We hadn’t planned to stop at the Wooramel River Retreat at all. We certainly did not plan to stay for four days. But the poor internet connection on our route, on a day we absolutely had to be available, led us to turn left when we arrived at the junction to Wooramel Station, who advertise good Telstra reception on their webseite. And once we were there, we somehow did not want to leave any more.
The station (“station” being the australian word for the big agricultural landholdings that often are far out in the Outback. “Ranch” seems to be the better known american word for it.) occupies an area of 1430 square kilometres with 60 kilometres of coastline, where about 7’000 sheep, 7’000 goats and 1’000 angus cows are held. The Wooramel River is an upside down river that surfaces only 2 or 3 times per year, after heavy rainfall. But it provides good grazing ground for the cattle. The station exists since the early 1800s, the current owners purchased the lease in 1987, migrating more towards the coast from a station more inland. Their main income seems to be the goat trade, and for some time also “nature based tourism”.
There are a few campgrounds attached to stations. But there is a reason for the great rating Wooramel River Retreat has on Wikicamps. It is lovingly created, there are beautiful shady sites, toilets and showers – and there are warm pools. For about a hundred years, the pastoralists have been drilling for water on this station. It is possible to get the water to the surface via artisan wells, no pressure is needed. The water comes from a depth of 240m and has a natural temperature of 33°C. The warm water is not only used to provide warm showers for a few hours a day, but it also fills four small pools (made out of cut water tanks). Therefor, guests can enjoy a nice warm bath in the evening, while watching the sun set.
It needs a little getting used to the water, though. Its high iron content makes it taste as if one had bitten their lip. And funnily enough, our nails and skin started to gain an orange color. If you come here, you should have your tanks filled and bring enough drinking water (even if there would be drinking water for sale at reception). Also, all sites are unpowered – not a problem with our solar system. Otherwise, there are a few cabins at Wooramel that looked quite nice, too.
So, after our first night, we decided spontaniously to profit from the winter special (pay 3, stay 4) and stayed for the weekend, between Gum trees, cattle, emus, coat, horses, different birds and lots of wind.
What stroke of luck it was, that poor Telstra reception.