The Australian landscape is daunting.
You’re in the middle of a vast space that is so much bigger than you. It feels limitless.
But that’s what makes it magic.
It’s also the towns in between, the communities of fantastic people.
I have spent much of my life jumping between the Queensland and New South Wales border.
This is why our Outback Tours hold a special place in my heart.
My great grandfather is buried at Gowrie Station near Charleville. (We have recently had a big plaque made to mark the spot.)
It is this connection to Queensland that, I feel, allows me to get away with supporting the Maroons in the State of Origin - despite being born in New South Wales.
Plus Queensland are just better, really. (Yes, I am one of those people.)
The place with the tin piano
One of my favourite stops on the Accessible Outback Tour is Ray Station.
No matter how many times I go there, I come out with a different experience, a different story.
The owners have been there for generations, they are descendants of Mary Durack, who wrote Kings in Grass Castles.
It is one of the few properties in the country that’s never changed hands. It’s been passed down through the generations, so it’s retained its rich history and passion for family.
When we stay there, they bring us into their life.
It’s so much more than just a tour. The people showing us around are the people that work the property every day.
We are not just guests observing, we are part of it.
After visiting the rock holes, the cemetery and boulder opals on the property, we eat our outback style dinner by the campfire.
Then Mark Tully begins to play on the old tin piano - and I feel at home. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before, this piano. Sitting amongst the rocks and dirt, it’s been there for years. It makes the most unique music, and we all sit around and sing.
Ah, the serenity
When you’re in the outback, you let yourself get lost in the beauty of it, the quietness.
Most big towns have telephones, but there’s nothing in between.
We, of course, have a satellite phone on board so we’re not completely cut off. It’s saved our bacon a couple of times.
But most of the time it’s just you and the crew. I love seeing the tour group relax into the environment. Nobody is sitting on the bus on their phones, everyone is either chatting or just enjoying the scenery.
Sometimes the ambiance is interrupted by the truckies on the two way. Often we get a good laugh, other times we have to turn it off, for risk of hearing inappropriate conversation.
But it’s all part of the experience.
While some towns haven’t physically changed much over the years, I’ve visited these places so often, I notice differences each time. They’re small, but they’re there.
A new business, a new attraction, a new person. I love watching each town grow and change.
And each place has something different to offer - whether it’s the Cosmos Centre in Charleville, where you can actually hold meteorites in your hand and learn about the beliefs of the ancient astronomers, or the underground tour of the Opal Mine in Lightning Ridge.
There is something for everyone in each place and you’d be surprised and what you’ll take away as a highlight.
It’s about you
We want you to have a great time. We have picked out what we think you’ll enjoy, but we like to ensure you get to have the experience you want.
One particular tour, we had quite a few ex shearers on the bus. When we were going past the turn off on our way to Innamincka, and they spoke up and said they wanted to see the old historic woolshed in Cordillo Downs.
The general consensus on the bus was that people wanted to go - so off we went. It wasn’t part of the original route, but it’s not about us - it’s your trip and we are here to give you the best experience possible.
And we love to see the excitement these places bring people. It’s why we do what we do, it’s why we’ve done it so long.
Because seeing you guys have fun makes it all so worth it.
Join the Family
Often, when we step on the bus and begin the process of picking everyone up, there are little reunions.
Mary gets on and sees Emily is also on this tour. There is great excitement as more familiar faces get on and within an hour there is already a real buzz on the bus.
We have our regulars, but we love welcoming new members into the Langley’s family. If you think you might like to join, read more about our family and our business and get to know us.
Or have a look at our tours, and maybe you’ll see something that interests you.