04 March 2015

Australia (NSW) - Camel Riding at Port Stephens

Date of Exploration : 24 Jan 2015

"An untrained camel costs A$600 while a trained camel for riding costs A$7,000 or more," our guide from Oakfield Ranch told us as we were being led on a short ride to the beach at Anna Bay, Port Stephens. We all gasped at the tremendous difference in price. So I looked down at the camel I was on and smiled. I'm sitting on the mammalian equivalent of a Lamborghini.

Caught a camera... a camel kissing a horse's ass?! Whoopsie... In less risque context, the yellow humped sign marks the trailer that Oakfield Ranch operates out of on Anna Beach, Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia. Heh heh.
The camel ride on a desert-like landscape was the final activity on our 4-wheel drive exploration of New South Wales before making the 2-hour drive back to Sydney. I never knew we could experience the Sahara not too far away from the mega city!

Oakfield Ranch provides the camel rides at A$25 for a 20-minute guided trek to the waterfront and back. It's kind of bizarre actually, to transit from a barren, beige sandscape to the gem blue waves of the South Pacific Ocean in a matter of minutes.

Carmel (car and camel) parking. We ride cars here so that we can ride camels.

It's not so much about the ride but getting face time with these gentle beasts. There are two species of camels - single hump from Asia and double humps from Arabia.

And contrary to popular belief, the humps don't store water but fat. By concentrating their body fat into one region, camels can relief their bodies of heat in the desert as fat has a thermal function.

I've never gotten so close to a camel before. I find their big and calm eyes so mesmerising. Camels have a double row of thick eyelashes to filter out debris and sand.

You don't have to go to Africa or the Middle East to experience the desert. Here's a glimpse at the backyard of Sydney.

I can't get my hands off the thick, stubby yet fluffy ears of the camels. They are so comforting to touch. Camels have excellent hearing by the way.

The camel ride is rather slow which really gave us a feel of what travelling across the desert sand dunes must be like in the olden days. After what feels like 300m, the sandscape opened up to the beach. Our desert mirage was short-lived but at the right duration of time to store up memories of the ride.

I find this scene rather comical but can't think of a fitting caption. What would you say about this photo?

Our camel 'caravan'. The one me and Jacqueline are on is named Paulie and she's a race winner!

Pony rides by the beach are available at many places but a camel ride is less common. What's the difference? Well, not much actually except that the camels seem to be better behaved.

Showing some lovin' to the camels, also known as desert ships. Cover up if you don't want to get sunburnt during the ride.

For a out of desert experience of the desert, camel riding at Port Stephens is arriving at the Middle East while Down Under!

This post has been made possible by Destination New South Wales in partnership with CTC Travel.

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