conditioning and telephones. Aboriginal grinding stones and artifacts take you further back in time and can leave you in awe at the folk who mastered this land thousands of years ago.
Want to ask a question about your camp or the local area? All station hosts are happy to wax lyrical about the land they live on. For those born here, the pindan is in their blood; everyone else moved to the outback simply because the outback beguiles the soul. You will not find a friendlier or more enthusiastic person to guide you around the outback than a station host. Arrive a tourist, leave a friend. If you want to know the best place to watch a sunset or directions to a gnamma hole, you only need to ask.
Camping in the bush may sound like stuff for experienced outdoor enthusiasts, but make no mistake you will find every luxury you could desire. From a loo with a view to bathrooms bigger than your living room at home, or even a double shower for couples to enjoy (or even just to get the whole family cleaned up at once), you will not find yourself short of comfort. But these are not like the carbon copy amenities you will find in every airport hotel or caravan park. Often made from whatever materials can be found around the station, the bathrooms and toilets are charming and unique.
You will never see more stars or a brighter milky way than when camping in the outback. Being so far way from towns means virtually no light pollution. Sit back in your camp chair with a glass of wine or a hot choc and you won’t need to wait long to see a shooting star or satellite. The International Space Station can often be seen following an arc across the sky. Why not try catching a photograph of the milky way yourself?
Quick Tips for Astrophotography
- You will need a tripod to hold your camera steady and the ability to manually focus your camera and set the exposure.
- Focus to infinity
- Set the aperture as wide as your lens allows – this will be the lowest ‘f’ number, e.g. f2.8
- Set the ISO to around 2000
- Set the exposure to ~15 seconds. Depending on your lens and the focal length you may be able to open the shutter for longer. If you get star trails, you know your exposure is too long.
- Set the white balance to 4000K
Now you can play around with the exposure and ISO until you see a good image on your camera screen. Thats all it takes!
Now you are ready to take your shot! Tag #outbackpathways and show us how you got on.
Visit www.wastationstays.com.au for more information
Author: Suzy Jones; Keeping up with Little Joneses
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The 178-page full colour guidebook paints a colourful picture of the region - its history, nature and its charismatic characters following three self-drive trails through the Gascoyne-Murchison - the Wool Wagon Pathway, Miners Pathway and the Kingsford Smith Mail Run.
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While the Outback Pathways have opened the heart of the Gascoyne and Murchison to visitors, many areas on the self-drive trails remain remote and warrant extra travel precautions.