Seven Emu Station – best campsites in NT

Seven Emu - Robinson River

Seven Emu Station was part of our trip from Brisbane to Lorella Springs and a place where we learned a lot about outback stations and the bush.

Read about our road trip to Emu Station from Brisbane.

Seven Emu Station is a private outback cattle station and wildlife sanctuary owned by the Shadforth family. The property is huge and offers a lot of activities like 4WD, camping, boating, fishing, nature, birdwatching and Aboriginal culture.

There is a good number of animals to watch including Jabiru, Fairy Wren, Azure Kingfisher, wading birds and in the river, school of salmons, sharks and saltwater crocodiles.

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Where is Seven Emu Station?

The station is located 100 km southeast of Borroloola and 270 km west of Hell’s Gate Roadhouse. This huge cattle station occupies 2280 square kilometres and sits on the Robinson and Calvert rivers.

Seven Emu Station Rules

As stated on the Seven Emu Station website note the following:

  • Seven Emu Station is accessible by 4WD only
  • Right before the station, there is a Robinson River crossing that may be impassable during the wet season and after a big rain
  • An indemnity form must be signed on arrival
  • Station owners do not take responsibility for your injuries or car damage
  • You have to be self-sufficient
  • There is no airstrip and the next medical centre is 100 km away.

Source: Seven Emu Station

As scary as it sounds, it is not that bad. You have to be prepared like for any other 4WD adventure – responsible and self-sufficient.

Seven Emu Station is also a private nature reserve in the Gulf of Carpentaria, called the Pungalina-Seven Emu Wildlife Sanctuary. 

Almost half of the land of Seven Emu was subleased to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and together with the neighbouring property, the sanctuary was created.

Read more about Pungalina-Seven Emu Wildlife Sanctuary.

Amazing campsite at Robinson River

At the entrance of the station, we were greeted by Frank Shadforth, the Aboriginal owner

We had a short conversation and Frank took us to our camping spot, and the spot was great – check the picture.

These campsites were made by real stockmen. Now, except there is a nice shade from the shelter, there is also a campfire, toilet and a ‘donkey’ to heat your shower.

The campsites are spread out to make sure everybody has some privacy, but they also have a great view of Robinson River valley. 

We only booked our spot for 2 nights but it was enough to soak the real atmosphere of this place.

In the evenings, we enjoyed a meal cooking in the campfire and a warm sunset over surrounding hills.

Campfire at Seven Emu Station
Campfire at Seven Emu Station

Bush Tour

The second day, we ask Frank to give a bush tour (for a reasonable fee). At the end of the day, just before the sunset we jumped to his old ute and drove around the property. 

Frank showed us different grass and trees and explained the rules of proper bush caretaking, plus we had a chance to try some bush tucker.

Private Bush Tour with Frank Shadforth
Private Bush Tour with Frank Shadforth

What we all remember to this day, is that bush harvesting is very important to indigenous people as they depend on mother nature. Thus, it is very important to them to live in a harmony with the bush.

Frank has great knowledge about all different bush fruits and natural medicine.

He tries to imprint Aboriginal culture and heritage in the young Aboriginal generation and teach them to harvest the bush and take care of the land. The outback is like a farm, it has animals and vegetation that live in symbiosis together.

Like on any farm, you harvest the fruits and take care of the land. The bush is similar – you need to harvest it to help it grow, but it does not happen these days.

Nell was thrilled when Frank was talking about the mother bee and its relation to nature.

Blogging everywhere

In the 2010s Frank started an initiative with a self-funded program to help Aboriginal boys and girls who struggled with life. That included teaching them skills like catching bulls, building fences and mustering.

Interestingly, in the 2020s the Northern Territory Government started funding the program.

Read more about Northern Territory On-Country Youth Work Camps Program.

Fishing at Seven Emu Station

Seven Emu Station is huge. It is possible to drive up north to the Gulf Camp coastal waters and try fishing there or anywhere on the way. There is a fee you have to pay to Shadforth family to lunch a boat.

The good thing is that you can stay up to one month in Seven Emu Station and camp anywhere you like.

While staying on the top of the bank of Robinson River we saw Aboriginal fellows casting the net in the shallow waters. We really did not feel comfortable about it, as big salties were in these waters, but the locals know what they do.

The locals are not scared of crocs in the shallow waters while casting the net
The locals are not scared of crocs in the shallow waters while casting the net

After two days, we drove towards Borroloola to finally reach our destination in Lorella Springs.

Read more about Lorella Springs.

Have you been to Seven Emu Station? What was your experience like? Please drop a comment below.

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4WD Equipment Checklist

GPS Navigator or compass

Maxtrax – if you get bogged, you can use it for additional traction

Tire Deflator – deflate tires quickly when going on dirt or 4WD

Air Compressor – inflate tires quickly after going back on bitumen (we use MM)

Tire Repair Kit – to fix the tire by yourself when you don’t have access to the tire shop (we use Oztrail)

UHF Radio – for communication with your mates and in emergency

Full Recovery Kit (with Dampener Blanket) – must-have if you are going on real off-road

High Lift Jack – useful if you do serious 4WD tracks

Shovel – useful if you get bogged, also good for campfire cooking

Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places

Additional fuel canisters

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