This one is an Australia treasure.By the time you get up here, you're already under the spell of the Kimberley, so open your eyes and ears to what is going to be a memorable experience. Amongst other beautiful landscape images, you'll be sleeping in the shadow of that incredible Cockburn Range - the real star of the film "Australia".
Our group of 13 visited Home Valley Station in 2010, flying in in six light aircraft on tour with Stawell Aviation. We'd taken off from Jabiru in the Northern Territory's Kakadu National Park that morning, then flown down over the south-eastern edge of the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf - with absolute postcard views out every window. Those river systems with their twisting, turning "branches" like in this photo I took out the side window of the Cessna, look as though an artist has painted them onto the landscape.
Anywhere in this area, we always choose Kununurra as our refuelling stop. Be aware though, that with lots of scenics and commercial ops happening, Kununurra can be a busy CTAF, so do the right thing, use your brain, stay alert for other traffic and make the appropriate radio calls.
From Kununurra, it's a quick hop of 51nm to Home Valley Station. Get the camera out for this leg, as you're about to get a dress circle view of the amazing Cockburn Range. She's a show-pony in anyone's language, turning on her best shades at dawn and dusk of course, just to be difficult, but a spectacular sight any time of the day.
We were warmly greeted at the strip by staff in two station vehicles who happily drove us the ten or so minutes into the resort, giving us the running commentary on the way. Home Valley is owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation who operate a highly successful and innovative on-site training academy for young indigenous people of the area, giving them invaluable experience in all aspects of station work.
They can receive training in tour leading, cooking, horsemanship, resort housekeeping, maintenance, landscaping - whatever.
There's plenty of camping space here at Home Valley for weary road travellers who've just rattled and bumped their way across the Gibb River Road for way too long. But we pilots head straight for the beautifully appointed cabins within the manicured grounds of the resort - air conditioning, ensuites, and a pool just steps away.
The main meeting area is the Dusty Bar - well stocked bar, good food, plenty of other people to meet and swap some lies with.
We did the session next morning with the resident horse whisperer - fantastic - then went for an absolutely brilliant tour with a couple of the Aboriginal trainees out to some gorgeous waterfall for a swim, and finished off with a picnic lunch on the banks of the Pentecost River looking over our shoulders for crocs. The fishing here is incredible. I reckon even I could catch one.
Home Valley Station airstrip details in AOPA National Airfield Directory
Phone: 61-8-9161 4322
Homestead Guesthouse Room: $240/nt