New Zealand - Explorer Trails

  • Open Dec-Apr
  • Set arrivals
  • 2 to 5 nights / 3 to 6 days of riding | 4 to 10 hours riding per day | Nearest airport:Christchurch
  • Weight limit: 15st 10lbs (100 kg) (220 pounds)
  • Usual maximum: 15

These trails vary from four to seven nights and take you through the sheep and cattle stations of South Island.

Your guides have lived and worked in this area most of their lives and have mustered sheep on many of the farms you ride over. Their local knowledge is vast and they are well equipped to show you this part of their world. You stay in basic shearers huts or tents. This really allows you to get an understanding of how life works on high county sheep stations.

Pack horses are used for carrying your luggage and supplies. However on the longer rides a support vehicle will meet you every few days with fresh supplies.

These are adventurous participatory rides and you will be involved in the daily work of looking after the horses and setting up camp on the trip.

The horses are Thoroughbred Clydesdale crosses of at least 16hh. Nearly all are homebred.

The tack is simple with farm style snaffle bridles and comfortable stock saddles with surcingles.

This ride is suitable for any level of rider although due to the terrain it is not suitable for nervous riders or for those who suffer from vertigo. You will be spending long hours in the saddle and so it is important to be physically fit and able to mount and dismount unaided. Due to the nature of the terrain and the fact that you have pack horses all the riding is done at a walk. You will stay on your horse on uphill sections but always dismount downhill. So you must be able to walk downhill perhaps on loose shingle and lead your horse at the same time possibly for up to an hour.

Hard hats are mandatory.

Accommodation is basic and includes bunk rooms in shepherds/musterers huts or shearers quarters. You may also have to sleep on airbeds in tents if the group numbers are large.

It is not possible to have a single room and you must be prepared to share. Sometimes the accommodation is very basic and on occasion you may all be sleeping in one room. In some places there are limited or no washing or toilet facilities.

Accommodation Gallery

( GBP | EUR | USD )

Upcoming Dates

Holiday Experience LevelExp Lvl Arrive - DepartArr - Dep   Price Itinerary Availability
Explorer Trail - 3 days riding 17 Dec 2022 - 19 Dec 2022 2 nights 2 ngts $869.42 View (.pdf) Book
Explorer Trail - 6 days riding 7 Jan 2023 - 12 Jan 2023 5 nights 5 ngts $1,854.77 View (.pdf) Book
Explorer Trail - 4 days riding 4 Feb 2023 - 7 Feb 2023 3 nights 3 ngts $1,191.43 View (.pdf) Book
Explorer Trail - 6 days riding 19 Feb 2023 - 24 Feb 2023 5 nights 5 ngts $1,854.77 View (.pdf) Book
Explorer Trail - 3 days riding 4 Mar 2023 - 6 Mar 2023 2 nights 2 ngts $869.42 View (.pdf) Book
Explorer Trail - 3 days riding 24 Mar 2023 - 26 Mar 2023 2 nights 2 ngts $869.42 View (.pdf) Book


INCLUDES Meals; accommodation and riding.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT It is not possible to request a single room so you should be prepared to share.

PAYABLE LOCALLY Tips, alcoholic drinks and special diet supplement.


TRANSFERS Return transfers between Christchurch and Alpine Horse Safaris are included at set times.

NOT INCLUDED International flights to Christchurch.

Getting There

The ride sets off from the horse's base at 09.00. Most people will have stayed the night before at Waitohi Downs (the horse's base) for the ride briefing and guidance on packing.

Flights should arrive into Christchurch at least two days before the start of the ride to allow guests to recover from jetlag. Return flights should be booked to depart Christchurch three days after the end of the ride to allow for any delays that may occur during the ride.

If you wish to have transfers then collection from Christchurch airport can be booked. The collection is normally between 2 and 4pm. Collection from a Christchurch hotel may be possible.

Return flights should depart Christchurch after mid day.

In The Saddle Gallery

Client Photos


These trails start and finish at Waitohi Downs near Hawarden.

Weather & Climate

The weather in New Zealand can vary at any time of year, from sunny days to frosty nights with rain at any time. Be prepared for all weather conditions. October and May can even see snow falls.

from $869.42 for 2 nights Book Now

Guest Review

The best horse I have ridden, just right for me. Lawrie was fantastic, great knowledge and understanding of horses and the countryside.

Mick ,Berkshire

In The Saddle says

You will be amazed by the horses and how they will tackle anything you put in front of them.

Our Top Tip

Pack your snacks in the top of your saddle bag for easy access along the way.


from $869.42 for 2 nights Book Now