We left the city of Melbourne behind and flew on to Tamworth, Australia where we could experience life on a working cattle station. We were all glad to escape the city and experience real life. We stayed with friends for four nights and fully enjoyed every minute exploring their property and meeting the local farmers.
After five nights in the city, it was great for everyone to have a chance to get outside and run. Melbourne is a nice city, but being a city, we couldn’t let the kids go outside and play on their own. The cattle station provided us with plenty of space to run free and enjoy time outdoors.
We enjoyed every minute of our time on the cattle station. Exploring the many acres of the property, herding cattle, riding horses, feeding chickens, and meeting some of the local families. Every night, we’d enjoy home cooked meals featuring beef raised on the farm along with some very tasty Australian desserts made from scratch prepared by Zara, the McMurtrie’s oldest daughter. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a better Pavlova, including the many years I spent working along side some very good Ritz-Carlton Pastry Chefs. The kids really enjoyed touring the local school. School buses in Australia are operated by charter bus drivers, so the kids ride to school on very nice tour buses.
The locals were all very kind and welcoming despite being under the extreme stress of a terrible drought. Rather than allowing the cattle to graze on the natural grass, they need to be fed daily which leads to work that never seems to end. Still, they were kind enough to take us in, show us around, and enjoy some fun times together.
Four nights flew by, and before we were really ready, it was time to head on to Brisbane and Bribie Island.
Zara, Chloe, Wally and Cilla are the reasons I liked the cattle station best. Wally followed us all over, and I liked carrying him around. It was fun to herd the cattle and chase them to the yard. Then we had to walk five miles with them and I had enough cattle herding. I loved that there were animals everywhere and didn’t want to leave when it was time to go.
I liked playing with Zara and Chloe and making up dances with them. I liked watching them jump on their horses and playing with thier little dogs, Wally and Cilla. Herding the cattle was fun because the cows were scared of me and we could chase them in any direction we wanted.
We found out that they call bed covers doonas, a horse’s blanket a horse’s rug, ketchup is tomato sauce (it is pronounced like tamato), bathing suits are called costumes and their chickens are called chooks. Their school bus had seat belts and a TV.
We rode horses one day. I rode one named ovation. He was very stubborn, way more stubborn than Crooks the most stubborn horse at our barn at home.
We’ve arranged for most of our family touring in Australia through Southern World. We like exploring new destinations by all methods of travel – cruising, touring, or on our own. The thing we like best about private custom tours is that we can collaborate with and design our experience exactly the way we want, under the expert guidance of a trusted local operator.
With mom in meetings for our time in Melbourne, we don’t have any scheduled tours planned until we arrive in Uluru. Even though we didn’t have anything organized for a few weeks after we arrived, Southern World was kind enough to send an abundance of local touring options we could explore on our own during our first couple of weeks in Australia. The information was all waiting for us when we arrived in Melbourne, especially nice that we didn’t receive it at home and have one more thing to pack.
There are several options for cruising around the perimeter of Australia – Large ship, small ship, expedition. The cruises are a great way to see the sections of the country you may like to return to at a later date. With as long as it takes to get to Australia from the States, we recommend also organizing some pre-or post touring to explore some of the interior of the country as well.
Taking a tour with a small group provides the opportunity to experience the sites of Australia with other like-minded travelers on popular pre-designed itineraries.