The Man from Snowy River

Licola Travel Blog

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I think we were actually closer to McAlister River. But then, I wouldn't really know. The High Country isn't a familiar spot to most people. But sitting atop a scraggly mountain and gazing at familiar giants: Mt Hotham, Mt Buffalo, Mt Buller and the lot, you'd think otherwise.

We set off on Saturday afternoon for a little town called Licola. 40k's from this town, into the mountains, is a little hut that we called home for the Easter long weekend.

The man putting us up for the weekend was called Kevin. Kevin Higgins runs Snowy Range Horseback Tours and is as much a part of the High Country as the mountain horses he owns. His family have lived and worked up there for generations.

Kevin alone is an interesting enough person to make the four-hour trip for.
Kevin with horses Ferret and Aussie
I don't think Snowy would quite be the same without him; in his flannel shirt, spurs, and hat, Kevin looks as though he's just stepped off the set of The Man from Snowy River. And he has a trademark gruff, growling tone of voice that for us girls always marks the Snowy experience.

Our cars pulled up at the huts at dinner time. Mr Walker had cooked up yet another lovely feast, and we all sat in the hut by the fire and chatted for the rest of the night.

The first day was a whole day of trail riding. We snaked up a giant hill - we say hill, but it's really a mountain - more or less a straight line north, to finish at lunchtime at a place where we could see the hulks of Mt Buffalo, Mt Hotham, Mt Stirling, Mt Clear, Mt Buller and more. 

We rarely did any trotting as there seemed to be two buttons on each horse - walk or canter.
Looking out at the mountains
Which suited me fine, I quite enjoy both walking and a bit of a hoon.

The second day was excellent. We woke up and found some of the horses wandering around outside the hut. The rest of them were on their way, and boy could you hear them. They came thundering across the paddock and it was like one of those scenes from the movies, except that a lot of the horses were still in their pyjamas.

'Arr couple of yarrs can come down 'n' help bring 'em in... arrh.'

Before Kevin could even finish his sentence, a bunch of us had already started bolting towards the cattle yards. There, we caught all the horses we would be using that day and tied them up next to their breakfast. Yummy hay.

We tacked up our horses and Kevin came around to tighten the girths.
Eva on Andy with the cattle
After all this we were off. This time we left the huts in the opposite direction, crossing a paddock. I should say that paddocks up here aren't like the paddocks I'm used to. A single paddock up here was probably the size of Al's entire property. Well, perhaps that's a slight exaggeration but the point is, they're big. We did a bit more cantering today, and stopped at a place with another great view where we could look down on some bumpy mountain terrain.

On the way back, it all got interesting. The mission was to get the stock into the cattle yards.

The mob was split up into two groups; so Eva, Luci, Elizabeth, Steph and Karen walked the full way along the fenceline to start moving the mob at the far end of the paddock; while Alli, Kevin, Brendan, Nat and I stayed behind to move the other group of cows.


There was a sickie in our bunch and Kevin had a frustrating time trying to move it, but it was all right because in any case, we had to wait a little while for the other half of the herd to start coming our way.

Eva had had to bush-bash on Andy to get the mob out of the trees and back where they wanted them. It was all very exciting. There was lots of yelling, lots of horses kicking up a fuss, cows everywhere, but oh it was fun and in the end they did all get into the yards which was the most important thing.

We had lunch and after Kevin drenched the cows it was time for part two. Putting them back.

On our trail ride earlier, Kevin had shown us where the cows were meant to go after they'd been drenched. Again, it was a very messy experience; Eva, Luci and I were up front, and the rest along the side, with Kevin behind.
Inside the main hut
Some how, about two-seconds after the cows got out, we managed to let them veer off into the trees. This was followed by a lot of yelling, and Eva and Alli had to get into the trees to get them all out again. When Eva got back out, we started walking forward again, but then noticed we had lost Luci! There was a lot of trouble with trying to keep the cows on the path, as they seemed to want to fan out or walk through the trees. Anyway, with a little bit of hoo-ha we got there in the end and all the cows got through the gate and there was no moo-ing to be heard after.

We had a little hoon back, and that was the end of our ride. It was a little bit sad to leave the place, to come back to the city where we would no longer smell like horses, and no longer rug up on the chilly nights, or wake up to the smell of dewy mountain air. But there is always next time.
 
(Photos by Eva and Luci)
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Kevin with horses Ferret and Aussie
Kevin with horses Ferret and Aussie
Looking out at the mountains
Looking out at the mountains
Eva on Andy with the cattle
Eva on Andy with the cattle
Inside the main hut
Inside the main hut
Me on Aussie
Me on Aussie
Aussie!
Aussie!
Horsies in their pjs
Horsies in their pj's
Kevin with Pig the horse
Kevin with Pig the horse
Me and Aussie
Me and Aussie
Licola Sights & Attractions review
In my opinion, this is one of the best places you can go trail riding in Victoria. Kevin organises rides from Woods Point to Bogong, soaking in the be… read entire review
Licola
photo by: Chelsea