Category Archives: Outback Australia Tours
Ever been on one of those huge tourist buses with 65 other people?
They pull up at some sight or attraction “OK, you’ve got 30 minutes, if you’re not back, we leave without you!” the guide barks.
Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventure tours are NOT like that. We cater for groups from 2 to 11 people, in comfortable vehicles with a guide who gets to know you and who caters the visits to what you want to see and how long you want to stay.
Small group tours are the popular way to travel these days. Travelers invest a lot of time, effort and money getting to places where they will be immersed in a different culture, see interesting, spectacular or beautiful sights and meet new, different and fascinating people. Therefore they want to ensure that they receive a personalised experience to make the most from what they have invested.
On an Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures tour passengers are more than just part of group, they are individuals who have a say in the progression of the tour. At every part of the itinerary, from visiting the wildlife parks, wineries, caves and villages to experiencing horse riding or bush walking, the scope of the activity and time spent enjoying it are entirely up to the customers. Not interested in fossils? OK, we can leave earlier and move on to something else. Need more time patting the kangaroos? No problem, we always have some time to be flexible.
It’s these kind of specialised itinerary alterations that make Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures tours so personal and so special.
On the other hand, another feature that customers value in Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures tours is that everything is planned and organised. Travelers don’t have to make bookings, organise transport, reserve accommodation or buy and prepare food. Everything is done for you on tour, just sit back and relax and let Sally do the driving for you.
The venues visited have been hand picked by Sally to provide a varied range of genuine Aussie bush experiences. She’s done all the hard work in researching, networking and negotiating to come up with the best opportunities to see the real Australia. And her inside knowledge whereby you meet her family and childhood friends, gives visitors the kind of insider experience that few international visitors could ever hope to organise for themselves.
So tours combine the perfect mix of a guided tour and a personalised experience. Every day travelers with Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures are given choices in the exact experiences available and/or the time spent enjoying each one, but once they decide all they need to do is relax and enjoy!
Lots of travellers these days want to get off the beaten path and away from the usual tourist traps. Sure they want to see the iconic sites that a destination is known for, but they also want to see some of the things that run of the mill tours don’t include. They want to discover the type of experiences that locals enjoy.
Getting off the beaten track isn’t so easy though. Where do you get advice?
You’d have to ask a local!
And that’s where I come in. On an Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures tour I will take you off the beaten path and introduce you to things that normal tourists never get to experience. Sure, you will get to see the most important and famous parts of Sydney and the Blue Mountains, but you’ll also discover some truly unique and personal experiences which will give you an insight into what Australia is all about.
Foremost on the list of Off the Beaten Path places we go is the Farmstay at Inglevale. This isn’t a dude ranch set up for tourists, it’s a genuine working sheep farm, where farmers Bill and Mary welcome visitors for a night of demonstrations and entertainment with themselves and other locals who turn up for the fun. My parents and Bill’s parents are usually among the locals, as well as various other family and friends. Inglevale is an operation straight from the past where the cropping is still carried out using horse-drawn equipment. Learning about this unique farm and meeting with friendly locals around the campfire over a True Blue Aussie meal is about as far from the Beaten Path as you can get!
Other highlights on an Aussie Bush Adventure which are not offered by other tours include a visit to the magical Abercrombie Caves. These caves are just as spectacular as the very famous Jenolan Caves, though not as extensive and very much more remote. Jenolan can get tens of thousands of visitors each month making it the most visited attraction outside of a capital city in Australia. But Abercrombie is remarkably quiet. Sometimes our tour brings the only visitors and we have the entire area to ourselves. That’s probably why we so often see native wildlife in the Conservation area surrounding the caves, including kangaroos, lyre birds, echidnas, wallaroos and more.
The wine growing region of Mudgee is a favourite with local Sydneysiders who enjoy weekends there, but it is pretty well off the beaten track for international visitors. Only an Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventure tour will take you to Mudgee, to taste the wines from its dozens of vineyards, try the beer from its brewery and sample the wide variety of foods produced in the region including cheeses, honey, hazelnuts, olives and olive oil. Every day bus loads of tourist travel from Sydney to the Hunter Valley, another prime wine producing region, but Mudgee is off the beaten track, as are the regions of Orange and Canowindra which we also visit on an Aussie Bush Adventure.
Historic villages like Canowindra are full of stories, and in Canowindra’s case a world class exhibition of a local fossil discovery in the Age of Fishes museum. Hill End is a relic from the 19th century when thousands of prospectors flocked to the town in search of gold. To explore the village now is a very quiet experience given its remoteness.
It’s experiences such as these which enhance the uniqueness of an Aussie Bush Adventure and give the traveller who’s looking for that something special the type of Off the Beaten Path experience they could only dream of if travelling by themselves.
The Aboriginal Australian culture is the oldest surviving culture in the world. When Europeans arrived on the Australian continent in the 17th and 18th Centuries they encountered a people who were living as they had for over 40,000 years. The first Australians arrived on the oldest continent on earth where resources were scarce and they eked out an existence which relied heavily on respecting the country and living in harmony with each other. In his seminal work The Future Eaters Tim Flannery discusses how this evolution took place.
The indigenous culture was largely dismissed as primitive and of little meaning by the early European immigrants to Australia. But more recently discerning people have come to realise the complexity, diversity and strength of the Australian Aboriginal cultures. Australians and travelers from elsewhere in the world are eager to learn about Aboriginal art, languages, skills, customs, ceremonies and stories before they are forgotten or lost.
One way in which this rich vein of history and culture can be and is being preserved is by making it of commercial value by sharing it with the world through Aboriginal experience tourism. There are a multitude of excellent tourism ventures all over Australia which introduce elements of Indigenous culture to visitors to Australia and locals alike.
One which has recently been internationally recognised for its excellence in providing genuine experiences is Uptuyu Aboriginal Adventures. Neville Poelina from Uptuyu was one of three global winners of the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit Tour Operator Scholarships, who received financial backing to attend a summit held in Namibia, Africa. Neville’s tours in the Kimberly of North Western Australia are custom designed and offer travelers the opportunity to visit a range of Kimberly locations and experience different aspects of Aboriginal life and history. Congratulations to Neville and I wish him the best in his endeavours to educate the world about his country and his stories.
Closer to my home in Sydney and NSW there are also some very good Aboriginal experience tourism operators. One that I use regularly and highly recommend is the Waradah Aboriginal Centre near Echo Point in Katoomba, The Blue Mountains. During the regular shows at the Waradah Centre Aboriginal dancing from around Australia is performed and explained and Didgeridoo playing is demonstrated and described. But the best part of the show is the personal segment where one or more of the indigenous performers talks to the audience about aboriginal life in the past and present, aboriginal mobs and languages, traditions, tools, skills and anything that wish to share. They welcome any questions and answer with a genuine sincerity.
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International visitors to Australia often ask this question:
Where is the Australian Outback?
If you ask a range of Australians you’ll get a range of answers. It depends where the Australian grew up.
I grew up in the Australian Bush. And then that introduces a whole new question:
Where is the Australian Bush?
I’ll tackle that question first and move onto the Outback later. The Aussie Bush is anywhere that isn’t in the city. People from the Bush refer to the city as “The Big Smoke”, so the bush is away from The Big Smoke. It’s away from the crowds of people, the industry, the hustle and bustle of city living. People from the Bush are renowned for being more laid back, friendlier and certainly more likely to pull up and ask if you need a hand if they see you stopped on the side of the road with your car bonnet up!
The further you get from the population centres, the deeper you get into the Bush, the more strident the Australian accent becomes, and the more welcoming the people are. There are towns and cities in the bush. Canberra the Australian Capital was known as the Capital in the Bush, since it was located away from all the other population centres of the country. But if you want my opinion, it’s a bit big now to be true bush, and it’s full of public servants who don’t fit the real bush character!
To make things confusing, the word bush can also be used as the Australian equivalent of forest. So a walker may have “become lost in the bush”, he would have been a bushwalker to begin with. But the distinction you may have picked up from the above is that in referring to forest the word bush isn’t capitalised, it’s not a name, it’s a thing.
OK. Do you understand the Bush now? So to get back to the original question, where is the Outback?
If you grew up in The Big Smoke, you’re likely to consider most of the Bush as the Outback. For those of us who grew up in the Bush, the Outback are the very remote regions of the Bush. The Outback is those parts of Australia which are particularly dry and barren so that there is either no agricultural industry or agricultural activity which can support only a meagre living and not many people. As such, these areas of Australia are sparsely populated.
People from the Outback have even more pronounced characteristics than those from the Bush. From necessity they tend to be stayers with ingenuity. They can sometimes be quite eccentric, but generally they are friendly, welcoming people. The Outback spirit is a “can do” attitude and hospitality to your mates.
So have I cleared anything up for you? Not to worry if you’re still in the dark! We Australians like to be an enigmatic lot, and if we put everything in black and white where would the Australia mystique be?
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Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures is proud to be accredited with Ecotourism Australia. Ecotourism Australia is Australia’s internationally recognised body for the promotion and advancement of environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible tourism.
There are 3 levels of accreditation, starting with Nature Tourism: Tourism in a natural area that leaves minimal impact on the environment, progressing to Ecotourism: Tourism in a natural area that offers interesting ways to learn about the environment with an operator that uses resources wisely, contributes to the conservation of the environment and helps local communities, and advancing to Advanced Ecotourism: for those operators who can show world’s best practice..
As a small company Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures is proud to be Ecotourism accredited. To have gained this prestigious title at the level IV certification tours need to be organised in such a way as to ensure that operations are carried out always with the environment in mind. All tours operated by Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures use transport which is the minimum necessary for each group. The accommodation we provide minimises energy and resource use. We act responsibly in waste disposal and recycling and advise our passengers in the best practices to preserve the environment.
Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures also fosters business in the regional areas we visit by purchasing materials locally, using local services and engaging local staff to assist in tour operations. We educate passengers in indigenous culture by visiting Aboriginal centres and sites and providing culturally appropriate information.
What comes naturally for Aussie Farmstays and Bush Adventures is good for the environment and good for local communities and good for Australia and we are proud to be recognised for that!
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