While El Questro Station is big at 700,000 acres, Home Valley Station is huge, covering 3.5 million acres, or 5 times the size of El Questro. Home Valley Station’s first pastoral lease was in 1957, and similar to El Questro, they added tourism to the station in 2006 to augment the always struggling ranching business.
This huge station’s pastoral lease is currently owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation, a holding company for the local Aboriginal people. The dining area was the old maintenance shed that was converted to its new use with a kitchen, bar and seating.
I thought the use of one of the old windmills as a wall was very interesting.
The building’s low perimeter walls were built from stone with 55-gallon drums as structural support bases marking the entrances. Cowboy saddles were thrown on top of one of the walls.
In areas with regular water, like sprinklers for the grass, the boab trees had leaves. This boab tree was split open in the back but was still thriving with just the outer ring of the tree alive.
We left Home Valley Station and stopped at Ellenbrae Station for a mid-morning scone with whipped cream and jam. While the station is also over 1 million acres of ranch land, it’s known for their delicious scones along the Gibb River Road. The family serves up about 20,000 scones during the tourist season. We all made short work of eating them up, including Riley and Tasman in the picture below.
Our next stop was the Manning Gorge for a nice swim. The parking lot had a few other folks that were travelling in the outback along the Gibb River Road. This vehicle was typical of those on the road, a vehicle fully loaded with a roof rack, towing a trailer with a boat and bikes. Australians know how to pack for the outback.
Riley and I took a dip in the Yallamia Pool in the gorge. It had a boat with a tow rope if you wanted to get to the other side dry, a rope swing, plenty of rocks to climb on and a few fresh water crocs to keep you alert.
Our next stop was a short hike into Galvans Gorge.
The boab trees around the top of the gorge were interesting, and due to the lack of water up there, leafless.
The gorge was protected by a Wandjina, who were the ones in Aboriginal stories that created humans. Their likeness is painted onto many special places in the outback.
On our hike out from the gorge we spotted these two kangaroos making their way up the other side of the gorge.
We arrived at our next camping spot, the Bell Gorge Wilderness Lodge. This was the view looking out from our tent.
The inside of the tent was nice and cozy with two beds and a full bathroom.
We headed down for happy hour and another fantastic dinner in the wilderness.