‘One of the most freeing experiences I’ve ever had on a horse!‘ – That’s how Sharon Jeong described her eight-day ride through the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, and we couldn’t have put it better ourselves. The River Valley Ride is fast developing a reputation as one of Globetrotting’s most unique and memorable horse riding holidays, and when we receive feedback like Sharon’s, it’s not hard to see why!
Check out her entire feedback form and some of her most drool-worthy photos below.
Please tell us how happy you were with the standard of accommodation.
The River Valley Lodge accommodation was above expectations – it is a tranquil setting right by the river (which was very refreshing!), and you get access to both the infrared sauna and wood-fired sauna (the spa wasn’t working during my trip). Good facilities and comfortable rooms – I had a twin share room.
The off-site accommodations were all very nice too, all with different vibes and settings. From a full genuine cultural immersion in the Marae, to a nice quaint cottage five minutes from a river, to a beautiful luxury lodge on top of the cliffs during the Lodge to Lodge ride.
Were there any stand-out experiences (good or bad) with the meals that you would like to mention?
Miranda spoilt us the whole week with breakfasts of our choice, packed lunches and three-course meals – everything homemade and with the majority of the ingredients coming straight from the garden. Incredible food! My favourite breakfast was bagels with Miranda’s homemade broad bean pesto, tomatoes, cream cheese and rocket. My favourite lunches were the delicious gourmet platters that we had at River Valley Lodge. And my favourite dinner was the venison steak with homemade chimichurri sauce and chilli sauce.
Which horse(s) did you ride? And would you mind elaborating as to why you were happy/unhappy with them?
Blaze – he was perfectly matched to me. I asked for a forward, bold horse with a bit of sass and I got it! It took about a day for us to ‘get’ each other, but once we had mutual trust, he was a very kind and giving horse – I could point him up a cliff along a sheep track or take him down a steep gully and we would venture off on our own quite happily. He was a fun horse to ride! A pocket rocket.
In respect to your guides, please elaborate as to their level of service, knowledge of the environment and hospitality.
Nicola and Janey’s hospitality was second to none – they were lots of fun, adventurous, knew the land and its history well, and they gave us plenty of freedom to play. They were so much fun to be around and were always up for an adventure!
Did you have a favourite day or experience while on your Globetrotting holiday?
The third day (i.e. the ride to the Marae). This was my favourite day because there was plenty of room to venture up and down hills and gullies away from the main track, with some long sloping hills to canter along, and beautiful views around literally every corner and over the brow of every hill. Although I think some of the other days had even more impressive views, this was the day that I truly felt connected with my horse and got the sense that he would go anywhere with me. Quite a special feeling!
The last day of riding was also pretty special because of its incredible views (especially at the lunch spot). As we made our way down Pukeokahu (‘Hill of the Hawk’), some of the landscapes felt like the setting of a movie or something – just so pretty and raw. I’ve never ridden across land like that before.
As for my favourite experience? In all honesty, Nicola, Janey and Miranda just made the entire experience very enjoyable – they were an absolute hoot! But I quite enjoyed our cheeky dips in the river, too…
In terms of value-for-money, how would you rate this particular ride?
Excellent, considering the amount of time you get in the saddle and the quality of the food, the facilities and the service!
We would LOVE a testimonial about your Globetrotting experience to share on our social media channels.
Surreal landscapes, gourmet food, great company and challenging terrain. What more could you want?! An unforgettable experience that offers total freedom on your horse, a cracking itinerary and plenty of opportunities to feel the wind in your hair, with incredible views around every corner. Lots of thought is put into which horse you are given – I rode Blaze, who was perfectly matched to me and was exactly what I asked for: a forward-moving horse with a bit of sass! Nicola and Janey were incredible guides and their hospitality was second to none. Truly ABOVE expectations. I would highly recommend this trip for all the adventurous riders out there – you won’t regret it!
Have you got the globetrotting tingles yet? We sure have! If you’d like to learn more about The River Valley Ride, head over to the ride page.
You can also meet Nicola and Janey, guides on The River Valley Ride, here.