New Zealand Pack Trip

14 Daysย  |ย  From ยฃ3275pp

New Zealand ( Best airport: Christchurch)

Join the longest pack trip in New Zealand in the heart of the South Island, on this trail riding expedition. Cross some of the largest rivers in New Zealand, (some taking up to an hour to cross). The surefooted, steadfast horses travel alongside free-running pack horses and make sure that riders are in safe hands. A real adventure for intrepid and adventurous travellers.

Camping in shearers huts and under canvas adds to the magicย  of this ride, on some nights there is no electricity or running water, and every night meals are cooked around an open fire. A good bottle of New Zealand wine is never far away.

The Riding

As well as long (and potentially deep) river crossings, there are steep ascents and descents. The horses are used to this terrain and it is up to the rider to trust their mount and let them find their way. Riders dismount and lead their horses on the downhills which can sometimes be for up to one hour (totalling around 2-3 hours of walking on foot per day). The pace of the ride is taken at a walk due to the rough terrain and the pack horses which accompany the ride, carrying all the food and equipment. This was how it was done in the old ‘muster days’, when there were no helicopters and 4X4’s like there are to help the land owners nowadays. Using pack horses is a dying art and to experience it is something completely unique.

There is a fair amount of walking with your horse involved on this ride – horses are always led downhill and some of the downhills are steep, sometimes for up to one hour (totalling around 2-3 hours of walking on foot per day).

Riders are required to help with the horses, such as catching, grooming, tacking/un-tacking, feeding and watering. Everyone on the expedition mucks in with pitching tents and food preparation creating a strong sense of camraderie within the group. The ride will need your assistance to saddle and load the packhorses, after the swags have been weighed and strapped together. Packhorses normally walk free. At times you may be required to lead a packhorse, or ride in front to keep them under control.

After arriving at camp you will take the bridle off, unsaddle your horse and put the saddle blanket in the sun to dry. When dry the blankets need to be brushed, then all the gear is stacked on a tarpaulin and covered for the night. If you are not a horse person and would like to help, there is always a need in the kitchen.

Level of Riding and Fitness

This ride is suitable for riders from novice to experienced level. Although the ride is taken at a walking pace only (although there is the odd spot for a trot or canter), riders should be in good fitness and health to be balanced in the saddle and ready for long hours riding (around 6-9 hours per day). Riders are required to be able to mount and dismount unaided although there are often plenty of rocks and logs available to help.

Guides and Group Size

Hosts, Lawrie and Jenny, have over 20-years experience in running their adventurous trail rides in this wilderness area, operating from Lawrie’s childhood home. The breeding of their distinctive Clydesdale Thoroughbred cross horses developed quickly, and the herd currently stands at 80 strong, and are also used extensively for mustering stock. Lawrie and Jenny know the high country like the back of their hands, and Jenny is in charge of cooking and packing; homemade pies and cakes are her speciality.

The Horses

There are 70 horses on the farm with 40 available for riding. Both the riding horses and pack horses are a delightful mix of Clydesdale X Thoroughbred, they are sure-footed having been bred in the hills and are very comfortable to ride – like gentle giants! The horses range between 16hh and 18hh.ย  These horses have been bred in hill country making them sure footed and fast walkers, a pleasure to ride.

Tack and Riding Equipment

The tack used on this ride is Australian stock saddles (made in New Zealand) and single-rein bridles. The riding is English style.

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Accommodation and Dining

The accommodation ranges from tents to a woolshed, muster huts and a B&B. On some night there will be no electricity or running water but there will usually be a stream or river nearby to wash in – also great for a swim at the end of a day in the saddle! On some nights there may be a hot shower. Toilets also range from long-drop (whilst camping) to normal toilets. Airbeds are provided.

The food on this ride can be described as good, healthy farm food.ย  Expect meals such as steak, mince and stroganoff. Jenny, one of the hosts, cooks everything herself from scratch using local ingredients. Her pies and cakes are legendary! Tea, coffee and water are included in the price of the holiday. Alcohol and canned drinks are not included, nor provided, but riders are invited to bring along their own supply with them. This can also be pre-ordered in advance and will be waiting for you on arrival.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice.


New Zealand Pack Trip

14 days / 13 nights / 11 days riding

This ride departs on the same dates every year; the first date follows the itinerary as shown and on the second date the riders will ride the itinerary in reverse, starting from Tekapo.

Please note, we advise riders to arrive in New Zealand at least 2 days prior toย theย start of theย rideย to allow time to acclimatize and recover from jet lag.


You will be picked up from Christchurch between 12 -2 the day before the ride and transferred back on the last day. There may be a small extra charge if your pick up is from the airport.

Price Includes
  • All meals
  • Tea, Coffee, Cordial
  • Accommodation
  • Swag roll (to carry sleeping bag and clothes)
  • Riding and Pack Horse Support
  • Christchurch Transfers at Set Times
Price Excludes
  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Alcoholic Drinks