Be Our Guest: Meet Our Expert Guides in Outback QLD

Posted by Crooked Compass

It is no secret that one of the most important ingredients to any tour is the knowledge and passion of your tour guide. They welcome you into their world and show you the country through their eyes. Our Indigenous & Wild Queensland tour has two of the very best – a stockman from a remote cattle station and an expert Indigenous guide ready to privy you to their unique and compelling corners of the Australian Outback.

Heading out bush in remote Queensland
Heading out bush in remote Queensland

In Outback Queensland, four hours from the nearest town, our guide Shelly, owns a remote cattle station with her husband. They have been living and working here for over 20 years. So isolated is their home, that Shelly's children did their schooling through a combination of ‘School of the Air’ and boarding school. It is a part of the world Shelly fell in love with at first sight, and as a stockman, she has been able to discover the extent of her vast land surrounding the property on horseback.

Shelly and team on horseback at her private stock camp
Shelly and team on horseback on her private cattle station

Completely inaccessible to other travellers, Shelly’s contrasting landscape is scattered with impressive rock formations, towering gorges, tranquil waterholes, and bushland that is teeming with wildlife. You can expect to see scampering frill-neck lizards, goannas, lurking emu's, curious wallabies, and even wild brumbies. Whilst Shelly is used to being in the saddle, with her guests, she savours travelling on foot instead and being able to deliver a luxurious experience. "Spoiling our guests in our remote location, with fine wines and gourmet food, is a privilege," she explains.

Shelly in her happy place - outside with nature
Shelly in her happy place - outside with nature

Being truly off the grid thwarts interruptions from the outside world, allowing nature to take centre stage. Shelly recounts a recent story of setting up a gourmet picnic lunch for her group by a waterhole, when some brumbies, a mare and young foal, emerged from the bush to drink. They were followed protectively by a beautifully grand stallion. For around an hour, the mare and foal grazed contentedly, while the stallion kept a close eye on the picnickers - his instincts to look protect his family on full display. A truly magnificent moment to absorb. Guests also find the rare experience of visiting a working cattle station and witnessing a cattle muster first-hand absolutely thrilling.

Mustering on the cattle station
Mustering on the cattle station

For Shelly, demonstrating her passion, respect, and care for the land, its history, and their cattle, is the most valuable lesson she can pass on to her guests. "We love and look after both the land and cattle" she says. "Both of these things are our livelihood, and we want to be able to pass these incredible resources and assets onto our future generations".

Johnny showing off the beauty of his countryJohnny showing off the beauty of his country
Johnny showing off the beauty of his country

Further north, in a part of the outback that carries a wealth of history, our expert Indigenous guide, Johnny, is the perfect host. A traditional custodian of the land that he welcomes his guests to, Johnny recalls that it was while he was sitting by a camp fire and "living like a king" that he realised he wanted to share this part of the world with others. For him, it is all about building a bridge of understanding about how life was lived pre-colonisation, and how the elders survived and thrived due to their deep connection with the land.

The incredible rock art in Johnny's escarpment country
The incredible rock art in Johnny's escarpment country

With the knowledge of the land that has been passed by the Aboriginal People from generation to generation, Johnny guides you through the bush pointing out sources of food, plants that will heal and harm, and trees that can be carved into weapons. His ancestral stories tell not just of the lives of the Indigenous People of the area prior to colonialisation, but their experiences through other points of Australia's history including the gold rush, and even some interactions with bushrangers. Combined with Johnny's own historical expertise, an intriguing and untold picture is painted of Australia's evolution.

Golden colours of Queensland's outback as the sun begins to set
Golden colours of Queensland's outback as the sun begins to set

A highlight for Johnny is the reaction of guests as he introduces them to a 20,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art site. The open-air gallery contains hundreds of paintings and carvings that are a direct link to his ancestry, and a cultural treasure. He remembers the amazement of an experienced archaeologist who he once had as a guest, who explained that after years of working in the field they had never come across a site so rich in culture.

Johnny playing the didjeridoo around the camp fire
Johnny playing the didjeridoo around the camp fire

At sunset, as his guests relax around a campfire, Johnny will often play the Yigi Yigi (didjeridoo) and let the sound echo through the surrounding landscape the way it has for thousands of years. It is an intimate and moving experience, and one that our guest's savour. "I’m bringing them to my home, and they feel it" Johnny says.

Join us on our Indigenous and Wild Queensland small group tour to travel with Johnny and Shelly and make this experience yours!