Desert Brumby Safari, Australia

5-8 NightsIntermediate to AdvancedFrom $4,400 AUD

After the success of our inaugural departure date in 2018, we’re super excited to offer two complimentary itineraries for the 2019 season.

The centre-piece to both itineraries are the Desert Brumbies – the largest population of wild horses in the world.

The first itinerary known as the Brumby Starting & Desert Ride is perfect for those globetrotters keen to educate and own {optional} their very own Desert Brumby. For four days, in a red-dirt round-yard, you and your brumby will learn from each other under the tutelage of brumby experts, Brian Hampson and Anna Uhrig.

“In many ways leading a wild horse from an untamed state to the point where we can take our first few rides is much easier than starting a quiet, handled domestic horse,” says Brian. “When you step into a round yard with a young brumby colt for the first time you’ll see horse behaviour in its raw and pure form.”

As a couple, Brian and Anna have a affinity with the Australian brumby and know how to impart this knowledge so you’ll lead your Desert brumby down the path to becoming a quiet, honest and safe riding companion. From day six to eight, you’ll jump to another brumby that has been educated by Brian, Anna and a team of Aboriginal stockmen, and spend three days tip-toeing through this mystical region.

The second itinerary, the Desert Brumby Ride, is a six-day itinerary with four days in the saddle. Based out of the Old Drovers Camp, you and your fellow globetrotters will explore this red desert landscape from the back of your sure- footed brumby – PINCH ME NOW! Each day will be delightfully different from brumby spotting or riding to Indigenous petroglyphs, to sand dune riding. The Aboriginal Dreamtime stories swirled with wide open spaces to the camp-fire chats and swag-sleeping makes this a phenomenal once-in- a-lifetime ride experience.

Fast Facts

  • Horse Breed:Australian desert brumbies passively trapped at a waterhole before the start of the ride. This area has the largest population of wild roaming horses in the world.
  • Pace:The majority of the ride will be at a walking pace (in order to spot brumbies and take in your beautiful surroundings), but there will be opportunities to trot and canter. All guests are expected to be comfortable and confident at all paces.
  • Weight Limit:Maximum of 90kg/198lbs.
  • Type of tack:Synthetic Australian swinging fender stock saddles (much easier to lift on and off your horse as you are training them to accept the tack than leather saddles will be) and rope halters/bridles will be provided. You’re more than welcome to bring your own saddle if you wish.
  • Seasons:September - it’s late winter, so the days are warm in the desert but the nights are cold.
  • Group size:A maximum of 6 riders per departure.
  • Time in Saddle:BRUMBY STARTING & DESERT RIDE: Each guest will receive 90 minutes of one-on-one tuition daily, then will train their horse for a further 2 hours per day under supervision. You will also have the opportunity to watch fellow globetrotters start their horses as part of your learning experience. During the second part of the itinerary, the daily desert rides will consist of a morning and afternoon ride of around 2-4 hours each.
    DESERT BRUMBY RIDE: on average 5-8 hours per day. This will be broken into morning and afternoon rides of approximately 2-4 hours each.
  • Riding Ability:This ride is suited to strong intermediate and advanced riders who are comfortable riding a green horse. Previous horse starting experience is NOT necessary.
  • Accommodation:For parts of each itinerary, guests will stay in safari style cabins at Kings Creek Station, with 2 single beds (or queen) per cabin. Heater, linen and towel are supplied. Amenities blocks containing hot showers and flushing toilets are located a short distance from the cabins. While riding out in the desert, guests will sleep outdoors in the famous Kings Creek Station Drovers Camp in stretcher bed swags raised off the ground. The Drovers Camp contains flushing toilets and hot showers, and all meals are prepared by a chef in a camp kitchen.
  • Ride Length:BRUMBY STARTING & DESERT RIDE: 9 days, 8 nights with 4 full days of horse training and 3 full days of riding through the Australian desert. DESERT BRUMBY RIDE: 6 days, 5 nights with 4 full days of riding through the Australian desert.
  • Inclusions:The price includes all meals, accommodation, 4WD transfers to/from Alice Springs to Kings Creek Station, and your very own desert brumby whom you may take home if you wish.
  • Exclusions:The price does not include flights or travel insurance (compulsory), alcohol, or horse transport of your brumby out of Kings Creek Station should you wish to take him/her home.

 

DEPARTURE DATES & RATES

Departing FinishingAvailabilityTotal
1st Sep 20199th Sep 20196 spots left
$5,500 AUD - Twin Share ?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender.Book
9th Sep 201914th Sep 20196 spots left
$4,400 AUD - Twin Share ?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender.Book

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?

The above prices include all meals, accommodation, 4WD transfers to/from Alice Springs to Kings Creek Station, and your very own desert brumby whom you may take home if you wish.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?

The above prices do not include flights or travel insurance (compulsory), alcohol, or horse transport of your brumby out of Kings Creek Station should you wish to take him/her home.

Accepted payment is by credit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all credit card payments.

Why is the price quoted in AUD?
With our riding destinations, the currency is dictated by our ride partner in that country. Therefore due to fluctuating exchange rates we have to quote in the same currency.

Itinerary

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*Please note, this is a suggested itinerary only and subject to change at the discretion of your guides due to weather and other influencing factors.

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  • Brumby Starting & Desert Ride - Day 1

    Welcome to Alice Springs, globetrotters! While it might not win a beauty contest, there’s a lot more going on here than first meets the eye. Alice Springs serves as the gateway to some of central Australia’s most magical landscapes – you don’t have to venture far to find yourself among ochre-red gorges, pastel-hued hills and ghostly white gum trees.

    You’ll be picked up from either the airport or your hotel accommodation (should you choose to arrive the day before) at 12 noon by your hosts, Dr Brian Hampson and Anna Uhrig, and begin the 4-hour overland transfer to Kings Creek Station (please make sure you’ve eaten lunch prior to being picked up). Keep your eyes peeled, globetrotters, because this may be your first chance to see desert brumbies in the wild in their raw and natural state. You’ll arrive at Kings Creek Station in the late afternoon. Kings Creek Station is a working cattle/camel station set amongst majestic desert oaks which was established in 1982 by Ian and Lyn Conway and lies 36km from the magnificent Kings Canyon (Watarrka). You’ll have time to settle in and meet the brumbies you’ll be working with over the coming days, before enjoying a hearty dinner and retiring to bed. You’ll no doubt want to get your beauty sleep tonight, as the next four days are going to be a truly eye-opening, exhausting, but hugely rewarding and transformative experience.

  • Brumby Starting & Desert Ride - Days 2 to 5

    Well, globetrotters, it’s time to meet your brumbies.

    Throughout the next four days you’ll learn how to start and progress your very own brumby. Each day after breakfast (which will be served at 7am), you’ll receive a 90 minute one-on-one lesson with Brian or Anna, and continue training your horse for a further two or more hours per day. You’ll also have the opportunity to watch your fellow globetrotters start their horses as part of your learning experience – after all, each brumby will present differently, so you’ll learn new skills just through observing your fellow globetrotters.

    At the end of each day after dinner, you will have the chance to debrief and discuss the day’s brumby starting experience and figure out the next steps you need to take the following day to continue your progress. There will be plenty of time for yarn-telling around the campfire under a starry night sky.

    Brian and Anna believe that ‘in many ways, leading a wild horse from an untamed state to the point where we can take our first few rides is much easier than starting a handled domestic horse. It is also much more fun and a far greater learning experience for you as the handler. When you step into a round yard with a young brumby colt for the first time you will see horse behaviour in its most raw and pure form. As you progress your colt, you will begin to understand how he thinks, why he does what he does and learn how to harness his flight, fright and fear behaviours to produce desired movement and behavioural responses.’

    Brian and Anna (your guides and hosts) know brumbies and know how to teach people to understand them and lead them down the path to becoming quiet, honest and safe riding companions. They have a method for teaching people that is safe and works. Anyone with a little horse experience can start a brumby with this method and the skills learned will transfer to most activities with horses. Brian and Anna are not just horse people, but equine scientists who understand the ecology of brumbies. During the process of starting a brumby, you will not only learn how to progress a brumby to saddle; you will also learn where and how brumbies live, what they eat, how far they travel and many fascinating aspects of equine ecology.

    Starting a brumby is managed through a multi-step program, each of which is achieved in order to gradually build the horse and handler’s trust, skills and confidence with the goal of creating a team relationship between the horse and handler. The stages are:

    1. Getting the brumby relaxed in the round yard then controlling horse movement by free lunging (no ropes); walk, trot, canter and stop are taught in both directions.

    2. Join up: teaching the horse to follow the handler and accept the handler being at close range through a series of approach/retreat, pressure on/pressure off situations.

    3. Catch and desensitise; no roping.

    4. Desensitise horse to all gear, noises and contact.

    5. Teach movement of all feet and body parts using the light halter.

    6. Desensitise horse to the saddle and rider.

    7. Ride the horse in the halter using voice commands and light reins.

    8. Teach the brumby to float load, lay down and other more advanced skills if time permits.

    Brian and Anna’s method could best be summarised by the words: firm but gentle. They teach people to develop a close relationship with their brumbies and a trust that allows the handler to achieve things with their horses they could never imagine achieving in such a short time. You will come away from the experience with a much better understanding of how horses learn and the best ways for us to teach them.

  • Brumby Starting & Desert Ride - Days 6 to 8

    “Call that Australia? THIS is Australia!” It was Crocodile Dundee that brought the Australian outback to the world’s attention, and Australia’s epic heartland has been on the radar ever since. And YOU get to explore this wild and beautiful land tamed only by remote desert trails from the back of a desert brumby. To be clear, you won’t be riding the brumby you have trained the four days previously – instead you’ll ride brumbies that have been skilfully started to saddle and trained by your guides, Brian and Anna, alongside the Indigenous community local to the area, prior to your arrival. They will still be green and possibly spooky at times, so all guests need to be experienced riders, confident on young horses.

    Over the next three days you’ll be sleeping out under the stars at The Old Drovers Camp, a remote but comfortable campsite in the heart of Kings Creek Station with fantastic views of the nearby George Gill Ranges. Each morning after a stomach-filling breakfast around the campfire, you’ll saddle up and head out for a 2-4 hour ride where you’ll be able to explore the outback at a leisurely pace. Your day’s ride might include a visit to Indigenous petroglyphs, wild brumby spotting from horseback (a huge thrill if ever there was one), sand dune riding and desert ecology interactions. You’ll be mesmerised by the sights and sounds of the Australian outback.

    A saddlebag-packed lunch will be enjoyed in the heart of the desert, before you begin your ride back to camp for nights of campfire yarns, songs and lots of laughter. You’ll retire to your swag and fall asleep beneath a vast sky of twinkling stars.

    The Australian outback offers a strange, mystical allure to all those who venture out into its midst, something spiritual that defies easy explanation. It might touch you as you first lay eyes on your desert brumby, or perhaps as the sun dips below the horizon at the end of the day, or even when you’re riding out in the middle of nowhere and find yourself enveloped by silence. In such moments lies the mysterious call of the Australian outback, one that will leave a mark on your soul.

  • Brumby Starting & Desert Ride - Day 9

    Boo, it’s time to head home today, globetrotters. What an incredible few days you’ve had immersing yourself in this ancient land and also starting your very own brumby that you get to take home if you wish. After a final breakfast, you’ll be transferred via 4WD back to Alice Springs for returning flights home. Please remember, if you’re planning to fly home today you need to book your flights for after 1pm.

  • Desert Brumby Ride - Day 1

    Your hosts, Dr Brian Hampson and Anna Uhrig, will pick you up from either your hotel accommodation or the airport in Alice Springs between 12 midday and 1pm today (please ensure you’ve eaten lunch before being picked up) and you’ll begin the 4-hour 4WD overland transfer to Kings Creek Station in the heart of the Australian Outback. Crocodile Dundee’s infamous words, “Call that Australia? THIS is Australia” will ring true in your ears as you take in the sheer vastness of the outback with its ochre-red gorges, pastel-hued hills and ghostly white gum trees. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled on this drive, globetrotters, because this may be your first chance to see desert brumbies in the wild and observe them in their raw and natural state (don’t worry if you don’t see any, there will be plenty of opportunities later in the week).

    You’ll arrive at Kings Creek Station, a working cattle/camel station established in 1982 by Ian and Lyn Conway, in the late afternoon. The station is set amongst majestic desert oaks and lies 36km from the magnificent Kings Canyon (Watarrka). You’ll have time to settle in and shower before enjoying a hearty dinner then retiring to bed. Hopefully sleep will come easily, even though you’ll be beside yourselves with excitement about the adventures that await over the next few days as you head out into the Australian outback astride desert brumbies.

  • Desert Brumby Ride - Day 2

    After a stomach-slapping breakfast of bacon, eggs and everything in between, you’ll head to the yards to meet the brumby who will carry you across the Australian outback for the next four days. The brumbies used on this desert ride will have been passively trapped from the wild and skilfully started to saddle and trained in their desert habitat by your guides a few weeks prior to your arrival. They will still be very young and green, so all guests are expected to be confident riding a green horse newly broken in.

    This morning’s ride will see you head out from the main camp on Kings Creek Station, in the direction of the Old Drovers Camp. You’ll immerse yourself in this ancient land, passing majestic desert oaks, great sandstone escarpments and riding through vast stretches of sand dunes. It’s hard to escape the feeling that in this land lies eternity…
    You’ll reach Drovers Camp just in time for lunch, after which you’ll head out for another ride in the afternoon, slowly becoming more confident astride your desert brumby, who will astound you with their level-headed nature and willingness to learn. Tonight will be spent spinning yarns around the campfire underneath a clear, pin-pricked sky.

  • Desert Brumby Ride - Days 3 & 4

    Over the next two days you’ll discover the mysterious call of the outback which will touch you when you least expect it – whether that be as you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, astride your desert brumby and enveloped by silence, or perhaps as the sun sinks below the horizon at the end of the day. No matter when it happens, you’ll come to understand the strange, mystical allure the Australian outback offers.

    Each morning after a stomach-filling breakfast around the campfire, you’ll saddle up and head out for a 2-4 hour ride where you’ll be able to explore the outback at a leisurely pace. Your day’s ride might include a visit to Indigenous petroglyphs, wild brumby spotting from horseback (a huge thrill if ever there was one), sand dune riding and desert ecology interactions. You’ll be mesmerised by the sights and sounds of the Australian outback. A saddlebag-packed lunch will be enjoyed in the heart of the desert, before you begin your ride back to camp for the evening meal. You’ll fall asleep at night to the sound of your desert brumby munching on grass nearby.

  • Desert Brumby Ride - Day 5

    After this morning’s ride through your magical surroundings (rest assured, you won’t ride the same trail twice – the desert is a vast place and is now your oyster, after all), you’ll return to Drovers Camp for lunch, after which you’ll bid a final farewell to the campsite and ride back to Kings Creek Station’s main camp. You’ll be staying in the safari cabins here again on this final night. And tonight, around a crackling campfire under a blanket of stars you’ll need to make a tough decision – will you take the desert brumby who has carried you through the Australian outback over the past four days home with you tomorrow? The choice is yours. If you decide not to, they will be released back into the desert or used for stock work on the station.

  • Desert Brumby Ride - Day 6

    After a final breakfast in the Bough Shed restaurant on site at Kings Creek Station, Brian and Anna will drive you the 4 hours back to Alice Springs, arriving around 12 noon. Should you wish to fly home today, you need to book departing flights for after 1pm.

  • Transfer Information

    The ride price includes a 4WD transfer to/from Alice Springs to Kings Creek Station on the first and last days of the itinerary. If you choose to fly into Alice Springs on Day 1, please ensure you arrive no later than 11.30am in order to account for any unexpected travel delays. You’ll be picked up at 12 midday on Day 1 from either the airport or hotel accommodation (should you arrive the day before) to begin the 4-hour overland transfer to arrive at Kings Creek Station in time to settle in, meet the brumbies, and enjoy dinner. Departing flights on the last day of the ride can be booked anytime after 1pm.

  • Transport for your Desert Brumby

    As part of the package rate, you’ll have ownership of your very own desert brumby (seriously, pinch yourself) that you’ve either started yourself or one that Brian and Anna have skilfully started for you. These horses have been purchased directly from the local Indigenous community. Keep in mind, the package price does NOT include transport of your horse back to your home.

    Understandably so, horse transport from Kings Creek Station to Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne is costly, but still possible. There is a horse transport company based out of Alice Springs that offer this service and we can put you in touch with them. To give you an idea of costing, it’s $660 AUD per horse from Alice Springs to Adelaide. If you decide not to take your brumby home with you, it will either be released back to the desert or used for stock work at the station.

    Generally, Brian and Anna will select 10 to 15 desert brumbies from a mob of 80 to 100 that have been passively trapped on a near-by station near a watering hole. Your Desert Brumby will be a colt ranging from 2 to 4 years in age. Mares are avoided as they’re either in foal or have a foal under foot. In saying that, there may be some two-year old mares in the mix. If someone would like a weanling or yearling to handle and not ride this is also possible. The colts range from 14 to 15hh, an average grown 6-year-old brumby stands at 15hh with a range of colours from bay, palomino, paint, grey, chestnut, buckskin and black.

    These desert brumbies are mostly very quiet once well handled, are sure-footed and rugged, quick learners and easier to train than a domestic horse due to their natural socialisation in the wild horse band. They’re brave, have great feet, are good doers and their body type ranges from stockhorse type to stockhorse/heavy horse cross.

Desert Brumby Safari - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Becky Trilsbach

‘This experience would need to be explained by a poem, or a song. Or an interpretive dance (my fellow globetrotters will know what I’m talking about).
This is unlike anything you’ll ever do.
Something you’ll be proud of forever.
It will resonate in many other aspects of your life and you won’t forget it.
I’ve made bonds on this trip that I’ll have for life – to the people, the horses and most strongly, The Country.
Motivating, inspiring, enlightening.
An immersive journey.
Anyone serious about brumbies should find a way to be there!’

Penny Richards

‘I had the most amazing journey with the Desert Brumby Safari. I learned so much about horsemanship, horse behavior and a lot about myself along the way.’

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