This blog is written by our very own Hanna Rogers, an avid horseback rider and traveler. She hosts our equestrian meet-ups in Italy, and some of our trips in Argentina. Currently, she is out exploring New Zealand, mostly on horseback!
This article contains links, some of which are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of my links, I earn a commission which allows me to fund this blog. I only post links of products and services I have used and enjoyed and that have truly benefited me on my travels!
Even if you haven’t visited NZ already, then I’m sure many of you may already be aware how spectacular the landscape is - if you are familiar with any of the scenes from Lord of the Rings. And, if you are like me, who hasn’t ever watched them (just odd snippets from when my dad would have it on) then it’s totally unknown territory of what to expect! So, if I can give any one word to describe the views when I was landing into Queenstown it would be INCREDIBLE, that also happens to be what I thought the mountain range looking over lake Wakatipu was called... They are named the Remarkables, so I wasn’t far off, obviously having Disney in my head… anyway it doesn’t take one guess as to why they were named that!
So, if you’re anything like me you’ll now be thinking “amazing … how do I get to see this ‘remarkable’ scenery on horseback!?” Am I right? Well… spending two months on the South Island has allowed me to explore and hear about some of the very best places to experience the country from the back of a horse! One of my favourite locations around the southwest of the Island is a stunning place called Glenorchy, a small settlement just up from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown at the northern end of lake Wakatipu. Completely surrounded by beech forests and towering mountain ranges it is truly breath-taking. And you’ll be pleased to know that Glenorchy is home to two very well-established equestrian stables that offer some spectacular trail rides for all levels of horse riders. These rides will take you through glacial fed rivers with stunning backdrops that were used in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
At Lighthorse Adventures you can experience first-hand how Parelli Natural Horsemanship truly works. Advocates for animal welfare, the team at LHA guide you to finding connection and synchronicity with your horse before and during your trail ride. They offer a variety of rides from hourly to 3-days of trekking.
You can also experience one of the original Horse Trekking businesses in the Wakatipu Basin that started up in 1985. High Country Horses have a wonderfully large herd of very well loved and looked after horses. This means they have a great variety of horses suited to different rider abilities and with over 150,000 acres to ride on, there is plenty to explore from horseback. From 1 hour beginner rides to 5-day trekking into the backcountry.
At Adventure Horse Trekking dreams really do come true. They offer boutique horseback adventures which can take you all over the South Island’s Southern Alps region, and I really mean all over. You can choose from a variety of epic locations and lengths of trail riding whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced rider. Each ride is carefully thought out with the rider in mind, so you can find the right trail for you! Starting up 12 years ago, they also breed the very best mountain horses, so much so the horses literally have mountains in their DNA! They’re cool, calm and collected horses, ready to take you exploring into the wild and remote locations New Zealand has to offer. Are you ready to ride along historic pack trails full of Maori history and culture? Take a flash back to the pioneering days where the gold miners and settlers walked, to riding through locations used for Lord of the Rings and Mulan! You can also camp alongside the horses and watch a blanket of stars be pulled over whilst bathing in a hot tub. Sounds too good to be true…? Remember at Adventure Horse Trekking it’s all about your wildest dreams coming true! That’s exactly how it started for these guys.
Breathe Life into your dreams every day for they are the beauty that shapes your tomorrows
- Angie Lecky, Owner and Founder of Adventure Horse Trekking with Partner John Wall.
Another epic location I found at the end of my time on the stunning South Island was based up on the Northern coastline near the little hippy town of Takaka, hidden away is Hack n Stay. This quirky campsite was full of beautiful artwork, funny signs (everywhere!) and a lovely herd of horses. The clue is in the name! You can BYOH – Bring Your Own Horse – or book out a scenic coastal ride. They also offer multi day trail rides should you want to explore further or simply just camp and enjoy being around the wonderful energy of the place. They are also home to the ONLY vaulting team on the South Island! You can also book lessons and learn the basics of gymnastics on horseback. Pretty cool eh!
Find more horse riding holidays in New Zealand here!
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