Waking up at Woko
The cabin we had booked was deep into the country where the Bucketts Range and the Barrington Tops reside. Countryside which sang deeply to Mac2 and myself, as it so closely resembled the Scottish land in which we had grown up.
We were arriving latish, so the light was already diminishing and for the last 40 minutes of the drive we were on dirt track. We found the host farm by the recommended sign… the rainbow tractor. The farmer was a hearty man and he and his dogs were delighted to welcome Jade - almost more than the humans! He jumped into his ute (pick-up 4x4) and we followed him another 10 minutes drive into the next valley, where the cabin lay.
It took our breath away.
We were shown the basics, then Jade was introduced to the guest-dog bed and eating arrangements. Yes this was the dog's holiday place to end them all!! There was a wood-burning stove which had been set going for Jade us… it was mid-winter and we were grateful for it. We were also welcomed by the smell of home made bread. One of those modern bread ovens was provided and all the ingredients so that we would be able to have each day. Could it get any better?
Kangaroos all but on the porch, (a fence prevented the actuality of that). Cattle grazing and the promise of platypus in the river, which ran around two thirds of the property. When we woke in the morning, the air was so clear as to genuinely feel like crystal in the lungs - and Jade had absolute freedom.
The only stipulation was that she be leashed when around the cattle. No worries there. I am going to sound like the proud mum when I say this though; I was super-impressed with her behaviour the whole week. Even around the strange animals. This was an entirely new experience for the older dog but never once did she break ranks, responding to my every command …….. (...there was an exception to that rule, you'll learn about later). I could see her natural hound instincts come to their fullest meaning and somehow she completely understood the environment we were in.
We were, after all, as close as spit to the National Park there. Unfortunately the winter rains prevented us fully enjoying that itself, though we did get to see a black-foot wallaby, very shy and little spotted; also to hear an amazing chorus of bell-birds. These are tiny, extremely fast and look very plain when finally glimpsed, but man can they put up an amazing sound. It is clear and sharp - more like a glass bottle being clinked with steel than a true bell, but easy to understand the naming.
Most of our walks were along the river Manning and into the 'big' town of Stroud. Lots of picnics were had and endless ball games, stick chasings and wary wadings in water. Lots of looking out for the elusive platypus too!
Then there was the grass-bathing, the barbecued corncobs and - oh my doggy heaven - that wood-burning stove. This is how a dog should live!!!
It's over there
It's down here
Look over yonder
...if this ball does not move soon I'll surely burst!
...contentment, contentment, contentment...
The return journey next week!