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Heroes of the Light Horse

Thursday, November 19, 2009
Natalie Gruzlewski saw the Australian Outback Spectacular in 2006 and recently returned to see the new show which incorporates the famous charge of the Australian Light Horse Brigade in Palestine during World War I. Australia has bush legends, such as the characters in the Banjo Paterson poems The Man From Snowy River and Clancy of the Overflow, and their horses, but they were penned from the imaginations of writers. The Australian Light Horse Brigade was real.

The light horsemen had an amazing affinity with their horses — some took their own, others broke in new mounts. Conditions were difficult enough for humans, but they tended their horses with love and care right through the harsh desert campaigns. The animals were a mix of Australian stock horses, thoroughbred, Arab, Timor ponies and wild brumbies with a reputation for grit, sure-footedness and stamina.

The tradition of light horsemen wearing emu plumes in their slouch hats began with the Queensland Mounted Infantry in the 1890s. The riders tested their skills by racing wild emus and when they caught one would pluck a feather and proudly tuck it into their hatband.

Australian Outback Spectacular itself is an incredible re-enactment of some of what the men and their horses went through. The audience is split into two groups and are given a stockman's hat with headbands indicating their respective stations. Each crowd barracks and cheers for their men and women as they attempt to bring home the ultimate price of top station.

The first show of its kind in Australia, it has an amazing cast of talented performers, skilled stockmen and women and plenty of animals, including 54 horses, 10 longhorns, 20 Santa Gertrudis cattle, two camels, 50 sheep, three dogs and five piglets.

The arena has a typical Aussie outback feel, with corrugated-iron roof and galvanised railings and heavy timbers. There's a manmade billabong under the entry and large native trees. It thunders with the hooves of stockhorses and every twist and turn features something breathtaking. Stampeding cattle and a mustering helicopter rounding them up and all the time an unforgettable display of horsemanship.

There's plenty of music and singing and more than 300 state-of-the-art lights are used to add to the atmosphere.

To make a full and fun evening out of the adventure, you will be served a great array of Aussie food, including salad with mango dressing, barbecued beef steak with Kakadu plum sauce, garden vegetables, damper, pavlova with Queensland berries and country cream and bush billy tea. There are variations such as sausages instead of steak, vegetarian meals and dietary variations. Please advise them at the time of booking.

Beer, wine and soft drink is also served.

Location

Queensland's Gold Coast.

Cost

Australian Outback Spectacular: Heroes of the Light Horse entry is $99.95 for adults and $69.95 for children. Pre-show entertainment, 90-minute show filled with music, drama and action, three-course Aussie barbecue, drinks during the show and stockman's hat are included.

Virgin Blue has flights to the Gold Coast.

One-way fares from:

  • Sydney $79
  • Melbourne $119
  • Adelaide $129
  • Perth $219

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the Internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are subject to change.

Prices correct at November 19, 2009.

For further information

Virgin Blue
Ph: 136 789
www.virginblue.com.au

Australian Outback Spectacular
Entertainment Drive
Oxenford 4210
Ph: 133 386
www.myfun.com.au

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