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Bullo station
Bullo station

Bullo River Station

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Most Australians would be familiar with Bullo River Station, a 200,000 hectare cattle station in the north-west of the Northern Territory, close to the Western Australian border. It was the home of top-selling Australian author Sara Henderson, whose American husband developed the property in the 1950s. On his death, Sara and her daughters kept the property running. Sara passed away in April this year. Sara's eldest daughter Marlee is the custodian of the property and she and her husband, Franz Ranacher and their two sons run it.

The Ranachers love to welcome guests into their home, which is in some of the world's wildest and most beautiful country. They encourage guests to participate in everything the station has to offer. Bullo is encircled by the coffee-coloured Victoria River. Its escarpments are inscribed with Aboriginal rock art. They run 8000 Brahman-cross cattle but there's plenty of room for the original residents — wallabies, dingoes, buffalo, crocodile and loads of native and migratory birds.

Guests have a comfortable stay in 12 purpose-built, double or twin air-conditioned rooms with ensuite facilities. They are private but close to the main homestead and all have sliding door access to surrounding lawns. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the family's vast living areas, as well as the pool. Breakfast is usually taken outdoors and dinner in the family dining room.

Filling your days is easy at Bullo. The team will arrange and tailor activities to suit you. Maybe a guided river cruise along the Bullo River Gorge for a spot of barramundi fishing or crocodile spotting, viewing recently-discovered Aboriginal rock art sites or admiring the birdlife.

You are more than welcome to watch the day-to-day workings of the station and those sufficiently experienced can hop on a horse and give a hand.

The 80-kilometre Bullo River offers fresh and tidal saltwater fishing. Apart from barramundi, there are thread fin salmon, jewfish, mangrove jack and black bream. You can throw in a line from the bank or go out in one of the boats or hovercraft.

The station's helicopter is used for scenic flights as well as fishing expeditions or transportation to secret waterfalls and swimming holes which are not accessible by road.

The boab tree is Bullo's symbol and these dot the entire property. They grow to 15 metres and have branches radiating from the top of a swollen, barrel-like trunk which can be up to 20 metres in circumference. They flower any time from October to December and the large white blooms mean the wet season is on its way. The seeds are edible and high in Vitamin C. Aboriginal people use the nuts as decorative ornaments and have used various parts of the tree for food, medicine, water supply, fibre, glue and shelter.


A half-hour flight from Darwin.


Bullo River Station rooms are $657 per person, twin-share. All meals and some activities are included. They welcome visitors between February and November. The property is accessible by 4WD. Marlee Ranacher's book Next Generation is available in bookshops.

Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

More information

Bullo River
Northern Territory 0851
Ph: (08) 8354 2719
Fax: (08) 8354 4406

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