Have a “Horsesome” Time in New Zealand!
If Gandalf can use a horse to navigate Middle-earth, why can’t you?! A huge aspect of New Zealand’s appeal is indeed the mountains, hills and lakes that were chosen to depict Middle-earth. Getting to view this scenery through fun activities makes them all the more spectacular, and horse trekking is certainly one of those activities. We’ll go through some awesome horse treks in New Zealand in the list below!
Horse trek tours in New Zealand cater to the abilities of the riders. Even if you are a complete beginner, your guide will teach you the basics and progress with what you are comfortable with. However, if this isn’t your first time on a horse then there’s often the opportunity to gallop and feel the wind through your hair!
1. Peel Forest
Among the forests and foothills of the Southern Alps are some seriously fun horse riding adventures to be had. Trek up to stunning viewpoints, through forests and along rivers with Peel Forest Horse Trekking.
Location: Geraldine, Canterbury, South Island
2. Pakiri Beach
Only 1h30min away from Auckland City, gallop along a Pakiri Beach with Pakiri Beach Horse Rides. This is a wide-open white sand beach is looking out onto the Pacific Ocean, giving you lots of room to make this trip your own.
Location: Pakiri, Auckland, North Island
Also known as Blue Duck Station, this almost inaccessible spot near the Whanganui National Park offers a challenging but rewarding horse trek. Go uphill to capture views of the surrounding rainforest. Blue Duck Station even provides accommodation and meals so you can stay in the wilderness for awhile!
Location: Whakahoro, Ruapehu District, North Island
For a Maori cultural experience mixed with horse trekking, try Out on a Lim horse trekking near Wairoa. Cross Maori ancestral lands along the coast and listen to Maori legends along the way. Trek over hills, across wetlands and on the beach in this beautiful area of Hawke’s Bay.
Location: Wairoa, Hawke’s Bay, South Island
5. Paradise Valley
Treat yourself to a fantastic horse ride, no matter what your level of riding experience is. Better yet, you can feel like you are in Middle-earth, as Paradise Valley was one of the Lord of the Rings’ filming locations. Only 45min away from Queenstown, in Glenorchy. Join the quest with High Country Horses or Dart River Adventures.
Location: Glenorchy, Otago, South Island
6. River Valley
With scenery to die for, the valley is worth discovering sitting high up on a horse. River Valley also offers accommodation and white water rafting so you could find yourself lost in this wilderness land for days!
Location: Rangitikei, Manawatu-Wanganui, North Island
Ride the open plains of gold mining history and breathtaking scenery of the Cardrona Valley. Open plateaus of farmland surrounded by the mountains of the Crown Ranges make this horse trek between Queenstown and Wanaka well worth considering in the South Island. Plus, at only around NZ$100 for a 2-hour trek with either The Cardrona Hotel or Backcountry Saddles, it’s one of the more affordable options in New Zealand.
Location: Cardrona Valley, Otago, South Island
8. Wharariki Beach
The area offers impressive views of Farewell Spit and the surrounding landmarks including Pillar Point. Such landmarks are best enjoyed riding a majestic horse, don’t you agree? Check it out with Cape Farewell Horse Treks.
Location: Cape Farewell, Golden Bay, South Island
9. Ruahine Forest Park
At Makoura Lodge, on the edge of the Ruahine Forest Park, offers some extremely affordable horse trekking across hectares and hectares of land with waterfalls, hills, lakes, multiple viewpoints and heaps of river crossings. There’s plenty of exciting terrain on this trek well worth considering in the North Island.
Location: Apiti, Manawatu-Wanganui, North Island
Limestone cliffs, the Pancake Rocks, native bush; this well-preserved spot in the Paparoa National Park is simply spectacular. Ride from the depths of the rainforest, along rivers and out to the rugged West Coast with Punakaiki Horse Treks.
Location: Punakaiki, West Coast, South Island
11. Ninety Mile Beach
As one of the longest beaches in New Zealand, there’s lots of room to play around with on Ninety Mile Beach. Start your trek in Ahipara and ride along to the sound of waves crashing. Wade through water and gallop along long stretched of hard sand.
Location: Ahipara, Northland, North Island