On my first night in Longreach in Outback Queensland I sat next to Richard Kinnon of Kinnon & Co at dinner, and became inspired by the way he and his family created a new business for themselves in difficult times.
In 2006 the Kinnons realised they needed to do something to help offset the tough times for their grazing business.
They started a Cobb & Co Stagecoach ride using a restored Cobb & Co coach along the original Longreach – Windorah mail route, and did a very good job of it.
They’re the only ones in the world who are allowed to take passengers at a gallop, and when Richard is on your coach you get to have a beautiful cremello stallion called Comanche Moon (Whitey to his friends) along for the ride. Here’s a little taste of it thanks to my GoPro Hero4 Silver…
Today they have a whole range of things for tourists to do including river cruises and shows, a gorgeous Station Store filled with things I wanted to buy, and they have lovely places to stay, including their brand new stables accommodation.
Our group was the first to stay in the stables as they opened the very night we arrived. Richard looked very relieved as he laughed and told me that the workmen had been finishing two hours before our Spirit of the Outback train pulled into town.
I spent the first night in one of the pioneer slab huts and the second night in the stables so I could experience them both, and both nights soaking in these bathtubs under the stars….
Before dinner was over I knew I had to ask Richard Kinnon Ten Questions. So now it’s over to Richard…
What’s the best thing about your job?
Feeling that I’m telling a unique story and making a difference.
If you could change one thing about your job what would it be?
I honestly wouldn’t change anything.
What’s something about your role that you wish people understood?
That nothing we’ve done has come easy. The moment we stop driving something as a family it stops. What we’ve built and continue to build doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work.
You only get out of something what you put in. And hopefully people can understand what we do isn’t all about money. It’s about giving people an experience they’ll remember and feeling like we’re making a difference.
What’s your favourite thing to do on your day off?
What’s a day off? No, I’m joking. My favourite thing to do on my day off being somewhere in the bush, listening to the birds. Taking a big breath and thinking about where I am.
I need to be able to find a space for peace and solitude. We were in LA last year and the hustle and bustle was non-stop. I definitely need to get back to the bush and have time to be in nature.
What’s a cheap and cheerful food secret you (usually) only tell your friends?
Having scones with jam and cream out the back of the kitchen at Welcome Home.
If money was no object, where would you go for lunch or dinner?
Probably a top quality T-Bone Steak cooked down beside the Longreach waterhole.
Where do you take a friend when they come to visit?
I love to show friends my stud cows and performance mares. They’re beautiful animals.
What’s the best shopping experience in town?
Can I say The Station Store?
Yes you can! Now, is there a local tourist cliché that’s actually worth doing?
I feel like Longreach doesn’t have a tourist cliche. Our main tourist attractions all tell such an important story about our history.
Is there a tourist attraction nearby that you can’t believe you still haven’t visited yourself?
No, I’ll admit I’ve been to all of the attractions in Longreach!