The Baird Family

Baird-Family

The Baird family have been around Horses and the High Country since the gold rushes of the 1860’s. Steve’s father’s family returned to the mountains in the depression years to rework abandoned mines scattered around the mountains, the Buckland Valley and the Reform mine in Myrtleford.

Kath’s family had settled in Gippsland post war and their family dairy farm always had a mob of horses, the foundation of “Tonimbuk Trails” a trail riding enterprise that replaced the cows in the 1970’s and was the springboard for a return to the High Country for Steve and Kath.

Bogong Horseback Adventures was established in Tawonga in 1986, with a vision to offer quality expedition experiences in some of the best mountain riding terrain in Australia. Now long established BHA continues the traditions of mountain horses combined with comfortable camps and great fire cooked meals.

The younger Baird’s, sons Lin and Clay, returned to Tawonga and the Spring Spur family property in 2010 with a vision to continue with the horses, after a decade away as cooks and expedition leaders on horse outfits in the Californian Sierra Nevada mountains, Central America and the UK.

With a wealth of experience and a lifetime growing up in the business they bring a new energy and vision to Spring Spur. Part of that vision is to expand the experiences on offer by the addition of Spring Spur Stay to provide comfortable on farm accommodation, the Riders Lounge as a venue for shared meals and stories about the High Country horse and the extensive kitchen gardens to flavor and nourish the goodies from the new kitchen and wood fired oven.

The human story at Spring Spur is nicely rounded out with a skilled team of horse loving staff, under the direction and enthusiasm of the Baird Family and staff often hailing from the four corners of the world they bring expertise and an enthusiasm for horsemanship to the experience that is “Spring Spur”.

Bios

Kath Baird

Kath has great passion for people, horses, life and the bush. A potent recipe that makes her the ideal host for this business. Encouraging people with her enthusiasm to to make the most of their High Country horse experience. Although Kath cannot ride anymore due to a massive spine operation in 2013 she know her horses very well and loves to hear of the adventures and experiences of her guests on their return from their adventures. Kath has been instrumental in her vision for the business, creating the look and feel of design elements of Spring Spur working tirelessly for 30 years bringing up her own boys and mentoring countless other young people along the way.

Lin Baird

Lin Baird’s childhood and teenage years were spent in the Kiewa Valley. Freedom, horses and plenty of adventures instilled a passion for his continued enthusiasm to share with all that he meets. After finishing a degree in Multimedia design at Swinburne University, Lin travelled the world extensively. He worked as an expedition leader in the High Sierra Mountains in California and travelled the world. Lin has a wonderful quiet manner when starting his horses. He has a passion for growing organic veggies and loves to bring them from the garden to the plate. Lin and his brother have worked tirelessly designing and bringing to life Spring Spur Stay and Riders Lounge, proudly building the infrastructure for their futures in tourism and hospitality.

Steve Baird

Steve is a talented chef, poet and artist with a lifetime of experience in the bush. Steve has a great knowledge and affinity with the High Country and the outback. His first riding experience was with Kath and they travelled many miles in the saddle exploring the tracks of Tonimbuk and then the Great dividing range before settling in the Kiewa Valley with his young family. Steve continues his passion for cultural heritage of the High Country and the story of the mountain horse, insisting on traditional stock and plant. When designing the infrastructure of Spring Spur Steve’s architectural background inspired the honest vernacular show ground and farm building style, blending into the landscape. During the Winter Steve enjoys time in his art studio painting his minds maps on canvas and are on display on the walls. www.stevebairdart.com

Clay Baird

Clay Baird grew up in Tawonga with his brother Lin riding onto Mt Bogong at the tender age of six years old proving he has the resilience needed for a future in the saddle. He studied Film and television and left on his adventures filming his travels, riding the High Sierras and a bicycle across Cuba. He loves surfing, cooking, is a great horseman and passionate story teller, his favourite stage being the campfire. Clay and his brother have worked tirelessly designing and building the infrastructure for the continued life of Bogong Horseback Adventures and Spring Spur Stay, bringing to life the dream of running a family business and sharing their backyard with guests from near and far.

Eco Buildings

Spring Spur Stay, is the result of a generational change, an adaption of our already successful business. It has been created by all four Baird’s over many passionate conversations around our well used dinner table.

The Buildings are divided into three slab levels. The top slab is home to a rough timber riders lounge, red gum bar, commercial kitchen and public toilets. On the lower level sits an office, laundry and two En-suite studio rooms.

And the third juxtaposes six En-suite guest rooms, all with their own verandahs and a view of Mount Feathertop. All the building have been designed and built to minimise the environmental impacts, and create pleasant bright spaces. With Double glazing and good thermal mass the rooms are warm and bright.

We have used a mixed media in creating these buildings, from recycled granite floors, parts of the Barwin Heads Bridge, Limestone bricks from Richmond and Blackbutt cladding from Port Kembla. The lounge and accommodation have developed a personality and charm, where the history guides you through the building, where every stone holds its own story. These textures blend seamlessly, to create Spring Spur Stay.

Company Profile

This business began in the early 1970s as a small operation, offering packhorse tours into the Victorian High Country, “Brumby Free Stables” as it was then known, ran a string of 15-20 horses and supported one person.
In 1986 Steve and Kath Baird with their two young sons Lin and Clay, purchased the business and trading as Bogong Horseback Adventures. They have continued to developed the business since 1986 into one which now runs 50 plus horses, employs 4 people, and has a diverse and attractive product range. Our horse rides are an opportunity for people to enjoy a timelessly Australian adventure. Most importantly it has a reputation based on quality experiences, offered in spectacular country by skilled and friendly staff. This is supported by standards of operation, equipment, horses, safety, environmental management and professionalism backed with industry recognition and tourism business awards.

Our standards of services, quality of experience, and business professionalism, have been recognised by successive Industry Awards.

●2014 Victorian Tourism Awards “Finalist” best Adventure Tour.
●2012 Victorian Tourism Awards “Finalist” best Adventure Tour.
●2010 Victorian Tourism Awards “Merit” best Adventure Tour, “Finalist” Eco-tourism.
●2009 Victorian Tourism Awards “Winner” best Adventure Tour Operator.
●2002 Alpine Shire Tourism Awards
●1998 Victorian Tourism Award of Merit
●1998 Tourism Ministers Special Award
●1994 Victorian Small Business Awards
●1993 Australian and Victorian Tourism Awards
●1992 Australian and Victorian Tourism Awards

ECO Certification is a globally recognized brand which assists travelers to choose and experience a genuine and authentic tour, attraction, cruise or accommodation that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. The ECO Certification program assures travellers that certified products are backed by a strong, well managed commitment to sustainable practices and provides high quality nature-based tourism experiences. The ECO Certification Program is a world first. It has been developed to address the need to identify genuine nature and ecotourism operators. It is also now being exported to the rest of the world as the International ECO Certification Program.  “Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation”.
 Advanced Ecotourism: Australia’s leading and most innovative ecotourism products, providing an opportunity to learn about the environment with an operator who is committed to achieving best practice when using resources wisely, contributing to the conservation of the environment and helping local communities.

TQUAL Accreditation is the new National Tourism Accreditation Framework developed by government and industry to promote quality experiences for tourism consumers by recognising sustainable and capable tourism operators nationally.
Providing a single, overarching framework for the country’s many existing accreditation and ratings programs. Until recently, it has been difficult for consumers to identify or differentiate between more than 20 diverse programs. Now, these programs can co-brand with TQUAL, a nationwide mark of quality that consumers can recognise and trust.

Bogong Horseback Adventures is licensed by Parks Victoria to conduct commercial tours in the Alpine National Park.
The Alpine National Park offers the peak experience for those wanting to ride the High Country. The license sets out a number of operating conditions and includes use fees which are included in the cost of all our rides.

“Tour operators play a key role in facilitating access to Victoria’s public land, in promoting its values  and appropriate use and in encouraging tourism and recreation in Victoria. Operating a tourism or  recreation business conducting organised activities in areas managed by Parks Victoria or DSE  requires a current Tour Operator Licence.”

Bogong Horseback Adventures