When reading the itinerary for the tour from Sydney
to Cairns I had
to wonder why it was necessary to have a two night stay on a cattle station,
and even more I had to wonder what on earth we were going to do there.
It was a 5 hour bus journey to Kroombit and so we had a bit of time to
catch up on some much needed shuteye. It
was on this 5 hour journey that I got annoyingly intermittent mobile signal and
had the first inkling that a baby may be making it’s way in to the world. I was assured by our moron guide that there
was a pay fone at the cattle station so I thought everything would be OK.
Arriving at Kroombit the cattle station at first glance looked very
basic, but our accommodation (on Stringy Bark Hut) was actually not too bad,
very small but unexpectedly had air con… which was nice! The entertainment for the night would see us
participate in a cross dressing night, all clothes would be provided or you
could swap with your fellow travellers. The
dressing up clothes proved to be mainly dresses so the boys had a wide range to
pick from and then quickly set about borrowing make up and jewellery from
us. Finding mens clothing was slightly
trickier which is why I ended up in some horrible gold satin trousers in the
style of shell suit bottoms and a womens jacket – there really wasn’t much else
to choose from. It kind of looked OK
once I’d got my goatee drawn on.
The evening was kicked off with a meal of meat and vegetables cooked on
the open range. You could purchase wine
and beer at the Bush Bar and then we were addressed by the station owner who
talked to us about what life is like, before giving us a demonstration on the
art of whip cracking. He made it look
very easy, apparently it’s all in the wrist and girls are usually better at it
than boys. There were loads of whips
around and we all had a go (after donning the protective goggles), I’m afraid I
didn’t quite make the cut. So, moving
swiftly on to the mechanical bull… it was very amusing. In my satin trousers I literally lasted one
nanosecond before flying off the front!
On our tour we had a few ‘older’ people, in particular an English couple
who were in Oz celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary. They were really good fun and got in the
thick of it. John ended up being the
longest standing mechanical bull rider and Sandra was pretty hot with the whip!
After the previous nights enjoyable evening we had a lazy breakfast
before going on a walk across the farmland to the top of a hill, where, in the
blazing sunshine we could try our hand at playing the didgeridoo… it’s
apparently similar to playing the bagpipes as it’s all about circular breathing
(I wouldn’t know because I’ve never played the bagpipes). Again I was hopeless. Back down in the open fields we could now
have a go at throwing the boomerang – and actually I wasn’t too bad at
this. I wouldn’t say I was expert or
anything but it more or less came back to me.
The afternoons activity was intriguingly called Goat Rodeo. We were taken down to the stables and matched
up with a horse or pony depending on riding experience and ability. My pony was Topsy and he was very little but
very calm and thankfully easy to ride.
Our first task was to head up to the field where the goats were grazing
and round them up shouting ‘hey whoop whoop whoop’ at the tops of our
voices. Topsy stayed very calm
throughout all of this but wouldn’t really go where I steered her and was just
happy to follow her friend in front.
Once the goats were all rounded up we rode back to the stables and
dropped off the horses before returning to the field where the fun and games
First up was a fake goat branding.
We had to get in to teams of two, give ourselves a team name and enter
the ring, then the cowboys would let one goat in and we had to catch it, grab
its legs, put it on the ground and then fake brand it. Depending on your goat it wasn’t as easy as
it sounds. I teamed up with little Jenny
(we were the Goat Getters) and that was a good move because she was quick at
catching the goat!
Next up was clay pigeon shooting and some of us were surprisingly good,
particularly Heather from team Canada
who hit three out of five.
Now the silly games really began as we were asked to make a circle and
join hands where one of us would be touched with the cattle prod. Assuming it wouldn’t be much more severe than
an electric fence I stood my ground in the circle. Of course it was more of a shock than an
electric fence – but not as bad as the electric shock I’ve had at home from a
table lamp! Very amusing though.
The final silly game of the afternoon saw the cowboys send us out in to
an empty field and blast a tennis ball high in to the air from a kind of rocket
launcher for us to try to catch. The
ball went very, very high up and it was difficult to keep your eye on it. Nobody managed to catch it so the game turned
to cricket with the cowboys shooting the ball at exceptionally high speed at
the one person silly enough to stand in front of it, Hossein!
After another great meal cooked on the range we were keen to improve our
mechanical bull scores from the previous night.
This time I was sure that my jeans would mean I’d have better hold and
I’d be able to last a bit longer. And
this was true… … … but I still only managed about 3 or 4 seconds. It was very, very amusing though! The evening deteriorated further and turned
to karaoke during which I think my ears started to bleed – particularly when
Hossein and Franci took their turn!
Debbie and Chris were the stars of the night and were accompanied by
Katie and Michael doing some line dancing.
And that was it, two nights at Kroombit Cattle Station had passed in no
time at all. It was sad to leave but we
had a fun packed day ahead of us as we head further inland to Caernarvon Gorge.
I have forgotten to say that I tried to use the pay fone but it was out
of order so decided to try and charm the owner in to letting me use the office
fone… I must be losing my touch because even though I had a fone card he made
me pay $5 and all I got when I called was voicemail!