Horse Riding in Australia is always a great experience but getting immersed in life on a working cattle station is taking it to another level. We have always been truly inspired by the possibilities to explore this great vast land on horseback and we continue to follow our passion to provide authentic and distinctive on-station horse and cattle experiences with the absolute best expert guides in some of Australia’s most beautiful locations. Participation in one of our experiences will take you on a true Australian adventure on a real working cattle station and here is some information which might be helpful for you to prepare for, what will be your ride of a lifetime.
Australian cattle stations are huge! If you thought that the largest ranches are to be found in Canada or in the United States, ‘you have nothing seen yet’. Come to Australia and you will find cattle properties – we call them ‘cattle stations’ – which are five times bigger than this. Sheep and cattle stations can be thousands of square kilometres in area, with the nearest neighbour being hundreds of kilometres away. Just to give you an idea what we are talking about, the largest cattle property in Australia, Anna Creek Station in South Australia spans across 23,677 square kilometres and can easily compete in size with some smaller European countries.
So, there is some horse and cattle country for you, but you don’t have to visit the largest cattle station and travel to the Far North to get that remote cattle station feeling. We can take you to some very historic and beautiful places which are a bit more easily accessible, so you don’t have to travel for hours and hours to experience that feeling of remoteness, to ride the most agile horses and muster a mob of cattle out bush.
The way Australian cattle stations operate has changed over the years but once you join in the action, you will quickly feel that the spirit of the bushmen and women who pioneered cattle in this country remains the same today. All our locations are working stations where the majority of mustering is still done on horseback and horses are ridden with a purpose to get a job done. However, there are more and more stations using helicopters and motor bikes to round up cattle, so there might be days where you will just get a bit of help and take over on your horse after the chopper has rounded up some cattle which would otherwise take you days to bring in on horseback.
Most of your daily activities on the station will revolve around two things – horses and cattle. After all, that’s what you came for, didn’t you? Mustering work on horseback is about more than just gathering the cattle. The mob needs to be settled, walked to the yards and the weaners segregated from the cattle to be sold. There is branding to do, the animals need to be vaccinated, checked, ear-marked and eventually they need to be returned to their huge paddocks. Most of these activities are happening during the dry season and your day will be filled with dust, sweat and the excitement that comes with cattle work and station life. Sounds like a lot of hard work and some of these stations are busy for sure. However, don’t worry, we’ will not forget that you are on holidays and make sure that there is some time to have some fun, relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery, wildlife and so many of the other great things you will explore.
We can guarantee that the scenery you will transport you back to some of the scenes you will remember from the movie ‘Australia’ and ‘McLeod’s daughters’ but everything else will be quite different. For a few days, you will experience life within the Australian culture and community rather than from the outside as a temporary visitor. Guided by Australia’s best horse experts, you will enjoy a very personalised outdoor experience in a unique setting which will allow you to disconnect from your busy urban life and connect with nature – and most important of all with your horse – in a different and new way. And, literally speaking, whilst you are reconnecting with yourself and your new equine companion, disconnection from urban life will probably be accelerated by the fact that there is no mobile phone connection or internet connection where we will take you.
A lot of work has gone into restoring some of these iconic stations back to their former glory and many owners have lovingly remodelled the guest quarters to share this unique piece of Australia with visitors. Despite their remoteness and its logistical challenges, many stations today can cater for anything between a swag to camp under the stars and a four star luxury experience. However, due to the remoteness of some locations, hosting guests on a station and the provision of services, food and accommodation can be a bit challenging or unpredictable at times. In those situations a bit of flexibility from you as a guest goes a long way and we can guarantee that you will – throughout your stay – enjoy the best of personal and cattle station hospitality; simple but functional accommodation and good family style cooking with regionally sourced food – a cold beer and glass of wine.
Whilst life on a station can be busy and exhilarating during the day, there will also be times where you will be reminded that you have come to the land of ‘no worries’. Take your boots off, sit on your veranda, relax and take in the scenery with one of the cattle dogs keeping you company. Or, you might want to take your horse and literally ride into the sunset. However, make sure you return in time for dinner and a yarn around the campfire before you snuggle up in your swag, gazing at the stars.