Tekapo Expedition

A real riding expedition in the heart of the South Island, in New Zealand. On this once-in-a-lifetime horseback adventure, you will be able to enjoy the most beautiful sights of the high country riding Clydesdale horses. From the saddle, you will discover lakes and mountains and explore unspoiled corners of New Zealand. As the glaciers start to melt you will find yourself in an epic horseback journey at the end of the world! This is a long and adventurous trail ride, only available to intrepid riders looking for a sense of escape and to get off the beaten track.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Pack Trip
22 days - 11 days riding
From £3,340
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- Discover the most beautiful landscapes of the High Country in New Zealand with its wild and unspoiled scenery.
- Ride for 12 days on the longest riding expedition offered in the country.
- Cross wide rivers, beech forests and experience the grandiose changes of scenery and landscapes.
- Enjoy nights around the campfire with your hosts and riding companions

    International flight to New Zealand, Christchurch. Flights are not included but can be booked for you upon request. Please note there are no direct flights and you will have to connect through a major Asian hub.

    Connecting flight (at Singapore, Dubai...) to Christchurch.
  • Day 3 3 : CHRISTCHURCH

    Arrive at Christchurch during the day and spend the night at a hotel. Dinner and the hotel are not included in the price but we can book a hotel for you upon request. This day is for you to relax and recover from the jet-lag before you embark on your trail ride.

    Lawrie or Jenny, your guides for the ride, will pick you up in Christchurch either at your hotel or at the airport between 12:00 - 2pm. You and the rest of the group will be transferred to the home ranch at Waitohi Downs, then to your home stay accommodation for dinner. You will have some time to pack your gear for the week in your swags.

    One last morning check to ensure everything is packed properly in your bags before you ride off. You will ride through the hills, following the Hurunui River until it merges with the Lake Summer Road passing through the breathtaking Maori Gully.

    As you enjoy your surroundings, the trail will ascend up the South Branch to reach Eskhead Station. You will camp in the comfortable shearers quarters equipped with electricity and hot showers. Dinner will be cooked for you and followed by a good night's rest.
  • Day 6 6 : DEEP CREEK HUT - 7-10 HOURS RIDING

    Early wake up call to prepare the horses and roll your swags (special camping mattresses found in New Zealand and Australia). Hop on and continue your way up the South Branch towards Deep Creek Hut. At the top you will have a brief rest and a hot drink before reaching the Dampier Range where you will be able to enjoy panoramic views of the valley. Start your descent before stopping for lunch by a picturesque mountain lake. Continue your trail ride following down Andersons Spur, crossing Esk River and the vast open meadows until reaching Maternity Gully. You will stop for the night at Anna Hut where there are eight bunks. Tents might be required for additional sleeping space. A delicious meal will be cooked over an open fire.

    This morning the day will begin early as you continue your journey for the next Shearers Quarters at Mt White Station. Ride around Main Range and pass Big and Little Flora hills to reach the beautiful countryside of Lochinvar where the locals raise cattle, sheep and red deer. Arrive at Nigger Stream and stop for lunch at the Hill Hut. Back on horseback to explore Puketeraki Range, a region with extensive ridges such as Pig Spur, Anna Spur, Broadleaf Spur, the Parkees, the Limestone the south Chest Peak. Continue your trail ride around Mount White and reach the ridge that overlooks your accommodation for the night (electricity and hot water available). If you stay at Pakiti Hut there will be no showers nor electricity.

    At sunrise you will roll your swags and get back in the saddle for another ride exploring the island's staggering landscapes. Today, you will depart from the Mt White Quarters and head to Waimakariri River where you will experience your first major river crossing! Once the group has crossed the impressive river on horseback, you will continue your ride and stop for lunch before crossing the Tranz Alpine Railway. This ride follows along a dirt trail and you will reach Flock Hill Backpackers where you will stay for the night. Electricity will be provided tonight, so you will be able to charge you camera and take a hot shower. Regain some strength with a delicious dinner and a well-deserved night's sleep.
  • Day 9 9 : PORTER RIVER - 7-10 HOURS RIDING

    After a hearty breakfast you will continue riding up the Constitution mountain. Catch a glimpse of the Coleridge Pass which you will cross the next day. Ride close to the Broken River and up the Porter River crossing at the Christchurch Arthur Pass Highway where you will reach your accommodation for the night: Castle Hill. A water wheel powers the electricity, supplying hot water for the showers.

    You carry on horseback up the Porter River and head towards the Coleridge Pass. At the highest point you will have the chance to have perfect views of the turquoise waters of Lake Coleridge. Descending down the steep south side of Coleridge Pass, you will break for lunch at the boundary of Lake Coleridge and Ryton Stations. After lunch you will cross Ryton River and pass Lake Catherine to the junction of the Harper and Avoca Rivers. Ride up to Glenthorne Station, where you will stay for the next two nights. The station provides gas powered electricity and hot water for the showers.
  • Day 11 11 : LAKE LILIAN - NO RIDING

    A well-deserved rest day for you and the horses. You will have a chance to hike up to Lake Lilian, view the Pinnacles (an hour's walk around the river) or you can just relax and enjoy a well-deserved rest.

    Today you will feel rested enough to pack up and ride on! You will leave behind this peaceful oasis and further explore this beautiful island. Ride and follow the west bank of the Harper River until you meet the Wilberforce river. Once you cross through to the other side, you will take a lunch break at Mt Aldigus station, made famous by the books written by Mona Anderson (author of "A River Rules My Life"). Once again the horses will cross another river and you will arrive at Manuka Point Station where you will camp in the Shearers Quarters (electricity and hot water for showers).
  • Day 13 13 : GLENFALLOCH - 7-10 HOURS RIDING

    You will continue to explore this magical region of New Zealand. Ride cross the mighty Rakaia River, with approximately 5km of braided riverbed the full crossing will take about an hour! Once on the other side you will find yourself in Glenfalloch country. Riding south following the Lake Stream, you will be able to see Glenfalloch to the east, Lake Heron to the west and Ashburton Gorge to the south. Your accommodation for the night will be at Mt Arrowsmith (Electricity and showers available).

    Another day in the saddle riding around Lake Heron and Mt Arrowsmith country. You might even see some trout leaping out of the water. Cross over the Ashburton River and ride on to Haketere Station, thousands of acres of vast tussock-covered country. After crossing one more lake, you will have a great opportunity to see the snowy peaks of the Two Thumb Range. After lunch, you ride towards the Mesopotamia Station where you will be spending the night at the Shearers Quarters with electricity and showers.
  • Day 15 15: BUSH STREAM - 7-10 HOURS RIDING

    Today marks the starts of the toughest riding day. The ride up to Scour Creek will take you to the highest point yet. Pass small huts that serve as refuges and reach the Sinclair mountain range. The scenery from the top of the mountain is breathtaking. After some long hours in the saddle you will begin the descent down into Bush Stream. You will stay at Royal Hut that in former occasions has been occupied by HRH Princess Anne and HRH Prince Charles. Camp will need to be set up (no shower or electricity).
  • Day 16 16 : STAG SADDLE - 7-10 HOURS RIDING

    Last day of this wonderful horseback journey, yet the toughest climb of the trail ride is waiting ahead. Today you and your horse will be heading towards the Two Thumb range through Stag Saddle. At the peak 1924m (6314 ft) above sea level you will be stunned by the unbelievable landscapes before your eyes, views of Lake Tekapo, Lake Benmore, Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook, Mt Tasman and all the high tops can be seen from this vantage point.

    From this location you will start your descent for about four hours until you reach Mount Gerald Station Quarters. Here you will spend the night with electricity and hot water.

    The horses will be rewarded with a shower and brushed down. They will be happy to rest in a 60 acre red and white clover paddock that will be their home for the next ten days until new guests arrive and ride them back to their home ranch in Waitohi Downs.

    It is time to say farewell to the horses and take a transfer back to the home ranch. You will have a picnic lunch on the way. Once back in the ranch you will enjoy a hearty meal, a hot shower and a real bed to rest in.

    After a well-deserved rest you will be able to be transferred back to Christchurch city.
    Note: Due to adverse weather conditions in the mountains, this trail ride may overrun therefore buffer days are required. Please do not plan your flights right after the trail is over, but rather consider booking 3 nights at Christchurch to avoid missing flights (these days are outlined bellow).
  • Day 19 19 : CHRISTCHURCH

    Day at Christchurch at your own expense.
  • Day 20 20 : CHRISTCHURCH

    Day at Christchurch at your own expense.
    Note: Make sure to schedule your transfer to the airport for the next day.

    Fly back to Europe
  • Day 22 22 : EUROPE

    Arrive home.

Dates & prices

Price details

No departure for this destination. Please contact our travel advisers for more information.
- International flights are not included, but can be booked upon request.

- The above rates are per person based on shared occupancy

- The group is made of 5-12 riders maximum.

- Transfers are included between the airport and the ranch at set times. Transfers to and from the city centre are an extra $10. Payable on site.

- Overnight at the hotels in Christchurch are not included, however we will be happy to book them upon request. Any additional transfers from the Airport to the hotels and back are also not included and to your own account.

- Special diet supplement: €90/£80 per person for the duration fo the trip. .
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English-speaking horse guide


1 cook
1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
1 support vehicle

Inland transport

Transfers from the airport to the ranch at set times


Mountain huts from D4 to D16. (Depending on the number of participants the accomodation might be tents)
Foam Mattress


Full board from dinner on day 4 to breakfast on day 17

Additional equipment

Saddle bags

Price doesn't include


Beverages and personal extras
Special dietary requirements extra (see dates and prices)


International flights


Tips to the local team


Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation
Visas and personal purchase



Sleeping bag rental (see dates and prices)
Accommodation in Christchurch


Transfers he city centre to the Ranch (see dates and prices)
We are currently updating our dates and prices they will be online soon. If you want details of this holiday, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Equestrian info


The ranch has around 80 Clydesdale horses. Some of the horses are specifically trained for riding while others are pack horses.

Rider weight limit: 120 kg / 18.8 st / 265 lbs

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You must be used to riding outdoors. Due to the uneven terrain and high elevation this ride is not recommended for nervous riders or for those who suffer from vertigo. Children cannot participate in the ride. Bear in mind you might be spending up to 10 hours in the saddle. The itinerary might change due to unpredictable weather.

Rider weight limit: 120 kg / 265 lbs / 18st8


Walking is the main pace of this trail ride due to the amount of hours you will be spending in the saddle each day and the uneven terrain.

Tacking ability and participation

Everyone's participation is required to tack and untack the horses. You will also need to participate in horse care related activities, distribution of water and food. It will be appreciated if you could also help with preparing meals and setting up tents when needed.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You must be physically fit and riding fit. An adventurous mindset is also required: this is no pony ride! On several occasions you will be asked to dismount and lead your horse on foot, and especially when going downhill. You must be able to walk downhill on varied terrain so good levels of fitness are mandatory.

You need to be ready to wake up around 5:00 am every day and ride for up to 10 hours on horseback. The temperatures and climate are unpredictable so you must be ready to cross rivers and hike along varied terrains while on the trail. The stations are very rustic. A stove will be used to heat water and keep you warm.

Previous riding holiday experienced with long hours in the saddle is strongly recommended.

Equestrian equipment

Saddles Australian Stock Saddles
Helmets are mandatory
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
Saddle bags are provided.

Travel info


Overnight in mountain huts or tents depending on the station and number of riders in the group. Please remember the accommodation is basic and will be shared with others on the ride. Some nights are spent camping and you should bring your own sleeping bag. Mattresses are provided.

Huts might have electricity and water. On some occasions, and especially on the camping nights, washing and loo facilities will not be available.


Homemade meals. A cook will prepare dinner for you. Breakfast is continental and lunch is taken during the ride. Before dinner your guides will offer you some cheese and crackers.

Alcohol has to be ordered at least 2 weeks before trip leaving and has to be paid separately. Alcohol choices will be provided with the booking.
You can also bring your own alcohol but it needs to be transported in plastic bottles as glass bottles are heavy to carry.

There will be €6 extra per day if you have any specific diet (vegetarian, gluten free, etc)


Christchurch's climate is Oceanic.
In summer the wind from the north-eastern Pacific limits the rise in temperatures.
In October the temperatures vary between 12° C at the best time of the day and 4 ° C for the coldest nights with a fog. In November the days are pleasant with 22 ° C in the middle of the day, and with a minimum of 10° C in the early morning. In December temperatures can rise to 25° C in the middle of the afternoon with cool morning at 10 ° C. In winter, temperatures below 0° C are frequent at night. On average, there are 70 days of frost per year. The snow falls about twice a year on the hills and once or twice in the plain.

Guide and local team

Lawrie and Jenny will be your hosts and guides. Corinna will be the cook during the trail, so she will keep you warm with her home-made dishes. Lawrie and Jenny have lived there since 1981 and started the trail rides in 1992. These horse lovers have an outstanding knowledge of the region and could not be happier to help you discover it.


In New Zealand it is not common to tip, except in some luxurious restaurants (Up to 10% of the bill, depending on the service)

Packing list

Important: For your riding holiday please make sure your luggage does not exceed 15 kg.
You are in a mountainous area and temperatures can be cold, especially at night. Consider layered equipment and clothes that will allow you to adapt to each temperature you will face during your ride.

- A riding helmet is mandatory and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. Helmet manufacturers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable.
- Sunhat for when not riding - Essential
- Sunglasses (UV protection) - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the cold wind.

Upper body
- Thermals in case of cold weather
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun or extra warmth (quick dry fabric)
- T-shirts (quick dry fabric)
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent (plus a spare in case one gets wet)
- Complete rain gear: Long waterproof jacket down to the knees

- 2 pairs of comfortable riding trousers or long leather chaps - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Waterproof over trousers
- 1 spare jean or walking trouser
- Gore-tex pants (waterproof and breathable)
- Thermal trousers for cold days or for sleeping in.
- A swimming costume may be useful for impromptu dips in the lakes or washing in the rivers.
- Non-irritant cotton or synthetic underwear

Hands and Feet
- 1 pair of walking shoes with chaps or booths with specific mini-chaps for riding.
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings in the cabins.
- Several pairs of socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind, cold or rain whilst riding

Horse riding extras
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lip balm etc)
- A soothing cream may be useful to treat areas irritated by long hours in the saddle
- Backpacks are not permitted whilst riding

- Sleeping bag with a comfort level of -5° min, -8° or -10° would also be beneficial. We also recommend you bring with you a sleeping bag liner for extra warmth.

Other useful items
- Travel bag, preferably a soft bag 60-80ltrs (front opening or backpack) - Your belonging will be transferred in the 'Swags' so do no over pack.
- Head torch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Toiletries (biodegradable wipes to replace water)
- Swiss army knife or equivalent (in checking-in luggage!!)
- Ear plugs (may be useful)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Towel

Medical kit
- Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) are clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Painkillers
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrheal medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- Plasters
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- A box of bandages.
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Hand wash gel
For High altitudes: Aspegic 1000, Duxil for persistent headaches due to altitude sickness, light sleeping pills, Diamox or Aldactazine tablets (on medical prescription, to use only on the advice of your doctor)

General information
- We recommend taking any valuables, such as your camera, iPod, iPad, medicines and glasses etc. in your hand luggage. Travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes is highly recommended - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- Throughout the ride, we ask you not to exceed 15 kg of luggage per person to not overcharge the 'swags'
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- If, in wishing to 'travel light', you plan to wash your clothes throughout the trip, please ensure you bring biodegradable laundry products with which to do your washing

-Equipment provided:
- First aid kit
- 1 pair of medium size saddlebags
- Tents + Foam Mattress

Visa & Health


Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of one month from the date of exit from New Zealand.

From 1 October 2019, British nationals travelling by air or cruise and entering New Zealand without a visa (tourists) will need to hold an ETA before travelling to New Zealand. An ETA will last up to 2 years and cost NZD 9 for mobile application requests and NZD 12 for web browser requests. Holders of valid New Zealand visas (both resident and temporary) will continue to be able to enter New Zealand without an ETA. Any queries about the ETA should be directed to ETA.information@mbie.govt.nz

The IVL will be introduced alongside the ETA and will cost NZD 35. Once paid the IVL will last as long as the ETA is valid. It is payable at the same time as the ETA.

The link below has further information on the requirements – including transit passengers:

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are valid for entry into New Zealand when accompanied by a permanent residence, work or study visa. ETDs are accepted for holiday-makers as long as New Zealand is not the final destination. ETDs are also accepted for airside transit and exit from New Zealand.

New Zealand has very strict bio-security regulations. It is illegal to import most foodstuffs (meat and meat products, honey, fruit, dairy produce) and strict penalties are handed out to those breaking these rules. Take care when importing wood products, golf clubs, footwear, tents, fishing equipment and items made from animal skin. The immigration arrivals card has full details. If in doubt, declare items to a Ministry of Agriculture official or dump them in one of the bins available at the airport. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a heavy fine of up to $100,000 or imprisonment.

For up-to-date information please visit : https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/new-zealand/entry-requirements

Addresses of consulates

  • Ambassade de Nouvelle Zélande
    7 ter rue Léonard De Vinci
    75016 PARIS
    Tél. : 01 45 01 43 43
    Fax : 01 45 01 43 44
  • New Zealand House
    80 Haymarket London SW1Y 4TQ United Kingdom
    SW1Y 4TQ London
    Tél. : 020 7930 8422
    Fax : 020 7839 4580
  • Ambassade de Nouvelle-Zelande
    Square de Meeus 17
    1000 BRUXELLES
    Tél. : +32 (0) 2 512 10 40
    Fax : +32 (0) 2 513 48 56
  • Consulat général de Nouvelle-Zélande
    Chemin des Fins 2
    1218 Le Grand-Saconnex
    Tél. : 022/929 03 50
    Fax : 022/929 03 77
  • Ambassade de France
    Sovereign Building 13ème étage
    34-42 Manners Sreet PO box 11343
    Tél. : +64 (4) 384 25 55
    Fax :


There are some restrictions on bringing medication into New Zealand. Visit the New Zealand Customs website for more information. If you arrive in New Zealand with any prescription medicines, you must declare it on your passenger arrival card.
Yellow fever certificate requirements:
If you’re travelling to the island of Niue, check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
For more information you can always visit : https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/new-zealand/entry-requirements


It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.


Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts (50 hertz), although most hotels and motels provide 110 volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only.

British visitors will require an adapter.

Budget and money

New Zealand dollar.

Please be sure to check your favorite currency exchange converter before your trip.

Telephone and jetlag

Country code: +64