New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji!
January 9th-February 15th 2000

Contact and Reservation Info
Itinerary and Travel Info

G'day Mates,

Celebrate the Millenium with our gala horse trek adventure in New Zealand, the Snowy Mountains and Queensland Rainforests of Australia, and Malololailai Island in Fiji. Our 26 day extravaganza kicks off the new century in style!

We begin with a day of sight seeing in the beautiful city of Christchurch, New Zealand, after which we'll explore their Southern Alps with Hurunui Horsetreks for the next four days. This will be my first trek to New Zealand; I'm excited to see this magnificent country. Flying onward to Victorian Melbourne, we will wish we had more time for this city's pleasures.

But "Bluff and Beyond High Country Adventures" in the Snowy Mountains beckons. We trek with wranglers who actually rode the stunts in the movie "The Man from Snowy River"; just like them, we'll leap fallen trees along the river banks and lunch at Kurt Douglas's hut on the mountain. These folks really know how to put on a party.

We then journey to Brisbane for a cosmopolitan day in the city, before joining Bob Sample in the Queensland jungle for the ride of your life. Bob is one of the foremost endurance riders in Australia, and has twice won their prestigious Tom Quilty 100 Mile Endurance Race, the equivalent of our Tevis Cup. His son Brook also won it twice, and was on the Australian World Cup team which took the silver medal at The Hague....he placed 8th out of 120 contestants from 20 countries, and is now training horses for one of the foremost sheiks in Dubai. We'll be riding on the Quilty course that was used a few years ago in the lush mountains northwest of Brisbane, and lodging in a spectacularly beautiful, quiet, and peaceful B&B at night. Bob's association with the Piabon Aboriginal School means that these personable young men will be assisting him in caring for our horses and catering to our comfort...... The trek is first class all the way!

And if it has to end, it must be in Fiji. The Muscat Cove Resort on Malololailai Island offers thatched roofed "burras" on the beach, complete with full bathrooms, and hot spas available. We have free use of Hobie-Cat sail boats, fabulous snorkeling on the Fiji barrier reefs, sea kayaks and wind-surf boards available, plus instruction. Additionally, dive boats can be catered. Last year, totally wild dolphin entertained us with an extravagant display of acrobatics with far more complicated choreography than any show I've ever seen at a marine park. The interspecies communication astounded us all. We can also charter a yacht for an additional cruise around the 300 islands that make up the nation of Fiji.

The reason I've chosen January for our trek is that New Zealand and Australia are exactly opposite us in seasons. Therefore, we escape our winter by traveling when wildflowers are in bloom down under. Also, you may have noticed, we have chosen to begin our trek a couple of weeks after the strike of midnight on New Year's Eve.....

The Hurunui and Bluff and Beyond trek in the Snowies are tent camping rides, although we do use shepherds huts to sleep in on some nights. The wranglers stoke up hot showers every evening, and the food is delicious. Toilet facilities are fairly primitive. But the views are spectacular! Accommodations become more "civilized" as the trek progresses.

To really get a taste of what adventures our trek offers, read the four page, color article I wrote for January, 1995 TrailBlazer Magazine. A copy of the article is enclosed, and is also available on our www site, with color photos.

Inexpensive add-on fares from the east coast are available in conjunction with the vacation package. We are able to negotiate much more reasonable rates by booking as a group, even with differing places of departure. As an added bonus, you will earn at least 25,000 frequent flyer miles, enough to purchase a round trip ticket anywhere in the United States. Please ask for Joanne at Fort Bragg Travel (800-853-5499).

Call, E-mail or write to me immediately if you have more questions about our Year 2000 Gala Trek. The last seven Australia treks have been absolutely phenomenal, and I'd be happy to give you names and numbers of previous guests who can tell you what it's like. This time, in answer to many requests, we're adding New Zealand. We are limiting this trek to the first 16 folks who send a $1,000.00 deposit, but will keep a waiting list. Airlines are booking very early for Australia, an extremely popular vacation destination for the millenium, so plans not finalized within the next month are not likely to be realized. Our Australia/Fiji trek is my absolute favorite. Now New Zealand, also! Don't miss out!

Read Lari's ARTICLE about trekking in Australia, published in TrailBlazer Magazine in Feb. 1995!

For Reservations, contact Lari Shea Ricochet Ridge Ranch
24201 N. Highway 1
Ft. Bragg, CA 95437
Phone: 707-964-7669
Fax: 707-964-9669


Saturday, January 15: Depart 8:15 PM, Qantas, Flt. # 100 from Los Angeles, California.

(Skip a day, crossing International date line)

Arrive Christchurch, New Zealand., Monday, Jan 17, 9:05AM

Monday, January 17 through Tuesday January 18: Christchurch, New Zealand: Often described as the most English city outside of England, this reputation reveals Christchurch's origins. Church of England settlers with a mission tamed, drained and carved wild swampland on the wide Canterbury Plains to build a better version of home. Many of their neo-Gothic stone public buildings still stand, now mellowed by the passing of almost 150 years, set amongst the many parks and gardens that were included in the plans of the city's founders. Today, Christchurch is known as the Garden City of New Zealand, winning international acclaim against 620 other entries to take the "Best in the World" title at the 1997 International Garden City Awards.

Tuesday, Jan 18 through Friday Jan 21: Depart Christchurch for Hurunui Horsetreks, who have pioneered horse treks through some of the most spectacular wilderness in New Zealand for more than 10 years. We ride out from our base at the Peaks up through the Waitohi River, heading into the foothills of New Zealand's great Southern Alps. Our route crosses a low range, before dropping into the Hurunui Valley where we stay the night at the Seven Hills shearing shed.

The next day we head up into the New Zealand high country. Crossing tussock grasslands under Mount Noble and Gola Peak, flocks of sheep spread over the hillsides. This is the country your horse was bred to work in. We sleep in the shearers quarters at Mount Whitnow Station. From Mount Whitnow we wind our way up to a low pass (900 metres) which leads into the spectacular Seaward River valley. Great views of the forested slopes of Eskhead slowly disappear behind us as we drop into a series of gorges carved out by the Seaward River on its way into the Hurunui River. We spend the night back at the Seven Hills shearing shed.

The banks of the clear blue Hurunui make good going on the morning of our last day. We pass Mount Mizar, Ben Cliberick and Mount Catherine, before leaving the river and heading up to the Kanuku Saddle with its panoramic views of the Amuri Basin. From there its all downhill to the Peaks where we unsaddle, unpack, and then tuck into a much deserved afternoon tea.

Friday, Jan 21- Sunday, Jan 23: depart Christchurch 5:30 PM, Qantas # 36, arriving Melbourne, Australia 7:10 PM. After clearing customs, we will be transferred to the Sheraton Hotel for two nights, where breakfast is included each morning. The second day is at leisure to explore Melbourne. This elegant garden city is the business capital of Australia, and the hub of the Victorian and colonial towns of the state of Victoria. Located on the Port Philip Bay at the mouth of the Yarra River, Melbourne is renowned for its excellent restaurants, shopping, theatre, and museums, its brightly painted trolley cars and the new Melbourne Arts Center. Optional tours are available to visit the nearby wineries, spectacular scenery of the Great Ocean Road, Blue Dandenong Mountains, Healesville wildlife sanctuary, Philip Island to see the miniature fairy penguins, the re-created gold rush town of Sovereign Hill, and much more. Within Melbourne are numerous bazaars featuring arts and crafts, museums (including the Natural History, which displays the stuffed body of Phar Lap, Australia's most revered race horse), and scenic boat rides.

Sunday, January 23- Saturday, January 29: Late morning depart to transfer by bus to the "Snowy Mountains" town of Mansfield where we join the "Bluff and Beyond" High Country Adventure. We travel to Pinnacle Valley Resort, on the banks of the Delatite River, where we meet our trusty mounts in the spacious horse shed, and enjoy a peaceful twilight ride through the bush. Watch out for the numerous kangaroos that come out to graze as the sun sets, then return to settle in to comfortable cabins for our first night. Monday, ride out along the Delatite River. Climb up Klingsporn's Track, through gracious gum trees and robust wooly butts, to the twisted snow gums of Mt Buller. Spend the night in an Alpine lodge. Tuesday, ride along winding bush tracks over Mt Stirling (2000m), pausing to take in the breathtaking views of the High Country stretching out over the Great Divide. We continue through the snow gums to Craig's Hut, as seen in "The Man from Snowy River". Return in the cool of the afternoon to our lodge at Mt Buller for the night. Wednesday, we ride over the watershed and down into the Howqua Valley, passing by Bindaree Falls, and old cattlemen's huts along the way. Listen to the water tumbling in the river as you drop off to sleep, camped under the white gums at Pike's Flat. Thursday, we'll follow in the footsteps of pioneering cattlemen as we make our way along the Howqua Valley, crossing many times through the waters and passing through old gold mining areas, arriving in the evening at Stockyard Creek, our mustering base. Friday, we will ride up to the Stockyard Lookout, and on to Ben's Hut, set of the film "Cool Change". We return to Stockyard and on to Mansfield to accommodations that night at a motel before our flight.

Saturday, Jan 29: 8:00 AM Transport to Melbourne airport for 1:05 p.m. departure to Brisbane on Qantas Flt 622. Arrive 2:10 p.m. in Brisbane. Transport to Hillcrest Hotel, lodging for one night overlooking the river, next to the Brisbane Cultural Park.

BRISBANE : Brisbane was the site of the World Expo '88. A charming town situated along the winding Nerang River, it is home to the famous Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, housing over 100 koalas. Walk among and feed tame kangaroos and wallabies; take advantage of the opportunity to get a closer look at many of Australia's other indigenous species -- emus, cockatoos, Tasmanian Devils, wombats, and platypus. Brisbane is the gateway to two of Australia's most popular beach resorts: The Gold Coast is a 26-mile stretch of white beach framed by rainforest-covered mountains and known for excellent hotels, casinos, restaurants and wildlife sanctuaries. The Sunshine Coast is a more tranquil, natural beach area, with few hotels.

Sunday, January 30- Sunday, February 6: Transport by Bob Sample to Maleny, in the Conondale Ranges. HORSE TREK AUSTRALIA with Bob Sample.

The foremost endurance riding family in Australia, Bob, Vanessa, Brook and Lara Sample have won the National Championship Quilty Cup five times, and placed in numerous top positions, including top ten at the World Cup in The Hague. On this trek, we will luxuriate in comfortable B&B Inns amid exotic flora and fauna including stag's head and elk head fern, orchids, cockatoos and kookaburras. The riding is spectacular, and different every day. This is our eighth return!

Sunday, February 6: Return to Brisbane for 11:20AM departure to Fiji on Air Pacific flt # 920. Extra luggage maybe stored in lockers at Nadi Airport. Connecting flight on Sunshine Airlines to Malololailai Island for a three night stay.

Sunday, Feb 6-Wednesday, Feb 9: MALOLOLAILAI ISLAND, FIJI

Fiji, a chain of islands in the South Pacific, deeply influenced by the legacy of British colonialism, has been able to retain its importance as a center of Melanesian traditions and culture.

Retreat from the world at Musket Cove Resort on tiny Malololailai Island, just a ten minute plane ride from Nadi. Relax in a true South Pacific island ambience by staying in a thatched bure on the beach; each room has a kitchenette and local food is available for sale at the general store. Fiji is known for its clear waters and is considered one of the finest snorkeling and diving spots in the world. Enjoy water sports, sail-boarding, hobi-cat sailing, cruises to nearby islands and scenic tours. Deep sea diving also available daily. Many of the water sports are free of charge, as is the cruise to the shell village on nearby Malolo Island. Visit the Art Gallery on the hill and adjacent Plantation Island Resort.

Wednesday, Feb 9: Day at leisure on Malololailai Island. Late afternoon departure on Sunshine Airlines from Musket Cove to Nadi; A "day room" will be available at the Tropicana Hotel near the airport before the flight. Relax in their bar pool, complete with twisting water slide. Depart Nadi for Los Angeles at 11:00PM on Qantas flight #3025.

Wednesday, Feb 9: Arrive LOS ANGELES 12:20PM (gain our day back, crossing International Dateline). Connect in Los Angeles for flights to San Francisco and other cities.


******* YEAR 2000 TREK, ALL INCLUSIVE: $5,800.00, double occupancy *******

*** YEAR 2000 TREK, WITHOUT NEW ZEALAND: $5,000.00, double occupancy ***

Not included: Meals and entertainment in Christchurch, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Fiji.

Gratuities are not included.

Ricochet Ridge Ranch

24201 N. Highway 1
Ft. Bragg, CA 95437
Phone: 707-964-7669
Fax: 707-964-9669