Win-win as grey nomads flock to Outback stations

Published: July 2, 2015

As the drought continues to bite hard in Outback areas, many remote towns and stations are looking to attract grey nomads and other travellers as a way of surviving the tough times.

The resourcefulness of those who seek to adapt to challenging economic circumstances is certainly being appreciated by grey nomads who are able to get a real insight into country life and appreciate the unique beauty of the Outback.

It can be a classic win-win situation.

A case in point is Lara Station, just outside of Barcaldine in central-western Queensland.

Since owner Jodie Jarden opened her gates to campers and caravanners last year, she has hosted around 700 RVs. The 6,000 hectare property’s wetlands are fed from a single century-old bore on the Great Artesian Basin turning it into the classic desert oasis..

She told the ABC the response from visitors had been amazing.

“They are stunned, everyone is in a drought out here and to come out and see a bit of greenery and water and the bird life … it is like an oasis in the desert in their minds,” she said. “”They come for one night, but they end up staying three or four … I’ve had people stay here a month, or a couple of months.”

Ms Jarden told the ABC she had developed a thermal bathing pool, and that warm water from the artesian basin was a particular hit with grey nomads.

As well as coping with the devastating impact of the drought, Ms Jarden has also been coping with grief after losing her partner Michael in a helicopter crash a year ago.

The accident happened on a station near Barcaldine, on the same day the first tourist booked in at Lara’s camping ground.

She told the ABC that she spent the first few months in shock but had to carry on with.

“Life is for living, and you have got to keep moving on and I know this was our dream,” she said. “You just get full of determination, and when you have such a magical place I am into sharing it with people.”

Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler said tourists were helping small towns and small businesses to survive the drought and economic downturn.

“Visit them and see the country probably at its worst, but the country people at their most resilient,” he told the ABC. “The tourism industry really is the lifeblood of the outback at this time.”

  • Have you stayed at Lara Station? So you make station stays a part of your trip? Comment below.
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7 years ago

We have never stay there but would like to. please tell us more

7 years ago

For those who don’t know Barcaldine is an RV friendly town and a great place to visit.

7 years ago

A good story that must be told. The biggest issue for many a station owner would be the extraordinarily high cost of insurance premiums that would be imposed. This will put this sort of activity out of reach of many a station owner and if they decide to go without insurance then they may well loose everything they have if an accident occurs.

David Williams
7 years ago

We stayed at Lara Wetlands last week. A magical place! Green grass in the middle od drought stricken Queensland, amazing birdlife (stilts, spoonbills, red winged parrots, etc. Firewood supplied. Will definetly return.

Mark smith
6 years ago

Is Lara station pet friendly

Jenny McDonald
6 years ago

Just spent a fabulous 7 days there after booking for 2 nights. It was recommended to us when we were in Tambo. Peaceful, relaxing and pet friendly. Our worst mistake was having no togs to enjoy the hot pool. Met some very interesting people.
Jo and Bill great hosts. Highly recommended. Thankyou.

5 years ago

We went to stay at Lara for one night and ended up staying for three.Jo is a true Aussie battler and has a lovely team of helpers. The camp kitchen and hot thermal pool are brilliant. MAGICAL PLACE!

5 years ago

Beautiful place, so quiet and peaceful at night.The sky at evening and night is spectacular. You need to be self sufficient, good drinking water is available on site. Fabulous place for a couple of days or a few weeks. Looking forward to a return visit in April.


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