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Hit the Trail

This article first appeared in a previous edition of Equestrian Life magazine. To see what is in our latest issue, please click here.

Alienor le Gouvello on the road with River, Cooper and Roxanne. © Gitta Steffes

Alienor le Gouvello on the Bicentennial Trail with River, Cooper and Roxanne.

© Gitta Steffes

 

Australia is blessed with a diverse and expansive environment for horse-riding. From the mountains to the deserts, beaches and the bush, the country looks even better from between the ears of our equine best friend.

BY CHLOE CHADWICK

AT EQUESTRIAN LIFE we love to hit the trail and see the best riding locations that our local environment has to offer. In an ongoing series we will explore some of the best trails around the country, giving you ideas for your next horsey holiday, or perhaps a place you didn’t even know existed in your own backyard!


The Bicentennial National Trail

Spanning much of the continent, from as far north as Cooktown, Queensland, and tracing south along the rugged peaks of the Great Dividing Range to Healesville, Victoria, the Bicentennial National Trail is a ride that conquers all others, and is the perfect place to begin our trail-riding journey. Its staggering 5330km length is not to be taken lightly, with only a handful of hardy riders having completed the trail.

From scorching heat to alpine cold, flooding to crocodiles, the rider that attempts the complete trek must be prepared for anything. Luckily for those of us that like a soft bed, or can’t give up 12 months to the trail, the BNT can also be ridden in sections. Check out the map below and visit the BNT official website, where you can find the closest segment to you. Make it a day ride, or even an overnighter, with select campsites having horse yards.

 


 

A bit of history

The Bicentennial National Trail was the result of a vision, championed by the Australian Trail Horse Riders Association (ATHRA), and spearheaded by the great RM Williams.  A plan to join old carriageways, roads and brumby tracks to create a legal route for stockmen that spanned the country resulted in the trail in its current form. With support from the ATHRA, Williams, and the generous cooperation of landowners, farmers and government agencies, Dan Seymour was commissioned to find a route along the Great Dividing Range for today’s BNT, a feat he completed in 21 months in September 1973, with three horses and a cattle dog.

Divided into 12 sections, each with its own dedicated guidebook, the trail traverses 18 national parks, 50 state forests, and is also open to walkers and cyclists. No motorised vehicles, including trail bikes, are permitted. For maps, guidebooks and further information, visit the Bicentennial National Trail website, bicentennialnationaltrail.com.au.

 

 

 

 

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