Outback station stay took Big Lap to the next level

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station stay for grey nomads
Christine and Ray (right) with their new 'adopted' family

Having already completed a Big Lap in 2014, grey nomads Ray and Christine Boreham were looking to find something ‘different’ when they rented out their Adelaide house and hit the open road again late last year.

Travelling with kayaks helped bring a new perspective, and heading up to places like Cape York brought a new sense of challenge … but still the couple wanted more.

Then, a couple of months ago, they saw an ad in the Grey Nomad Times that read: “Come experience life in the outback. Young couple with two sons (3½ years and 8 months), wanting a couple to help out with the kids and odd jobs around the homestead in exchange for power, water, all your food, a bath and the chance to explore the property.”

After making contact with managers Georgie and Hugh, the couple were soon hooking up their 18’6 Island Star van and heading to Talalara Station halfway between Tilpa and White Cliffs in outback New South Wales.

Now, eight weeks later, they can reflect on a life-changing experience and will value forever the relationships they have formed with Georgie and Hugh and their young boys, Felix and Alfie.

Although Ray and Christine had the option of staying in the old homestead, they preferred to stay in their own van, although they quickly grew close enough to the family to eat their evening meals with them.

Christine normally headed over to the house around 9am each day to help with the children, while Ray would work through a ‘wish list’ of tasks that included such things as installing a watering system, painting, fixing leaking taps, and fitting fly screens.

“We would then meet at the caravan for lunch and, although our afternoons were free, we were normally drawn back to spend some time in some way with the family which was our choice,” said Christine. “We are in awe of the people who work and live here; the hours they work, and then their easy laughter and friendship.”

And, as their station adventure draws to a close, Ray and Christine can reflect on other unforgettable experiences such as helping to haul cows from bog holes, seeing off a big brown snake from the garden, learning to drive quad bikes, witnessing massive dust storms, and countless memories of stunning sunsets and Outback serenity.

“We have had an amazing experience, met some beautiful people, and we have made – we are sure – lifelong friends,” said Christine. “We are thrilled that we took the risk.”

* Have you helped out at a station? How did you find the experience? Comment below.

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3 Responses to Outback station stay took Big Lap to the next level

  1. In 05 on a open ended trip Perth to Darwin we saw a sandwich board on the side of the road wanting workers for pruning grape vines. It was at Wooramel Station WA. We went in it was Friday morning we parked the van the working week was Sunday to Friday lunchtime. We drove on to Carnarvon and did some shopping and started Sunday. After a few days my wife Anna had taken on the job of keeping the camp clean toilets and other aminities I was asked what else I could do so I became the service man and general dogs body welding and spraying we stayed for 6 weeks and the trip took 9 months

  2. A terrific idea love to do this.

  3. That’s a good news story!

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