Charlotte Plains Station - Outback QLD - Artesian Bore Baths
Charlotte Plains in Outback QLD with it's artesian bore baths is the Station you first come to for the serenity, but then you realise it’s the heart and soul that keep you here. The warmth. The history. The authenticity.
This would be the second time we have been encouraged to check out somewhere new, somewhere off our intended route and for the second time we have been completely blown away and glad we listened. Not only were we grateful to have seen a new part of Outback QLD, but we feel completely blessed to have had pleasure to meet and stay with the amazing solo owner and host, Robyn Russell on her unique sheep station.
The Charlotte Plains Station is located just outside Cunnamulla in South Central Queensland. We have driven across Queensland 3 times, all on different roads and so we were excited to be taking yet another way for our 4th time across. Amy had wanted to visit the Cunnamulla Fella monument since we featured a photo on our Outback Traveller Magazine social pages, and you guessed it Cunnamulla was an hour west of the station and on the way. Two birds- one stone.
We hadn’t looked into taking the Adventure Way road across through Thargomindah and Cunnamulla until the owners of the Gemtree retreat in NT, a close long time friend of Robyn, mentioned how an incredible experience awaited us there. We are known for taking advice and recommendations on board and putting them into action…. It adds spice to our daily adventures.
After getting in touch with Robyn, we decided we best look into what Charlotte Plains had on offer. We found the station is best known for its unique Artesian Bore with multiple outdoor bath tubs. The photos we were finding of these were so much more unique than any we had ever seen. The deep twin baths steaming away in the foreground of the vibrant greens or the vivid colours of the outback sunsets. We had to see more.
On arriving we were able to head straight to the camp ground and pick out our spot within the breathtaking natural environment. The birds were all singing and there was just so much green. After 3 months making our way between the Oodnadatta Track, the Red Centre, the Simpson Desert, the Big Red Bash and the outback surrounds- it was a very welcomed sight.
We decided to soak up the serenity for a while and that afternoon we let the kids jump into the tub and have a bath for the first time in at least 12 months. The temperature of the afternoon air was a little fresh but not cold, and so the hot water coming straight from the ground was a real welcomed novelty for the boys. Ryan and I decided to wait until late in the evening to go and enjoy them ourselves… or to be more precise- 1am. Why you may ask did we not go for the iconic sunset bath time moment …. We have kids, so let's be real... as if we could both have gotten a relaxing opportunity to soak during daylight hours.
So with kids fast asleep and the camp ground quietly still, we took this time to have our first kid free moment in 11 months (of full time 24/7 parenting might I add). The peaceful sounds of the flowing bore and black star lit sky was utterly mesmerising. In our 30 mins of quite time out of the van, we saw 6 shooting stars and a large glowing meteor- this reminded us how precious life and moments like these truly are.
I think what really stole our hearts at Charlotte Plains besides the unique outdoor ‘Hot Tubs’ with the sensational backdrop, was the hidden soul behind the personal history of the Station.
Charlotte Plains is a 70,000 acre sheep station, that’s half the size of Singapore. The Station is run entirely by Robyn herself and one employee. There is a truly fascinating 92 year family history of the Nagal’s owning and running the property, passed down through Robyn’s parents and grandparents. Robyn (and her late husband Reid) have been running and building their successful station stay and wool business over the past 12 years, recently adding some cattle for a bit of income diversity. There was previously 8,000 sheep and 400 cattle, but due to the recent hardships of the lasting drought it has been reduced to 1,000 sheep and 100 cattle with a sprinkling of camels.
Robyn personally conducts guided tours around the property ranging from 2-2.5hours (depending on the group size and interests of the guests). The Station has so much history within its confines, to see it all you can choose (as a nominal optional extra) to jump on the guided tag a long tour. You learn a detailed history of the grounds whilst you drive around (using the UHF system), you jump in and out to take in depth tours inside the areas like the shearing shed, station buildings and the old homestead.
You visit the Bore first then off to Jacks hut, where you learn all about the infamous Camel Man of Outback Queensland and his story. Then you get to see how the (still active) 130 year old sheep sharing shed works, with demonstration of wool sorting and assessment. The boys got to see how wool is classified and even got to take some home too. It’s a great place to snap a photo with the bale classification markers.
You also check out the Guest/ shearer’s quarters, then the onsite Cemetery which as you could imagine is full of wonderful history and stories. The final part of the tour lands you at the old Homestead and Museum...... Where you learn a really fascinating guided family history dating back a century plus and even lands you in England.....
As if that wasn’t already awesome enough the boys were fortunate to get the opportunity to hand feed Simon the kid (baby goat) and Lucky the lamb, their lunch time milk. This was the most incredible opportunity for them, especially as we are planning on having our own goats and a farm when we choose to finally settle.
The tour is an additional cost to camping, the monies paid go towards supporting various upgrades and needy areas of the farm and also cover the valuable time, of this truly inspiring and very hard working country woman.
Medium cost camp
Price: $16/single, $32/couple, $10/additional adult (staying in same van), $5/child
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Toilets Showers/ baths
Activities on land
Cautions; water and hot water.
Recommended by us; 100%.
There are 8 bath tubs hooked up the natural artesian bore, and there is a camp shower too. There is a Communal fire pit but you are also able to have a fire at your personal site- just be campfire responsible. The large camp area nearer to the artesian bore baths is unpowered, powered sites are located closer to homestead along side the guest cabins. There are Kayaks available for paddling down the heated creek, which along with the baths are both included in your camping fee and on a first come first serve basis.
For the Tag-a-long Station Tour- take a drink bottle and some snacks to nibble on in the car. The tour can be quite detailed, obviously the more into the history the group is- the more Robyn shares. The tour ends at the homestead with the opportunity to take home your very own piece of Charlotte Plains Station. Tours are $32/adult and $10/child, this helps provide extra support towards the farms up keep and Robyn’s hard work.
Tours are subject to availability, as Robyn also accommodates pre-arranged charted fly in and coach tour bookings, that include the station tour.
A guide to using the baths for kids and adults....
Only soak for the recommended 20mins- this is due to the mineral content of the water and the 40 degree heat you are fully submerged in. Drink lots of water before you go in and especially after you get out, as the combination of minerals and heat could lead to unexpected dehydration.
For the Kids baths; We only filled up the baths half way and utilised the cold water in the pipes that comes out first to keep the temp down. We also used the baths located slightly down steam and not directly under the bore pipes which we felt gave us a little more cold water at the start.
We have such admiration for the courage and strength of solo owner Robyn, she wears her heart on her sleeve and makes her guests feel a part of her family. You really get a sense of home when you arrive at Charlotte Plains, take the opportunity to sit with Robyn and learn some of her amazing story.
Have you ever wanted to get out of the big smoke and have a true outback experience, work remotely, escape the city 9/5 and trade it up for something of pure heart and soul. Maybe consider volunteering to work with Robyn on the station in exchange for a more rewarding slow paced life style. Stay a month, work a season, who knows you just might change your life forever. Contact Robyn for more information.
If you have always wanted that ‘escape to the country’ kind of adventure, then what an incredible experience awaits you here at Charlotte Plains Station in South Central Outback Queensland!
Enquires or prebookings via:
Website - http://charlotteplains.com.au
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone - 07 4655 4923