Roll up your sleeves for fishing, 4WDing, canoeing and more on this 320,000 acre working outback station on the Darling River.
For most of us, 320,000 acres is an unfathomably large backyard, but for six generations of the Murray family it has been their livelihood, their passion and their home. While the family has been on Trilby Station since 1860, current owners Liz and Gary Murray have called it home since 1981, raising their four children on the land while working the extensive sheep and goat property. Like many rural station holders, the Murrays have realised their remote outback lifestyle is of great interest to visitors from far away cities and towns, and as such have opened the gate to tourists.
And boy, are we glad they have! It’s a beautiful property home to an impressive array of outback landscapes, from the meandering river and treeless black soil flood plains to ironstone ridges, red loam soils and mulga scrublands. Come at the right time of year – as we did – and the ground will be carpeted in wildflowers, a stunning array of pink, purple, white and yellow contrasted magnificently against the blood red outback soil. There’s a range of accommodation to suit everyone and plenty to do, making Trilby a destination worth staying for a minimum of two nights.
Located 125km from Bourke and 25km from the tiny outback town of Louth, Trilby Station falls on the famous Darling River Run outback touring route. Access to the property is via a series of unsealed roads of varying quality, depending on the weather and how recently they’ve been graded. In dry conditions the property is accessible by 2WD, but a vehicle with a decent amount of ground clearance is recommended.
Trilby’s owners warn against using a GPS to find the property, as more times than not you’ll be led ‘up the garden path’, and they have mighty big gardens ‘round these parts! Directions to Trilby are as follows:
From Louth: Cross the Darling River in the village (bridge is beside Shindy's Inn). Follow the road 3km and turn left at the T-junction (sign here says Trilby Station 19km). Turn left again at the large Trilby Station billboard and mailbox. Follow road 3km to the accommodation and homestead complex.
From Tilpa: Head west on the 'Tongo' road for 1.5km, turn right at the T-junction towards Louth and continue 66km to the Trilby Station sign, and turn right.
Trilby has 25km of river frontage, with the homestead and visitor accommodation nestled amongst the river red gums where parrots and cockies abound. Accommodation ranges from self-sufficient camping on the banks of the river, to powered caravan sites, the shearers’ bunkhouse and self-contained family cabins.
With such an enormous backyard at your disposal, there’s plenty to see and do at Trilby.
Fishing is a popular pastime at Trilby, so cast a line in the Darling and see if you can land a yellowbelly or a cod to cook up on the coals of your campfire. At the very least, you’re bound to catch a carp – a guaranteed fun time for the kiddies. Yabby nets are also available to borrow, and while they are found in the river there’s a well-stocked pond near the camping area plus several stocked dams along the Mud Maps drive. Shooting yabbies in a barrel, perhaps, but you won’t care when you’re peeling the shells off fresh, sweet meat over a glass of wine or a beer at the campfire.
There is a ready stock of canoes and kayaks available to borrow from the sandy beach near the woolshed, so have a paddle and enjoy the peaceful sounds of galahs and other birds hanging around the trees beside the river. They know it’s the place to be in this hot, dry landscape, and so do you!
MUD MAPS 4WD TOUR
The Murrays have prepared an excellent self-guided ‘Mud Maps’ 4WD-only tour of their property, complete with numbered gate posts and informative trip notes detailing everything from flora and fauna, styles of fencing used and why and the types of farming that happen in specific paddocks. The trip encompasses a range of changing landscapes and offers fascinating insights into the farming practices used and challenges faced on Trilby Station. You’ll learn what the Murrays do in a flood, how they irrigate this semi-arid land, what plants are edible for stock and how they feed stock in a drought.
But for me, the most interesting part of the Mud Maps tour was calling into the perfectly preserved 1950s homestead. This disused home is still full of simple early 1900s furniture, the beds are made in chenille quilts, the dining table is set and the pantry is stocked with ‘50s-era groceries and medicines. The Murrays are extremely generous in allowing guests free reign to explore this very special part of their family history, and it goes without saying all guests are respectful of the property and do not remove anything from it.
Liz explained how, on large properties like Trilby, there would generally be more than one homestead on the property. When a family was ready to progress to a better homestead, they would leave the house set up for the next inhabitant, usually a younger family member. They would stock the cupboards with enough supplies so the house could also serve as emergency accommodation for workers and passers by, should it ever be required; a lifeline in this remote, rugged and often hostile environment. These days it's just birds, snakes and ghosts that call this one home, and the sense of history is palpable.
Trilby Station is located on Louth Tilpa Road, between Louth and Tilpa, NSW. Book now to stay at Trilby Station.