The outback landscape around Corynnia Station is one of those rare places where you can feel the thrumming of ancient magic.
The horizon is broken only by the occasional old man saltbush or a distant tree, and it splits the world into two opposing halves: the giant blue sky above is hung with soft white clouds, while underneath golden plains of grass are bisected by dusty roads and wire fences. The light emitted by this sky has an otherworldly quality – it reflects off the tough surfaces of the land, and bathes everything in a harsh metallic wash. Fine fingers of dust are thrown up by the earth and gently caress every surface they can find in a futile attempt to reclaim materials that once came from its breast.
It is easy to miss this magic when driving these roads in an air-conditioned car; surrounded by steel, music, snacks and upholstery, you might not even suspect the power that lies beyond the tinted windows. Luckily, there are people like Julie and Bruce Armstrong who have lived their lives in this harsh and wild land, toiling tirelessly to tame a small corner of it so that guests might find refuge in a comfortable haven, an oasis from which to explore the mysteries of the landscape beyond.
The accommodation offered to Station Stay guests is sheltered by towering pepper and gum trees, and surrounded by exquisitely maintained lush green gardens. It is truly an oasis amidst the grassland plains. Julie has drawn on her years working in the fashion industry to furnish the guestrooms in impeccable style while also ensuring they retain the warmth and personality of the outback lifestyle. They also have the most comfortable beds you are likely to find anywhere in the outback, as well as giving you a choice between soft and hard pillows.
Corynnia is positioned between Hay and Griffith; at a convenient distance midway on the Sydney-Adelaide route, making it the ideal place to take a hiatus from the rigors of the road, while at the same time getting a taste of life on a working farm in the Australian outback. Though you should be warned that one night isn’t enough time to take in everything the station has to offer – you will need a minimum of two nights for that.
Bruce is in charge of looking after the 4,000 merino ewes and 130ha of cotton that are Corynnia’s main source of income, and visitors are lucky to be able to tour the property with the farmer himself.
You’ll learn how the bright green cotton plants are irrigated using a high-tech system of laser levelling, channels, and pumps. While in the next field over the scars from the old contour irrigation system look like the remains of an ancient civillisation.
Don’t be surprised if on this working sheep property you don’t see many of the animals themselves. Stocking rates are low in this harsh, dry country; which means that any time Bruce needs to round up the sheep he first takes to the air in his light Cessna aircraft, to see in which corner of this vast property the sheep are herding.
The shearing shed sits in the middle of the flat grass plain like a boat on the sea, and a look inside will give you the opportunity to smell the richness of the lanolin that greases the shearer’s hands in this archetypal Australian setting.
“People go away with an extra understanding of what farm life is all about.” Julie says of the farm tours. “They are often so interested in how everything works that Bruce takes them out for what’s meant to be an hour, but sometimes turns into four.”
SOAK UP THE OUTDOORS
In between the homestead and the cotton fields there lies a patch of ground in a slight depression, that holds enough water to be home to a huge dry swamp populated by 1,000 year old box trees and families of kangaroos. Guests are welcome walk or cycle the tracks through this swamp (bikes are available to borrow at the homestead), and in winter it is a scenic place for a paddock picnic, which Julie and Bruce can provide.
This swamp is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, with many species of special interest to the twitchers (birdwatchers) among us.
After being out in the heat you will probably want to wander around Julie’s immaculate gardens or make use of the swimming pool. Alternatively you could relax on the verandah, which looks on to the tennis court guests are welcome to use.
The outback sky is an attraction all by itself. It puts on quite a show at sunrise and sunset, while the night-time stars are like a sparkling blanket laid across the sky.
But really, any of these activities is just another opportunity to contemplate the nature of this unique landscape – to be absorbed by it and to see it in a new light. To explore what the land is like when it has been stripped back to sand, sky, straw, shrubs, sheep, sun, and stars. This is a world reshaped as a minimalist’s dream of contrasting colours and simple shapes; a world that will give you pause to wonder at the people and animals who are persistent enough to call this place home.
Corynnia Station is located at 1823 Carrathool Rd, Carrathool, NSW. Book now to stay at Corynnia Station.