There are a lot of people in the world who love to travel and I am certainly one of them. I love to see an amazing sunset or sunrise or a gorgeous building towering over the city however lately, I want more than that, I want to be a part of a local’s lifestyle. I want to eat, live, work like them. I want to see what it is like to be different from me. It is true, I have always been a lover of people and always interested in other cultures. But now I want more. I want to show you all how amazing our differences and similarities are by living the life!
For at least ten years I have had the goal of swimming with the Whale Sharks in Western Australia. I have been putting it off year after year to make my way to Europe but this year I decided I would use my frequent flyer points and book this trip. The human element in my trip was missing so I started researching the Exmouth area to see if there were any other experiences ‘up for grabs’ where I could learn about what it was like to live in a very remote part of Western Australia. I read a beautiful article written about the Shallcross Family who run Bullara Station and I was hooked! I sent Edwina Shallcross an email about wanting to capture their lifestyle at the Homestead and Bullara Station and I was welcomed with open arms!
So what is life like on the Station for the Shallcross Family?
Bullara Station is 86km from Exmouth and about 60km from Coral Bay (both small towns). The Shallcross Family offer camping grounds and modern self contained accommodation in addition to farming cattle and sheep. I have been assured that I was seeing the Station at its best as there had been lots of rain and the vegetation was lush! If I couldn’t see the rich red dirt I would have questioned whether I was in the Outback! I visited in early June and although it was the best time for the weather it was not the best time to see the workers on the land as they were not mustering cattle and the sheep had just left the station a few weeks earlier. There were however some adorable brown and white lambs in the paddocks near the shearing shed to keep me satisfied.
Here are some things I learnt from my stay at Bullara Station.
*Preparation is key when you live so far from amenities. Groceries are ordered online each week which are delivered via courier to Bullara Station each week.
*There is also food at the Station with chickens providing eggs and a vegetable garden but this highly dependant on the weather.
*The kids take a bus to school and travel 3 hours a day.
*There are two very friendly sheep who wander the Camping areas and Shearing Sheds and are called Brownie and Snowflake.
*Two horses also roam the camping areas and are dearly loved by the Shallcross girls, Olivia, Lucy and Mimi.
*Almost every night ‘Damper John’ creates a delicious Damper over the campfire for all guests to enjoy.
*The outdoor showers are amazing – looking up at the sky and seeing the trees overhead – there is a sense of peace and freedom as you enjoy the water running over you.
*Dinner each night is enjoyed at the Homestead around a big table with the workers from the Station.
*The Shallcross Family will join guests for drinks around the campfire at night or as the sun sets over the sand dunes.
*Running around barefoot is commonplace for the Shallcross girls.
*A mud puddle created by a lot of rain in the previous weeks become a haven for butterflies, a drink bowl and bath for the horses and a big playground for the kids and their friends.
*The sunrises and sunsets in the Outback are unmatched, just amazing and different every day!
*The number of stars at night – I lost count at 3,679 ;).
*Lying in a hammock after a big lunch and enjoying the 27 degree weather in the shade – priceless!
*Whilst I was there, Tim Shallcross worked hard on fixing machinery, fixing up shrubs that had fallen in cyclone in March and creating new cattle yards. He was also busy teaching new station workers.
*The shearing sheds are over 100 years old and have just survived another cyclone!
*A special mention goes out to April, Edwina’s mum who fed me each day with delicious and wholesome meals! Also a big thanks goes to Damper John for taking me out to see the Exmouth Gulf on the property with the red crabs, the sting ray sand imprint and watching the cows, including a newborn with its Mama.