The Great Australian Outback Cattle Drive was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure tour to explore the magnificent Outback in a fairly different way. The last cattle drive was held in 2010 along the Oodnadatta Track.
Visitors could step back into times when large mobs of cattle were moved long distances through Australia's harsh inland, listen to stories and tales from days gone by. Legendary drovers taught about Aboriginal culture & historic tracks.
Cattle droving had been an important part of life in the Australian Outback for a long time, until first trains & later trucks took over the job of bringing cattle to the markets. But the spirit of the droving days still lives on.
Even today droving skills are still required to move cattle to better pastures during a drought.
Cattle droving has been a fascinating part of Outback culture and legend. Drovers had a hard and demanding job. Moving thousands of cattle through the dry and dusty Outback was a challenge. The boss drover was responsible for men, horses and the cattle. After all, the beasts should arrive in good, or even better, condition at the markets.
The romance of Outback life has been kept alive ever since in movies, poetry and stories. "Clancy of the Overflow" by A. B. Paterson is one of the most famous poems.
The idea to revive the culture of cattle droving was born over a bottle of rum by Eric Oldfield and Keith Rasheed. Both are well-known local characters in the South Australian Outback.
2002 was announced to be the "Year of the Outback", with more than 500 events scheduled across the country. The idea of getting 600 head of cattle and 170 horses on the track again became reality. The Great Australian Outback Cattle Drive 2002 became one of the most successful events of the year of the Outback.
The Great Australian Outback Cattle Drive 2002 took place along one of the oldest stock routes, the Birdsville Track. From Birdsville to Marree locals were excited and involved in this epic horse journey. Boss drover was Eric Oldfield. In 1949, at the age of 16, he took his first mob of cattle down the Birdsville Track. The last cattle drive on the Birdsville Track was in 1972, so the revival in 2002 brought back many memories to Eric.
For guests the 515 km (320 mile) journey was divided into several legs of different length. International visitors from all around the world merged with Australian city slickers to experience an unique adventure. Many guests were lost for words to describe their feelings. The beauty of the Outback, the friendliness of everyone involved, and the perfect organisation contributed to an outstanding cattle drive vacation. Truly a magical event!
Owing to the huge success of the first Australian Outback cattle drive, it was repeated as a stand alone event in 2005 (Birdsville Track) and 2007 (Oodnadatta Track).
Baz Luhrmann joined the 2005 event to get inspirations for his epic Outback movie "Australia".
The Great Australian Outback Cattle Drive 2010 invites you to live the adventure and join one of the six outstanding tours. Get ready for your cattle drive vacation of a lifetime.
You know I am fascinated by the Australian Outback, and especially the Oodnadatta Track means a lot to me.
You will see and learn a lot about the Oodnadatta Track during the next cattle drive event.
The Great Australian Outback Cattle Drive was owned and managed by Events South Australia, a division of the South Australian Tourism Commission.
Once again, this is an article about an event from the past. I'll keep it online because it tells about the wonderful droving history in Outback Australia.
There is the Harry Redford Cattle Drive that is held in Queensland during May each year.