Adventures at Kilcowera Station
I was exploring Outback Queensland and had spent a few days enjoying the fantastic camping out at Currawinya National Park when I decided a visit to the Royal Mail Hotel in Hungerford was in order. While enjoying a cold amber ale, I spotted a pamphlet for an outback station stay a 100km up the Dowling Track towards Thargomindah. With no firm plans, I decided I would head to Kilcowera Station and see what it had to offer.
The Dowling Track runs 560km from Bourke in Northern NSW to Quilpie in Queensland and takes in some amazing sites along the way. It is unsealed most of the way and you will discover the dingo fence at Hungerford, Australia’s first hydro-electricity plant at Thargomindah and of course the fossicking fields at Quilpie. You will also pass by a few old pubs including the mud brick Warrego Hotel at Fords Bridge, The Royal Mail at Hungerford and the Toompine Hotel (great free camping available).
I arrived at Kilcowera Station and was welcomed by the owners Greg and Toni Sherwin who’ve owned Kilcowera for over 30 years, opening the property up to travellers in the year 2000. After telling me all about the property, what was on offer for accommodation and handing me a mud map for the self-drive tour, I was escorted to my accommodation.
I checked into the comfortable Shearers Quarters, comprising several bedrooms, a large family room and a good-sized kitchen. Having a full-sized stove was a bonus so I whipped up a hearty camp oven casserole for dinner. Toni warned me that she’d scared a baby king brown snake from one of the toilets that morning, so I made sure to carry a light when walking outside after dark. I must say sleeping in a real bed for the first time in over a week was a highlight.
Another selling point to Kilcowera Station is bush camping by Cardenyabba Lagoon. This non-permanent billabong is a great place to canoe, swim or catch yabbies when it contains water. The firewood is supplied, and a drop toilet is nearby making it a perfect place to relax and see how many birds you can spot.
Next morning, I was up bright and early, eager to explore the station tracks. This cracker of a 60km track rolled me past cattle watering points, scenic lookouts, hidden caves, creeks and even a murder site appropriately named “Murder Bore”. The true story behind this macabre name is kept in the shearers quarters so make sure you have a read when you are there.
Greg and Toni have applied a conservative approach to their land. Maintaining healthy soils, the native vegetation and native and domestic wildlife is critical to sustaining the cattle industry. By stocking one cow per hundred acres, they can better manage the vegetation and ground cover on their property.
As a guest of Kilcowera Station, you gain exclusive access to the western edge of Lake Myall, a part of Currawinya National Park. A boundary gate led me into Currawinya and I came upon a white post a further kilometre along the track. This is as far as a vehicle is permitted to go. On exiting the vehicle, my nostrils were filled with the acrid smell of goats. There must have been a couple of hundred of the ferals enjoying the seclusion of this part of the park. With no water in Lake Wyara, I wasn’t going to venture any further as there were no waterbirds about.
I made it back to the shearers quarters just in time to have a refreshing shower before heading up to the homestead for dinner with my hosts. It was a fantastic experience listening to their daily chores and experiences since they had arrived at Kilcowera and it was rather late by the time I stumbled into bed.
I awoke to the soft patter of water falling from the dark clouds above. This was certainly a sign to hit the road again and find the next adventure. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit Outback Queensland, I always discover something new. Sometimes the best places to stay are right under your nose, you just need to keep an eye out. Kilcowera Station is one of those places that offers a range of accommodation options as a station stay experience.
Kilcowera Station is located on the Dowling Track in outback Queensland, approximately 100km north of Hungerford or approximately 75km south of Thargomindah.
Shearers Quarters, powered and non-powered sites, bush camping. Clean facilities. Payment is cash only or via direct debit. There is Telstra mobile coverage on the self-drive track. Kilcowera Station is a member of Outback Beds.
Contacts and Information: Kilcowera Station