This gem of a 5 day, 4 night itinerary is situated one hour from Queenstown in the cute-as-a-button, lakeside community of Glenorchy. With five days of unrestricted hours in the saddle this ride has it all – from wet and wild canters along river banks, wandering through native beech forest, circumnavigating a mountain and exploring a quintessential High Country property.
Owners Deana and daughter Casey, have exclusive access to over 100,000 acres of pristine back country stretching from the Dart Valley through to the Rees Valley with Mount Alfred sitting in the middle.
Guests will stay at Rees Valley Station’s shearer’s quarters on day one. Rees Valley Station is a 37,000 acre working sheep station that borders World Heritage listed Mt Aspiring National Park. On day two and three, globetrotters explore the Rees Valley with its glacial fed rivers and wild, untamed beauty. Accommodation is beside Arthurs Creek Musterer’s Hut, where it’s back country camping at its best. Think waterfalls, starry nights and silence. On day four, cruise through enchanted landscapes made world-famous from blockbuster movies like The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Mission Impossible and The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. The last night is at Miller’s House, a historic, bespoke guest house set within Paradise (quite literally)!
Seriously, the Glenorchy Back Country ride typifies everything we love about New Zealand. All you need to do is get yourself on a plane to Queenstown, in the south island of New Zealand and we’ll take care of the rest!
- Horse Breed:NZ Stationbred, quarter horse and first cross, percheron and clydie first cross.
- Pace:This will vary depending on the terrain and weather conditions. Some days are more mountainous than others. When terrain permits there will be opportunities to trot and canter.
- Weight Limit:Maximum of 95kg / 210lbs.
- Type of tack:English all purpose saddles which are all correctly fitted to the horses.
- Seasons:October to March
- Group size:Minimum of 6 and a maximum of 10 guests
- Time in Saddle:On average between 5 to 6 hours depending on the distance needed to be travelled which will be between 15 to 25km per day.
- Riding Ability:Suitable for intermediate to experienced riders. All riders MUST be confident riding outside an arena at all paces over uneven ground.
- Accommodation:For the first night guests stay in bunk bed rooms with a hot shower and flushing toilets. The next two nights guests will stay in tents with camp stretcher and swag) beside a station muster hut where there is a camp shower and a long-drop toilet. The last night guests stay at Paradise Homestead which is a historic, bespoke accommodation house with laze-about beds, hot showers, flushing toilets and kitchen.
- Ride Length:5 days, 4 nights
- Inclusions:The price includes twin share accommodation, transfers to and from Queenstown, meals and riding from day one through to day five.
DEPARTURE DATES & RATES
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price includes twin share accommodation, transfers to and from Queenstown, meals and riding from day one through to day five.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price does not include international or regional flights and travel insurance (compulsory)or alcohol throughout the trip.
Accepted payment is by credit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all credit card payments.
Why is the price quoted in NZD?
With our riding destinations, the currency is dictated by our ride partner in that country. Therefore due to fluctuating exchange rates we have to quote in the same currency.
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*Please note, this is a suggested itinerary only and subject to change at the discretion of your guides due to weather and other influencing factors.
After enjoying the scenic transfer from Queenstown to the Glenorchy stables, you’ll be introduced to your knowledgable Back Country Guides. The staff will help sort your baggage and gear before introducing you to your horse for the trip. Gear checked, your first day you’ll ride alongside the pristine Rees River flats and enjoy a lunchtime picnic on the tip of Lake Wakatipu with views across the water to the local township of Glenorchy. After lunch you’ll head to the opening of the Rees Valley.
Your first nights’ accommodation will be at the Rees Valley Station Shearers Quarters. The wool shed here is still the hub of the station and is worth a peek. The owner has panels of photographs and information in there to explain some of the Station’s history and people who work it. The Rees Valley Station Shearer’s Quarters has bunk-bed rooms, flushing toilets, showers and electricity. Keep in mind, in summer the sun doesn’t set until around 11pm so you’ll have plenty of daylight hours to roam on foot after dinner.
After a leisurely breakfast you’ll start your journey into the dramatic, pristine environment of Rees Valley. The Rees Valley Station is rated one of the area’s most scenic places to ride. This 37,000 acre sheep-station borders the World Heritage Mount Aspiring National Park. You and your fellow globetrotters will travel through virgin Native rainforest (NZ Beech) crossing over a glacial fed river many times.
This is a shorter day but it’s a challenge for both horse and rider. Enjoy the climb up glacial terraces and looking up into snow-capped mountains. We will camp at Arthurs Creek Musters Hut for a night under the stars. This is camping in it’s simplest form, there is a musterer’s hut (the main hub of the campsite) and inside your tents you’ll find a camp stretcher and swag for you to sleep in. There is a long-drop toilet, glacial fed waterfall (freezing, but oh so good for the skin) or a hot camp shower.
Today is spent exploring the very top of the valley which boarders onto the World Heritage listed Mount Aspiring National Park. You’ll visit 25 mile creek and the rock chasm within, swim the horses in glacial fed Hunter Creek (weather permitting), stand at the foot of Lennox Falls and enjoy a saddle-bag packed lunch at its base. There will be time to explore by foot before we head back to our base camp at Arthurs Creek Musters Hut.
Time to leave the Rees Valley, riding into Paradise Valley. You’ll wander through native beech forest towards the opening of Paradise Valley, or what’s adequately known as Heaven’s Gate. From here you’ll traverse the north shores of Diamond Lake, and there may be the possibility of swimming the horses again if you wish.
Coming into the Paradise Valley you are entering LORD OF THE RINGS COUNTRY! This is ISENGARD and MIDDLE EARTH. Your guides will take you through scenes and places used in many movies including – The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Vertical Limit, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Lovely Bones, Mission Impossible, Wolverine and more. This is some of the most pristine back country to travel through.
On your last night you’ll stay in Millers House which is a beautiful, turn-of-the-century house within the Paradise Foundation. After bush camping for the last two nights, you’ll love the hot showers, flushing toilets, electricity and freshly made bed.
The final day of your riding holiday where you’ll venture through the mouth of Lake Diamond and ascend the southern side of Mount Alfred. At the top of the track you’ll be able to take a moment and contemplate where and what you have just experienced in the last few days. As far as the eye can see and further is where you have traversed from your sure-footed station horse. You’ll creep down the mountain and back onto our farm to finish your ride with a welcoming hot drink or cold beverage.
*Depending on the weather, you might instead venture into the Dart Valley today – the views and scenery are equally as rewarding.
Transfers to and from your Queenstown hotel accommodation are included in the price (on day one and day five). To avoid travel delays, we ask that all guests arrive and stay in Queenstown (at their own expense) the day before the ride begins, so you’re ready for collection between 9 – 9.30am on day one. On day five, please book an extra night’s accommodation in Queenstown so you’re not rushed getting back into town. You can fly out the following day.
*Please note, it is preferred you stay in Queenstown’s city centre or out in the direction of Fernhill, NOT at Frankton. Should you choose to stay at a private residence or B&B, you will need to make your way to a specified central location for pick up.
‘What an awesome time in Glenorchy. The scenery was mind blowing, words just doesn’t do this part of the world justice. The horse I was matched to, JT, was awesome and suited me perfectly – he was forward-moving but very relaxed when in the group. The food was wholesome and yummy, the accommodation was comfortable, and what a bonus on the last night to stay at the aptly named ‘Paradise’. Our guides were great – enthusiastic and with so much local knowledge to share. Jess and Bijmin are true horse people, it was definitely great to have met them both.’
‘This was an amazing ride. I loved seeing such beautiful country that not everyone has the opportunity to see. The other riders were all great and we enjoyed each other’s company. The horses, the guides, the mountains – all of it was amazing, awe inspiring and great, great fun. I feel like I am a better rider from my five days on a horse in Glenorchy. I am not afraid to gallop, or ford a river, or ride up and down steep hills. I would not hesitate for a moment to recommend this ride.’
‘The Glenorchy Back Country ride is a MUST DO ride. Each day just got better – every scenic vision was amazing. The guides were up there with the best and went above and beyond for their clients. This ride is now equal favourite with my all-time high of the Namib Desert Ride… I didn’t think that would ever be possible. But this ride has everything, so it deserves it.’
‘My first Globetrotting experience, and I chose to do it in my home country. It was truly amazing. Jess and Bijmin are the most amazing young people, their horsemanship, care and local knowledge is exceptional – I just loved the two of them to bits. They are funny, clever, and were so patient and professional with everybody. They command respect without being overbearing, always happy. For me they came equal to our beautiful back yard. And they fed us to bursting every day!!! The weather gods didn’t exactly play fair, but that’s not unusual in our mountains, and when the rains stopped and the rivers dropped sufficiently to do safe crossings (river flow records were broken), Jess, Bijmin and Natalie guided us through some of the most stunning scenery in New Zealand. Put this ride on your to do list – you won’t regret it.’
‘The Glenorchy Back Country Ride was beyond all my expectations! The scenery was absolutely spectacular, photos and videos just don’t do it any justice. Upon meeting my horse, Slim Shady, I could tell my ride was going to be even more memorable.We clicked instantly and he was one of the best horses I’ve ever ridden. This was a very organized ride with Jess and Bijmin as our guides and cooks, they did a fantastic job and I cannot thank them enough! My favorite day was when we got to swim the horses in the lake. I’d never been swimming with a horse before, and experiencing this for the first time with amazing scenery was something I will never forget! I made some amazing friends along the way as well, and cannot wait to book my next ride! Rated 10/10.’
‘It was the most wonderful experience and one I will never forget. The group I travelled with were a lot of fun and looked after me, as I was the grandma of the group!’
‘Great horses, breathtaking scenery, two amazing guides – Jess and Bijmin, good food, drink, and accommodation and perfect weather. The most memorable trip of a lifetime!’
‘What an amazing place to take a ride! The scenery is spectacular and varied. Our guides had amazing knowledge of horses, riding, Maori culture and New Zealand.
‘The Glenorchy Back Country Ride was AMAZING!! A wonderful experience I’ll never forget. Would recommend to anyone – 10/10.’
Stories from the saddle
**UPDATE October 2017 – Our deepest condolences go out to Deana who’s husband Duayne, was tragically killed in a jet-boating accident. For those who had the privilege to meet and get to know Duayne you will be as shocked by the news as much as we are. He was a down-to-earth, happy-go-lucky bloke who was […]
Meet globetrotter Niccola Phillips! After kicking breast cancer to the kerb, Niccola decided to celebrate life through a horse-riding holiday to New Zealand on our Glenorchy Back Country Ride. And we couldn’t be happier for her! She’s found a new lease on life and loving every minute. Keep reading to find out more about this […]
When we received Shaunna Kelly’s feedback form after she completed the Glenorchy Back Country Ride earlier this year, she had so many wonderful things to say that we thought it would be best if we just shared the form in its entirety with you! After all, there’s nothing better than hearing and learning about a […]