School holiday with a difference

Scott and Leanne Wilkinson were looking for a different type of school holiday experience for their young family when they wrote in response to a volunteer ad we posted late last year. They recently spent a couple of weeks at Carnarvon Reserve in Central Qld and they were not disappointed.

This year’s school holidays saw us escaping from the sub-zero temperatures of the Southern Tablelands to the balmy 20s at Carnarvon Station Reserve in Central Queensland. Our family really enjoyed visiting the reserve, helping out with some jobs that needed doing, and playing with the reserve residents. We packed a lot into the two weeks...

Assessing gully remediation options. Scott used his science background to help Chris with cost-effective management and monitoring of some gullies in the black soil of Carnarvon Station.

Improving infrastructure. We helped put in a water tank at the volunteers quarters, and foundations and roofing for the new office.

Building walking tracks to key attractions. We formed paths to help visitors access two of the amazing attractions in this mystical valley – Piebald Springs rock art and the big Fig Tree. These now have steps up the steeper inclines and route markings, which we hope will help many of the campers to build a connection with this place. We sourced boulders for the steps from large outcrops nearby, being careful to leave rocks with colonies of ants, spiders or other mini-beasts under them. At the same time our boys had so much fun playing in the fig tree, while we enjoyed the cacophony of birds as they visited the nearby spring and their calls echoed around the valley.

Family time with new friends. The last day of the Queensland school holidays saw all the kids and mums walking up Mt Lambert. It was steep, but very rewarding with fantastic views of the reserve from the top. (We’d like to come back to help deal with the cactus). We also spent a lovely couple of days seeing the scenery around the reserve.

And… meeting the Bush Heritage Managers: The reserve staff made us feel so welcome. An unexpected bonus was dinner with Gerard, Bec, Rob and the crew at Carnarvon Station, while watching the Maroons take out the State of Origin.

We all really enjoyed learning about life in the country during our ‘holiday with purpose’. The quiet here is so calming and the stars at night were amazing. This is also a truly great place to camp and explore, with some seriously good attractions; the ochre cliffs at Paint Pots, the extensive grasslands, numerous springs, hills and rock art.