Lodge Review: Mount Bundy Station, Adelaide River - 8 out of 10
horses, a pony, a cow - wander the grounds
interacting with guests"
Mount Bundy Station is a quaint and charismatic farm in the outback region of Adelaide River, made popular by its quaint location and easy access to natural landmarks. Read our review of the resort here.
Is Mount Bundy Station easy to find?
Technically, yes. Very straightforward by road if like us you are visiting from a city area such as Darwin, which is roughly a one-hour drive. Take the Stuart Highway and follow directions for Litchfield National Park until you reach Adelaide River. Mount Bundy Station is located on a private side road opposite the Railway Museum, a large roadside sign points the way.
There is plenty of opportunity for filling up on petrol and bites to eat along the journey at many of the roadside taverns. If you’re making a straight run there, you will find a general store and amenities for eating at the nearby Adelaide River. Be warned, this resort is not to be confused with Mount Bundey (note the spelling) which is situated on the Arnhem Highway and can be a long and frustrating mistake for your driver to make!
First impressions of Mount Bundy Station?
We pulled up mid afternoon with the sun beaming down upon the ranch station, just as it does in the movies. We took this to be a good sign. A dirt track leading to the main office building divides two open fields where cattle graze on the long grass and wallabies bounce through it. A collection of termite mounds protrude up to 12 foot from ground level like a peculiar looking graveyard, great for landscape photography.
Because Mount Bundy Station is a working cattle station it’s a communal area for horses, peacocks, wallabies and a solitary cow that roam free in and amongst the lodges. This, along with the outdoor pool, are natural sources of entertainment for the many young families who stay there and creates a buzzing environment that raises a smile. Staff were happy to oblige with an introduction to the Mount Bundy features and facilities and offered to take our order for a continental breakfast the following day.
How was the accommodation?
As you can expect from an outback lodge resort in Australia, the sleeping and living quarters were simple but comfortable, which is ideal for a two-three day stay. Our room was one of four in a cabin on stilts next to the campfire area. The building was originally used as sleeping barracks for soldiers, although a touch of TLC and renovations to the room meant that we had the luxury of a double bed and air conditioning. Communal bathrooms for men and women were clean and spacious. The kitchen included all the necessary utilities, such as a fridge, oven, kettle, toaster and microwave. Two cosy common areas with seating were stationed at either end of the cabin.
For those who prefer to be closer to nature, a cluster of luxury tens are available to rent out. From what we could observe, they were big enough for two single beds and a small area for storage. Guests using either the tents or camping in the back field have access to an outdoor washroom and toilets 24 hours a day.
How was the atmosphere of the resort?
A pleasantly chilled and friendly vibe from arrival to departure, all guests and management were happy to engage in conversation in and around the camp. There’s certainly a clear sense of family values present owing to the husband and wide management of Mount Bundy and their younger employees.
A bar stroke restaurant is open for breakfast and then again from 3pm for evening meals, which were basic but worth every penny. We enjoyed sampling the sausage sizzlers and beef rolls, whilst sitting around the camp fire whilst a guitarist and singer performed a Sunday session of country and western songs.
What can you do at Mount Bundy Station?
Those who arrive in the peak of dry season can take up the main attraction of a sunset tour by jeep around the entire perimeter of Mount Bundy. We were hoping to experience this activity although sadly the aftermath of the wet weather had left the grounds unsuitable for driving through. The reviews on travel sites confirmed our assumptions of missing out on a good time, there are plenty of positive testimonies about drinking a glass of champagne and overlooking the hillsides and its wildlife. Maybe next time!
Inside the camp, a live music performance takes place on a Sunday for people of all ages. The swimming pool is a popular choice for young families for obvious reasons. A large canvas gives sufficient protection from the sun. A wallaby spotting track stretched to the outer fields and lives up to its name; we caught many a glimpse of the creatures moving positions from one field to the next. A leisurely stroll around the Mount Bundy grounds is 30 minutes well spent.
What was the standout memory of the trip?
For us it was the simple things that we cherished most, such as sitting out under the looming trees with a cup of tea in the morning whilst watching the sun rise, or taking walks with the horses and pony which never shirked away despite enduring an overdose of affection from us! We also had a super time sitting around the camp fire of an evening chatting with other guests over a beer. We tried our hand at darts in the resort bar and discovered a talent we never knew we had.
Offsite, there are activities close by in Adelaide River for the traditional tourist tick-list, such as a war cemetery and railway museum ($5 entry donation). Both are worth a quick visit if you have time. Adelaide River also has a lovely restaurant that serves up old fashioned steak and chips and the like!
We decided to make the mot of our time in the outback by driving 15 minutes off-road to seek out Robin Falls, a natural watering hole that sites nestled in a light forest. It’s a rough climb for the faint hearted, although offers a rewarding view from the top rock pool that can only be experienced in few other places in Australia.
For a bite to eat try the Grove Hotel, which is a typical old fashioned pub in the middle of nowhere. The interior of the pub is set out as a museum with mugs and beer cans from yesteryear lining the walls. Great for a photo souvenir. The service is typically laid back, but where’s the rush. Outside is a stone said to be the largest nugget in Australia – it’s huge. If anyone can qualify this to be fact please let us know.