When you think of the great stretches of open sky over the savanna you think of the Serengeti. But, on the opposite side of the world, is one of the greatest wildernesses — the Australian outback. I’ve often thought one of the best ways to experience the great open spaces of Oz is on horseback. So, to indulge this fantasy of riding the open plains like Hugh Jackman in the film Australia, we did a little research to get your imagination going.
The cattle culture and life in the saddle is a big part of the Australian identity, so much like in the American west many stations (ranches) have added a tourism element to their businesses. You don’t have to have to spend a lot if (or any) time in the saddle, since many offer bed and breakfast options. Your inner drover (cowboy) can be satisfied in a multitude of ways by taking part in cattle drives and trail rides that last for an hour, a day, or 14 days.
Digger’s Station Holiday is located in the Northern Territory, where the landscape resembles the southwestern United States. They offer several options, such as a 2-hour tour for $100 per person to more extensive rides. The longer rides run anywhere between $3,750 to $4,550 and includes round trip transportation from Kununurra, a bed roll with linens and mosquito tent, and meals. The tour features the opportunity to see the amazing landscapes of the Kimberly Bush. You’d better like riding, too, for one of the extended trips; you’ll be spending 6-7 hours a day in the saddle. The overnight stays are designed for riders with a little experience, so my suggestion would be to get a few lessons from your local stable before you go.
Equathon is what you’re looking for if you want to add some beach time to your trek. They offer a beach and bush 7-day horse riding adventure as you travel the trails in Queensland. The tour guides will take you along the beaches of the sunshine cost and into the hinterland. The tour guide is a former equestrian Olympian, Alex Watson. The name of this tour is luxury, spending each night in a well-appointed room with drinks and gourmet meals. I took a look at the schedule and you’ll have to book well in advance for this one. Book a trip for next year for about $2,950 per person.
For your own trip, I’d start by figuring out which region you’d like to visit and then narrow down the choices from there. I’d take a good look at experience level too, some require a lot of experience and others are designed for novice riders. You also might want to take a good look at where the stations actually located, some are pretty remote and it could take you a day of travel to just get to the start of your adventure. I’m sure that with a little more research you can find the riding experience that fits your experience and comfort level.