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5 Days Backcountry Horseback Trail Ride in Canterbury, New Zealand

Lake Coleridge Lodge, 1 Hart Place, Lake Coleridge Village, Rakaia Valley, Inland Canterbury, New Zealand

New Zealand Horse Riding Holiday

Enjoy this five-day horseback trail ride through big rivers and big mountains, a true backcountry experience!​ High Country Horse Adventures has horses to suit all levels of riding experience, from beginner and novice to the experienced rider. Enjoy the stunning Canterbury backcountry, only a 75-minute drive from Christchurch, yet a world away! This holiday is for group bookings only.

Key Information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 286 pounds / 130 kilograms
  • Tack Type: Western Tack
  • Horse Breed: New Zealand Station Bred
  • Horse Height Range: 14.2 - 17.0 Hands

Meet the instructors

James, Dylan, & Jake
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  • 5 horse riding days
  • Use of horses and helmets are included
  • Approximate daily riding time: 4 to 6 hours
  • Daily wholesome cooked breakfast with coffee, tea, and refreshments
  • Use of clean sleeping bags and camp equipment are included
  • Wine/beer/cheese board and evening meal daily
  • Lunch on all riding days are provided
  • 4 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


5 days with instruction
Group size: 4-6 participants
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  • Fireplace

You will be staying in basic, rustic backcountry musterers hut or cabin accommodation. There will be a shared bunkhouse, clean sleeping bags will be provided, there will be open fire and gas cooking, outhouse long-drop toilets, and limited ablution facilities with no electric power or Wi-Fi. You will also be served with wholesome camp meals. As this trek involves a major river crossing at the start, at times when the river level is not safe to cross or is forecast to rise, you will start the trek from the opposite side of the river.


Day 1

You will arrive at the lodge/family home in Lake Coleridge Village by 9 a.m, you’ll then get fitted for a helmet and receive a riding safety brief. Then, you will meet the horses, pack your overnight gear on a packhorse, take some time to get familiar with your horse and have your stirrups adjusted for length. When everyone is ready, set out on the trail for the day’s ride.

You will spend most of the day on the trail with lunch and rest stops. Expect to be in the saddle for around four hours. Initially, you will ride up and across a large braided river then climb up into a large high country valley where you ride to your cabin, here, you will settle in where you can relax, enjoy wine/beer, a cheese board, and a hearty evening meal followed by great starlight views after dark.

Day 2

After breakfast and saddling and packing the horses, ride up a beautiful high country valley including a gorge-y section. You will then climb up a steep trail to a high plateau and your next cabin camp. You’ll be in the saddle for around six hours on this longest riding day. Parts of the gorge-y stream section and the steep hill climb to the high plateau involve walking and leading your horse. After tending to the horses, you will settle into camp for your usual relaxed evening of refreshments and another fine camp dinner.

Day 3

After breakfast and preparing the horses, set out on a day-long loop trail high through the mountains with spectacular views and opportunities to view wild game. Expect four to five hours in the saddle and lunch and refreshment breaks.

Day 4

Retrace your trail from Day 2, back down into the valley to the cabin you stayed in on the first night; expect five hours in the saddle today. The horses are always keen when headed for home so the return on this trail is a little quicker than the Day 2 ride out.

Day 5

The day starts with another wholesome cooked breakfast, you will then saddle and pack the horses. Again, you will ride for most of the day with lunch and rest stops; you’ll retrace your trail back across the river to the lodge. You’ll be in the saddle for around four hours today, you can expect to be back at the lodge and free to depart by 5 p.m.

Rider’s experience

Intermediate and advanced riders are welcome on this tour. This is big country, where possible, High Country Horse Adventures endeavor to match rider experience in each group. You will ride at a pace that suits the least able or least confident rider in the group.

This is High Country Horse Adventures' most challenging trek, you don’t need to be an expert rider but you will need to be confident riding in big, open, and rugged mountain country and be prepared to walk at times, leading your horse through rough and steep sections including stream crossings. Riders looking for a less challenging backcountry trek should consider the three-day backcountry trek.

Be prepared for some hill walking and stream crossing on foot; on some bouldery sections of streams and rivers and on some steep hill inclines and declines, you will lead the horses. You will need boots with reasonable tread, expect to get wet feet and bring a rain jacket and some warm clothing, even on summer bookings, hot weather can also be expected.


James Cagney

Dylan Cagney

Jake Phillips


High Country Horse Adventures' office and lodge are located at 1 Hart Place, Lake Coleridge Village, a pleasant 75-minute drive from Christchurch or 30 minutes from Methven. You can be picked up and dropped off from Christchurch or other central Canterbury locations if required (there is a charge for this service). ​The trail rides are in the Lake Coleridge or upper Rakaia Valley area and the surrounding high country.


High Country Horse Adventures provides quality meals and cater for special dietary requirements, please advise them of your requirements when booking. Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included, as well as coffee, tea, and refreshments.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

​Lake Coleridge is Canterbury's hidden gem! You can combine your trail ride with other activities in the area like high country walking, jet boat rides on the Rakaia River, 4x4 tours, golf at the nearby Terrace Downs Golf Resort, or skiing during the winter at the nearby Mt. Hutt and Mt. Olympus Ski-fields.

What's included

  • 5 full days of horse riding
  • 4 nights accommodation
  • Lunch on all riding days
  • Wine/beer/cheese board and evening meal at the end of each day
  • Wholesome cooked breakfast daily
  • Coffee, tea, and refreshments
  • Helmets and use of horses
  • Use of clean sleeping bags and camp equipment

What's not included

  • Airport transfers
  • Airfare
  • Rain jackets
  • Activities
  • Personal expenses

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please arrange your flight to arrive at Christchurch International Airport (CHC), this is the closest airport; it is 100 kilometers (60 miles) or a 1 hour 15 minutes’ drive from the lodge. You are recommended to hire a car at the airport and self-drive for the best value.

High Country Horse Adventures offers a free pick up and drop off service from Methven. Methven Travel provide a daily shuttle service between Christchurch and Methven. For more information send inquiry.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
5 days / 4 nights
from --
Extension options

High Country Horse Adventures has accommodation and meals available for the night before and the night after the five-day trek if required. This needs to be arranged in advance and at the time of booking. The additional rate is 80 USD per person per night for accommodation, dinner, and breakfast. For more information, please send an inquiry.

Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 4 participants

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