Supporting Australian drought affected communities – Dick Smith


Rohan and I have just returned from the trip of a lifetime! We went to the Birdsville Races with a tiny little tent, our Lotus caravan, Keira and Paddy (our two teenage kids), 5 horses, the horse trainer and his family, my darling mother in law Veronica, a convoy of others and not to forget our border collie, Bubbles. I am personally not a huge horse lover (unlike Rohan), but felt extremely grateful for the experience. It was such a contrast from my day to day!

Did I get pushed out of my comfort zone? OH YES! But I got so much out of the trip, it was worth it.

Travelling to outback Australia was a real eye opener on many aspects. Although I was entirely enjoying myself, there were many overwhelming moments, such as the emptiness, the dust, the landscapes, the sunsets and rises, the stars, the smells, not just horse poo, but sulphur due to the bore water!

It came as a surprise to find myself just going with the flow and the dust of the desert, not being stimulated by technology or trying to be creative. My brain nearly stopped functioning, going from 5th gear into 1st gear in only a couple of days of driving. It gave me peace of mind, a state of divine ease. What a blessing!

Another highlight was a visit to the day spa at Dementina River. Horse trainer Dane from Stawell and his son, Judd, had discovered this treat the day before. Lucky for me they still had spots available! I returned feeling revived and re energised, recharged and at peace.  I really should give them a 5 star TripAdvisor review!


What struck me as extraordinarily sad was the drought. We saw scrawny looking cattle and at one stage, there were no birds, none at all! There was no water, no wildlife, no roadkill, no flowers (no honey), nothing at all except silence and dust.

roaming cattle allong the road

The drought has an enormous impact on farmers and a series of domino effects. We all need water to live and so do livestock and crops. More expenditure to find alternative ways of sourcing water and food results in less income, higher stress levels, hard work, depression and illness. It creates a feeling of despair and not knowing where to turn. A couple of days ago a lady checked in at reception. She had a farm in Hay, NSW. She and her son were looking at options to lease land as far away as Robe in SA to relocate their sheep.

It is impossible to get your head around the conditions and the stress these farmers live with, every single day of every week, all year round.

dried out dirt


What is remarkable is the Australian outback hospitality, which remains strong even in those trying conditions!

Each night we had to find a spot to rest our heads, as well as find a place for 5 horses. Most yards were pre-organised by Rohan and Dane. Second stop was the Mungerannie Pub, where they offered a yard for the horses and a campground for us. On arrival, Dane’s wife, Heidi discovered barbwire fencing! It was most likely an old camel yard, but not ideal for racehorses.

Paddy and Judd went investigating and what did they find? A ranch, with PERFECT yards! Rohan approached the farmer, Rob, and he was most welcoming. He works for his sister on the property of 1.6 million hectares!!!

Mungarannie Pub (WEB)
proper horse enclosures

Rohan wanted to pay Rob, but a box of beer was all he would accept. A great example of hospitality in the Australian outback!

Farmer Rob

When I arrived home, I was delighted to find a collection tin in the office. One of our fellow accommodation providers in Halls Gap had taken the initiative to distribute the tins raising money for “Buy a Bale”. Many restaurants and cafés are running the parma for a farmer campaign. We can’t make parmas, but we have been trying to find a way to contribute.

Buy A Bale


You may be aware, Rohan and I LOVE giving. What comes around goes around and we LOVE seeing it going around!

It was good timing that Dick Smith recently posted a video on social media, which inspired me. He was promoting holiday makers to book their accommodation directly through family owned businesses instead of using third party booking agents, which sees money shipped overseas. Dick believes that if we keep the money within Australia businesses, those businesses have more opportunity to give back to local communities. There is truth in what he has to say!

Please watch the video and spread the word!


Not only do we have the collection tin, but we also want to do something more. So, if you book your holiday with us between now and 17th December 2018 we will donate 10% of each booking to the “Buy a Bale” foundation  (up to $50 per booking, new bookings only, no further discounts will apply)


Booking directly through us also allows us to have a chat answering all your questions, advising you on what available  accommodation is most suitable for you and your family and share our local knowledge! We love to have a chat!