Bush Experiences provides Dirt & Trail Bike riders with accommodation and support for Self Guided Adventure Tours in the Victorian High Country.
A Dirt Bike Australia adventure tour operator Profile of Bush Experiences, including an interview with Bush Experiences owner/manager Brian Westley.
Dirt Bike Australia is proud to support Australian Dirt Bike, Trail Bike and Motorcycle Tourism that respects the environment.
|Bush Experiences Quick Info
Bush Experiences - D.I.Y. Dirt Bike Tours
|Victorian High Country
|3 Hours from Melbourne
|Comfortable Amenities & Accommodation
|Private Access to a variety of Tracks, Trails and Terrains
|Self Guided Tours with Full Logistic Support
|An ideal dirt bike adventure solution for Groups or Clubs
|Minimum Stay 2 days / nights includes meals
|No Camping or Self-catering
|Certified Tour Operator
|Great Rates and Service makes Bush Experiences excellent value all year round
|Dirt Bike Australia is pleased to recommended Bush Experiences as an alternative to guided dirt and trail bike adventure tours.
The self-guided or D.I.Y. bike adventure approach is ideally suited to riders (groups) with an adventurous spirit and adequate riding experience.
About Victoria's High Country
For visitors to the Dirt Bike Australia web site who are from overseas, this intro is intended to give you a quick background to the Victorian High Country in the north east region of Victoria, Australia.
Victoria is the southernmost mainland state of Australia, which means the weather tends to be cooler than the northern states (see maps).
Though not as wet as the tropics (Queensland and far north of Australia) or the island of Tasmania (further south), Victoria's weather comes either from inland Australia or Antarctica.
This can provide some interesting weather extremes within a relatively short timeframe ranging from a few days to a few hours. Though things do appear to be getting dryer, there is generally no shortage of mud in the eastern half of the state from Autumn through to Spring (March to November).
Victoria has a wealth of places worth seeing and riding, but the north-eastern highlands of Victoria (close to the Alpine Ski Resorts) are quite special.
Go take a look ... it's worth it!
|Contact Bush Experiences
|570 Three Chain Rd
Mansfield, VIC 3723
|0408 509 213
|(03) 5449 6495
|Bush Experiences Bookings
About the Bush Experiences Dirt Bike Adventure
Bush Experiences provides an ideal platform for riders (groups or clubs) who have an itch to create their own D.I.Y. (self-guided) dirt bike, trail bike, MX or Enduro adventure.
In the words of Brian Westley: "Basically what we are offering is something different. It’s an alternative between, taking all the gear and camping out (looking after yourself and being subject to all the elements, wet, cold, hungry and uncomfortable, unsecured gear, getting lost etc.) and the expense of paying for a fully supported and guided tour package."
Bush Experiences can provide your group with the logistic support (base, accommodation, meals, maps and local knowledge) so that you can have exactly the dirt bike adventure that you want to remember ... when and where you want, without being tied to some one else's timetable.
Bush Experiences provides adventurous riders and groups with a cost-effective alternative to organised dirt & trail bike tours.
• Location & Property Access:
Homestation Lodge is situated in the Victorian High Country just south of Mansfield, the lodge sits at an elevation of around 600 meters providing superb views of the Delatite valley to the north and also the surrounding ranges.
Those inclined to take an occasional scenic or wildlife photo will love this area's spectacular views.
There is all vehicle access to Homestation Lodge all year round. However, particularly low vehicles or those with front wheel drive may require assistance on the steeper portion of the gravel track. Please ask whether road conditions are suitable for your vehicle when booking.
Tracks from Homestation Lodge into the surrounding bushland are only suitable for off-road capable vehicles like 4WD, dirt bikes, trail bikes or similar.
Please note that Bush Experiences also offers and supports other activities including 4WD Tours, Horse riding, bushwalking and hiking.
Click here for comprehensive directions.
• Facilities & Support:
Bush Experiences can provide dirt and trail bike riders with a comprehensive range of facilities and support including:
Comfortable Accommodation, Secure Parking, Undercover Bike Area, Drying Room, Maps, Directions, Lunch and Refuel on their rides
Some bike maintenance facilities and spare parts are also available. In the event that riders forget something or need parts to keep going, Bush Experiences has a small supply of parts including: sprockets, chains, levers, tubes, tyres, etc. Plus soldering and welding gear, enabling basic emergency repairs.
When riders return from a ride they are provided with all the comforts of home including: hot showers, snacks, meals and campfires. If the weather is inclement there is also the pool table, VCR for watching those Crusty vids and some bike magazines.
There is even have an on-call visiting masseuse who can get rid of those sore spots accumulated on a ride.
The Homestation Lodge premises is also licensed, however Bush Experiences prefers visitors to bring their own drinks.
Coverage for Telstra and Optus mobile phone and mobile broadband is available, however other providers have patchy reception.
• Trails and Required Skill Levels:
Bush Experiences provides private property access to some of the best tracks and trails in the Victorian High Country.
Tracks and trails cover various degrees of difficulty (maps can be provided), so riders are advised to consult with Bush Experiences to determine suitability.
Please note that trail conditions will vary with the weather throughout the year, which may on occasion include snow.
• Certification, Rates & Payment:
Bush Experiences is a fully compliant Parks Victoria licensed tour operator, an Australian Tourism Accredited operator, has full PLI (Public Liability Insurance) cover, has completed relevant food handling and 1st Aid courses. Home Station Lodge is registered to provide accommodation with the local council.
Bush Experiences is geared to providing an affordable, high quality package with discounts available for groups.
Meals are included, additional snacks and alcoholic beverages are not.
A non-refundable deposit of 50% is required with booking, with the balance payable on arrival.
Payment for additional services, activities and/or extensions will be due prior to departure.
EFTPOS facilities are NOT currently available.
Direct deposit details are available on request.
Please see the Bush Experiences Booking page for full details of their excellent rates.
Please Note: All visitors are required to sign a Risk Acknowledgement And Liability Waiver form prior to staying.
An Interview with
Brian Westley, owner and manager of Bush Experiences
Brian Westley was born and raised on a dairy farm and began horse riding, fishing, etc., from a very early age. He later moved to the city and took up surfing, snorkeling and spear fishing. At 18 Brian joined the Army and spent 11 years in Survey, Mapping and Cartography which included a lot of camping, 4x4 driving, and his first introduction to the Victorian High Country (map training exercises, 4WD, helicopter field checking).
In 1978 Brian got his restricted pilots licence, then a full PPL in 1998. Though he hasn't flown for a few years (due to time constraints), he does want to get back into it.
After leaving the Army in 1981, Brian worked on a grain, cattle, sheep property south western NSW. Which included lots of fishing, horse riding, bike riding, pig and goat hunting.
He moved to central Victoria in 1984, working in General Engineering, building and construction, unit development and management ... but kept up his fishing, camping, hunting.
Brian purchased a bush block south of Mansfield in the mid 90’s to enable his family to have a base for fishing, horse riding, bike riding, bush walking, camping, hunting and 4WD'ing in the high country. The property is at the end of a road and backs onto the state forest.
As Brian puts it: "We have a million dollar view, seeing about 35Kms from the front and a million acre back yard. We have no back fence, it is 400Kms through to the east coast and it is wilderness all the way. Thousands of kilometres of tracks, trails, fire tracks, river crossings etc."
The Interview ...
Hi Brian, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for visitors to the Dirt Bike Australia web site.
Q. I'm sure this is a fairly obvious question but, what led you to set up the Bush Experiences business?
The lodge was built in 2002 as a holiday house for my family. My 5 sons and daughter (aged 34 to 22) are all into various adventure activities. Football, skydiving, scuba diving (that’s next on my list), snow boarding, fishing, camping, bike riding, boxing, 4WD'ing, keeping fit, etc.
My daughter is into country music and has just released her 2nd CD, the title track “Jump On Board” is about bike riding. Her husband has done the “Finke” half a dozen times, maybe more? I have 4 grandsons, they ride a PW 50, CRF 80, Suzuki 80 and a Suzuki mini quad. I ride a DRZ400, had my licence since 1974. Just ride for the enjoyment, the friendship and the views.
The transition from holiday house to a adventure tourism business was never planned. The place became popular with my sons and their friends and I then started receiving phone calls from people wanting to come over and go trail riding, horse riding, fishing, 4WD'ing, skiing or just wanting to get away. I also started doing 4WD tours, tag-a-longs, support for ride weekends. My recreational interests and hobbies turned into a business. I say to people “I do all week, what they work all week to do, on weekends”.
Q. Bush Experiences is essentially in a rather remote location, what would you say are the main attractions for coming to stay?
The location is the main attraction for people wanting to visit. It is accessible by car, it has access to some of the best tracks and trails right at the back door. There are no neighbours to worry about the noise or a late night or two. The views and starry nights are spectacular, and we are only 25Kms from town, about 15Kms from a great country pub and 40Kms to the ski fields.
Q. Bush Experiences offers quite a range of adventurous outdoor activities, do you have a favourite?
I enjoy any adventurous outdoor activities, it’s a bit of a joke that when ever I leave home, my wife always checks to make sure my life insurance is current, as she doesn’t know what I’ll be getting up to.
Q. Are there any particular times of the year that you would recommend for dirt and trail bike riding in the Victorian High Country?
Although we operate all year round, I believe that the best months are from late April through to November. The last couple of years December has been good as well. Even during summer after a rain, the tracks can be fantastic, you just have to be ready to ride. Our drying room makes winter riding enjoyable as you can have warm, dry gear for the next day.
Q. Nearly all of your Bush Experiences activities appear to be reasonably strenuous. Are there any basic fitness requirements for your patrons and are the offered activities generally suitable for all ages?
As with any adventurous activity you require a certain level of fitness, the faster or harder you go, the fitter you need to be to sustain that pace. A lot of my visitors are not that fit and don’t ride that often, but enjoy getting back on the pegs and having a go. Therefore the hot shower at the endof the day is appreciated and the visiting masseuse very popular.
We have quite a few mixed and family groups stay. Visitors are able to enjoy a variety of activities from the Lodge, some bring horses or 4WDs as well as bikes. We have excellent facilities for all. We are currently clearing an area for a mini moto cross track for kids.
Q. Words like "Adventure" and "Extreme" tend to be bandied about quite readily these days, but in truth, the bush can be a very dangerous place. What message do you have for visitors with regard to this?
Although Bush Experiences has PLI insurance, it is mandatory that visitors acknowledge and appreciate the risks involved with the adventurous activities that they choose to undertake from Homestation Lodge.
All visitors are required to sign a RISK ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND LIABILITY WAIVER form, prior to staying. Bush Experiences recommends that all visitors have private health and Ambulance Cover.
[Second that, particularly the part about the Ambulance Cover. You really don't want to find out how much an Ambulance Helicopter trip out of the high country will cost you - Editor.]
Bush Experiences will under no circumstances be responsible for, or accept any liability for, any injury, damage or loss incurred through staying at or participating in activities undertaken at or from Homestation Lodge.
Q. The accommodation that Bush Experiences provides is rather cozy and comprehensive, it certainly isn't "roughing it". What made you decide to offer such a high comfort level at the Homestation Lodge?
The accommodation is certainly not roughing it and it is great to see that visitors are very surprised and pleased by the location, views and the facilities that we offer.
There are a few in Lodge details to contend with, such as generator power (battery backup), tank water (short showers), no TV, gas refrigeration (Eskies and ice for drinks), however these are soon gotten used to.
A lot of the visitors to the Lodge are seasoned riders who aren’t out there to race, but to enjoy a ride and a few comforts when they get back. A hot shower, good food, warm fire, a cold drink then to sit back, put their feet up and talk about how fast they went!!! the narrow escapes!!! and have a laugh at who came off!!! and how!!! and then a comfy, warm, dry bed.
The majority of the riders that I get are of the same opinion, especially the girls. When all they have to organize is their bike, sleeping bag, personal requirements and drinks ... it makes for a very quick getaway. We even keep a supply of towels and sleeping bags, for those travelling from interstate or who left home a bit too quick. Plus we have a liquor licence catering for those who run out or didn’t think.
Q. What would you say is an optimum number for a group booking? For instance, how many dirt bike riders and bikes can realistically be accommodated?
We have had some large groups stay, such as a bucks party (30+), a couple of “shop rides" (36+), or a pre-season footy training trip. We can accommodate 22 in beds, then there is a large mezzanine floor area where we can lay out about 10 mattresses. We have had blokes bring swags and sleep in the drying room or outside, it’s a fairly casual arrangement and as you can appreciate there is always a snorer or two which usually leads to some relocations.
An ideal number would be about 15, however larger groups are no problem and we have plenty of undercover bike parking and verandas.
Q. What about small groups and/or couples, or even individuals wanting to stay with Bush Experiences?
I don’t like to see people riding alone and I don’t recommend it. If they come off or go over the edge, quite often there is no one else on some of these tracks for days. I am however considering setting aside a weekend every month (depending on interest) for smaller groups, couples and individuals, so that visits can be combined in the interest of safety and practicality.
Q. The Aussie bush is a wonderful place to be, but it does have its hazards. I notice from your photo collection that you have also had to deal with bushfire in the past (December 2006). How did you get through that and what impact did it have on Bush Experiences?
The area we ride is rugged and can be very inhospitable, we have had fires, storms and usually get snow half a dozen times a year. I have visitors who regard this as a something special and try and get there when it is around. A large wind storm in August 2005 closed the tracks for months until they were cleared. I know this caused a lot of headaches for riders all over the high country and shut us down until the end of 2005.
The property was burnt out in Dec 2006. We managed to save the lodge but everything else was black. The damage done to the tracks, fallen trees etc. put us out of business for nearly twelve months. The lodge is constructed of fire retardant materials, such as concrete, steel and we have fitted sprinklers on the roof and deliberately cleared a large area around the lodge so that it is easy to defend. The next step will be a fire refuge.
Q. Do you have a parting message for Dirt Bike Australia readers and the Australian dirt bike and trail riding community in general?
The High Country has some of the most spectacular scenery in Australia. The fire tracks and trails that crisscross this area provide a variety of the best riding you will find anywhere. From single track, to steep gnarly climbs, there are fast open flowing tracks with erosion mounds, slippery clay hills and river crossings. You’ll find riding to suit all abilities. And importantly, at days end, you won’t have to do a thing except sit back and relax. So give it a go! Come, Stay and Play with us, you’ll be back again.
Thanks Brian for taking the time to provide visitors to the Dirt Bike Australia web site with some background about yourself and Bush Experiences. On behalf of our readers, I would like to wish you safe journeys and continued success into the future.
This interview is protected by Copyright
For greater detail of the area around Bush Experiences see the live Google Map below and use Hybrid view