I’m all about trying new things, especially if it involves riding interesting animals. So while staying in Geelong with a friend of mine, Jaime, we discovered a string of camels doing rides along Eastern Beach – and as Jaime and I are are both into horses, we agreed to go and check it out! The ride itself was along a stretch of sand and back, however at the cost of only AU$10 (about £5) it was totally worthwhile for the experience.
We were supplied with helmets, and didn’t have to wait long for a camel to become available. The guides there led us up onto a platform where we were able to step easily onto the camels’ backs. It was two people per camel, and their saddles were comfortable and well-padded underneath for the animal’s comfort. Due to the large, lurching movement of the camel’s stride, we were instructed to hold onto the bar in front of us as we walked. I like to think my balance is pretty reasonable, given that I ride horses for a living, however I found holding onto the bar surprisingly necessary. Camels don’t move in the same way horses do, nonetheless, I’d love to gee up and experience a turn of speed on one! I’ll keep amateur camel racing in mind for the next adventure.
As someone who’s always super aware of animal welfare and comfort due to my job, I was pleased to see the animals in such happy condition. They were all very friendly, with the camel behind me even coming up and resting his head on my leg for a scratch as we walked. The lead camel, Arnold, was also only too happy to pose for photos and a head rub at the end.
Eastern Beach Camel Rides appear to be seasonal (we caught them before they wrapped up at the end of the Australian school summer holidays). They’re also very careful with the heat and won’t bring the camels down if the weather is going to be too hot for them (people were notified of this on their Facebook page). If you’re looking for something to do that’s not too far from Melbourne, then head over to Geelong – which is just over an hour’s drive by car and also easily accessible by train. It’s a great town, with some nice shops and cafes, but an afternoon on the beach enjoying the camels is a must if you’re heading that way!
The guys that organise the rides are super friendly and more than happy for you to take snaps, pat the camels if you’re passing by, or even want a little extra time for photos after a ride. Check out their Facebook page here for more info!