It was cloudy as Maggie and I arrived on the outskirts of Hervey Bay on the Fraser Coast. Evening was setting in. "Great..." I thought; how will I get some decent snaps of Susan River Homestead Adventure Resort now? But it wasn’t the weather that stopped me from taking hundreds of photos. I got so caught up in the no nonsense, country living vibe of Susan River that I almost forgot to turn the camera on at all.
The homestead covers 1660 acres of sub tropical forest and bush with the pride of the land, Lake McLean, smack bang in the middle. We’d arrived too late to take advantage of the huge range of water sports on offer, but that didn’t matter. We were excited about something else … our sunset horse ride.
Being on horseback at night was a new and dramatic experience. As we rode, the faint, musky smell of the horses, the cool fragrance of the forest and the sight of the undergrowth silhouetted against the night sky all combined to give an incredible ambiance. A grin grew on my face as I imagined how I looked from Maggie’s perspective.
My shoulders were doing a John Wayne number, smoothly rising and falling from side to side as I relaxed into the saddle, letting the thudding hoof falls of my horse pass through my body. I was hundreds of miles from anywhere on a night drive with my cattle. I couldn’t help playing the part. Every now and again I’d tip my helmet up off my forehead with one finger like some cavalier cowboy, coolly acknowledging the pretty girl. I was a tough, young wrangler, weary after a day on the trail and boy was I hungry.
The dining room at the centre of the homestead is something straight out of a working ranch. Eating alongside the others at long, wooden tables made me feel like I’d worked the land all day and was enjoying some well-earned tucker. This is hearty eating: good, honest food that doesn’t need elaborate sauces or fancy presentations. I had a manly portion of beef with potatoes and vegetables, all cooked to a tee although it wouldn’t have mattered. John Wayne doesn’t need taste buds. If you were thinking that a homestead like Susan River wouldn’t be so accommodating to a non-meat eater, think again. Maggie is a vegetarian and had a fish dish that almost made this cowboy want to trade in his meat.
Grab a beer from the bar after supper or if you fancy a glass of vino, Norm the head honcho, is a man who enjoys challenging his palette. Put your feet up in front of the open fire and soak up the atmosphere.
Continue reading.... Day 2: Fraser Island by 4WD Hummer
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