“A working cattle station in the shadow of Western Australia’s Cockburn Ranges, offering horse riding, fishing and guided walks”
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
There's no mobile phone signal here and you are a very long way from any shops, bar the basic station store.