Friday, September 23, 2016

Riding Australia’s Challenging Bicentennial National Trail - full article

August 19, 2016
Read about a mother and daugther team, who with two little pack donkeys and a trusty Thoroughbred are traveling over 3000 miles across Australia on the Bicentennial National Trail.

by Eliza Allan

It had been my dream for quite some time to save up and take a year off work to travel with my young daughter. But where? And how? Backpacking through Europe? Volunteering in orphanages in South East Asia? We live in a world full of opportunities and choices, and at times it can be hard to finally bite the bullet and make a decision. I knew that I wanted this year to be big- something neither of us would ever forget. I also wanted a challenge; something that would push the both of us out of our comfort zones and force us to learn to draw on our inner strength.

So when I heard about Australia's Bicentennial National Trail, I was enthralled. Previously known as the National Horse Trail, the BNT stretches an incredible 3311 miles (5330km) between Healesville in the south and Cooktown in far north Queensland. It follows the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and the Eastern Escarpment, revealing some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. The trail provides access through some of Australia’s wildest, most inaccessible country, and is thought to be the longest trail of its type in the world.

After further research, I found that previous trekkers had tackled the trail by donkey, horseback, on foot, by bicycle, and even with camels. However, not many had made it through the whole 3000 some miles. Being a horse-mad woman from way back, I was sold. I had found our big year, our dream trip, our challenge! I decided that over the course of the next 18 months, I would acquire suitable horses and prepare them for the challenges of the trail...

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