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 or debit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all 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.
‘I really struggled to write this as I can’t find the exact words to describe the trip. But I did manage to find one fitting word: FREEDOM. This ride is absolutely stunning from start to finish. The environment is something out of a fairytale (quite literally): the pristine forestry, snow-capped mountain ranges, glacier-fed rivers and waterfalls that hold the cleanest and purest water in the world. Our guides, Jess and Bijmin, were outstanding in their knowledge of the land, horses, people and cooking. Every night the meals were cooked to perfection, and although I’m a little disappointed I didn’t lose weight, I don’t regret for a second not eating the delicious food they provided each and every day. The horses were all superb and well educated – some of the hardiest yet most responsive I’ve had the privilege of riding. If you are thinking of doing this trip, JUST DO IT! The memories and friendships I made over that week will forever be in my heart, and I am so grateful to Globetrotting for allowing me to be a part of something so surreal.’
‘The Glenorchy Back Country Ride was a special horse riding trip I will always remember. Being my first international ride, I was in awe of the beautiful countryside we rode through each day. Having 5 Kates and 2 Sheryls in the group meant there was loads of laughter and fun along the way. The group all bonded so well and new friendships for life have been made too.
Thank you Globetrotting!! Your fine selection of rides and outfitters is just awesome!’
‘This was such a good experience! Everything was outstanding. Our guides were amazing hosts and horse people. Jess and Bijmin were outstanding! They knew everything, or would find out anything they didn’t know already. They really complimented each other, too.
I rode Kale. He was wonderful – very responsive, young and quite forward, which is exactly the kind of horse I’d suggested I’d like to ride. Absolutely no complaints. We were treated like royalty and allowed to have a holiday. There was so much good food, too! I’m recommending this ride to anyone who will listen!’
‘This ride is very well organised, with a different schedule every day. I had plenty of time to relax and enjoy every moment – and there were a lot of them. We had lots of time for great photos and our wonderful guides helped us find the best spots to do it. Bijmin and Jess were so kind, happy and accommodating. I loved how the scenery changes throughout the day, making for a very interesting and fun ride. We cantered fast, cantered slow, trotted, walked through fairytale forests, crossed rivers and gazed at one beautiful scene after another. Swimming with the horses in beautiful turquoise glacier water was breathtaking. All of the food was delicious, with plenty of it. Our accommodations were clean and tidy with great views.
I’ve ridden many miles in many countries and found the three things that make a great ride: good food, beautiful scenery, and good, fun people. This ride had it all to the highest degree. LOVED IT!’
‘If you want a holiday of a lifetime, this is it. You can’t get better scenery, guides, and experiences than this! I rode Gizzy and within five minutes of riding him I was absolutely in love. He was the best horse for me. He built my confidence up, and when we got to gallop he went as fast as I wanted him to go. I felt so connected to him. He was amazing! I absolutely loved swimming the horses through the river, and also the big run up the grassy hill. My mom, sisters, cousin, aunt and I all got to run our horses up the hill at the same time and it was so fun!!
Our guides were outstanding! They just don’t come better than Bijmin and Jess! They work well together and they were so personable to everyone in the group. The accommodations were awesome – rustic and nice. The day we reached Paradise it had rained most of the ride, and when we got to the cottage there was a fire going and snacks out for us. I thought we had died and gone to heaven!’
‘The Glenorchy Back Country Ride was worth every penny spent. If you do this ride, you will not regret it. It was all so wonderful!! The scenery was outstanding! The guides were wonderful and really knew what they were doing. They knew how to handle the horses and take us through the best places at the rivers. They were a joy to talk to and really were a huge part of why this ride was so wonderful. I loved the changes in scenery and all the different places we stayed. The cottage at Paradise was so wonderful and fitting after riding in some rainy weather. I was so impressed with how well the horses were cared for, too. I rode Star and he was wonderful. I especially enjoyed running him up the big grassy hill. I would recommend this to my friends and anyone else who loves to ride.’
‘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.’