The Rainbow Beach, Bush & Cattle Ride, Australia

5 NightsBeginner to AdvancedFrom $3,250 AUD

Looking for a true-blue cattle ride with some beach fun thrown in? Look no further, we have the ride for YOU!

This five day ride is based at a cattle property owned by guide and host, Andrew McCarthy. The property skirts Mount Goomboorian, east of Gympie in the southeast corner of Queensland (three hours drive from Brisbane). For the first two days you’ll ride this patch of paradise, slipping into the day-to-day runnings of a small-scale cattle property.

In a former life, Andrew managed cattle stations in remote Western Australia and was a police officer. As part of these first two days, you’ll help muster and draft cattle and work in the yards. This is all conducted as a hands-on experience where you’ll get down and dirty and catch a glimpse into everyday life as a grazier.

The third riding day will see you head to Rainbow Beach, where you’ll ride along the shore in the shadows of the towering cliffs of colourful, mineral-rich sand. Then it’s back to the cattle work, with campdrafting royalty Rod Cotter dropping in to coach you and your horse. Rod and Andrew are both kind, patient teachers who will break down the art of cattle work into sections that you’ll master with one-on-one tutelage, before joining it all together in a safe and fun environment. No doubt about it, by the end of your holiday you’ll be a dab hand in the cattleyards!

SO if you’ve always wanted to run away to the bush and be a jillaroo or jackaroo, then THIS is the ride for you!

Fast Facts

  • Horse Breed:The majority of the riding herd are Quarter Horses (geldings), all with close connections to one of two famous Quarter Horse stallions: Acres Destiny and Doc’s Spinifex.
  • Pace:The pace can vary from a walk right through to a canter, depending on the terrain.
  • Weight Limit:A maximum of 95kg/210lbs.
  • Type of tack:Australian-made swinging fender stock saddles.
  • Seasons:September 2020, June & July 2021.
  • Group size:A minimum of 8 and a maximum of 10 guests.
  • Time in Saddle:On average 5 to 6 hours per day.
  • Riding Ability:Suitable for all riding abilities from beginner through to advanced. *If you are a beginner rider, you’re expected to be capable of riding your horse at a walk and posting/rising to the trot, and be willing to try cantering.  Not sure what your riding experience is? Watch THIS video to find out.
  • Accommodation:Tents with all bedding and towels provided. Hot camp showers and long drop toilet a short walk from the campsite.
  • Ride Length:5 days, 5 nights.
  • Inclusions:

    The price includes all riding, accommodation and meals (from dinner on day 1 through to lunch on the final day).

  • Exclusions:

    The price does not include transfers to and from the ride (available for $250 AUD per person round trip), alcohol, flights or travel insurance (compulsory).



NEW! Secure your saddle seat NOW with a 10% deposit - as part of our 10x 10% payment plan!
Departing FinishingAvailabilityTotal
September 13, 2020September 18, 20206 spots left
$3,250 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same genderBook
$3,350 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own roomBook
June 13, 2021June 18, 20216 spots left
$3,250 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same genderBook
$3,350 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own roomBook
July 18, 2021July 23, 20218 spots left
$3,250 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same genderBook
$3,350 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own roomBook

A single supplement is available for $100 AUD for guests wanting their own tent (subject to availability).

The price includes all riding, accommodation and meals (from dinner on day 1 through to lunch on the final day).

The price does not include transfers to and from the ride (available for $250 AUD per person round trip), alcohol, flights or travel insurance (compulsory).

Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all card payments. Click HERE to read our recommendations on which cards are best to use to avoid international transaction fees.

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.


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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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  • Day 1

    Today you’ll either self-drive to Andrew McCarthy’s family property, COD-N-UP, or arrive at Sunshine Coast Airport in Maroochydore before midday and be collected by your hosts, with a small detour to purchase alcohol on the way out to the property – if required. After you arrive in the early afternoon, Andrew will give a liberty riding demonstration with one of his prized horses. Then you and your luggage will be driven to the top of Mount Goomboorian, your home for the next five nights. It’s hard to explain the vista until you see it with your own eyes, but let me try: it boasts 360-degree views stretching to the west and to the east, where you can see the sand dunes near Noosa. It’s an incredible campsite where you’ll enjoy true bush comforts, including a tent large enough to swing a cat in, stretcher bed with all linen provided, and a bedside table. Tonight’s meal will be a gourmet camp oven roast, after which you’ll retire to your tent for a good night’s sleep.

  • Day 2

    After waking to a spectacular sunrise over the Pacific Ocean and enjoying a hearty breakfast, you’ll be transported off the mountain and introduced to your horse. Once you’re comfortable in your swinging fender saddle, you’ll commence your riding adventure. With plenty of opportunities to trot and canter if you wish, you will traverse open cattle grazing country, creek crossings, and a stand of Eucalypt timber where you might even be lucky enough to spot a koala (trust me – your chances are good!).
    After the morning’s ride, you will arrive at your lunch location, Silky Oak Tea Gardens. Here you’ll step off your horse and walk straight into a professionally run, rustic country pub dining experience. Now you’re in for a real treat here, globetrotters, because at Silky Oak you will be given the opportunity to have a photo of yourself on a horse IN A BAR (yes, you read that correctly!). An awesome keepsake of your riding adventure to take home and cherish, and more importantly, social media bragging rights!
    Once all the modelling contracts have been fulfilled, you’ll sit down to enjoy a hearty lunch. In the afternoon you’ll get lost in pristine scrub and virgin forest, eventually riding into your Mount Goomboorian campsite for a sundowner.
    After a long but fulfilling day in the saddle and with your bellies full from dinner, you’ll retire to the blazing warmth of the campfire and enjoy a whip-cracking demonstration and view the photos from your day’s modelling before falling into a wondrous and peaceful slumber.

  • Day 3

    Today you’ll dig into another filling breakfast before mounting up and riding off the mountain, gaping at the views as you go. Arriving at Andrew’s original family homestead, you’ll have a lavish lunch in the gardens. Then it’s time for some cattle work! Andrew has previously run about 17,000 head of stock on a cattle station in WA that was a bit less than a quarter of a million acres, so throughout the trip, he’ll be able to demonstrate the skills and procedures used in daily life on the stations. This is a dinky- di, real life cattle work experience, globetrotters, dirt moustaches included! There will also be more beautiful trail riding on the cards as part of this afternoon’s experience.
    After settling the cattle into their yards for the night, you’ll head back up the mountain to enjoy more breathtaking views, campfire yarns, whip cracking and delicious, satisfying camp oven food.
    There is also the opportunity to brand your name into a piece of rough-sawn timber with fire brands to help you remember the occasion (at an additional cost of $100 or $120 depending on the piece of timber you choose).

  • Day 4

    After another stomach-filling breakfast, you’ll ride down the mountain once again before loading the horses into the truck and travelling to Rainbow Beach! Here you’ll have a gourmet picnic lunch, your horses relaxing mere metres away, before mounting up for an absolutely glorious beach ride. At the end of this magical experience, for those riders who are confident and capable, you’ll have the opportunity to unsaddle your horse for a bareback ride in the ocean! This is serious pinch-me-now stuff, globetrotters. Finally, with salt in your hair and a HUGE smile on your face, you’ll be transported back to the top of the mountain for another beautiful night at your Goomboorian campsite.

  • Day 5

    Rejuvenated after your cruisey, beachy day yesterday, you’ll be raring to go this morning! After breakfast you’ll mount up for a choose-your-own-adventure style day with Andrew and his special guest, campdrafting royalty Rod Cotter. You can choose to participate in cattle work, expand your riding skills with one-on-one lessons, play mounted games, or try riding at liberty. ‘At liberty’ means without tack: no saddle, bridle or halter. It is a great way to accelerate your riding skills and understand why horses do what they do. It will enable you to interact better with your horse, and thus improve your performance as partners. I guarantee you’ll spend the entire day grinning from ear to ear as you learn new tricks on board your trusty, knowledgeable steed. With a full day’s learning under your belt and another tasty meal in your belly, you’ll collapse gratefully into your tent tonight!

  • Day 6

    Your final day is packed to the brim, globetrotters. Continuing on from yesterday, you’ll spend plenty of time astride your horse honing your chosen skills, helping Andrew with his cattle work or just hooning around with your fellow guests. Depending on the time of year, the cattle work could involve branding, dehorning, ear marking, ear tagging, castrating or treating for tick and fly. Andrew will explain the ins and outs of cattle work, horsemanship and any other aspect of station life in as much detail as you desire!
    Finally, at the end of the day, you will be transported back to Sunshine Coast Airport, arriving in time for flights departing after 6pm. For those who drove, you’ll also bid farewell to the team and head off in the evening.

  • Transfer Information

    Round trip transfers from Sunshine Coast Airport (Maroochydore) are available for $250 AUD per person on arrival and departure days only. Guests need to arrive no later than 12pm on day one, and departing flights are to be booked after 6pm on the final day.

    Self drive is also an option.

    Please note, due to varying arrival times, lunch is not included on arrival day.

What our valued Globetrotters say about The Rainbow Beach, Bush & Cattle Ride

Kristen Sagar

‘I’ve just arrived back from the Goomboorian Campdraft Ride. Andrew and his team were amazing. Each of them are very obviously accomplished riders and this showed in the way they worked with the horses throughout the week, how they matched the horses to their guests, and also in the way they taught us about riding and handing not only the horses, but also the cattle both in the yards and on horseback. I was very lucky to ride Dynamite – he was beautifully responsive, with a lovely can do attitude, comfortable gaits, and he certainly knows how to work a beast! Awesome horse!
At Cots Camp, Rod and Jake were amazing teachers – getting us all out of the camp with a steer and around the pegs in a couple of days! Their passion for the sport is undeniable.
The scenery was beautiful both at Goomboorian and Widgee, and both camps were great. The bell tents at Mount Goomboorian were warm and spacious and the beds were really comfortable, too. I also loved the outdoor shower with its awesome view! The food was delicious (thanks Sean) and the hospitality was second to none – nothing was too much trouble for Andrew and the team.
I can’t wait to go back one day and recommend to anyone who is thinking about doing this ride to book it – you will not regret it!’

Donna Wilson

‘Hands down the best horse riding experience I’ve had. Do yourself a favour and sign up for this ride, you won’t be disappointed! The knowledge of horsemanship, the area and environment Andrew shared with us was amazing and I learnt a lot. I rode Wombat and immediately fell in love with her. My only problem was not being able to fit her in my suitcase to bring her home, not to mention Andrew ‘s reluctance to part with her! Andrew is an amazing person and an all round great guy who really helped to build my riding confidence during the ride. Rod Cotter and his staff at Cots Camp were exceptional. Wonderful people, very warm and welcoming, and encouraging us so positively that it’s sparked us to continue to take a keen interest in campdrafting. The hospitality, accommodation and food was outstanding. Every effort was made to ensure our needs were accommodated. Big thanks to ‘Shaun the Chef’, every meal was delicious. We learnt a lot, laughed a lot, and made memories to last a lifetime.’

Terri Rutter

‘The Goomboorian Campdraft Ride was the adventure of a lifetime. Waking up on top of a mountain to the sounds of horses, the smells of the campfire and a good meal being cooked was a dream come true. This was a camp-out with a bit of luxury, with our chef, and staff to care for and tack up our horses each day. Even the fire-heated shower felt decadent! The horses were extremely well trained and a joy to ride. The staff were careful to coach us on the proper cues to make sure that both the horses and guests were happy. This was a trip of a lifetime that I will never forget.’

Alanna Hughes

‘This holiday had everything you could ever want! Trail riding, cattle mustering, campdrafting, hanging by the fire with good people, eating like royalty.’

Alana Dyer

‘The best holiday I have ever had! Who would ever dream that they could sit on a horse having a drink in a bar – and have a photo to prove it!’

Lisa Anderson

‘What a great trip, really felt like I got away from it all! Would do it again in a heartbeat.’

Jo Fitzpatrick

“Thank you everyone who was a part of this week, I will remember it fondly forever.”

Debbie Bailey

“New friends, amazing experiences living on top of a mountain, then there’s the horses. AMAZING!”

Gemma McAuley

“This was my first visit to Queensland and I couldn’t have chosen a better holiday than this outback ride of a lifetime!”