A Day Down Under
Some vacation days are meant to be sipped slowly and sparingly like a delicious aged wine. Other vacation days are like a never-ending case of ice cold beer, best enjoyed by drinking deeply and frequently. It only seems right that a day on a vast sheep station in Australia’s Outback would be better suited to the latter.
Angorichina Station is an exclusive use (meaning, you’ll be the only guests there) homestead property in the Flinders Ranges, a few hours north of the Barossa Valley wine region. It’s an extraordinary place not just for the tremendous sense of vast and rugged natural beauty, but for the real-deal and from-the-the-heart hospitality. I stayed there recently on my Oz research odyssey and when given the choice between a sipping or chugging sort of day, I opted for the cold ones. Here’s how a deliciously action-packed day goes down Down Under:
7:00 am: Wake up, throw on some clothes (bring a sweater!) and head out to the dog kennel to be greeted by five VERY excited sheepdogs. Choose the most excited three and head out on a walk. One keeps diving into the bush and coming back with a skull or a bone in his mouth. Cute. Even though they don’t know me, they still obey all commands. Awesome.
8:30 am: Breakfast. Bacon, eggs, toast, coffee, the works, or lighter options if you choose. But, you’re in the bush, eat bacon, dammit. 2 more cups of coffee and you’re ready to roll.
9:30 am: Head out with Ian (owner, host, man carved from rock) in the truck. You’re going to spot yellow-footed rock wallabies in the gorge. The gorge? 580 million year old upheaved ocean bed. Wow.
12:00 pm: Lunch. On the way back, Ian parks in a dry creek bed, and another truck shows up with lunch fixin’s. Camp chairs, cold beer and wine. We gather firewood for a quick fry-up. Kangaroo island sausages and fresh lamb chops, with salad for balance of course.
1:30 pm: Head up in Ian’s Cessna for a tour of the 120 000 acre property. Literally was far as the eye can see, and it’s all yours. We fly over the old homestead, mustering huts, watering holes and chase a few wild goats around.
3:00 pm: Relaxation time. We headed out to the Prairie Hotel, about 40 minutes away, for a quick pint. You used to be able to land the Cessna on the road right out front. Alas. . .
5:30 pm: Sundowners. Pile into the Land Cruiser and head to the highest spot on the property. Local wines, beer and nibbles await, along with the best sunset you can possibly imagine.
7:00 pm: Dinner time. This time around was perfectly done lamb roast, followed by quandong (a local indigenous fruit) and ice cream. Oh, and a lot of wine.
Late: After the revelry, I retire to bed, excited to do it all over again. Tomorrow we get to head out on the ranch and see how the whole sheep farming process works. Wow, I’m exhausted.