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C A R N I V O R E C R AV I N G S (Below from top) Bullo River Station is an operational cattle station, established by author Sara Henderson; Outback cuisine can vary from Spanish mackerel to kangaroo fillet and emu filet mignon.
Tiwi Islands Mary River Wetlands Berkeley River Cygnet Bay Bullo River Stn. Broome Yuendumu
William Creek Mulooina Stn. Prairie Hotel Broken Hill
oven before dining en famille in the Eagle’s Nest, an open-sided dining pavilion, on local fish such as Mangrove Jack or Spanish mackerel. Flying south over the beehive orange and black-striped domes of the extraordinary Bungle Bungle Range or Purnululu National Park, which became known publicly only in 1982, we peer into palm-fringed gorges before heading for our next stop: Bullo River Station. This 500,000-acre (202,342-ha) operational cattle station was established by the late Sara Henderson, who wrote several books about life here, including her bestseller From Strength to Strength. Daughter Marlee and husband Franz Ranacher ran it until recently when they sold it to the Farris and McCleary families from Darwin who have plans to further develop the property. We’re divided into three groups for excursions: one on a helicopter flight to the Cascades, a picturesque secluded corner of the property with a series of waterfalls that spill from gorge to gorge; another on a river cruise up the Bullo Gorge in a slow tinnie where we observe birdlife and relax with a wine or two; and the third to try our luck fishing for elusive barramundi in the Bullo River – although pesky catfish win the day. Our route next morning is straight for Uluru. We fly over Kata Tjuta before refueling and then get so close and personal to Uluru that we feel we can stretch out and tickle its top as we continue south. At William Creek in South Australia, we lunch on hearty hamburgers before continuing on to the remote coal-mining town of Leigh Creek. Ross
Fargher meets us at the rural airport in classic RM Williams Outback gear, with well-worn signature Akubra hat. Ross and wife Jane own Nilpena, a 80,000ha cattle station, the turn-off for which we pass en route to Parachilna (population: two), where we check into their highly acclaimed Prairie Hotel. First granted a license in 1876, its red- and white-striped bull-nosed awning has become a well-known country South Australian feature, but it’s the stylish architecture, exciting local art and exceptional country fare that set it apart, especially the awesome Feral Mixed Grill, enough to list it among the 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences awarded by Australian Gourmet Traveller. This novel dish comprises kangaroo fillet, emu filet mignon, camel sausage, and roast potato with a red wine jus. It’s a hearty dish, so many opt instead for the feral antipasto, with kangaroo mettwurst, emu pate and goats’ cheese, served with bush tomato chilli jam. The next day, Ross drives us through Brachina Gorge, up the Heysen Range and into Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges. We look for yellow-footed rock wallabies, well camouflaged in the rocky terrain, and admire magnificent river gums that so inspired South Australia’s most celebrated artist Sir Hans Heysen. Ross enthuses about the ancient landscape with 500 to 560 million-year-old fossils. “They make dinosaurs look like last week,” he says. Near Blinman, we take a tour of the historic 1850s shearing shed on Angorichina, a 61,000ha working sheep station owned by Ross’s
TRIP OF A LIFETIME Departing Melbourne, the route travels north to Birdsville, then on to Mt Borradaile in Arnhem Land, NT. From there, it heads west to Faraway Bay in WA, over the Bungle Bungles and on to Bullo River Station in Queensland before almost brushing the top of Uluru and Kata Tjuta (‘The Olgas’). It then travels south to the Flinders Ranges, Lake Eyre and back to the Victorian capital.
72 Mercedes-Benz magazine
3/02/16 2:13 PM
Mercedes-Benz magazine Issue 1, 2016