Ben takes the long and country way to the pub for a well deserving beer!
Eighteen years ago, former cattle trucker Steve Fry and his wife Liz bought Stoney Creek, a 283ha property just 30km inland from Mackay. It is a working cattle property at the base of the Connors Ranges.
When he was in the trucking business, Steve often noticed how many families and backpackers were on the road exploring Australia so he decided to build a cottage and bunkhouse to cater for the market, literally starting from scratch … a task that including clearing the land.
It took a year to build the cottage and other buildings and they used a lot of natural resources at hand. The result is adventurers can now enjoy a wonderfully authentic country experience, staying in either the fantastic cottage or in the property's budget accommodation. And it doesn't come much more country than Stoney Creek. It is a beautifully quiet place where the stars simply fill the sky at night and the only traffic hold-ups are when you might have to stop to let the doe-eyed Brahmins cross the road.
Trailrides are available for experienced and novice riders, who can enjoy going through semi-rainforest areas, along an historic mountain trail past waterfalls and safe swimming holes. And those needing some respite from the heat of the day can ask their guide to take them to Pine Tree Falls for a refreshing dip.
After your swim you can head back to the homestead for some homemade scones and billy tea or coffee around the campfire.
Then you can trot and canter on a horse in the open country, go cattle mustering or just visit mothers with their calves. The day might include a counter lunch at the Eton pub or a swim with your unsaddled horse in the dam.
The cottage is rustic on the outside, luxurious inside and has a verandah on which to kick back after a hard day of relaxing. It is built entirely from bush timbers and is solar-powered … don't forget to take along a torch. You will also need to take along your food, drink, jeans, boots and, most important of all, your sense of adventure.
The budget accommodation is on another secluded part of the property and is terrific for a private party. There are three rooms, two with double bunks and one with a double bed, all bush crafted. The kitchenette has a two-burner stove, flush toilet, shower and outside bush shower. It is also solar powered, but has no refrigeration, so you will need to take an ice box.
Stoney Creek is just 30km from the coast, but once you are there it's like being in the outback. You will see wallabies, dingoes, wedgetail eagles, koalas, goannas and frill-necked lizards.