Lockyer Horse Riding, Camping, Farm Stays, Events & More
In the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, Fordsdale Horseback Adventures and Farmstays provide a great place for horseback riding, holding events, farm stays, camping and volunteer work. Escape the city for a farm adventure.
Fordsdale is a locality in the Lockyer Valley encompassing the rugged foothills of the Great Dividing Range. Gone are the flat plains and rolling foothills that characterise the rest of the valley. Instead, roads cut through steep gorges and hills rise up dotted with large granite boulders. This rugged yet picturesque landscape is often bypassed by many visitors to the area.
Lying at the very far southeastern end of the Lockyer Valley, Sue Renfree's farm in Fordsdale is a great contrast to many of the farms around South East Queensland. The picturesquely rugged land features hills, ravines and creeks. It was first used for dairy farming though now it's focused on horses and tourism.
The premium attraction, of course, is horse riding. You can book in for as little as an hour or ride all day. There are two ways to book into horse riding. These include forming your own group starting at $66 per person for an hour. Or you can wait for an event. Currently, scheduled events include Sunday Morning rides, Parent & Child Horse Riding Weekends, General Weekend Horsing Riding Adventures and All Day Rides. Check the website for dates.
Safety equipment is provided, including riding helmets with wide brims to keep the sun off you. The horses are specifically trained for this type of beginners ride. You don't need any experience with the horses, as they will happily follow the leader along the trail without any guidance from the rider. The only disconcerting part of this is that the horses will also grab any grass or edible treat that they see as they amble along the trail.
The farm provides a wealth of varied landscapes to explore. You can ride along and across the creek, head up to the tops of hills for great views and explore various other paths. Longer rides include picnic lunches and multi-day rides include barbecue dinners and country-style breakfasts.
You can also stay at the farm with one of the best options being camping. There is a dedicated open grassy campsite where you can pitch your tent. You can make a weekend of it by camping and joining a Sunday morning horse ride or, if you are coming with a group, then you can arrange a ride together with your friends. Of course, you can just explore the farm trails on foot.
What I like about the venue is the natural beauty of the area. For weddings, there are rocks that are great for posing couples and of course, the creek with its steep rocky banks can also be a stunning photographic backdrop. People turn the camping area into a fun party ground. Some keep it simple with just a fire and a barbecue, while others hire more things to create the ideal social environment.
Lunch on the farm with catering by the Staging Post Cafe
There are also volunteer opportunities on the farm. This includes Willing Workers On Organic Farms (WWOOFers). The program at Fordale lets you exchange 30 minutes of farm duties a day for free camping. There is also a 16 plus program aimed at high school students looking to gain some work experience during the school holidays.
The Lockyer Valley is just on Brisbane's doorstep with a wide range of activities for all interests. This farm in Fordsdale, on the southeastern end of the valley is a great place for a family adventure, day trip or weekend escape. It is the perfect place for people wanting to try horse riding for the first time in a stunning landscape.
The author visited the venue as a guest of Tourism & Events Queensland.