There's no doubt Ben Dark is in his element in the Northern Territory
and he couldn't wait to pack his gear and join an Outback Quad Adventure. The adrenaline-charged guided quad-bike safaris take place on the oldest working station in the Territory: Undoolya Station.
It's worth getting up at dawn to see the MacDonnell Ranges at their very best. It runs 600km east to west, right through Alice Springs. Undoolya Station is 17km out of town and Ben reckoned it was like riding around an Albert Namatjira painting. The sky, the bush and the very colours of the outback are breathtaking. Pure white ghost gums stand in defiance of red and brown dust.
Rob and Kath Frost have exclusive rights to kick up the dust on the 1500 square kilometre cattle station. There's no real secret to riding a quad bike and you don't need a licence. One challenge is to outrace the prevalent black flies.
There's a stop at a dam on the way back and it's home to thousands of fat budgerigars of all colours.
There are 2.5-, 3.5- and six-hour safaris are on offer. The Two Station six-hour safari includes cooked breakfast and visits The Garden, an adjoining property. If you are really keen, the Frosts can arrange an overnighter, camping under the stars.
They collect you from your accommodation in Alice Springs and once at the station there is a briefing and you are given a safety helmet and shown how to operate the bikes. Then you head along a flat track, over a dry creek bed and some station tracks. After a while there is a stop just to check that everyone is doing all right.
From then on you will stop at cattle yards, visit waterholes, see windmills and get high into the ranges for some views and challenging riding.
A lease was taken on Undoolya Station in 1872 and the Hayes family took it on in 1907. The sixth generation of that family is still there.
Undoolya Station in the Northern Territory
Quad Rush 2.5-hour tours are $120 per person, Undoolya Discovery 3.5-hour tours are $195 per person and six-hour Two Station Tours are $289. Transfers, safety helmet, briefing, bottled water and guided quad bike tour are included. Two Station Tours includes cooked breakfast and morning tea. They operate every day except Christmas Day.
Prices correct at May 21, 2009.
For further information
Outback Quad Adventures
PO Box 2733
Alice Springs 0871
Ph: (08) 8953 0697