15/09/15 From Gemtree on the Plenty Highway, we took the Binns Track south for 39kms and then turned east for 56kms to Ambalindum Homestead. The track runs from Timber Creek in the north to Mt Dare, just over the South Australian border. “Track” was a very apt description as “road” was just not the appropriate term to describe most of what we travelled over.
The first 50kms or so were narrow and crazily corrugated with many small washouts, limiting us to no more than 20kph, oftentimes less. The final section of road was slightly better maintained and our pace increased to 60kph at times. With the van on, the 100kms took 4.5 hours including a couple of short stops to stretch our legs.
The Kruiser handled the rough going very well. Nothing broke or worked loose, and the inside was completely dust-free when we stopped to set up camp. I can’t say the same for the outside, though, which was very dusty. The Stone Stomper is doing a great job to protect the van from stone damage.
We enjoyed the drive immensely, apart from the worst sections of bone-jarring corrugations that jack-hammered us and the rig around. Driving through mountain ranges all morning, the scenery was spectacular.
Coming around a bend, we came across two dingoes on the track just ahead. They trotted off slowly enough to allow for some quick photos; another tick (Eleventh) for Di’s “Animals in the Wild” list. We stopped for smoko in a large hard-packed clearing beside a sandy creek bed, and noticed lots of flint blades of various sizes scattered around on the red dirt, sign of Aboriginal activity at some past time.
Ambalindum Station is a working cattle station and the homestead was an oasis of green lawns, shady trees and lovely gardens. It was nice to walk on green grass again after so long. Darren and Chantelle were lovely hosts who made us feel very welcome. As with many of the stations, power came from a generator that hummed away in the background between 6:00am in the morning and 10:00pm at night.
Two related families live at the homestead in a small cluster of buildings comprising the ruins of the stone shearing shed, the original stone and timber cottage, the next generation timber homestead, and the current separate houses for the two families, plus a random assortment of farm buildings and sheds. Each of the earlier houses are currently being renovated for guest accommodation. A separate ‘school’ has also been established in the original bunkhouse for the families’ seven children in Years 1 to 11, taught by Naomi (Chantelle’s sister) who is a qualified teacher.
We enjoyed our brief stay at Ambalindum Station; nice relaxing downtime.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance.” – Anon