Ben hands out the shots.
Staying on is the trick.
Ben finds a backpacker express bus that is non-stop outback fun.
Passes are valid for six or 12 months, with unlimited stops. Sightseeing is included, but accommodation, food and activities are paid for by the individual. The passes can be used between Darwin, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns.
There are 30 buses on the road in the cooler months, increasing to 50 in summer. They have a sales office in London, and representatives who call on travel agents around the world with up-to-date itineraries. This makes things easy for backpackers planning a visit to Australia: they can book a trip, including stops, or just stay wherever takes their fancy.
Oz Experience bus drivers are very knowledgeable about the places they go, and timetables can be flexible. They will stop for bank visits and supermarket shopping, and can suggest accommodation options and make reservations.
Nundle is a town of about 350 residents that gives overseas travellers and adventurous Australians a taste of the outback.
About 12km out of Nundle is "Wombramurra" (better known in the area as the Dag Inn), a working station of 6,500ha and 8000 sheep.
Visitors settle into the shearers' quarters, bunkhouse or "woolshed penthouse", then head back to the shearing sheds for a taste of outback Australia. Many stories are told, tall and true, and you can see a working sheepdog in action. After a shearing demonstration anyone can have a go, and for those brave enough, a number-one comb haircut is free of charge.
After the woolshed activities, dinner is served in the Dag mess hall. Lamb or beef roasted in a camp oven over an open fire, freshly made damper, red or white wine and plenty of country and western music is typical for an evening meal. After dinner locals wander in to talk about life in the bush and to hear about other places from the backpackers. When the Dag disco music starts, so does the dancing, and those game enough can try to stay on board the bucking "wild sheep": a 44-gallon drum dressed and ready for a would-be rodeo rider.
Next stop is Bingara, home to about 1200 people. The 1879 Imperial Hotel is owned by Eric and Noelene Ogal. They have turned the shop next door into backpacker accommodation, with dormitories sleeping 10, 18 or 26, and there are also single, double, triple and quad rooms.
Keen or novice horseriders can take one of the Gwydir River Trail's 2.5-hour trips. Along the way the backpackers and horses enjoy a swim in the river. Cathy and John Wade have about 80 horses, and both enjoy teaching beginners the basics of riding. On the way home experienced riders take a different track so they can get up a bit of speed. The learners take the easier way back to town.