The decision to make this epic stock routes journey with my horses and share it with everyone.

I am not doing this in partnership with a charitable organization or attaching a charity cause. This initiative is for the benefit of all the communities along the stock routes, not about using them to achieve gain for something that doesn’t directly benefit them. They will benefit from this awareness initiative as well as all the future slow travellers that will be able to travel treading more lightly. I have spent months saving up and preparing for this journey. I am grateful for any support offered by those that feel an alignment with this initiative and greater vision it promotes.

This blog post is a heartfelt reflection on my two-decade-long journey through the agricultural industry and my deep-rooted love for horseback and slow travelling. It’s the story of how these two passions converged and led me to embark on an exciting initiative—the Azadi Far Ride to the Murray. So, join me as I take you on a personal adventure along Australia’s stock routes and the incredible potential they hold for sustainable and soul-enriching travel.

Shane' on the beach

Slow travel is more than a trend; it’s a new more environmental way of life. For someone like me, who spends the better part of my life working in and around agriculture, the pace of life often matches the pace of the land itself—slow and deliberate. As I witnessed the popularity of rail trails across the country, the allure of traveling at a leisurely pace and immersing myself in the beauty of towns and communities became undeniable.

As I searched for new riding and hiking routes, my mind wandered back to a time when I worked along some of Australia’s stock routes. Those memories prompted me to delve deeper into their history, the stories of the towns along the way, and the breathtaking scenery that had captured my heart. However, it wasn’t all idyllic—the uncertainty surrounding their future, the risk of them disappearing, and the possibility of them being lost to modern-day drovers, especially in drought years, was a concern to me.

An idea took root within me—a decision to share this hidden gem with the world. Along these stock routes lies not just our history but also the very essence of Australia’s heartland. These routes have been traveled for thousands of years by indigenous Australians. In these stock routes, I see a chance to preserve and celebrate a unique aspect of Australian history and heritage.

And so, the Azadi Far Ride to the Murray initiative was conceived. My mission is: to show that slow travel is not only accessible to everyone but also immensely enjoyable. I want to encourage others to join me on this journey, virtually online or along the route to explore Australia’s heartland in an ecologically-conscious way, and to help raise awareness towards the development of Australia’s stock routes as a sustainable tourism asset. In doing so, we also offer vital support to the struggling inland communities along these routes.

Two horse riders leading horses

I’m not planning on doing this alone; Everyone is encouraged to be a part of this endeavor. Together, we can ensure that the stock routes become a cornerstone of slow travel in Australia. I hope that organizations like Local Land Services will see the potential and collaborate with the State Governments to develop these routes further. Even if user fees are introduced for camping and water access, it won’t deter from experiencing the unique beauty of inland Australia and connecting deeply with its landscape, nature, and history.

In a rapidly changing tourism industry, slow travel stands as a testament to the joy of living in the moment and savoring every experience. The Azadi Far Ride to the Murray initiative is not just about promoting an idea; it’s about sharing a personal journey and a deep connection with the land. It’s a call to preserve Australia’s heritage and culture while embracing a sustainable and soul-enriching way of exploring this vast and beautiful country.

So, won’t you join me on this adventure? Together, we can renew a traditional way to travel across Australia.

Rider and two horses riding on beach during storm
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