Real Gap customer Chloe headed over to our Australian Outback Ranch back in April, and it's fair to say that she loved her experience! Prepare to roll up your sleeves up though...
Being a self-proclaimed lazy person, the ranch experience was a far cry from my usual lifestyle. And that's exactly why I went for it. 6:30am wake-up call? MARVELLOUS. Sarcasm? Me? Never! But after the first day I realised I was genuinely happy to be getting up in the dark. How rare! What challenges, giggles and "You've Been Framed" moments would await me today?
I will not lie, the outback ranch experience is intense. Although both physically and mentally challenging, I can honestly say that working with Craig and the other Jillaroos and Jackaroos was one of the best times of my life. The first evening was hilarious, playing drinking games and getting to know everyone. There are things I learned that night about people that I could not possibly repeat here. Many eyebrows were raised and incredulous looks exchanged - but you will just have to drink your own beers and sit round your very own campfire to make the same discoveries that I did that night.
On the first day, after getting the mundane but necessary jobs out of the way (and getting a cool hat), we learned how to ride a motorbike and a quadbike, as well as being taught how they work and their general maintenance. Suck, squeeze, bang, blow. Now I shall never forget the inner workings of the motorbike engine.
Day two took us into the saddle. For people who already know how to ride, prepare yourself for some serious fun. For those that don't, also prepare yourself for fun, but probably a sore backside too. Muster in cattle and sheep and then the real dirty work begins. Drench and vaccinate cattle (avoid their kicks!), shear sheep, check their teeth and try to catch a single ram from a herd. But don't accidentally ride him when he bolts, otherwise you WILL fall off and you WILL have to catch him again.
Learn how to erect and fix fencing, feed the chooks, help with all aspects of farm life - a lot more fun if you do it together. Will you help me water the trees with this disgusting smelling foul old shower water? Sure, no problem, only if I can laugh hysterically when you fall down a hole and chuck it all over yourself. Great. Thanks.
Enjoy some unbelievably tasty food and plenty of beer and banter every night - you will meet some awesome people from all walks of life, and you will learn a lot about them as well as yourself. The guys at the ranch really know their stuff and they found the perfect job for me to go to once I had finished the training - working on a farm with polo ponies. Craig, how did you know?! You'll be sure to find a job that suits your skills.
My top tips for this adventure? Get stuck in. If you think you can't do it, I guarantee to you that you can. Just give it a go. Do your best and no one can ask for more. Get your own back on the cows and have a tasty steak on pub night - it really does make you feel better. Oh, and I strongly advise avoiding the cattleprod. Unless you like that sort of thing, in which case, prod away...
Go for it, and good luck!
If you want to find out more about our Outback Ranch, you can over on the RG website...