Five of the best places to ride in NZ

To see the New Zealand countryside from the back of a horse, wind in your hair, sun on your face, is surely one of the best ways to get out in the open air and explore a new place. New Zealand’s climate means that riding is possible year round in many locations. Here are five of the best riding opportunities for visitors.

Five of the best places to ride in NZ

Pakiri Beach

With a range of options from one hour beginners’ rides to full days for more confident adults in the saddle, there’s something to suit everyone at Pakiri Beach. Even better, it’s just an hour north of Auckland. The longer excursions here take you across vast stretches of empty beach to secluded freshwater lakes, via pine forests and along native bush trails. It’s possible to spot dolphins frolicking just offshore.

Five of the best places to ride in NZ: Horse riders and surfers on Te Arai beach
Horse riders and surfers on Te Arai beach by Avenue / CC BY-SA 4.0

Clearview Estate Winery

Riders following this tour, which suits even beginners, will follow the beautiful Tukituki River. Passing vineyards and farmland, you’ll be able to see Cape Kidnappers headland in the distance, at the south-eastern extremity of Hawke’s Bay on the east coast of North Island. The ride is timed perfectly so the group arrives at the Clearview Winery for a slap-up lunch and complimentary glass of wine.

Mellonsfolly Ranch

Home to the Old West Town, Mellonsfolly Ranch is the perfect place for wannabe cowboys of all abilities to immerse themselves in a world far removed from the Ruatiti valley in which it’s located. Guests can kit themselves out in spurs and Stetsons before riding through the town or along the trails through native bush, accompanied by a knowledgeable wrangler. When the horses need a rest, there’s horseshoe slinging and a shooting range to occupy the time.

High Country Horses

For dramatic scenery, it’s hard to argue with the choice of the Glenorchy basin. Rides are varied within 100000 acres of countryside, some of which was used as the backdrops for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Mountain high, river deep is their signature full day ride for intermediates and upwards, crossing glacial-fed streams, climbing the side of a mountain range and traversing ancient beech forest.

Alpine Pacific Triangle

Advanced or fitter riders will seize the opportunity of a week-long equestrian holiday in the Mount Lyford region of South Island. Rides cross working ranches, utilising farm trails and back country tracks. Sometimes the steep terrain necessitates leading the horses and a willingness to master basic horsemanship and look after your horse are essential. Scenery en route is spectacular and varied, through forests and along river valleys, making this a holiday to remember.

About JuliaHammond


Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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