“A working cattle station in the shadow of Western Australia’s Cockburn Ranges, offering horse riding, fishing and guided walks”
Unless flying in to the station’s private airstrip, you’ll have experienced enough of the Gibb's kidney-bruising corrugations to fully appreciate Home Valley’s relaxed comforts. Here domestic travellers mix with city slickers and a sprinkling of foreign guests in an egalitarian bush brotherhood entirely in tune with the ethos of remote living and mutual self-reliance.
Owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation, HV’s accommodation ranges from eco tents and homestead rooms to premium Grass Castle suites with kingsize beds, cowhide rugs and air con, set on the banks of Bindoola Creek. Activities include self-guided bush walks in Bindoola Gorge, fishing expeditions, bushtucker treks, horseback cattle mustering, birdwatching, 4x4 tours and scenic flights. Alternatively just sit on the veranda, stare at Ollie and Lily, the station’s resident barking owls, and watch the river flow.
- Location - sunset over the Cockburn Ranges rivals Ayers Rock for subtle changes in radiant light and surpasses it for wilderness ambiance; no chattering coach loads here
- Birdlife - Bindoola Creek is alive with bee-eaters, cockatoos, finches, egrets. Elsewhere, rare Gouldian Finches and Purple-crowned Fairywrens are particular specialities
- Horseback Mustering - JR’s (John Rodney’s) horseback training is exceptional: progress from passenger to rider in a couple of hours
- Geography - fabulous setting with falls, creek, river, sandstone and limestone escarpments and expansive views
- Great for groups of friends, families and those who want that winning combination of real outback adventure and comfortable beds
- With over half a million acres to play with, more privacy between premium Grass Castle suites would have been nice
- TV screens and nightly entertainment (local bands and singers) in the Dusty Bar & Grill restaurant - perhaps it’s just me but I don’t always want to be ‘entertained’ when dining, and it can be samey if you're here for a few nights
- No mobile reception - not necessarily a bad thing but a point to be aware of
- Home Valley is not as exclusive and intimate as others in this part of the Kimberley, but then again it is good value, and there is plenty of space to seek solitude
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Outback Resort
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
A short walk from the Dusty Bar & Grill, 8 premium Grass Castle suites (where I stayed) occupy individual pitches along the Bindoola Creek. An unprepossessing exterior of corrugated green metal reflects utilitarian station style.
However, once you’ve stepped up onto the suite’s wooden deck it’s a different story. Table and chairs overlook the creek allowing for a contemplative sojourn soaking up the heat and the surprisingly raucous bush cacophony. Beyond sliding glass, the icy chill of aircon belies an inter-dimensional wormhole leading to a fashionable boutique hotel room on another world. Here, polished wooden floors, a cowskin rug, cane armchairs and a comfortable kingsize bed set the scene. Behind a partition, a chic bathroom with wet room and rain bath shower completes the journey. Those booking in advance should request suite 1 as it’s at the end of the row and offers greatest privacy.
Close to the station’s heart, 28 motel-style Guesthouse Rooms arranged in 7 blocks lack a creek-side location but are certainly very comfortable. Again corrugated iron walls and concrete floors reflect the original stockmen’s quarters and characterise station buildings across the Kimberley.
Elsewhere, 4 safari-style Eco Tents seem slightly incongruous in design and location. The tents accommodate up to 4 guests, and have big canvas windows on all sides which can be drawn up, plus a private veranda overlooking bushland. For families, a proper bed, fans and new bathrooms close by make these an economically attractive package.
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Internet access
The Dusty Bar & Grill is found in a shady open-sided shed, strewn with cattle station impedimenta, and is where all meals and drinks are served by efficient staff. Essentially this is an Aussie outback pub complete with atmosphere, which may or may not be to your taste. I found it slightly impersonal with TVs relaying the footie; you also get nightly entertainment in the form of singers and bands such as the local Indigenous band Rodeworx - either on stage or later round the campfire.
Breakfast is either a la carte or a buffet, depending upon the season; choose from eggs benedict, bacon and eggs, a selection of omelettes or lighter options. The HV8 Big Breakfast is a show stopper and should be consumed with caution unless your idea of outback adventure centres on sleeping under a shady tree.
Lunch generally means snacks, baguettes, salads, pasta and steak dishes, all of which are well suited to accompany a cold beer. If you plan on exploring the property, you can arrange for a hamper lunch of sandwiches, fruit, muffins, muesli bars, juice and water.
The dinner menu is short, which is good, and features elegant entrees such as ‘seared kangaroo fillet salad’ with honey roasted macadamia nuts, cherry tomatoes, celeriac and lemon and olive oil yoghurt (which I enjoyed greatly), or ‘linguini creek, croc and crustacean combination’ consisting of crocodile, prawns, barramundi and scallops tossed with olive oil, garlic, chilli and tomato.
Mains are accomplished surf-and-turf style dishes such as barramundi fillet with pumpkin bubble and squeak, wilted spinach and salsa verdi, or buffalo sausages with mashed potato, caramelised onions and red wine gravy, together with a wide selection of succulent steaks. Refreshing desserts include raspberry brûlée with toasted coconut and mango sorbet.
A succinct but well-chosen list of Australian wines is on hand together with chilled draft and premium bottled beers.
- Children meals
- Organic produce
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Names such as Cyclone and Buddy may offer clues to equine temperament, but whatever your ability, Home Valley’s horse whisperer JR matches riders to suitably lively or sedate mounts for a range of activities from scenic horse rides to horsemanship lessons
- The whole family can take part in the mini muster, which includes a Cockburn Range trail ride, and ringers (stockmen) showing the techniques of a cattle muster. Kids travel beside horses in 4WDs, adults can ride horseback if of sufficient riding standard. Horsemanship and cattle drafting lessons included
- Fishing expeditions on the Pentecost River allow guests a hope of hooking that elusive ‘big barramundi’. Guides have a few favourite ‘secret’ spots and many species can be caught including threadfin salmon, mullaway, mangrove jack, even mako shark. You can also take a canoe out to explore the river
- You don’t need a guide find Olly and Lily the station’s resident barking owls - just follow the sound of a yappy dog - and you'll also be woken by a symphony of songs and screeches every morning. However, for rare and endangered species such as Gouldian Finches or Purple-crowned Fairywrens, an expertly guided Twitcher’s Trip will open your eyes to Home Valley’s wealth of avian inhabitants (species guide included and use of binoculars)
- Baz Lurhmann’s Australia, with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, was set hereabouts and Home Valley has devised a tour combining various station activities with the chance to see the real stars - the stunning locations used in filming
- Another way to see the Kimberley's extraordinary landscapes is to take a scenic flight from Home Valley to the Bungle Bungle Ranges via Lake Kununurra and Lake Argyle followed by the Osmand Range; return via the Argyle Diamond Mine, Pentecost River, Cockburn Range and El Questro
- A selection of guided and self-guided bush walks will suit all levels of stamina and athleticism. Most involve a cooling dip in crocodile-free waters somewhere en route, all provide an intimately memorable encounter with the Kimberley
- Sunset by the station’s Bindoola River Camp, on the banks of the Pentecost River, is exceptional. Take a bottle of something fizzy, keep an eye out for Cedric, a large male crocodile, and bathe in insect repellent beforehand. With clear skies, views towards the Cockburn Ranges are breathtaking; for the full romantic experience, HV can arrange French champagne and a cheese and fruit platter at a private location
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Private guided tours
- Scenic flights
- Traditional cultures
This is a terrific place for adventurous kids who love the great outdoors and are tough enough to cope with the long journey here.
It works well for groups of families and friends too; we're recommending it for those with children old enough to enjoy the activities here, including horse riding, swimming in natural swimming holes, birdwatching and fishing, but baby cots are available on request.
All rooms are charged per unit, not person.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
The Eco Tents would be our recommendation, sleeping up to 4 in proper beds but with the excitement of being under canvas. Guesthouse rooms sleep a maximum of 2, and you can book a separate twin room or bunkbed for children. Grass Castle Suites sleep up to 3 if you add an extra bed or cot.
Babysitting services are available on request subject to certified staff being on duty.
- High chairs
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There aren't any particular child-friendly meals (see eating) but we think older children will be fine.
Kids Activities on site:
- 2 fenced pools
- Ollie and Lily, the station's resident barking owls
Kids Activities nearby:
- Bush walks
- Horse riding
- Didgeridoo playing (boys only)
- Bindoola Falls and Nyarli Lagoon swimming holes
- Bushtucker treks
Families Should Know:
There's no mobile phone signal here and you are a very long way from any shops, bar the basic station store.
- Airport: 14 hours (Darwin), 3.5 hours (Kununurra)
- Hospital: 3.5 hours
- Shop: 3.5 hours