Camilla kaftan from Zambezee Boutique | Location: Barkly Homestead, Northern Territory Australia

I visited Australia’s Outback for the first time (#12before50)

Nikki ParkinsonLife 10 Comments

I’m still digesting all that I experienced last weekend.

I visited Australia’s Outback for the first time. (I feel the need to add a gazillion exclamation marks after this sentence.)

Talk about adding to my quest to try 12 new things before I turn the big 5-0 (#12before50) in June next year. 

{So far I’ve done a floral workshoprevisited Pilates and yoga; tried stand-up paddle-boardingembraced meditation; and got my first dog.}

After flying more than two hours to Mt Isa and driving for five more through some of the flattest plains of grassland I’ve ever seen, we were greeted at on the lawn beside the pool at Barkly Homestead with a G&T station.

Welcome to the Northern Territory | Adrift top, Bohemian Traders skirt, FRANKiE4 Footwear sandals

A G&T welcome to the Northern Territory

It felt like an oasis. That feeling didn’t just come from the G&T. It came from the woman behind the proffered beverage (hello Felicity!) and the women who’d driven or flown in from far-flung stations for the bi-annual Barkly Women’s Day.

Meeting each and every woman across this weekend was exactly like that feeling of drinking a cold G&T at the end of a long day … medicinal. 

Why medicinal? Whether that woman was a governess (a govie); a jillaroo; a cook’s hand; a head stockwoman or a station wife, each had a story that was eye-opening and inspiring for this regional-raised, city-living (old) girl.

Each story may have differed from the next but the common thread was one of resilience and a love for working and living on the land.

Barkly Homestead, Northern Territory

And when I say land, I’m not talking about a couple of acres on the fringe of a town or city. No, we’re talking a cool 1.7 million acres – and MORE.

We’re talking the Gulf of Carpentaria forming a property border.

We’re talking six hour drives on dirt roads just to get from the house to the gate (and on to a bitumen road).

We’re talking low-level clouds and a storm preventing planes flying driving on said dirt roads (the rain turns the dirt to clay and stuffs up even the hardiest of 4WDs).

We’re talking women who spend their days in jeans, boots, shirts, neck bandanas and Akubras covered in a fair amount of that red dirt.

Miss Chardy | Northern Territory

We’re talking women who’ll happily swap their work clothes for pearls, heels and a frock or skirt/top combo to meet up with 60 other women happy to do the same.

These women don’t let a little thing like distance get in the way of community because community is everything.

It was because of community – this online community – that I found myself meeting and talking with these women – along with my fellow bloggers, Mrs Woog, BabyMac and Cooker and a Looker.

BabyMac, Styling You, Miss Chardy, Woogsworld | Barkly Women's Day 2016

Bringing us all together was Miss Chardy (second from right), a blogger, mum of three boys and station wife, who can most days be found on a ride-on mower and a dozer but never far from a sneaky Chardonnay and the odd Japanese Slipper.

We didn’t know if any of those at Barkly Women’s Day would be interested in anything we had to say. To us, those attending were the women who had the real stories.

Turns out it’s a two-way street. We all have stories. What makes those stories count is the listening that happens on both sides of the delivery.

It’s the judgment-free conversations, the empathy and understanding of another woman’s life – that’s what lifts women up and makes them feel like they count.

If you get to have out-of-the-norm conversations like I did last weekend, embrace them. Your life will be all the richer.

So tell me, have you travelled to the Northern Territory? Do you or a friend or relative live remotely in Australia?

PS. Fun fact: my great-great grandfather William Landsborough – an early Australian explorer named the Barkly Tablelands back in the day. I’m basically an Outback girl. 🙂

Barkly Tablelands | Northern Territory

Make sure you catch these blog posts from the weekend

Whirlwind couple of weeks (Miss Chardy)

Barkly Women’s Day (Cooker and a Looker)

Barkly Women’s Day (Woogsworld)

Barkly Women’s Day 2016 (BabyMac)

Mouse and her BabyMac spot (BabyMac)

Professional bloggers gather a swag of cattle stories from remote Northern Territory (ABC NT Country Hour)

Camilla kaftan from Zambezee Boutique | Location: Barkly Homestead, Northern Territory Australia

Comments 10

  1. Hi Nikki, what is the weather in Northern Territory wen you visited? It was really a long drive, 12 hours on the road. It looks like it’s all worth it when you meet on person those amazing bloggers like you. I admire you for being out there and push your limit for such a long trips. I hope to see more of your trips. Australia has unlimited place to see and explore. Happy Touring.

    -accident replacement vehicles

  2. what an experience nikki!
    those women never cease to amaze me! … so brave and courageous!
    i’m sure blogging and social media helps them to stay connected!
    miss chardy is amazing and I love her sense of humour and get up and go! nothing stops her!
    i’d love to see her Japanese slippers! … my type of gal!
    everyone was looking so stylish!
    much love m:)X

  3. Oh stop…. yet again I am here with a tear in my eye after reading another great post about the weekend. I still can’t believe it was a week ago… still miss you all. Thank you so very much for coming all the way up, it was just the best weekend! Love this post!!!

  4. FascinatiNg Nikki! I have always admired folk who live in the Outback! I did earlier this year meet a Station Wife and asked her a few questions. I asked her how close her neighbours were….2 hours! No biggie! The shops 6 hours with a little local shop for supplies. She went shopping monthly and while she was at it she called into her Daughters….another 2 ,hours away!

  5. It all looks amazing Nikki ,I really can’t fathom living that far from anything and anyone,I really really admire those women I’m not sure I could do it,I love the sense of community these women have,something we don’t have in the suburbs!
    Your photos are beautiful I’d love to go one day and can I just say that pic of you in the Camilla is absolutely stunning,you were definitely queen of the desert Xx

  6. Struggling to believe that this time last week I was about to start that massive trek.
    I’m so pleased we went – I met so many interesting women and I’m telling anyone who’ll listen about their amazing stories!

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