The Day I Wore Lipstick On The Cattle Station

Just 50 minutes before, leaving the bustling tourism hub of Cairns – blue ocean on one side and cool rainforest clad mountains on the other – I had no idea my world as I knew it was soon going to blend beautifully with 35,000 head of prized Brahman cattle and 1.5 million acres of dust.Wrotham Park is described as a marriage between a luxurious, stylish resort and the dusty reality of a working cattle station. The first part of this I loved the sound of, the second part I wasn’t so sure about.I knew my first reaction was going to be to hide, to stay within my comfort zone – but the neatly rolled, chilled and fragrant hand towel offered to me by the driver when I stepped from the plane gave me Dutch courage and I started to wonder why it took so long for someone to come up with an idea like this. I felt a bit like the girl that Paul Hogan married in Crocodile Dundee.A few minutes later and the 4WD stopped in front of the Homestead – very Queensland, very Outback and very inviting. The beautiful lounge chairs, the airconditioned bar and sitting room are designed to make you feel like you’re in your own home. You are encouraged to come and go as you please. Wrothank Park has been carefully created to fit perfectly into Far North Queensland’s tropical savannah offering maximum comfort but still with a very distinctive outback feel.Back outside there is a cool breeze, a sparkling wet edge pool, day beds around a 5* campfire (the perfect place for the apperetifs and star gazing) and I just knew my bedroom accommodation was going to be stockman’s quarters meets luxurious comfort. It was. Crisp linen, overstuffed leather armchairs, designer bathrooms, CD player with a personalised selection of compact discs – these guest Quarters are visually spectacular, boasting a large deck for the ultimate enjoyment of the outback views.Early morning. The smell of dew on the grass. A stunning breakfast already cooked to order and finished. We drive half an hour to Mouth Organ Yard to get a glimpse into the lifestyle on a remote Australian cattle station. A group of outback stockmen arrive and their job today is to separate the weaners from the rest of the herd. It’s a hard, sweaty job – and a dangerous one. Not every animal co-operates – this is no guaranteed “show” for tourists. Lodge visitors are invited to watch, but there is no scheduled performance.That evening, lying on one of the daybeds near the pool, the sun has already dipped below the horizon. There is a smell of a distant bushfire and somewhere a kookaburra starts the last laugh of the day. This is the moment to close your eyes, smell, listen, smile – redo the lipstick – understand and appreciate.

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