Last weekend we took AJ away for her birthday. Unlike BJ, AJ is an animal lover and we thought we’d indulge her passion with a couple of nights at a NSW farm stay. AJ took charge of searching for appropriate places. Her main criteria was that there was horse riding available. She found High Country Trail Rides and although there was no specific wheelchair accessible accommodation, after enquiring we decided we could manage in the cottages available. It was the perfect choice and the whole family had a wonderful time.
High Country Trail Rides is located about 2.5 hours from Sydney in the beautiful countryside of Oberon. We’ve never stopped at Oberon before and we now realise we’ve been overlooking a gorgeous part of the country. Think green paddocks all around, sheep and cattle grazing happily and houses dotting the countryside. There’s no high density living there and it’s refreshing to embrace the space and fresh air.
We arrived in the early evening so we didn’t have a chance to explore the property on arrival but we liked what we could see. It was lovely watching the horses grazing from our windows. We got settled into our cottage with Hubby eager to start the fire to keep us warm for the night. It was a particularly chilly weekend with the temp only hitting 13 degrees.
There was a bad storm overnight and it teamed with rain and I felt nervous that AJ’s trail ride would be cancelled the next day. Fortunately, we woke up to a sunny day for AJ’s birthday and we had a fantastic day exploring the farm.
AJ and I were booked in for an hour and a half trail ride. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to walk after that long but I was keen to join AJ and share the experience.
What unfolded was a magnificent ride. The scenery changed throughout the ride but no matter the view, it was spectacular.
At one point it felt like we had entered a magical forest you’d see in a movie.
As we entered the State Forest we had wallabies curiously watching us and then hopping off to get on with their own business.
Clearly I used some muscles I usually don’t use because when I got off my horse Bob I was a little sore but nothing too bad. I wouldn’t have missed sharing the experience with AJ for anything.
When we got back we asked about doing a farm tour with BJ. Pauline, the owner, put together a great tour for us where we visited the animals in a buggy vehicle and then did a trip to some of the areas that AJ and I had explored on the trail ride. That way no-one missed out.
What makes High Country Trail Rides different to other farm stays that we’ve done in the past is that the animals are not kept in pens. They are living the life of riley and they exude happiness and love.
First stop on our tour was to meet Lily the pig. Lily didn’t even raise her head at the sound of our vehicle pulling up at her ‘house’. She was sound asleep but soon popped out to have a snack when Lisa, our guide, called her. Lisa asked Lily to sit before receiving her snack which she happily did. She also allowed AJ to give her a pat.
If you’ve been following our family for a while you’ll know that BJ isn’t an animal lover. This has impacted on us all because he has actually had a physical reaction to animals in the past (he’s gagged to the point of being sick). Avoiding animals is difficult in a world where people are increasingly taking their pets to cafes and also having an animal loving sister has kept us exposing him to animals in the hope of breaking down his anxiety. It turns out that being in the buggy gave him a sense of security and he was less worried, even when cows popped their heads in the vehicle. The animals were extremely friendly so he had nothing to fear and he enjoyed the buggy tour.
AJ and I hopped in and out of the buggy to feed and meet the animals. Lisa filled us in on the animals stories like the one about Lily the pig being raised by Daisy the cow (Daisy is pictured above with AJ). Poddy, the black and white cow had his own challenges and wasn’t expected to live but Pauline the owner gave him every chance. Poddy was born with deformed front legs so Pauline splinted his legs every day and now he’s a happy cow. I think the reason he’s ridiculously friendly is probably because he’s so grateful to have had a second chance at life.
We fed the sheep, the goats and admired the alpacas from a distance. They are a cautious animal.
High Country Trail Rides caters well to kids aged 6 years and up. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t suitable for younger children but from the age of 6 kids are able to ride the quad bikes. We didn’t use the quad bikes because it is illegal to double a person on the bikes and BJ can’t ride one by himself.
We loved the in ground trampoline which allowed BJ easy access.
The kids were fans of the games shed which included an air hockey table, table tennis, a range of ball games and a basketball game.
We would have loved to do a night tour of the property to do animal spotting but it was simply too cold. We’ll keep that on the list for next time.
The quad bike and trail rides can be booked if you are staying somewhere else or just visiting the area for the day.
3 bedroom cottage
We stayed in the three bedroom cottage which has two queen bedded rooms and a twin bedded room.
The trail riding theme continues throughout the cottage with horses on the quilts and beautiful photos of horses framed on the walls.
I usually have a quick shower but on seeing the claw footed bath, I couldn’t wait to have a good soak. BJ managed the bath but it is tall. There is a shower in the bathroom but once again keep in mind the accommodation is not listed as wheelchair accessible and would be difficult for someone fully reliant on a wheelchair.
The three bedroom cottage is cosy therefore we chose not to use BJ’s wheelchair inside. The toilet is in a small separate room.
There is a full size fridge, microwave and a well stocked kitchen.
In the lounge room there is a slow combustion wood heater and TV with DVD player for those chilly nights.
Tea and coffee making supplies and a packet of Tim Tams in the kitchen were a welcoming sight on arrival.
The coffee table contained a range of toddler books on farm animals and games suitable for older children.
2 bedroom cottage
Pauline, the owner, had suggested the two bedroom cottage would be better for us with BJ’s wheelchair and she was right. We checked it out after the other guests had left and it was definitely more spacious and it would be what we would book when we return.
The two bedroom cottage has one queen bedded room and a twin bedded room.
The bathroom has a small shower and a claw footed bath.
The toilet in the 2 bedroom cottage is in a large room separate to the bathroom.
The kitchen in the two bedroom cottage is also larger and has an oven and microwave.
As it was so cold while we were there we didn’t partake in an outside camp fire (I know, wimps!). I love the idea that families can get together around the camp fire, bbq dinner and then enjoy it inside this rustic shack.
The hut has a supply of cutlery and crockery for those choosing to dine there.
We loved our time at High Country Trail Rides and it proved the perfect place to celebrate AJ’s birthday. We hope to return one day soon.
You can read more about High Country Trail Rides and Farm Stay cottages here.
This is not a sponsored post. We paid in full for our stay.