Announcing a brand new horse riding adventure 'The Long Paddock Cattle Drive'
In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy
Gone a-droving “down the Cooper” where the western drovers go;
As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drover's life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.
And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.
Banjo Patterson aptly described the romance and freedom that Australian's have always associated with the life of a drover. There is an undeniable connection to our sense of identity that is tied to horses, cattle and the wide open skies of the Australian bush.
Being offered for the first time in 2015, The Long Paddock Cattle Drive is an exclusive horse riding adventure limited to just 40 riders per year. The all inclusive adventure is an easy 3 hours drive north of Melbourne.
For the first time in NSW, guests will be able to move a mob of 500 cattle across the majestic Hay Plains (recognised as the flattest place on earth) over the course of a weekend while enjoying an unprecedented level of luxury. Guests will enjoy locally sourced gourmet food and wine and good old fashioned camp cooking. The adventure caters for all levels of experience with riders given different positions behind the mob based on their confidence. With an instructor for every 4 riders, it is expected that riders will develop their skills significantly over the course of the weekend. It's time to stop thinking and just start doing.
The ride will begin at Wanganellla, (40km north of Deniliquin) in southern NSW and riders can expect to do about 10 hours of riding over two days.
Last year Pete McCrabb, president of the Long Paddock tourism project was out on the road with a mob of cattle when the idea for the Cattle Drive hit him.
“One of my best mates had a mob of 500 cattle on the road and a few of us came out for a day's riding to lend the drovers a hand. Around the fire that night, we were talking with the drovers, Will and Ronnie Atiken, who had spent their life on the road, were always amazed at how many travellers stopped them during the day for a yarn and a nod to their way of life,” said Mr McCrabb.
“I will admit that quite a few ales had been consumed by that time, but almost immediately, everyone around the fire had the same thought - let's get people back to the bush to have a real droving experience. We had the cattle, the drovers and the horses so we could make it as easy as possible for people to spend an unforgettable weekend riding out on the Hay Plains. We wanted to make the Cattle Drive all inclusive so all people had to do was bring themselves – everything from their horse to their towels would be provided. We wanted to take away the excuses we all use to not allow ourselves a great adventure. Now you have the opportunity to just do it.” added Mr McCrabb.
What was just a seed of an idea two years ago is now an exclusive riding adventure open to anyone with a love of horses. The experience is limited to two weekends in May with just 20 riders joining the drove on each ride. With an instructor for every four riders, it is expected that guests will develop their riding skills over the course of the weekend, while more experienced riders will rise to the challenge. While there are other cattle droving experiences available, the Long Paddock Cattle Drive offers a level of luxury that is unprecedented on this type of adventure, including locally sourced gourmet food and wine.
And while the focus for the weekend, which starts at Wanganella, is on living the life of drover there are a few nods to the modern conveniences of life. “I love a billy tea but I will be lining up for my cappuccino in the morning with everyone else,” joked Mr McCrabb.