The prospect of riding a horse is exciting enough for our kids – but the idea of riding a horse through the Blue Mountains has them in raptures. We’ve been looking forward to this weekend for some time.
The drive to the Blue Mountains from Sydney is much shorter than it used to be when I was a kid and the journey in the new Ford Territory is a smooth one. The kids, happily ensconced in the back seats, fall asleep before getting car-sick so it’s a pleasant 90 minute drive to Wentworth Falls.
The Territory is the perfect family weekender. Enough room for four large kids and all their paraphernalia – with enough storage space and power outlets for all to share. So no iPod goes uncharged and no drink is short of a cup-holder.
We’re staying in Wentworth Falls in a gorgeous little cottage called The Dairy. A fragrant English country garden greets us, complete with daffodils, snow drops and jonquils and we’re sold on the place before we even walk through the front door.
The Dairy is nearly 100 years old and has been decorated beautifully. It’s so cosy it seems like somebody actually lives here. It’s spacious enough for our large brood – the dining table seats 10 – and it has a delightfully eclectic collection of books and DVDs.
Saturday morning arrives in the nick of time and after a fry-up we head for Megalong Valley and its horses. Kathy Tucker, who runs Werriberri Trail Rides, has promised horses for riders of all levels of experience (and we certainly are a mixed half-dozen in terms of riding experience).
And she is true to her word – the horses are all very sweet tempered, clearly loved and well looked after. Kathy is able to tell us each horse’s history, and being a bit of a horse-tragic I’m a keen listener. 10-year-old Mary gets Billy, a 30-year-old quarter horse and former cutting competition champion, and I get to ride Bonnie, who regularly wins ribbons at gymkana when she’s not busy in her day-job.
The group of horses that greets us is also delightfully varied in size. From the enormous Clydesdale offered to my partner to an Icelandic pony not much larger than a Shetland proffered to the youngest of our troupe.
The Megalong Valley is surely at its finest. Wattle blooms all around us and the views of the surrounding escarpments are magnificent. Two hours pass a bit too quickly, but we all gain enough confidence to canter a few times, nobody falls off and everybody’s happy.
Mother and avid traveller Deborah Dickson-Smith, blogs about her family adventures…..
Deborah’s first trip with a bub of 4 months involved a 26-hour flight with no sleep, which is exactly when she realised travelling would never be the same. This has only been further confirmed as her family has grown. She’s lived in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Edinburgh, London and is now reasonably settled in Sydney’s northern beaches with her Brady Bunch-style combined family of seven — all seasoned travellers.