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View of the riding group New South Wales
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New South Wales Horse Riding lodge lounge
New South Wales Riding Lodge Bedroom

Horseback riders come from all around the world to experience the Australian bushland and beaches on this equestrian adventure. In New South Wales the landscape is diverse, with undulating hills through eucalyptus forests, pockets of rainforest and miles of pacific beaches offering opportunities for long trots and gallops in various bush, beach and mountain terrains.

This vacation is ideal for experienced riders with options for non-riders to join them. Ride on carefully selected and trained Australian-bred Arabian horses whose agility, great stamina and adaptability to the Australian climate conditions are ideal horses for multi-day long distance trail riding through challenging terrain. Welcoming Australian hospitality, comfortable, quality accommodation and meals await you.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from CB of London on 17/12/2018

Ride Summary
What was your overall impression of the holiday
This holiday was amazing - I've done a few riding holidays around the world, and this was the best by far. Great, safe, reliable horses, warm and welcoming host and guide, good food, amazing trails. I would go again in a shot, and I would recommend anyone else who is a decent rider to as well.
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Kathy's horses are phenomenal. I rode three different horses through the week, all reliable, with different personalities, and lots of fun. They are well trained, well cared for, responsive, and a delight to ride.
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
The ride was as sold - long, fast, riding in beautiful countryside. You need to be a competent and secure rider (these are arabs, and the countryside can be challenging), and riding fit for trails of several hours, but all this is specified in the description.
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
What could we do to improve this ride?
Nothing - it was fabulous!
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
8
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
You need to be a competent, secure rider to properly enjoy this ride which is on good arabs, can be very fast (but controllable), and some of the terrain is rugged, so you need a secure seat. It is designed for experienced riders, and if you are not that, you will not enjoy it, and it will hold back the rest of the group.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Friendly, reliable, efficient
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Glad you had a great time Caroline!

BASED STAY:
Day 1

Arrival in the afternoon. Transfer from Port Macquarie or Kendall Railway Station at fixed times (check in at 3pm if self drive). Dinner with the hosts and co-riders to discuss the week ahead.

Day 2
Introductory Forest Ride through the hilly terrain of the Kerewong State Forest with tall eucalyptus forests and pockets of rainforest. Stop at a creek side picnic ground in the middle of the forest for lunch. Wildlife that may be encountered on the rides and on the farm are Wallabies, Goanna’s and many bird species including Black Cockatoo’s (3 hours riding).

Day 3
Ride to the impressive Comboyne Mountain (670 m), its peak can be seen from the riding centre. Magnificent 360 degree view at the top. Horses and riders enjoy a well deserved lunch break at the peak, before descending back home. 5 hours riding.

Day 4
Long day ride starting along a historic timber railway line to a local winery. Creek crossings, an adventurous steep descent and fantastic long gallops. On arrival, taste the local produce while looking over the vineyards. Transfer back to riding centre. 5-6 hours riding.

Day 5
Fabulous beach ride along the Pacific Ocean, galloping in the waves. Look out for dolphins and a close encounter with kangaroos. Lunch in the dunes, fish & chips at the fisherman's co-op or at the local Macadamia Farm Café (not included) Transfer by horse trailer. 2 hours riding.

Day 6
Farmland horse ride to the beautiful green rolling and fertile farmland of the Comboyne Plateau. On clear days one can see views to the Pacific Ocean. 6 hours riding.

Day 7
Departure after breakfast. Transfer to Kendall Railway station or Port Macquarie (check out at 10am if self drive). There will be an optional stop at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital for those with a departure transfer to Port Macquarie.

Itinerary is for guidance only and may be altered due to State Forest activities, weather & terrain conditions or other unforeseen circumstances.

Shorter riding programmes available on request.

Facilities: stables & accommodation, 60 acres farm property
Single rooms can be requested at no extra charge.
The main house or lodge is in modern Australian style has 1 single bedroom with ensuite (toilet shower) and 1 double/twin room with ensuite bathroom (toilet/shower). Both rooms have ceiling fans.
 

Fixed Transfer Times: Transfer times are fixed. Other transfer times are on request only and may include an extra transfer fee of up to $200 (2023/4) per trip. Exception: Alternative times for pick up/ drop off for train to/ from Brisbane is free of charge

Pick up transfers:
Port Macquarie airport: around 5.15 pm (meeting flights arriving between 4.30 – 5.30 pm).
Kendall train station: 6.15 pm (meeting train from Sydney).
Pick up from train from Brisbane on request (free of charge).

Departure transfers:
Port Macquarie airport: drop off from  9am, suits flights departing after 10am (earlier transfers on request)
Kendall train station: 9am (for train to Sydney).

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

There are in total 7 horses for trail work: 4  Arabians, 2 Brumbies (Captured Australian Wild Horses) and 1 Andalusian-Thoroughbred cross. Additionally there are several retired horses on the farm. 



The horses are between 14.1 and 16.1 hands high. The working trail horses’ ages are between 6 and 20 years. They live outside in the herd year-round and are occasionally stabled in bad weather.



The horses are schooled and well trained for long distance trail riding, forward going, spirited, responsive and in excellent condition. All Arabian horses come from good endurance bloodlines and have completed 40 km endurance competitions as part of their early training. Some of the horses are suitable for intermediate riders and some are only for advanced riders. Every effort is made to match horse and rider.



Riding style:

•The horses are trained to be ridden English style with a loose rein or light contact.

•When riding uphill or galloping riders should sit in a raised or 2-point position (similar to when jumping), standing in the stirrups and leaning forward, alleviating the horse’s back.

•Downhill slopes are always in walk and riders should sit straight, balanced and slightly standing in stirrups (not leaning back), to alleviate the horse’s back.



Tack:

•Tack is of a very high standard and kept in good condition.

•Australian made Endurance saddles: leather (Mackinder) and synthetic (Wintec). Wintec All Purpose and Dressage Saddles.

•Snaffle bits, hackamores or bitless bridles/ Natural Horsemanship halters.

•Synthetic Endurance breastplates, some with martingale.

•Small saddlebag to carry water bottle (supplied), personal items for the day, lunch on some days.



Length and pace of rides: Except for the first day (3 hours) and the beach ride (2 hours), all day rides are 4 - 6 hours in the saddle. This is broken up by lunch (minimum 1 hour) and sometimes an extra refreshment stop. Horses are unsaddled for lunch. After each stop riders lead the horses for a few minutes to loosen the horses' (and the riders') muscles before mounting.



Ride pace is varied and moderate (long downhill walks, fast pace uphill) with some fast canters / galloping sections. Terrain: We ride through NSW State Forests, private farm properties, Crown Land and some public rural roads. Most country is undulating to steep terrain with some narrow overgrown rainforest trails. Rides go into remote and isolated areas, with limited mobile phone reception and assistance from third parties not immediately available. Leading the horses on foot over short distances may on occasion be required and a reasonable level of fitness is required for all horse riding tours.


Rider requirements

This ride is for very confident intermediate riders to advanced horse riders only. For the minimum riding ability required (intermediate) you are expected to have a firm and balanced seat, had formal riding lessons to master the basic horse riding aids and skills, be confident and capable to control a fit and forward going horse in all paces (including long stretches of posting/rising trot and gallops) in open, varied, sometimes challenging country and to be able to mount and dismount unassisted.

Beginner and novice riders and children are not suitable for this ride (occasionally exceptions are made for children aged 15 years and over depending on riding ability).

We regret we are unable to take riders who only ride in Western Style on this ride, as the horses are not trained in this discipline.

For safety reasons this ride reserves the right to prevent a client from riding if they feel they do not fulfil any of the above competence levels.

Horse and rider safety are a consideration at all times and the wearing of safety helmets (provided) and suitable riding boots/shoes (heeled) are compulsory for all riders at all times.

Guests can offer to help with the horses (but not in the kitchen!) and get their horse ready in the morning, saddle / unsaddle and wash & clean up the horse and tack, if they want (always supervised), but this is by no means compulsory or expected.

Maximum weight is 80 kilo. Advanced riders up to 85 kilo will be considered depending on their height.
For the horses' sake: It is important that you give us your accurate weight (even if you are not close to the weight limit) because of the size and light frame of our Arabian horses, the pace of our rides, the hot weather in summer and the partly steep terrain. Groups are carefully planned according to the rider abilities and weight so that is it suitable for the horses and more enjoyable for you!

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 165 lb/75 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Your accommodation is situated on a 60 acre horse farm property adjacent to the Kerewong State Forest. The main lodge residence has a large communal dining / living room and wide veranda, which overlooks the horses grazing in the field, the saltwater pool and garden with native Australian plants and trees and wildlife – in particular parrots and wallabies.



The lodge has 2 single bedrooms and 1 double / twin bedroom. The separate studio-style Cabin has a queen and single bed (for single / double / twin occupancy). All rooms have their own bathroom with shower and toilet (except 1 single room, consequently in the event of 4 solo travellers, 2 singles will share a bathroom). Maximum occupancy is 6-7 people (but max. 4 horse riders).



During the centre-based riding programmes guests will stay at the lodge riding out every day in different directions and returning in the afternoon. Bed linen, towels, pool towels (in summer), hand and shower wash are provided in the rooms. Hair dryers are provided. Rooms are not serviced during the ride but please ask if you need anything replaced or cleaned.



Meals and drinks: Emphasis is on fresh home-cooked meals and light salad lunches. •Buffet style breakfast with toast, condiments, cereals, yogurt, fruit. Cooked eggs & bacon on some mornings. •Lunch during day rides: light picnic lunches (cheese and salads) brought to you by 4WD support vehicle or saddlebag (sandwich) lunch. •2 course dinner at the dining table in the communal area, international and Australian specialties: beef stew, pasta, chicken, fish, roast dinner, barbecue. •Vegetarians and gluten free diets can be catered for (request on booking). •Juice, soft drinks (lemonade and coke), filtered rain (tank) water, milk, tea, coffee and hot chocolate are freely available on a self-serve basis. •Wine is served with dinner. •Beer and additional wine can be purchased at local bottle shop on arrival (during pick-up transfer), the winery ride destination or BYO (Bring Your Own). •Our drinking water is rain (tank) water and we recommend that you drink the filtered water from the water jugs in the common area or fridge.



The lodge is dependant on rainfall for the total water supply. Therefore there are no laundry facilities offered for horse riding guests. Please be aware that the water is precious. If you wish you can hand wash your most urgent clothes in the bathroom basin and you are welcome to hang them to dry on the washing line behind the garage. Depending on the water reserves some exceptions for washing clothes can be made for international guests that are traveling for a longer period - please make requests when booking.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Visa requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

Visas are normally required for all travel to Australia

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/australia

In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Australia.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/australia

Climate Summary

New South Wales lies in the temperate zone and the climate is generally free from extremes of heat and cold. The greatest heat is usually experienced in the north-west and the coldest region is the Snowy Mountains. Rainfall varies widely over the state, gradually diminishing to an annual average of 180 mm in the far north-west.

The climate is temperate and slightly humid in the coastal areas of NSW. The deserts of the interior experience hot days and cold nights. Irregular floods and droughts occur, some times due to the El Nino effect. The average amount of daily sunshine is about 6.7 hours.

Australia is a country of extreme weather conditions. Although most of the time the weather is fantastic, there can be quite severe weather conditions, in particular when compared to European weather.

On the hottest summer days rides are started very early in the morning and return early afternoon to spend the afternoons relaxing near the swimming pool. Ride pace is adjusted to weather and terrain conditions (slower pace in hot, humid and / or wet weather, slippery trails).

In case of severe weather warnings (severe rain or storms) and local bush fire danger we may be unable to go out riding due to safety concerns. We will try to arrange an alternative programme for you whenever possible (wine Tasting Tour, Port Macquarie town, Koala Hospital).

Climate Chart

 

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.


Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Australia and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Health (ride specific)

Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites.

Electricity

In Australia the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Mobile, WiFi and charging

Cameras can be charged every night at the lodge.
Mobile phone reception and internet:
Mobile phone reception on the property is poor and limited to SMS texting. Most riding days have some opportunity for mobile phone reception. If you want to bring a GoPro please be advised that you will have to have permission from all other guests and guides that they are willing to be filmed.
Free WiFi internet access is available for guests who bring their own Internet device. The use is limited to "standard" internet and email usage and short Skype phone calls. Please don’t download large files like movies or large photo files, make long Skype video calls, etc.

Packing List

•Suitable riding boots or shoes (with a small heel to prevent slipping through stirrups).
•Lightweight rain / wind jacket that fits into the (provided) saddlebags. Australian made full-length oilskin coats can be provided.
•Helmets are compulsory: you can bring your own or helmets can be provided.
•Sunscreen, sunglasses, compact camera, riding gloves, and all the other usual things for travel in Australia and horse riding
•Long sleeved shirts (protection from sun and branches)
•Warm slippers for winter evenings
•Tall leather boots are not recommended, especially in summer, because of the hot weather and humidity. Instead it is recommend to wear short riding boots with short chaps. A small assortment of secondhand short chaps is available for guests to use.

Please be aware that all used horse riding gear must be declared on arrival into Australia and must be clean and free of sand and horse hair.

Programmes

This is a 7 day/6 night programme with 5 days riding available on set dates throughout the year. Tailor-made packages on request for 2 or more.

Departure Dates

2024: 18, 29 Mar; 12, 29 Apr; 11, 30 May; 12, 29 Sept; 10, 24 Oct; 7, 21 Nov; 6 Dec. Other dates on request Jun-Aug.

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.

No single supplement for Stationary Programme.

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20247d/6n5Stationary programme double pp1,695
20247d/6n5small group supplement for 1 rider295
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20247d/6n5Stationary programme double pp2,005
20247d/6n5small group supplement for 1 rider345
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
20247d/6n5Stationary programme double pp2,209
20247d/6n5small group supplement for 1 rider379
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20247d/6n5Stationary programme double pp23,389
20247d/6n5small group supplement for 1 rider4,019
Other Activities

Non-riders can be accommodated but it is recommended that non-riders have a rental car to explore the area. The non-rider can sometimes travel with the support vehicle to the lunch meeting and can also be transported to the other accommodations if required (during trek).

When not horse riding, there are many other tourist attractions & holiday activities in the NSW Mid North Coast region. These include stunning coastal walks, pristine beaches, surfing, fishing, waterfalls, lookouts, Australian wildlife watching, birdwatching, bushwalking, national parks, golf courses, Macadamia Nut Farm, wineries, Port Macquarie and Taree coastal tourist towns, Koala-hospital and historic Timbertown.

Wildlife

Most of Australia’s wildlife is active at night, but during the day on the farm or on horseback you may see wallabies, kangaroos, bandicoots, goannas, lizards, colorful bird life (king parrots, rainbow lorikeets, black cockatoo’s, kookaburras, eagles) and if you are lucky maybe even a koala in a gumtree! We regularly see dolphins in the ocean during the beach ride.

Spiders will only bite if provoked. Avoid touching spider webs, and if you do see a spider, it’s best to leave it alone. If you are camping or staying in the countryside, it’s common practice to shake your shoes out before you put them on.

Snakes are sometimes seen on the rides but have never caused any problems as the horses are used to seeing the snakes and the snakes will move away when we encounter them, as most are not aggressive.

Other Information

Mobile phone reception and internet:
Mobile phone reception on the property is poor and limited to SMS texting. Most riding days have some opportunity for mobile phone reception.
Free WiFi internet access is available for guests who bring their own Internet device. The use is limited to "standard" internet and email usage and short Skype phone calls. Please don’t download large files like movies or large photo files, make long Skype video calls, etc.

Other Country Information

In 1768 the British Admiralty instructed Captain James Cook to begin a search for the 'Great South Island' first reached by Dutch sailors in the early 17th century. The crew of The Endeavour subsequently landed at Botany Bay and claimed the Island for the British. King George III decided that Botany Bay should become the destination for British convicts under sentence of transportation and in January 1788 the first fleet sailed under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip. In total more than 168,000 convicts were transported but the discovery of gold in the 1850s also began to attract free settlers to the Island.

The indigenous population of Australia, the Aboriginies, have suffered as a result of this colonisation. However succesive governments have addressed this issue and there are now several government organisations and laws protecting and supporting these people and their claim to land.

Australia is a multi-cultural country, so its not unusual to walk down a street and hear people speaking Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Vietnamese or Arabic as their first language. Aboriginal languages are also spoken. English-speaking Australians have a passion for abbreviations and are liable to use a hotchpotch of local slang that can take the first-time visitor a while to untangle.

Australia's biggest attraction is its natural beauty. The landscape varies from endless sunbaked horizons to dense tropical rainforest to chilly southern beaches. Scattered along the coasts, its cities blend a European enthusiasm for art and food with a laid-back love of sport and the outdoors.

Australia is between eight and ten hours ahead of GMT depending on where in the country you are. They use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.

The international dialling code is +61.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Port Macquarie Airport (PQQ) or Kendall train station
Transfer:
Included from Port Macquarie Airport at around 5:15pm or Kendall train station at 6:15pm. Drop off on final day from 9am at Port Macquarie Airport or 9am at Kendall train station.
Flight Guide:
London - Sydney from £865 return, Sydney - Port Macquarie return from £168. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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