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“A Real Outback Cattle Station Experience”

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Bullo River Station
Reviewed April 12, 2012

We really enjoyed our recent stay at Bullo River Station. It began with the flight in with lovely views over rocky escarpments and grassy plains where we saw Bullo’s Brahman cattle as well as wild buffalo. At the homestead we were greeted by a friendly guide who looked after our every need. I was keen to look around the station and to visit the aboriginal rock art sites while my husband couldn’t wait to catch a barramundi. Both of us had our wishes fulfilled and more. The ‘more’ included a helicopter trip with Franz (the station owner) to the beautiful cascades where we had a swim, a boat trip up the river to the gorge past areas of breathtaking scenery and a quad-bike ride to a billabong where the abundant birdlife kept us entranced. Franz and his wife Marlee, made us feel very welcome and answered our many questions about station life. On top of all that was the food which was delicious , including the freshest of barramundi (caught that day) and their own beef. If you want to experience life on a REAL outback cattle station, I can highly recommend Bullo.

Room Tip: Al rooms are spotless and serviced daily - not bad for such a remote location. All have new air cond...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Tangam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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18 - 24 of 28 reviews

Reviewed April 8, 2012

Our stay in Bullo River Station was everything we could have imagined and then some. We arrived at lunch to a beautiful meal and had the chance to relax after our trip while drinking coffee and taking in the breath taking scenery. Our accommodation was more than we could have wanted, after all it is a working cattle station and to have air-conditioning (which was quiet) and to have a large comfortable bed and en-suite was perfect.

We got all the thrills of the station, we saw dingos, crocodiles, we caught barramundi, saw the rock art and visited the cascades. We never ran out of things to do. Franz and Marlee are amazing hosts and lovely people, they are fountains of stories of adventure from over the years and made the station feel like home.

The price considering everything that was included was perfectly reasonable to me, we were well fed and well worn out from all the activities that we took part in. This is not a 5 star resort, if it was it would have taken away from the experience.

I hope to get back to Bullo River in the Near Future and cant thank the family enough for the wonderful stay.

Room Tip: It doesn't matter what side of the accommodation you stay on you will never experience silence l...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Sparkles711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2012

A real cattle station run by owners who truly love their land. The boab trees and brahman cattle that surround the homestead are what makes this location special. Spending some time in the air with Franz is what puts it over the top. Landing on the top of waterfalls, following river courses and taking a birds eye view of nesting Jabiru are a photographers dream. Franz is a great host and superb pilot. Sunsets with the boabs are a treat as well.

I notice some people complaining about the food, but this is a working cattle station and the food was pretty good by those standards. Don't expect Heston Blumenthal to cook your dinner! I loved chasing the tree frogs out of the bathroom. I appreciated a clean and cool room at the end of a day motoring up the river. Sunrise overlooking the Baines River was just an incredible place to land a helicopter.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with friends
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6  Thank Ewster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2011

if you have time and want to be in the real outback - go here! great family place ( they have two sons with pythons as pets and schooling ot the air - fascinating) . take the time to let them fly you for camping at the cascades -unforgetable.
do not be in a hurry - you will discover so many things to do upon arrival, that cannot be planned, and the family is so fascinating to get to know

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank susanne_de_broglie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BulloRiver, Owner at Bullo River Station, responded to this reviewResponded December 13, 2011

Hi Susanne,

Thanks for taking the time to write a review on Trip Advisor.

My family and I were happy to hear you enjoyed your stay with us. Bullo river is an amazing place and the cascades are one of our favourites too.

Franz and Marlee Ranacher
Owners
Bullo River Station

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2009

We are very seasoned travelers, we didn't (we think) have any over-romantic false expectations of what staying on a working cattle range in outback Oz would be like, but even taking the later into consideration, it was still clear to us that Bullo needed somewhat of a kick up the backside to learn to at least try to provide some sort of impression of "effort" that they are thinking about how to provide as nice a package as possible to their HIGH PAYING guests rather than defaulting to an attitude of "this is outback Oz and a working cattle station and there was a well-known book written about it so you guests can make do with what you get". They are simply not in the 21st century with regards what people who pay this sort of price expect for this sort of experience. They should take some lessons off faraway bay or Bamarru Plains to see where they are coming up short. The food was dismal and uncreative, served under a grimly lit stark table ... closer to a youth hostel experience than a boutique ranch hotel. The rooms are very poor for the money .. all in one "block" straight out of a u.s. motel room handbook (and "block" really is the right word). There is air-con, but its the variety that sounds like a 60's russian jet fighter engine. Again, the overriding impression is that they simply quickly "slapped up" the rooms and the guests could "make do" with them, with next to no thought about even a little finesse and style (there really isn't any "style" anywhere, even just some nice "rustic" outback style). The staff and owners are friendly enough , as you would always expect in Oz, but generally we found this to be a poor experience, and if the large amount of money you pay for this a meaningful deal to you, then you'll probably be more disappointed than us. Avoid until they have made a meaningful effort to upgrade the rooms, food and the "little touches" that surely the price warrants.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank MARKHLONDON
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2008

What a fantastic property ! So diverse , We loved everything- the amazing Rock art, the Barramundi fishing, The CASCADES and the wonderful personalities, on Bullo. It was a brilliant three days
thanks Marleen franz and all the staff

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with friends
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3  Thank robteam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2008

Our anticipation that our stay at Bullo River Station would be the highlight of our trip, meeting Marlee Ranacher, daughter of Sara Henderson was dashed when we arrived to be met by young staff who told us that she was away in Darwin, her husband was away flying the helicopter.
After breakfast they showed us to our accommodation which we were disappointed to find was similar to the $100 a night motel we had stayed in in Kununurra, not of the standard we had expected for $1500 per night per couple.
After breakfast Franz Ranacher, Marlee’s husband arrived to tell us of the plans for the day, a prepaid helicopter ride ($1000 per hour) to the Cascade Falls along with lunch on the river bank and a boat trip down the river and a drive through the Station back to the homestead, an enjoyable day for all.
We had been looking forward to our three course gourmet hearty dinner with the family (as per the brochure in our room), meeting any other guests over a pre dinner drink, in reality we introduced ourselves as Marlee was still away and Franz did not appear, we were appalled that the meal turned out to be two very basic courses not three, totally inadequate for such a high priced venue. After dinner Franz appeared to discuss the next morning’s activities, fishing, horse riding, rock art and possibly other things but it was never clear what would be organised, a total lack of communication.
Next morning Franz finally sorted out what activities were available some going fishing others on four wheel motor bikes and a group to the rock art. The activities were enjoyed by all, we caught a Barramundi which was filleted and we thought would make a good lunch only to be told that menus were set and we could not have our fish, the reality for lunch was pastry case pizza and lettuce leaves, no bread, buns or anything else to suggest that our extra half day was worth an additional $250 per person. Our fish would have taken 15 minutes to cook and would have enhanced the meal 100% at no extra cost.
To sum up, Bullo River Station needs to live up to its own promotional material and provide a service commensurate with the price charged, part of the appeal of holidays like this is the mixing with family especially having read the books on the struggles of the enterprise. While the staff available tried hard none were competent to fill in for Marlee or Franz and did not have the training to service such a high priced establishment

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled with friends
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7  Thank westienz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Bullo River Station

Address: Bullo River Station | Victoria Highway, Timber Creek, Northern Territory 0852, Australia
Location: Australia > Northern Territory > Top End > Timber Creek
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Timber Creek
Price Range: $567 - $1,135 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Bullo River Station 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
If you've always wanted to stay on a working cattle station, the iconic property of Bullo River Station provides the quintessential outback experience. Located 800 kilometres south-west of Darwin near the Western Australian border, this massive property of 500,000 acres, offers a comfortable and fully-hosted farm stay experience. Fully-hosted means daily interaction with the family, and the colourful collection of workers who will tailor a range of activities to suit your interests. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bullo River Station Australia/Timber Creek

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