The name marlin conjures up fishing but this is far from it! Saddle up guys, we're hitting the cattle station.
The word "marlin" tends to conjure up Queensland, but in the form of the Barrier Reef, lots of water, a big boat and a fish not wanting to be landed. Marlin Park could not be further from this vision it's in Imbil, inland from the coast and it's a 142 hectare working cattle station, running up to 200 head at a time.
It's also home to 30 horses 20 for riding and the rest part of a thoroughbred breeding program. They are mostly for experienced riders, but beginners can be catered for. There is an even balance of thoroughbreds, stock horses and Appaloosas.
Sue and John McMah have owned Marlin Park Ride Away for about 12 years, and inherited the name when they bought it. Its former owners had a fishing schooner and wanted to keep the ocean in their lives … even if just in name.
When there was a downturn in the cattle market, the McMahs decided to open their property to let city people experience life on the land. Business has grown, and with the help of their two sons, they welcome people from all over the world, including an annual visit from a Japanese riding academy.
Riding is not compulsory, but around half of the visitors to Marlin Park go to do just that, with about 10 percent taking along their own horse.
Five couples can be accommodated in five separate units sited under an enormous 300-year-old fig tree. Made of timber and built to look like farm-worker cottages, each unit has two single beds, an ensuite, heating and ceiling fans. As Sue and Ron prepare all meals, there are no cooking facilities.
Breakfast is bacon, eggs, fruits and cereal; lunch, quiche or salad and meat rolls; and the evening meal a home-grown, grass-fed steak or organic chicken, expertly cooked by Ron. There are always plenty of fresh vegetables and crusty bread, followed by a delicious Australian dessert.
Rides go through Marlin Park, the state forest and a neighbour's property, which is a massive 12,000 hectares and home to Borumba Dam, well known for fishing and skiing. Trails are almost unlimited and there are half day, full day, and two, three, four or five day rides through mountainous countryside with steep hills and water crossings.
Along the way you'll see deer, wild pigs, goannas, kookaburras and eagles, so make sure you bring a camera.
It's party time every Tuesday and Thursday at the Bush Battlers Bar in the old machinery shed which is full of early farming memorabilia. In winter, a huge open fire crackles a welcome.
Busloads of groups fill the place for a good, old-fashioned shindig, complete with a meal cooked in outdoor ovens. They are entertained by a local band, Ray and the Girls, whose average age is 76. Visitors dance, sing along and step back in time for a couple of hours. It is not open to the general public, but people staying at Marlin Park are welcome to join the tourist groups.