If you enjoy horse riding, New Zealand’s south island offers plenty of oppportunities to explore on horseback.
Ride along the beach, or head to the mountains.
There are horseback riding operators throughout the south island who cater to different levels of experience.
Many operators will provide rides for complete beginners, ensuring you are safe and confident even if it’s your very first time on horseback.
You can ride anywhere from just one hour, up to multi-day horse treks with guides.
Kaikoura Horse Trekking
The closest horse riding operator to Kaikoura is located at Hawarden.
Hawarden is about 130km to the south-west of Kaikoura via SH1.
They provide horse treks through some of the most stunning south island landscapes.
Choose to ride for just 2 hours, or commit to a 12 day adventure; or somewhere in between. The choice is yours.
You can ride through Molesworth and St. James Station.
The scenery and landscapes you’ll pass through are unsurpassed:
- Native forests
- Country farms
Alpine Horse Safaris at 310 Creans Road is the operator of this area. Their horse rides take in the scenes of stunning Moke Lake and the Queenstown mountains.
Queenstown Horse Trekking
Many will list the Queenstown region as one of NZ’s most stunning areas.
There are several horse trekking operators within a reasonable distance of Queenstown.
Moke Lake Horse Treks is located at Moke Lake Road, Ben Lomond.
Their treks are suited and tailored for beginners thorugh to the most confident horse riders.
At the easier end is the 45 minute beginner-friendly Lake Shore trek which is mostly flat, yet stunning country to ride through.
The next level up is the Moke Gully 90 minute trek through high country farmland, including some river crossings.
For advanced riders, the 2 hour Gills Canyon trek takes you down to the canyon so involves some steep riding.
Costs of these horse treks start at NZ$115, up to NZ$190 per rider.
Golden Bay / Mohua Horse Trekking
Cape Farewell Horse Treks operate out of the very top of Golden Bay. Take a ride on stunning Wharaiki Beach and through Old Mans Range.
Ths operator is located at: 102 Wharariki road, Puponga.
It’s a truly magnificent part of the country. Their Wharariki Beach Trek is popular, and you can also ride up Old Mans Range to the Pillar Point Lighthouse.
The Puponga Beach/Old Mans Range combo trek is a great day out, especially on a calm day.
Another option in this region is the beach horse riding operator Hack ‘n Stay Golden Bay. This is part of their wider accomodation and camping facilities and offers short rides along the beach (you don’t have to be staying at their accomodation to go horse riding).
Mount Cook Horse Trekking
For a true alpine trekking experience, head to Mount Cook and you’ll find a number of operators here conducting trekking through magnificent alpine landscapes, including Lake Tekapo.
Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking are located at 108 Godley Peaks Road, Lake Tekapo.
Their horse treks cater for just about anyone – novice horse riders are more than welcome and taken care of with a ride and horse that suits your ability.
You can choose to trek through:
Pine Forest: a half hour easy beginner’s ride through a beautiful, but flat and simple pine forest environment. This ride allows you to build some confidence in riding a horse perhaps for the very first time. This short trek is also suited for kids – they take children aged 5 and up.
Lake Tekapo: One hour of riding through the pine forest and to Lake Tekapo
Mount John: A more challenging ride around Mt John where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Mackenzie Country and the alps. This is a 2.5 trek for the more experienced horseback rider.
Lake Alexandrina: Combine some of the features of the above shorter rides, while extending to Lake Alexandrina on this half day horse trek.