My name is Mike Smith, I tour and film for Traveler’s Digest. In my many excursion around the world, I have seen the best and the worst of the world. In Australia I saw the best. A tough environment, but fair & friendly people. A country of extremely rough, but vividly beautiful land…everything in sharp contrasts, but definitely unforgettable! Landing in Perth in May 2003, we rode a truly adventurous train, The Indian Pacific, across thousands of miles of red sand plains and great deserts all the way to the renowned city on the bay…Sydney. A month after touring the fantasy city we headed North along the eastern coast. Every moment was spent mostly in awe at the sight of expansive beaches, rolling plateaus, deeply thick forests and hundreds of large and small towns, each offering their own prospective into the rich past of this “Land Down Under” After 5 weeks of adventure we eventually reached our destination…the city of Cairns in the North East of Queensland. It was where my fascination directed us…the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. A storybook of childhood dreams was yielding to reality right before me.
While touring this region with Dakota and my co-worker, Maryam, from San Diego, we wanted and insisted on doing and seeing everything. We had initially thought we should be able to accomplish it in a few weeks…Wrong, we stayed for 4 months and even that was not long enough! In the entire time spent here, we packed a lifetime of adventures into every single day. There was and is that much to see & do in this phenomenal region.
During our stay I heard of a horseback riding business just north of town and being from the Panhandle of N. Texas, I was anxious to check it out…horses and riding had always been imbedded deep in my soul. It most definitely would be our next experience. Just the thought of riding horses in the worlds largest rain Forest and down onto the beach was enveloping my every thought. The name of the business was more than appropriate…Blazing Saddles, owned and operated by a family of horse loving people. The drive from Cairns was only twenty minutes and I would of driven for hours for this opportunity. They have seventy horses and not just any horses…. Quarter Horses!
After a walk around the corrals and falling in love with the entire scene, the sweetest country lady this side of Houston Texas, Renelle Bolton, greeted us. We talked about the ranch, the horses and the land for half an hour before the ride of a lifetime was to begin. My other two-team members had not ridden much and needed a little extra care from Renelle and her staff. No problem… They cater to children and city slickers from every part of the world…
The ride took us through the rain forest. Up and around hills, valleys, gorges and twisting trails and not once did we feel any thing but sheer enjoyment. There is no feeling like having 800 lbs. of pure muscle between your legs and even better…being able to control it! The entire day of being in the woods and sharing these great experiences will be a memory this old cowboy won’t lose for a long time. My traveling buddies loved the horse ride, but couldn’t wait to hop on a four wheel, motor driven, trail busting, bright red, dust flinging machine and head off again. Yes, they even have ATV’s. This cowboy stayed behind at the ranch and made friends with the cook….my Daddy didn’t raise a fool.
We had a lot of fun with the staff and the entire experience was
memorable. Another day spent doing what we love to do…living!
Riding the world’s most beautiful animals in the worlds largest rain forest and chewing down on some grilled grub…what more could a person want!
A must do for the whole group. Say hello from Mike Smith and the crew of Traveler’s Digest and just maybe they’ll let you meet the cook…great food, good conversation, superb environment and loads of adventurous entertainment. Australia is the country, Cairns is the city and Blazing Saddles is the combination of it all!