Originally brought to life by Australia’s most famous bush poet, Banjo Patterson, the High Country has a mystique and majesty about her that is truly intoxicating. It’s home to the mountain horsemen: dressed in rabbit felt hats, cloaked in drizabones, traversing rugged, unforgiving country to graze their cattle while contending with extreme weather conditions.
There is something deeply romantic about Victoria’s High Country and there is no better way to discover this region than from the back of a mountain pony. This pack horse ride is centered around the Howqua Valley, a national park home to abundant wildlife and supported by the pristine, clear-running Howqua River. With over 60 river crossings on day two of the ride, the river is the heart of the valley, and you’ll never tire of traversing it. There are plenty of short canter bursts on offer between river crossings, and the chance to swim your horse bareback in summer.
The regional cuisine on this ride is of gourmet standard. Expect to be completely overwhelmed by the meals that are prepared and served by gastronome Wendy Jubb-Stoney throughout your two-night stay at Stockyard Creek, a pioneer homestead overlooking a lagoon.
The ride is narrated with the history of the pioneers who originally settled in the region and guests ride past remnants of the 1890s gold rush. The colourful history of the Snowy River region adds another dimension to this dynamic ride.
- Horse Breed:A variety of breeds from Stock Horses to Quarter Horses.
- Pace:The pace can vary from a walk right through to a canter.
- Weight Limit:Maximum of 100kg/220lbs
- Type of tack:A mix of traditional saddles from Australian stock to English dressage saddles.
- Seasons:November through to March
- Group size:Minimum of 2 and a maximum of 10 guests
- Time in Saddle:5 hours of riding on days 1, 2 and 4 and 3 hours on day 5 and a rest day on day 3 where riding is optional.
- Riding Ability:Suitable for beginner to advanced riders
- Accommodation:Quality, comfortable twin share accommodation at the River House and rustic, pioneer rooms with plenty of character at Stockyard Creek homestead. Keep in mind, guests will be sharing with up to four in a room at Stockyard Creek unless paying single supplement.
- Ride Length:5 days, 4 nights
- Inclusions:The price includes meals, accommodation, riding, and round-trip transfers to and from Melbourne Airport.
- Exclusions:The price does not include flights or travel insurance (compulsory).
DEPARTURE DATES & RATES
|18th Nov 2019||22nd Nov 2019||SOLD OUT!|
|25th Nov 2019||29th Nov 2019||SOLD OUT!|
|2nd Mar 2020||6th Mar 2020||SOLD OUT!|
|9th Mar 2020||13th Mar 2020||SOLD OUT!|
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price includes meals, accommodation, riding, and round-trip transfers to and from Melbourne Airport.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price does not include flights or travel insurance (compulsory).
Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all 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.
ItineraryExpand AllCollapse All
*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.
At 9:30am you’ll arrive at the high country farming property that’s been in the Watson family for many generations. After saddling up, your riding group sets off on the ‘Man from Snowy River’ experience on horseback. Guests will ride up hills that boast spectacular 360-degree views, and along the way you’ll have the opportunity to see a variety of Australian wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies and Australia’s largest bird of flight, the wedge-tailed eagle.
For lunch, the group stops at Dungeon Hut, where you’ll enjoy a gourmet hamper lunch. Then in the afternoon, you’ll traverse bridle tracks through quiet valleys and points of rich historical interest. Your destination today is the celebrated Riverhouse at Howqua Dale, a magnificent country house hotel on the banks of the Howqua River. The six double rooms with ensuites all have beautiful views onto the garden or countryside. There will be time to enjoy a hot shower before sitting down to a riverside barbecue dinner in one of Victoria’s prettiest valleys.
Next morning, you’ll fill up with an early hot breakfast before beginning the journey up the tranquil Howqua River, traversing the high track towards Stockyard Creek. It’s a challenging day’s riding with breathtaking views over the river. You’ll find yourself trotting through tree fern gullies and savouring long canters along narrow, weaving mountain tracks. The group will stop for a packed lunch beside the river under a canopy of trees. After lunch you’ll ride across Wares Flat, Whiskey Flat and Tobacco Flat, finally arriving into Stockyard Creek, where you’ll find the Stoney family’s pioneering homestead in the heart of the Alpine country. The day finishes with a sundowner at Stockyard Creek before you’re presented with a gourmet dinner courtesy of resident gastronome, Wendy Jubb-Stoney.
Today you have the option to sleep in, then ease into the day with an indulgent, gourmet breakfast. This is a day of relaxation that sees guests explore the historic Howqua Hills area including The Lookout, The Chinese Gold Diggings, Professor’s Hut, Fred Fry’s Hut and Tunnel Bend. Returning from your explorations, you’ll tuck into a traditional spit roast at Stockyard Creek before retiring to your cosy room.
An early morning start followed by a sumptuous breakfast. Today guests will climb out of the Howqua Hills and onto Timbertop Saddle while riding along the ridge line. You’ll be staying at the boutique ‘Riverhouse at Howqua Dale’ for your final night.
Today the group rides to ‘Kate Camerons Peak’ which is where the famous jump scene from the ‘Man from Snowy River’ was filmed. You’ll wind back down to the farmhouse for lunch which completes this sensational ride.
Guests need to fly to Melbourne and then transfer to Mansfield the day BEFORE the ride begins. Accommodation in Mansfield that evening is at your own expense. Round-trip transfers are available from Melbourne and are included in the trip cost. Michael would prefer that you arrive on the Sunday (the day before the ride begins) by 3pm, and for departing flights to be after 6pm on the final day of the ride.
‘I booked my next trip before I finished this ride! If you have any hesitation about going solo on one of these trips, don’t. I booked a seat as soon as one became available for the Howqua River Ride and it was amazing, though that doesn’t quite capture how much I enjoyed it. We did everything from winding along high tracks to river crossings to cantering through the bush. My horse, Boo, was willing and careful. He never put a foot wrong and improved my confidence exponentially. Our guides, Michael and Karen, were enthusiastic and happy to chat. The food was to die for – Wendy is a magician with a passion for local produce and amazing flavours. We capped it all off with a ride to the top of the jump from ‘The Man From Snowy River’ before our week was over far too soon.‘
‘I highly recommend this ride for people looking for a relatively easy ride with creature comforts and good food. The scenery was great and the horses worked well in a group. Michael did a good job with everyone – he was friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and safety was never compromised.’
‘This was my first time travelling solo on any holiday and I’m sure happy that I went for it. The people, the horses and the scenery were just amazing. One of the best moments was when we were given the opportunity to canter across the river for pictures. The horses were able to navigate the smooth river stones and flowing water with ease. 10/10 would do again.’
‘Having just returned home from this ride, I highly recommend the hospitality and horsemanship demonstrated by Michael Watson and his team, and the quality of the horses provided for a beautiful five days’ ride along Howqua River. Every rider was given a horse according to their preferences and abilities, and they proved in general a good match to each of us. The horses were all happy, well fed, well looked after and well trained for trail riding. Having a dietary requirement, I was impressed with and grateful for the special attention paid to my restrictions by the guides and support team. The ride itself was well planned through beautiful mountainous areas with plenty of river crossings, and opportunities to trot and canter. Thank you for an excellent experience!’
“Riding the horses to the river and swimming in our riding gear! So beautiful!”
‘Five fun-filled days riding through the beautiful Victorian High Country on lovely, surefooted, eager horses; each picked expertly to suit their riders. Many laughs, beautiful food and fantastic, knowledgeable guides. Cantering across the Howqua River was definitely a highlight.’
‘As a lone traveller, I was slightly nervous about the week ahead. However, this instantly dissolved as soon as I met both our guide and the rest of the group at the airport! During this ride, with my noble Anglo-Arab steed, Skeeta, I saw the most amazing scenery, cantered up mountains and through rivers, ate the most amazing Australian food and met a lovely bunch of other riders. I could not recommend this ride more! I also caught a good tan to take back to the UK!’
“Loved all the uphill and open field canters, the incredible scenery and the wonderful food. Can’t recommend this ride highly enough.”
“The scenery and landscapes we traversed were amazing and I look forward to planning another adventure soon.”