Emu Park > Kroombit Park
After breakfast and loading back on to good old Matilda, we started making our way to our first stop Rockhampton. To make the most of the ride down, Leigh & Alan showed us a slideshow of the pictures take from last night’s Toga Party. Some wonderfully hilarious, some dreadfully cringe-worthy!
When we made it to Rockhampton, our guide Alan told us that we were in line with the Tropic of Capricorn. The Tropic of Capricorn is the dividing line between the Southern Temperate Zone to the south and the tropics to the north. So in other words, we’d left the tropic climate behind and were crossing the invisible line to the temperate climate.
After our pit-stop we loaded back on the bus for the final stretch of our drive to Kroombit Park and Cattle Station. When we arrived we were greeted by Andrew (or Andy as he was better known) and we were served lunch, which was delicious! When we’d had our fill we grabbed our gear and checked into our cabin quad share rooms then headed back to the bar area to meet everyone for our first activity.
The majority of us opted for a horse-back goat muster lesson, where we would each take our horses to the fields and heard goats into a pen.
The whole ride was done at a walking pace and I was partnered with an Albino Horse called Lucy. As it turns out, Lucy has a bit of an attitude and would often stop to relax or eat. Trying to manoeuvre a horse that didn’t want to move, toward goats (that also didn’t want to move) while trying not to bump into other riders was somewhat of a juggle, but none the less, very enjoyable.
Despite her temper, I think Lucy actually liked me towards the end! When the mustering was done, and goats safely locked in their pens, we took a slow ride back to the farm to try our hand at a goat rodeo.
We were driven out the rodeo on the back of a pick-up truck complete with rusty worn metal and horns on the front grill. It was awesome. The road was a bumpy one and there was no such thing as a slow drive when you’re on the farm. Lucky for us we arrived at the rodeo area in one piece and we eager to discover more. But first time to practise lasooing!
Our tour guide Alan had told us on the bus earlier that we need to get into groups of 3 and have a team name with Goat, Billy, Nanny or Kid in the title, and that we were competing for a bottle of “Giggle Juice”. Allow me to introduce, the Nanny Grabbers…
We were told that in our teams, two people would be lassoing goats, and when we managed to grab one, the third person would grab the goat by the horns and hold it until one of the remaining team members grabbed the branding iron and held it on the goat’s hind leg. Before you think the worst, the branding iron used was not hot, and it was painted at one end so no harm came to the goats. The team who lassoed, grabbed, branded and shouted “Yee Hah!” fastest were the winners. The Nanny Grabbers may not be declared winners, but we had one hell of a hilarious time!
To keep us entertained while we were waiting for other teams to compete, we also had a go of trap shooting (aka clay pigeon shooting) the main difference being that in Australia, (or on the farm at least) was that you had to yell “Dingo” instead of “Pull” when you wanted a clay pigeon released. Safe to say I wasn’t very good at the either but I can at least say I’ve given it a go.
After a jam-packed afternoon full of activities, our trusty pick-up truck took us back down to the farm to enjoy a “cold one” and some “mystery meat” before dinner. The bar was outdoors, with no roof yet had swinging saloon doors, tree stumps for tables and stools, wooden tables and benches made from more trees, a hot tub made from the back of a pick-up truck and some fire wood, and perhaps the most significant feature, a mechanical bull named “The Nutcracker”.
This had to have been one of the coolest bars I’d been to and it didn’t even have a roof! The beers were cold, the meat was mysterious (and delicious) and the crickets were chirping musically over the country music in the background. What better way to relax after an epic day. After a few more cold ones and a tasty roast beef dinner – which I might add was cooked on an open-pit fire using nothing more than a few iron pots – we headed back to the bar and were greeted by Alan (or Al) the owner of the ranch.
A few more beers later and the line dancing had started. The staff had got everyone to their feet to give the dancing a go and some of us (myself included) actually got the hang of it! There were 3 dances in total. Which included “Cotton-Eye Joe” and “5, 6, 7, 8.” Very fast and very fun!
When we had all regained our balance and it was time to take on the Nutcracker. Each round lasts 8 seconds, and if you’re on the bull for 2 seconds or less when you come off, you have to get back on again. I lasted 2 seconds; followed by another 2 seconds, then I finally made it to 3 and I was allowed to return to my seat and my beer and hang my head in shame!
Little piece of advice to you girls, don’t wear leggings on a mechanical bull and guys as the name Nutcracker would suggest, maybe wear a cup.
Just when we thought we’d done every activity we could manage in one afternoon, Al had one more surprise for us. We were taken out back of the bar to test out our Whip-cracking skills! There were podiums (also made of tree stumps) out back and we each took it in turns to mount the podium and try and crack the whip. The staff made it look so easy!
Of course when it was our turn it was evident there were two kinds of whip-cracker. There were the ones who were so scared of the whip, they feebly flailed it about while ducking with their eyes closed, then there were those who thrashed it about so vigorously they injured themselves and innocent bystanders in the process.
I started out in the first group, and after a couple of tries I found myself comfortable in an unfamiliar middle ground, not quite confident, not quite scared. Eventually, after quite a few attempts, I managed to crack the whip! For those that don’t know, the crack is the sound the whip makes when it breaks the sounds barrier so it felt pretty awesome.
A few more drinks, followed by an epic game of flip cup with our group and all of the staff, then it was off to our cabins to pack our overnight bags and rest up for tomorrow.