Staying at an outback station (or farm) is a great way to experience a small taste of what life is like in the remote outback. After researching several options we booked into Turlee Station near both Mildura and Mungo National Park.
We had a long driving day from Broken Hill (385km, 240 miles) via Wentworth to Turlee Station. The drive between Broken Hill and Wentworth consists of an arid plain with scrubby plants, broken up by the occasional watercourse with magnificent river red gums complementing the vivid red soil.
As you enter Wentworth you have the option to take a small diversion to stop at a seemingly innocuous location called the Perry Sandhills. Upon arrival you can see an amazing expanse of red sandhills which follow the course of the Murray River. All around the sand hills is flat land so the contrast is amazing. It is worthwhile to take a toboggan so you can slide down the hills at great speed!! We had a lovely time when we were able to borrow someone else’s toboggan after they became exhausted from climbing back up the hill.
The verdant drive from Wentworth to the Mungo National Park turnoff provides such a contrast to the previously dry terrain. The great Murray River provides the water to irrigate the many fruit trees and other agriculture of the region. After the turnoff the drive to Turlee Station is 90km, of which 70km is unsealed road. We have a conventional vehicle and managed the journey. However since they had recently had rain there were parts of the road where we could easily have become bogged. We occasionally felt like we were in a slalom race to avoid the wet spots!
We finally arrived at Turlee Station before dark and after being welcomed by our hosts Nathan and Sophie we happily settled into our comfortable bush cabin. Our children loved running around with the other kids in a safe environment. The camp fire was a real favourite as it was the first time our children had had the opportunity to enjoy an open fire. After travelling such a long distance it was great for our children to be able to run, play and just relax.
We stayed at Turlee Station for only two nights, but wished that we had booked for a couple of extra days. All of the guests were invited to see some sheep being prepared for transportation which was ‘a short distance away’. A convoy of cars followed Nathan’s vehicle for half an hour on dirt roads which gave a real feel for just how big the station is. Australian stations are significantly larger than farms in many countries due to the arid conditions requiring larger grazing areas for livestock.
Our children were enthralled by the sheep awaiting transportation. These were no domesticated petting zoo lambs like they had seen previously. These were fully grown, woolly and burr covered sheep. Our older children were able to enter the pen and experience the sheep running around them.
After returning to our accommodation the children were also given the tour of the farm equipment. The massive GPS controlled tractor was a highlight for my oldest son who is a transportation aficionado.
An advantage of staying at Turlee Station is that it has close access to Mungo National Park which is the next episode in our outback New South Wales journey.