Home Valley Station, Kununurra, WA © Illustrations Photography
Australia's best outback stations and safaris
Experience the excitement and seclusion of rural Australia with these unforgettable outback station holidays.
By Carly Spek
A little luxury and a lot of adventure is what you'll find at Australia's iconic outback stations. Whether you want to get hands on with farm life at a working cattle station, relax in the serenity of incredible landscapes or see an abundance of wildlife in their natural habitats, these outback station stays know how to do it all in comfort and style.
Hidden within 300sq km (116sq mi) of rugged natural beauty near Kakadu National Park, a stay at Bamurru Plains is nothing short of spectacular. The key attraction here is the airboat safari, which zips across the Mary River floodplains. Spot saltwater crocodiles, wild brumbies (horses) and buffalo. You can also watch native birds take flight from The Hide viewing platform. Each lodge is designed to complement the history and environment of the area, paying homage to the Aboriginal and pastoral history.
Kings Creek Station
With beautifully rustic accommodation set on a working cattle farm 300km (186mi) from Alice Springs, Kings Creek Station offers a true Aussie outback experience. Spend your days wandering the station's vast surrounds and cooling off in the refreshing pool. Join a cultural tour to learn about the practices and cultures of the local Luritja and Pertame peoples, or take to the skies on a scenic helicopter flight over the magnificent Central Ranges. Choose the perfect accommodation for your stay; from glamping to blissfully simple bush tents, or settle in at the laid-back campground.
Gilberton Outback Retreat
Located a six-hour drive from Townsville, Gilberton Outback Retreat is set in a truly unique location. You'll find a historic gold mining town, Aboriginal rock art and a thriving nature reserve at your doorstep. You can get hands on at the working cattle station, go fishing at Lake Fred or unwind among the wildlife and scenery of the Gilberton Nature Reserve. In the comfort of your cosy retreat, enjoy delicious home cooked meals and panoramic views overlooking Gilbert River from your private deck.
Mt Mulligan Lodge
Resting at the foot of picturesque Mount Mulligan, this all-inclusive luxury accommodation presents the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. Embark on incredible hikes, guided tours and thrilling ATV experiences; spotting wildlife and learning about the history of the region along the way. After exploring the activities on offer, take to the main pavilion or sunset bar in your private buggy to indulge in exceptional dining, refreshing cocktails or a dip in the infinity pool. A chartered helicopter is the best way to travel to and from Mt Mulligan lodge, with daily departures from Cairns offering unforgettable views of the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest.
Embark on a scenic five-hour road trip from Adelaide to experience ancient landscapes, prolific wildlife, incredible food and supreme comfort at Arkaba Conservancy. With capacity for just 10 guests, this exclusive experience offers intimate wildlife safaris across 60,000 private acres. Committed to the preservation of this environment, the conservancy is home to thriving communities of kangaroos, emus and other native wildlife. Visit sites significant to the local Adnyamathanha people, view the magnificent expanse of the conservancy and Wilpena Pound by helicopter and indulge in fresh, local food and wine during your stay.
Home Valley Station
It's easy to see why Home Valley Station in Kununurra was chosen as the set for Baz Luhrmann's iconic film Australia. Natural beauty, rich cultural history and beautiful accommodation, the station is quintessential Aussie outback at its best. Owned by Traditional Custodians the Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation, the station offers a host of nature activities including walking trails, stargazing and sunset tours. Join the Balanggarra Home Valley Tour to discover cascading waterfalls, enormous gorges and ancient landforms as you learn about the culture and history of the area. Spend your evenings resting in beautiful riverside suites or homestead rooms inspired by original stockman's quarters.
Bullo River Station
Ancient rock art, stunning waterfalls, authentic farm life and modern comfort just under three hours drive from Kununurra – there is no shortage of reasons to visit Bullo River Station. Spanning 400,000 acres of the Northern Territory, the mesmerising property is home to 3,000 cattle as well as wild buffalo, wallabies and dingoes. Experience a genuine outback station lifestyle by getting involved in exhilarating daily activities such as lick runs (cattle feeding) and muster training. Explore the abundant landscape through a variety of unforgettable experiences alongside knowledgeable guides. Cruise the serenity of Bullo River Gorge, embark on a fishing expedition or peer at the uninterrupted night sky through telescopes.
With rolling hills, towering elms and historic architecture, a visit to Waterloo Station is like stepping into a fairytale. Less than a four-hour drive from Byron Bay, the 4,000 acre property has been carefully restored to retain its original homestead charm. There's plenty of room to bring the whole family and enjoy the luxury of the Waterloo Homestead or the country chic of the Shearer's Lodgings. For a more intimate getaway, the Creek Shack is a romantic stay nestled beneath the trees. Wander the acreage, keeping an eye out for deer and a variety of birdlife. In the summer months try your hand at sapphire fossicking, trout fishing or swimming in the creek. In winter, curl up by the fireplace with a book and enjoy the serenity.
A pretty six-hour drive from Sydney, adventure awaits at Callubri Station. Lean into the simple pleasures of country living from your sun-filled suite before heading out on a tour of the property, watching out for emus, echidnas and kangaroos as you go. Meander through the original timber woolshed, watch the action in the shearing shed and snap photos of the residents in the livestock paddocks. Finish your day with a dip in the pool or, for something a little more special, indulge in a moon bathing session in the picture-perfect riverside baths. Don't miss the chance to enjoy the tranquility of the river lagoon on a gentle row boat just big enough for two.