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Australia Introductory Horse Riding Program

The two-night getaway is designed to provide guests with a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle. The "weekend getaway" is an escape into the Yarra Ranges to enjoy the lovely location and the wonderful services Avoca Park provides. Despite its name, this option is available any time of the week.

Key Information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 198 pounds / 90 kilograms
  • Horse Height Range: 12 to 17.3 hands
  • Tack Type: Snaffle bridles on all the horses with leather Peter Horobin saddles or leather dressage saddles. The ponies have little pony saddles.
  • Horse Breed: 3 Ponies, 5 Cross-Bred Performance Horses, and Warmbloods

Meet the instructors

Leanne, Jason, & Jodie
Read more


  • Horse riding for all levels
  • 1 day with a horse riding lesson
  • Complimentary in-house massage of your choice
  • A program designed for your rapid development
  • All daily meals provided by a qualified chef
  • 2 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


2 days with instruction
Airport transfer available:
Melbourne Airport (US$107 per person)
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  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi

Surrounded by manicured gardens all year round, Avoca Park has something to offer everyone.


The apartment, which is situated within the covered arena, gives couples a perfect view of the day-to-day Classical training activities of the horses at Avoca Park. You will also have the opportunity to sit in on many lessons, if you would like, outside your own. This peaceful environment enables guests to prepare for their own training sessions.

Within the apartment, you will find an extraordinarily comfortable double bed with a flat-screen TV and a DVD player, all supplied with DVDs. This room has a recently renovated en-suite bathroom with a shower and hand basin.


The bunkhouse is fully self-contained and has everything you may need like a kitchen, lounge with a flat-screen TV and DVD player, and a variety of DVDs supplied. It has a single bedroom with a double bed and a bunk room with four bunk beds (8 beds all set up with amazing mattresses, doonas, and pillows). This option is perfect for families or groups of friends.

A washing machine provides washing facilities and there is a barbecue area and spa in the courtyard on each end of the bunkhouse. The barbecue area and spa area are accessible for those staying in the apartment also.


Everything on site has been dreamt of and built by Leanne and John Williams over the past 30 years. Originally a tea tree farm; so much has changed under their ownership. An equestrian center built to want for nothing. They are fortunate to have an Olympic-sized covered arena (60 x 40 meters) and a more intimate sized outdoor arena (18 x 35 meters) perfect for one-on-one training while enjoying the Australian weather.

The horses live in the paddock but they do have 2 blocks of stables. One for Avoca Park’s horses and a 2-stable block for agistee and guest’s horses. With a float car park, round yard, weaning yard, and mounting dummy, they have everything they could possibly need for Avoca Park’s equestrian needs.

You are welcome to walk down the paths to the small retreat, a sanctuary settled in the center of the back paddocks. With an ornate windmill and benches, it's a beautiful and peaceful spot in the property to gaze upon the beautiful scenery, enjoy a book or try some birdwatching- kookaburras, rosellas, fairy-wrens, and rainbow lorikeets frequent the area.

While exploring, they hope you get the opportunity to meet the wonderful horses, dogs, cats, and, of course, the beloved pair of donkeys Johnny Simpson and Cuddlepie. It's a picturesque walk surrounded by the sounds of birds and the occasional donkey bray.


Your first evening is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the wonderful local restaurants or you may bring your take-out to Avoca Park or even make your own meal in the kitchen. They are set in a beautiful location and you can hear the parrots and kookaburras sing as the sun sets in this quiet haven among the hills.

They have a new spa available onsite set near the stables in a newly paved courtyard. You can enjoy the view of the horses quietly eating their dinner as the evening continues.

The second day is designed to provide you with an amazing day, enjoying breakfast brought to the apartment or bunkhouse. You will get to have a lesson with Australia’s only coach who has attained the qualifications of Level 3 Equestrian Australia Dressage Coach, Leanne, who has also got her Classical Dressage license as a School of Legerete teacher.

Her teaching encompasses her belief in kindness and forming a bond between rider and horse. They have wonderful horses on site to match your size and skillsets, the lesson will be molded to suit your needs.

After a delicious lunch provided, your afternoon will involve your choice of a relaxing full body massage, facial, or reflexology treatment (included in the two-night getaway package) from local business massage in the Valley & Ranges, a mobile day spa that will join you in the small classroom above the indoor arena. With beautiful views of lessons when they are held in the covered arena.

In your relaxed state you have time to enjoy yourself, view the wonderful property or visit the area, and at 6 p.m., they will bring you a cocktail shortly followed by a beautiful mouth-watering meal cooked by the in-house chef using locally sourced seasonal produce.

Breakfast is provided again the following day before it is time to check out and return home. If you wish to book an additional lesson this is possible depending on availability. You may however wish to visit some of the wonderful local attractions before your return home, such as Healesville Sanctuary, local wineries, and gin distilleries, Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, or Puffing Billy.

Avoca Park is fortunate to be surrounded but beautiful country townships, hidden gems of the Yarra Valley, such as Emerald and Healesville. They can’t wait for your visit and to share the wonderful facilities with you.

Day 1

In the afternoon of your arrival, you can have a wander around the beauty that is Avoca Park, alternatively, have a drive around and see some of the wonderful attractions the area has to offer. Have dinner at one of the beautiful award-winning local restaurants.

Day 2

A little sleep-in will be allowed on your first morning. You can follow this with your first working introduction to the horses and onto your riding lesson. Avoca Park will serve you a healthy lunch and prepare to wind you down for your massage in the afternoon. After full relaxation, you will be ready for the 6 p.m. happy hour where a cocktail will be served to aid in the wonderful end to a wonderful day. You will then be served a mouthwatering dinner prepared by the in-house chef.

Day 3

Sunday can be a sleep-in followed by your last breakfast with Avoca Park. Time to pack up and Avoca Park will wave you goodbye to take on the next part of your journey.

Riding session

Once Leanne has made an assessment of your skills, she will design a program that will rapidly aid you in the development of the proper grounding necessary to educate you at the level that you are.

Riding gear

All horses have their own handmade Peter Horobin saddles or leather dressage saddles fitted to them; their individual Snaffle bridles are all fitted and maintained. The ponies have little pony saddles. Avoca Park has helmets of all sizes available for riders to use.


Leanne Williams

Jason McInnes

Jodie Frewin


Avoca Park is situated between the beautiful Yarra Valley, the wine district of Victoria, and the Dandenong Ranges, with beautiful bush and tree-fern surroundings. It has a huge variety of tourist sites such as:

  • Puffing Billy - The only running steam train in Victoria.
  • A walk up the 1000 steps in Ferntree Gully National Park where you can often see the Lyre Birds.
  • A huge variety of wineries offering red, white, and amazing Champagne options
  • Gin distilleries
  • Local Chocolaterie with all things chocolate!
  • Amazing gardens
  • Local lakes
  • A lovely local town with award-winning cafes and restaurants



  • Garden
  • Kitchen


  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Internet access


Avoca Park has its own in-house chef. Meals are prepared and cooked on-site with fresh and seasonal ingredients brought to your accommodation. They have set meal plans for all their different holiday packages. All meals on-site and picnics are included in the package. Please let them know of any dietary requirements and they will let you know if they can cater to your needs.

On your first evening after checking in, they do not provide an evening meal. You may check in at a time convenient to you and they highly recommend you check out some of the beautiful award-winning local restaurants. You are also welcome to bring take-away food with you or cook in the kitchens at Avoca Park.

Breakfast is provided at 8 a.m. with a choice of cereals, muesli, raisin bread, crumpets, sourdough, spreads, yogurt, seasonal fruits, and fruit juices.

Your lunch will consist of a smorgasbord of seasonal salads accompanied by free-range chicken cooked to perfection. A side of chocolates, muesli bars, and fruit are available.

Followed in the evening at 6 p.m. a cocktail shortly followed by dinner: Salmon or chicken schnitzel with roast pumpkin and salad, complemented with homemade chocolate cake with cream and ice cream for dessert.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Avoca Park has amazing local experiences, some of the things they can offer you are:

Puffing Billy

This is Australia’s favorite steam train and is one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world. This century-old steam train is still running on its original 24-kilometer mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook, through the beautiful forests and fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges.

Healesville Sanctuary

Wander through the tranquil tracks and meet over 200 species of Australian animals, including the iconic koalas, kangaroos, platypus, dingoes, wombats, and emus, in their natural surrounds. It is internationally renowned for its work saving endangered Australian species at the Australian Wildlife Center. Visit the center, which treats more than 2000 sick and injured native animals every year.

Skin Renaissance

Situated in the heart of Emerald, Victoria, nestled in the forests of the Dandenong Ranges, it offers complete health, wellness, anti-aging, and beauty experience combining natural treatments with the latest cutting-edge therapies from Europe. Relax, refresh, and rejuvenate as you experience their luxurious facial, body, and massage therapies in a tranquil environment.

Be revived and replenished with one of their pamper packages or they can tailor a package to suit your individual needs. This is a place to immerse yourself and indulge in treatments that are therapeutic and restorative for your total well-being.

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie Ice Creamery

Set on 16 hectares, it combines striking architecture with a unique food experience amidst picturesque valley views. The Chocolaterie welcomes you with free entry and abundant free chocolate tastings, displays of thousands of premium chocolates, and large viewing windows where you can see European chocolatiers at work handcrafting creations.

Spa treatments

One complimentary in-house massage is included in the package.

What's included

  • 1 horse riding lesson
  • All meals daily
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • All daily activities at Avoca Park
  • Pick up from the local bus stop

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers (Available at an additional 150 AUD)
  • Additional activities

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please arrange your flight to arrive at Melbourne Airport (MEL). Transfers are not yet included in the package but are available at an additional cost of 150 AUD. If you're coming via public transport:

  • Get a SkyBus to Southern Cross Station
  • Get a train to Belgrave Station
  • Get a 362 Bus to Avonsleigh
  • From there, Avoca Park can pick you up at no charge.

Driving directions

  • If you're hiring a car, travel on the Tullamarine Freeway into Melbourne then get on the M1.
  • Get off at Wellington Road and travel all the way to the end.
  • Turn right at the roundabout at the top.
  • Travel through 3 more roundabouts in Emerald.
  • Continue driving to Avonsleigh.
  • Turn left at a general store.
  • Turn second right onto Avon Road.
  • Continue driving till you reach a roundabout.
  • Drive straight through, this turns into Kennedy Road.
  • Drive to the end and turn right. This is Avoca Park's road, they are three kilometers on the right.
Airport: Melbourne Airport Airport transfer available: Melbourne Airport (US$107 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 14 days before arrival.
3 days / 2 nights
from --
Pricing information

The bunkhouse is also available for 1 person at a total of 929 AUD and for 2 people at a total of 1445 AUD. To book, kindly send Avoca Park an inquiry.

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