Today we’re gonna be horse trekking in the beautiful mountainous landscape of the Peel Forest.
This morning we are arriving at the Peel Forest Horse Trekking. Unsurprisingly the first thing that we see is horses and a tonne of them they actually have 15 horses here and it’s a great way to explore the Peel Forest area which is a place that almost everybody skips and this is a great shame because it’s beautiful.
After doing a little bit of paperwork we are finally meeting our horses we are going to be riding Andy and Mac they are two brothers and they’re never seen apart although Laura thinks she’s gonna be riding a cat.
After a brief introduction to our horses, Hollie, which is going to be our guide today, is introducing us horse trekking. We have both, Laura and I, horse trekked before however it’s always good to get a bit of a reminder just because well they are animals and we want to make sure that we’re safe on the horse.
So now that our horse are confident with us we are hopping on them trying out a few commands, and then off we go for the horse trek of a lifetime.
While we’re getting started on this horse trek Hollie is outlining the plan for today we’re gonna be doing a four hour horse trek up into the Peel Forest and up Mt Peel itself. So the tour starts a little bit by following the fields and pastures along some gravel roads as we’re making our way toward the Peel Forest and we definitely know we’re getting off the beaten track when we have to cross a ford and then we enter this huge field which Hollie says to us is actually the Peel Forest Airport.
I can’t believe this grassy field is used as an airport. The farmers in New Zealand are so crazy. But once we cross the airport we are then getting into the thick of the forest. Or mostly the forest is getting into our faces. Every two seconds we are getting hit in the face by all these pine trees it’s pretty hilarious and I guess the horses are just messing with us.
Andy which is my horse is taking a little bit of a sadistic pleasure in making me eat a bit of every single tree we’re passing through we are eating some beautiful Douglas fir trees we are eating some beautiful native kanuka and manuka, there are a ton of different trees that I’m getting a taste of.
Merry Christmas everybody.
As we’re getting up the cliffs and higher in elevation the trees are getting lower, the views are getting grander and this is definitely when this trip is getting supercharged. the views are stunning, the trek is awesome, I’m loving it.
So Peel forest is called after Mt Peel which is the mountain that we are currently climbing. It stands at 1,743m above sea level and offers amazing views all around the surroundings and this is why we are climbing it today because we want to catch on those amazing views.
Mt Peel is located at the foothills of the Southern Alps offering us amazing views of both the Southern Alps on one side and the beautiful Canterbury Plains on the other side. this is the view that is absolutely unique in this region as most of the Canterbury Plains are very flat and there is no way to get a huge view of it aside from taking a flight.
Hollie has brought us to an amazing picnic spot on top of Mt Peel and not only that she has packed us some chocolate, shortcake, apples and even some beer. But because the horses have been doing all the work, I decide to share my apple with Mac.
From up here we get absolutely stunning views and picture opportunities and the Peel Forest spans about 769 hectares of a mix of native forest as well as all the pine forest that has been hitting us in the face. This place is absolutely stunning and it’s not only home to some awesome horse treks but it’s got heaps of hiking trails as well.
But we’re getting back onto our horses to enjoy more of this awesome horse trek on Mt Peel.
By this point of the tour we’re getting a lot more used to our horses and the really cool thing about Peel Forest Horse Trekking is that it really does cater to everyone. there’s even a guy on our tour whose never even touched a horse in his life he’s keeping up with us and we’re all sort of going at the pace that we choose. And if you wanted to canter and gallop through the fields you can certainly do that as well.
I personally did find the downhill part the hardest one because I had to get myself in a position that would be comfortable for the horse as well as hitting my face on every single branches passing by because well it’s Andy he really likes me to eat trees.
Hollie is an absolutely awesome guide she’s telling us heaps of stuff about all the fauna and flora we are seeing as we are going downhill. She’s telling us heaps about all the different trees that we’re seeing from the kahikatea the matai and the totara which are three massive type of trees very common here in New Zealand, as well as all the different birds that we get to spot we do spot some awesome fantails, bellbirds, some New Zealand wood pigeon and even some tui birds.
And one of the fun parts of horse trekkingis that the horse knows the track much better than we do so as soon as they realise that we are on the home stretch they are actually getting really excited because they know that as soon as we get back to the stables they are getting some food so getting them to canter is actually super easy as we are making our way closer and closer to the stables.
And as soon as we thought we were done with horse trekking Hollie is telling us that she has another tour going on this afternoon so Laura takes the time to personalise her horse and we are about to hop onto a brand new tour that’s gonna go through rivers and completely different type of forest.
We’re now joining one of the shorter tours that Peel Forest Horse Trekking offers which is a one hour tour alongside the Rangitata River.
There’s now 12 people on horses which makes it more of a horse mission, and we’re going through a completely different type of forest which is really adventurous as well the terrain is really rough there’s a lot of mud to get through there’s been a few flooding recently as well so we do a little bit of water crossing it feels super adventurous we’re loving every single second of it.
It’s really impressive to see how these horses handle going into the sections of the river that have flooded into the forest there’s some really deep water at some sections and thick with mud as well but they seem to be able to do anything they’ve been up mountains today now they’re wading through parts of the river. It’s all good.
This trek is weaving itself in and out of the forest alongside the Rangitata River which is actually a river that we were white water rafting the other day. Seeing the part of the river which is actually calm feels so weird but we’re doing something pretty adventurous ourselves still on some pretty steep sections of this horse trek.
It’s kind of hard to believe that this second horse trek is located in the same area as the very first one that we did this morning everything seems different. Every single vegetation and trees are different the track is completely flooded compared to going on top of the mountain ridge right before. it’s crazy how eclectic the offering of horse trekking options is.
As the tour concludes we definitely feel a much stronger bond with our horses they are obeying us much better and we feel pretty sad to know that we have to leave them behind at the end of the day but that’s the way it goes. Tomorrow we have to find ourselves another epic adventure in the Geraldine area and they have to go on another tour in the Peel Forest.
So today’s offerings we have Mac, we have Robin, we have Cheese.