Travel

Heike's got real ass-ets

RESCUED: Donkeys are valued at Destiny Boonah.
RESCUED: Donkeys are valued at Destiny Boonah. Sharyn Oneill

IT WAS destiny when Heike Mack-Behle bought three wild donkeys at a farm auction.

In love at first purchase, Heike was dismayed at the stories she heard about the plight of many wild donkey around Australia.

Headed for the saleyards or coming from split families, Heike's passion for saving the donkeys shone through as she came to their rescue.

Heike started a donkey farm and refuge after that first donkey purchase in 2003, which is now known as Destiny Eco Cottages and Donkey Farm, in Boonah.

She has now re-homed about 500 donkeys across Australia after people contacted her to help them.

"I already had donkeys, so people thought of me to rescue them,"; Heike said.

"There were so many stories.";

Needing to make the 80-hectare property in the Scenic Rim of Queensland viable, Heike built two self-contained and solar-powered cabins to provide visitor accommodation.

"The money goes back to donkey rescue.";

Describing her relationship with her donkeys as the same as a man and his dog, Heike said she just treated them like five-year-old kids.

"I talk donkey,"; she said.

Having a wealth of information about donkeys, Heike described them as entertaining, calming, extremely smart and good with children.

"They have a sixth sense, they know if you don't feel well.";

And she can easily explain the reason behind the expression 'stubborn as a mule'.

"If a donkey can't see a point in doing (something), they won't do it.";

While she describes her herd as a quiet one, she said all breeds were different, with the smaller ones cheekier and often smarter than the larger ones.

But she did not have a preference.

"I love every donkey.";

Not only do they make good pets Heike said they were great guard animals, protecting sheep and cattle from wild dogs and dingoes.

"I realised donkeys in Australia have a very low profile compared to Germany, where I come from,"; she said.

Destiny Boonah is more than just a donkey farm.

As well as about 25 donkeys there is a camel, Queen Sheba, and a whole host of wildlife that frequents the property.

Heike has regular bus tours and day trippers visiting the ASSquestrian centre, where she offers a talk, property tour and morning tea, as she promotes her passion.

For those wanting to stay longer than the hour farm tour, there are two choices of accommodation - the Red Cottage sleeps up to seven while the Green Cottage sleeps up to four.

The timber cottages are an attraction on their own, as is the view.

Self contained and delightfully decorated, they are also self-sufficient, using solar and wind power and rainwater. Private and peaceful, you can stay at Destiny and leave refreshed from a truly relaxing stay, inspired by the beauty of the surrounds.

Destiny Boonah

  • About 70 minutes drive from Brisbane or the Gold Coast.
  • Bookings for day visits and accommodation essential.
  • Visit Destiny Boonah.

Get to know your jacks from your jennies at Boonah

  • Donkeys hate water. They can live to about 50 years of age.
  • While a baby donkey is called a foal, males are called jacks and females are called jennies.
  • Donkeys were first imported to Australia in the mid 1800s and were used for transport across the desert.

>> More travel stories

Topics:  donkeys travel travelling



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