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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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!
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.