*Sponsored. As seen in The Logbook.
Considered to be one of the world’s last true wilderness regions, Kimberley in Australia offers travellers a taste of what it is like to be on the edge of civilisation. Strikingly beautiful and rugged, this wild and unforgiving land leaves everyone who sees it with a deep respect for the life that thrives here. And an appreciation for the fact that this is the real deal.
Twenty years ago, Jack and Vicki Burton began a small free-range meat business in this region named Yeeda Beef. Demonstrating the sort of grit, focus and determination that this land prefers, over the following two decades this business grew to become the first fully integrated free-range meat production company in the area. Owning a herd of over 80,000 animals, in a plot of land covering a million square kilometres.
“This is the wilderness,” Jack says, “It comes with its own set of rules and it is a completely different way of life than what most people expect. We have lived and worked here for twenty years, and as our business has grown, we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to explore it fully.”
In 2017, they launched Yeeda Kimberley Tours to provide the opportunity for guests to experience all of this first hand. Welcoming visitors from around the world seeking not only to explore this land but to immerse themselves into a different lifestyle, a different pace and a different flavour.
“This is an invitation to visit our backyard,” Jack explains, “And get an insight into what it takes to work a cattle station and everything which that includes.”
People are attracted to Kimberley because of its harshness and uncivilised beauty. It stirs up the intrepid explorer and adventurer in all who see it and challenges them to do better, because only those who move forward can ever thrive here.
“Centuries worth of floods from upstream have turned the valley into an extremely fertile land and there is evidence that various groups of people have lived here for over 40,000 years,” Jack explains, “The local peoples know the area as Mardoowarra and there is a great and solemn respect for it. By helping people travel through it and explore it safely we can educate them on it as well as inspire them.”
This area may sometimes seem dry, but Kimberley holds 80% of Western Australia’s fresh surface water resources. It hasn’t experienced a severe drought in over a hundred years thanks to its consistent rainfall and this has created a land of great diversity and scope. Gorges, waterfalls, caves, lush rainforests and a huge variety of unique wildlife in the land and ocean are just waiting to be explored.
Its remoteness has actually aided organised tourism growth over recent years as it has become a sought-after destination for that authentic Australian outback adventure. One of the world’s hidden treasures, it is also one of the most exciting agricultural regions and Jack explains that there is an irrigation scheme to develop part of the tropical north for further agriculture along the Ord River.
“For us, over the years, increasing livestock numbers has been the major objective for the business,” Jack says, “But of equal importance is preservation and enhancement of Yeeda’s pastoral environment. There is photographic and documented evidence that the land under our Company’s control has been progressively enhanced over the past ten years. Which our travelling guests can also appreciate now.”
Jack says that it is all about unique experiences and the tour, which is really just an example of how life is at Yeeda, nonetheless takes people out of the realm of their normal day to day lives. Guests travel in their comfortable 4WD bus through the Yeeda properties, passing through vast paddocks they can see cattle watering points and station yards, stockmen at work, cattle grazing and the amazing wildlife that also inhabits the millions of acres that Jack and Vicki call home.
“If that doesn’t stir something inside you, we also do crocodile spotting at night by the river,” Jack suggests.
There is also a cultural and historical element to the tour including real billy tea and a delicious long table lunch of Yeeda Beef and Kimberley Barramundi at the Yeeda Station homestead. Here you can learn the deeply involved and exciting history of the station which goes back to the 1800s and how Yeeda Pastoral Company came to be one of the most progressive pastoral companies in Kimberley.
“In the tourism part of our business we employ roughly twenty people, but this does change throughout the season,” Jack says, adding that they always try to recruit locally and are careful to bring in the right kind of people with the right kind of experience and skillsets.
Interestingly, Jack’s father Peter is the tour guide, responsible for regaling visitors with stories of the people and the places, told with an engaging method and a healthy dose of humour
“The most important thing is that our staff love what they do and where they live,” Jack says.
To him, relationships are one of the things that are very important, especially out in the remote regions. Yeeda Kimberley Tours is a member of various tourism bodies including SKAL International and they have partnerships with other tourism operators too.
Despite the size of their other businesses, their tour business is still young and both Jack and Vicki are wise enough to know that they are still learning and have their own share of hurdles to get over for this young enterprise.
“These relationships we make with partners and staff are key to helping keep us current and on top of trends,” Jack explains, “We have a good team to keep things moving as the business will always change and evolve as required. We believe in organic growth in all things, things happen as they are meant to.”
WHAT GUESTS CAN EXPECT
While there are plans to create tours that last up to ten days at a time, currently they only operate One Day Tours in this area. Going to Kilto Station, Yeeda Station and the iconic Willare Bridge Roadhouse which is also owned by the company. This is the heart of the beef and barra country, a place to meet the local Yeeda cattlemen, have a drink and a delicious meal and enjoy the region’s finest.
Other tours include Yeeda Station Stay, Helicopter Flights in the East and Bungle Bungle Caravan Park which is the gateway to the Purnululu National Park and comes with its own cache of tours and potential adventures. Certain to satisfy any appetite for adventure.
Other visitors include a wide cross section of travellers, including lots of locals from the region, retired farmers from all over Australia, aboriginal organisations and passing Grey Nomads who all make full use of the accommodation and the sites available.
The Bungle Bungle Caravan Park for example is extremely busy during the dry season which is April through to Sept.
Accommodation is provided at both Yeeda Station and the Bungle Bungle Caravan Park. Both sites offer powered caravan and camping sites and glamping accommodation that adds a special flavour to any stay and at Yeeda there are homestead facilities too.
There is no argument that with the expansive outback and wild surroundings, glamping fits in perfectly with both Yeeda Station and Bungle Bungle Caravan Park. Guests can find spacious open plan eco safari tents that come with their own en suites and highly comfortable interiors.
“Guests also get exclusive access to station fishing spots and there are communal BBQ facilities for guests,” Jack says, “This is Australia after all, there has to be a barbi.”
PRICE/NIGHT: (if applicable.) $250
ADDRESS: Head Office 3 Farrell St Broome WA 6725
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 0891928854