Outback Spectacular certainly lives up to its name, as there is no doubt that it is a spectacular performance. The latest show to be released (the third since the launch back in 2006) is Spirit of the Horse with a Tribute to Phar Lap. The venue is located next to Movie World and Paradise Country on the Gold Coast and is well worth the drive down from Brisbane (around 45 mins).
If you are having visitors from overseas, this is definitely the place to take them.
For a uniquely Australian evening, you will be transported to the outback by means of a clever introduction, using the back wall of the riding arena. Professional to the point of slick, visual and full of energy, it tells the tale of the horse - the true symbol of the Australian outback. From the outback stations and their friendly rivalry, to the narrative of The Man from Snowy River, from the early days of Cobb & Co and its highway robbers, who lived hard and died young, to the arrival of the settlers - it's all chronicled in this visually dramatic show.
I enjoyed hearing the history behind the racehorse Phar Lap. Winner of the 1930 Melbourne Cup, Phar Lap was a horse that gave the Australian people something to cheer about during the Depression. The use of the back wall as a giant screen, worked extremely well with the action in the arena. The jockeys, in their colourful racing silks, mounted up in front of us, then cantered out to the race, which was played out on the giant screen behind. Reemerging back into the arena, with all the race excitement, offered the audience a very clever portrayal of the event.
During all the action, viewers are treated to a 3-course meal which is served on a bench style table in front of you. Drinks (beer, wine, lemonade and water) are included. Service is quick and efficient, with servers carrying plates in six tiered plate stands. We enjoyed a starter of a vegetable wrap (flat bread swag), followed by a barbeque main meal of top quality steak (vegetarian option also available), vegetables, mash potato and gravy, topped with a delicious meringue desert and finished off with bush billy tea. Portions are generous and there are kids sized meals too. Our pre show photos were delivered to our table during our meal which was convenient but perhaps not so practical with a meal in front of you and a show to watch. Serving 1000 guests in record time was quite an achievement, which was carried off in a very skillful fashion.
Photo opportunities exist pre show in the barn like hall, complete with bar and live music. You can gather your group together, don your outback hats and have your picture taken in the stable scene. There are also animal stars from the show to pose with you.
I admired the energy that all actors put in to their performance. Without giving away too much of the content, the barn dance on horseback had to be my favourite, with horses moving in unison to the music. The show encourages audience participation so be prepared to cheer and stomp your feet as the two stations of Warrego and Bunya Downs race head to head for the coveted title of best station. A member of our group was chosen to participate in the barrel race and some children were selected for a pony race. Horsemanship was of a very high standard and the cast of stockmen and women, together with their highly trained animals, offers a very different supper show experience.