The Road Ahead : February March 2009
travel & leisure country Enjoy a break that combines horse-riding, sight-seeing and great hospitality. Day one sees guests gather at Amamoor Lodge. This country STORY & PHOTOS CAROL HORNE through spectacular scenery, stay in friendly accommodation and enjoy memorable meals starring local produce. Equathon Bush and Beach Riding tours deliver the South Burnett and the Sunshine Coast from the back of a beautiful Australian stock-horse and you don’t need to be an experienced rider to take part in this award-winning tourist adventure. Triple Olympian and equestrian Alex Watson hosts the seven- T day horse-ride, providing the steeds, all the saddlery gear and an affi nity for the noble animals he’s worked with for 40 years. “My passion for horses keeps growing,” Alex said. “You can never learn everything about them. There are so many different parts of the horse world and it’s all fascinating.” The 51-year-old certainly has the stamina to lead a week- long riding expedition. Alex represented Australia in the modern pentathlon at three Olympic Games: Los Angeles, Seoul and Barcelona. “The Pentathlon is really fi ve events, based on a Napoleonic offi cer carrying a vital message in battle. You jump on a horse and go over obstacles, before shooting and fencing the ‘enemy’, swimming a river and fi nally running cross-country,” he said. Fortunately, Alex’s cross-country riding tours are nowhere near as demanding. 34 FEB/MAR 09 here’s a kind of horse-powered holiday that has nothing to do with the family car or four-wheel-driving but you get to journey property in the picturesque Mary Valley features heritage accommodation and a host who rivals Alex as a horse fan. Fascinated by the history of horse-drawn vehicles, John Hayes commissioned the building of his own Cobb & Co coach. Clydesdales Bundy and Angel provide the pulling power and a taste of what long-distance travel was like before the automobile. Riding begins in earnest the next day with a four-hour exploration of state forest and rainforest, west of Kenilworth. And it’s no ‘clip-clop’ adventure. The tempo changes from trot to canter and gallop, depending on the terrain. In the afternoon, there’s the option to visit craft stores and cafes at Montville, on the Blackall Range, while Alex and his team take care of transporting, grooming and feeding the horses. It’s a typical day on a tour that balances time in the saddle with local sight-seeing. And there are generous doses of luxury too. At Kilkivan, a two-hour ride through open cattle country and an amazing valley of grasstrees ends with a glass of wine and a gourmet BBQ, served on a white-clothed table in the dappled shade of Mudlo National Park. Bruce & Rae Hurley provide the bush feast and then a good night’s sleep at their bed and breakfast, ‘The Left Bank’.
December January 2009
April May 2009