by sam on 12th December 2014 5 comments
We spent yesterday, last night and today until lunchtime in an outback cattle ranch in the Kroombit National Park. The farm we stayed at is 10,000 acres of bush farmland, with about 1300 cattle on it. The land is so vast that all goat and mustering is done by quad bikes and horseback, and once a week for a really thorough check, they herd them all using a small helicopter flying low across the land!
We were staying in a little wooden cabin, bizarrely, with furnishings very similar to those we had as a kids in Holly Cottage, chintzy and frilly with a peach bathroom haha! The rest of the farm was very rustic; everything was put to use even if it had no further use in its own right...a rusty old ironing board became the table up at the shooting range! We had old enamel plates and bowls, food was cooked on a big open fire roaring through the whole day, the electric would cut out every hour of so for a few seconds, sometimes longer, and of course, absolutely no phone signal or wifi...that bit was quite nice for a day!
Frog in the pool!
The first day we were free to potter around, we were told the pool was green because of the different treatment they use out here for it, but it was perfectly safe... The big kids were keen to go in, as usual it was blisteringly hot, 40-something, but when we got there there were 3 little frogs swimming about, and the kids lost interest in the swimming bit :-) We had a little walk around the site, and were told that the creek alongside had some water flowing through it for the first time in 4 years after 3 nights of big storms...great news for the cows,
We were taken, via our least salubrious form of transport yet, I reckon, a little clapped out cream vw pick up truck thing, with no interior panels, switches, lights or reverse gear still in tact, it took 10 of us in the back, with kids up in the cab, up the hills a couple of kilometres to the shooting range. Luckily there is a big enough turning circle at the top of the hill to ensure the lack of reverse gear is not a problem ;-)
Up here, we had a lesson on Lassoing...trickier than it looks... Then some clay pigeon shooting, much to the kids disgust they were not invited to do this one, then once the shooting was done we were asked to pair up and gather around one of the goat rodeo pens for a competition as to who could lasso, secure and brand a goat quickest. J and Frey bravely went first, and got 1 minute 51 seconds. Adam and I were the 5th team up and scored 19 seconds hahaha!!! That meant overall, we won out of all 6 teams :-)
Nothing to say.....
Having finished the rodeo, dinner was back at the ranch in the communal area... Obviously beef and veggies from the farm cooked all day over the open fire.. On metal plates! There was also a mystery meat we got to try at "Als bar" as "pre-dinner nibbles"... It was absolutely delicious and kids really enjoyed it too, had several more helpings than would have been etiquette at home, and no one batted an eyelid and the kids were not too upset or surprised to find out it was one of the goats mooching around the farm
until the day before.
After dinner was mechanical Bull riding, cowboy dancing and some critter hopping.. We came across massive nests of those fire ants that we use a lot of in I'm a celeb, pearlescent white beetles, a huge great big black beetle that nipped Freya's toe and the piece de resistance a ******* great big spider inside our hand towel in our bathroom... I physically broke the door down trying to get out of the loo.. It was HORRIFIC!!!! J was brave enough to take not one, but two pics.. One to show bloody scale!!! The ranger guy also seemed quite horrified when he came to remove it though, so it at least it wasn't just us wimpy poms ;-)
Nighttime saw an enormous electric storm with the whole sky lit up with sheet lightening... Meaning tonnes of rain and a hugely swollen creek alongside camp the next morning. The run off from the mountains around was so much that trees and mudslides had flash flooded down the sides and blocked many parts of the 35km to the main road.
We had to wait til after lunch for the water levels to drop enough for our hired 4x4 to pass, but even so the water level was way above wheel arches at times and the mud was a good foot deep to drive through and there were trees everywhere, though waiting til late meant Frey, adam and I did have time for a horse ride in the morning up to the top point of one of the mountains... still shaking from the spider though!!
You write very well Sam . Very interesting. You seem to be building a huge amount of memories. Enjoy
That was a ******* great spider. The adventure seems to be getting a little more scary. Bring back the elephants ha! ha!
Horse riding looked good, kept you out the mud anyway. Love to all XX
That was the little spider hiding from the big one! Did you find out what kind of spider it was?
Don't panic John, we're back to civilisation now! Thankyou Thay, that's very kind, it's a bit waffley but it'll do as our journal. By hanks for relaying to Grammy too xx we don't know what spider for sure claire but ranger thought huntsman x
Thats a big spider Freya