Monto homestead – our unforgettable outback experience

Beautiful horses at the homestead around Monto

Our next destination was an unplanned one. We were going to visit Shirley and Stan son, Tony, in his homestead around Monto.

Early in the morning, we met Shirley and Stan in front of our Discovery Caravan Park. They also take took a caravan. 

We took an inland road via the historic town of Mount Morgan to avoid unnecessary traffic.

There was a 240 km drive to Monto, and we wanted to take it easy with a few stops. Stan was driving vigorously and I had to keep up to not stay behind. 

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We stopped at Dululu Rest Area for a morning tea and scones. The scones Shirley prepared were delicious again. She is a good baker. After a good breath, we only stopped in Biloela to buy some beer and then drove to the homestead that was located in Moonford, next to Monto.

Homestead in Moonford (next to Monto)

The homestead was located around Moonford and very close to Cania Gorge National Park. At the entrance, Tony, the homestead owner, welcomed us. 

Tony with his horse at Moonford homestead
Tony with his horse at Moonford homestead

Tony has three great kids in Nell’s age, so at least our little one was going to be occupied.

Marius, Nell and kids on the ute
Marius, Nell and kids on the ute

At the homestead, they have cattle and horses to take care of. 

Shortly after arrival, after lunch, Tony was feeding his beautiful horses. The females together with their foals were being fed separately in a small area separated by an electric fence. They looked so natural that I thought to have some in the future.

Many times, while driving we normally saw cattle, but watching these beautiful horses from up close was a completely different and unique outback experience.

Horning hungry cows for feeding

Later on, Tony packed us on a track and drove to the nearby paddock where he kept his cattle. When I said ‘packed’, I meant it as we all sat at the back of the ute, holding to its rails.

When we arrived at the paddock, Tony horned the cows, and they started to run from behind the hill to be fed. It was a fantastic view. Imagine dozens of cows raging happily from a distance for feeding.

It was the first time we could see the cows from a close distance. We also learnt a few things about Tony cattle, their names and behaviour. It was so different to what we had seen before on our trip.

Cows galloping for feeding after Tony horned them
Cows galloping for feeding after Tony horned them

Later on, Stan was throwing hay for the cows and despite they had a lot of green grass around, they liked it very much.

Stan throwing hay for the cows
Stan throwing hay for the cows

The day we arrived we took it easy wandering around the property and admiring the animals. 

In the evening, we had a tasty dinner that Shirley prepared. It was a lamb served with gravy and mashed potatoes. The meat was cooked well and was soft and delicious. After dinner, we had a good talk and then went for a good sleep before tomorrow’s adventure.

Our rig parked at the Moonford homestead
Our rig parked at the Moonford homestead

Kroombit Tops National Park – 4WD adventure

The next day we set for our outback 4WD adventure to Kroombit Tops National Park via Lake Cania Dam.

We woke up early at 7 am, and together with Shirley and Stan and with two cars, we went for a drive.

Cania National Park – Cania Dam

Stan was driving ahead, and I think Shirley helped with navigation. First, we stopped up to Lake Cania Dam. Lake Cania is a very good fishing spot as it is remote, and not many anglers visit it. 

Having that in mind we took some pictures, drove around and headed to our destination which was a lookout located 60 km away in Kroombit Tops National Park.

Cania Dam
Cania Dam

4WD driving via private land and many gates

It was an excellent drive to Koorombit Tops National Park. Stan was leading, and we drove pretty behind to avoid dust clouds coming to us.

In the beginning, the road was bitumen, but later it changed to a dirt road. We passed green hills, crossing small creeks and spotting a lot of cattle. 

On the way, we passed pastoral land, and in the first part of the drive, most of the gates were open as grids separated the boundaries.

Studying Kroombit Tops National Park
Studying Kroombit Tops National Park
Travel Spiced Life

In Australia, to separate pastoral land between properties, the owners build metal grids so cattle cannot walk to the other side. If metal grids are not present, you have to open and close the gate every time you pass the property.

As we drove further, most of the gates were closed, so Shirley was jumping off the car, letting both vehicles go through and closing the gate.

Shirley opening the gate on the way to Kroombit Tops National Park
Shirley opening the gate on the way to Kroombit Tops National Park

Opening and closing gates

On the way back, we learnt how it works. We were opening and closing gates interchangeably. Shirley opened the gate, and we drove straight ahead without stopping at the next gate. Shirley closed the gate behind in the mid-time, and we already opened the next. Then, Stan went to the next gate etc. 

This technique was much better, and we started driving faster.

As I said the drive was beautiful and unique. The further we drove the landscape was changing more. Close to the lookout, the track started to be more challenging and we could experience some real 4WD driving. 

Once we got to the lookout we enjoyed it fully. The view was stunning. I think we could see the ocean from there with good weather, e but this time we only saw as far as Lake Awoonga near Gladstone.

Kroombit Tops National Park Lookout
Kroombit Tops National Park Lookout

We deserved a proper rest after two hours of driving so we sat for lunch and rested for half an hour.

Resting at Kroombit Tops National Park
Lunching at Kroombit Tops National Park

There was another attraction on our schedule: The Crash Site of Beautiful Betsy. We had to drive another 20 km on a dusty track to get to the side but it was worth it. 

Check how to get there from this map.

Beautiful Betsy plane crash site

Beautiful Betsy was a plane that in February 1945 crashed under unknown circumstances. The site represents a discovery of loss – loss of life, an aircraft and life. They were eight men who died: six were crew members and two passengers. 

Flight Officer Cannon was on his way to Brisbane to be married in four days, and Flight Lieutenant Cook was to be his best man. 

What a tragedy!

Beautiful Betsy was laid undiscovered for 49 years! The site is very real. All plane parts lay on the ground untouched and can be visible easily. It has a very good historical value.

Soon after seeing Beautiful Betsy remains, we started driving back to Moonford. The way back to the homestead was quite long as the road was curvy and hilly, but definitely, it was worth going here.

4WD in Kroombit Tops National Park
4WD in Kroombit Tops National Park

Visiting a rescued kangaroo

On the way back we paid a visit to Tony’s friend who rescued a kangaroo. The lady walked nearby her property and suddenly, next to the road she noticed a small kangaroo baby. She took it home and took good care of it.

In the picture below, she holds the blue bag that imitates a Kangaroo mum pouch. The moment she moved the baby out, it wanted to go back immediately. Instinct!

After arrival, Stan and Marius went to read a book’, which meant having a proper nap after driving. 

Fixing a tyre with a manual repair kit

In the evening Stan noticed he got a flat tyre in his car. The air must have been going very slowly as he was able to complete his Koorombit Tops National Park 4WD trip.

Stan had a manual tyre repair kit and it was the first time I learned how to use it.

Travel Spiced Life

If the tyre hole is not big it is possible to fix it with a manual tyre kit and this can save you money and time. Having a manual repair tyre kit is especially important when driving to isolated places in the outback.

In the evening, Kasha prepared dinner and I did a barbeque. I think the hosts were quite happy with a ‘proper’ garlic sauce and meat and salads we prepared.

Regretfully, in the morning, we had to finally leave the beautiful horses and drive further to Bargara to see turtles.

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