Musters Mountain Pack Trail
Suitable for people with good riding ability and good levels of fitness as this trail is designed with walking, trotting and cantering in mind.
|Dates||Length of Stay||Number of Riders|
|15/16/17/18/19/20/21st February 2018||6 days riding
6 nights’ accommodation
|6 to 10 riders||
8 saddles left
|21/22/23/24/25/26/27th March 2018||6 days riding
6 nights’ accommodation
|6 to 10 riders|
|11/12/13/14/15/16/17th April 2018||6 days riding
6 nights’ accommodation
|6 to 10 riders|
Riders will obtain a true appreciation for the New Zealanders cross bred horses. They are strong, surefooted with calm natures and cool heads and we have bred them specifically for this environment.
Riding Day 1 – Meet at 2pm Constable’s Cottage, St. Bathan’s, Central Otago – 2 hours riding
You will meet your tour guide and wranglers and luggage will be taken to our accommodation for the evening. We will then introduce you to your horse that will be saddled and ready for the afternoons ride in the surrounding St Bathan’s area. This is to ensure that we have a happy relationship between horse and rider. There will be opportunities to have a group photo outside the historic hotel. On our return riders can enjoy some time in the beautiful historic gold mining town. Many of the old mud brick buildings have been restored or if you prefer a few drinks at the hotel. Dinner will be served at our accommodation for the evening with drinks and nibbles followed by a hearty home cooked feast. Our accommodation for the evening is one of the historic cottages within the township.
Riding day 2 – 6 hours riding
Look forward to a spectacular day as we crisscross the Dunstan River 24 times and make our way alongside this beautiful glacial river through St. Bathan’s Station and into Dunstan Downs Station. This is a very good fly fishing river and keen eyes may spot trout feeding in the many pools we view along our trail. We will be following in the footsteps of the old gold miners from the time of New Zealand’s gold rush. The old water races constructed by the miners can be seen along the mountain ranges leading back to the Blue Lake. This gives you a strong sense of history, as you start to understand the numbers of men and women that lived and worked in this area and how difficult life must have been for them, as they sought to make their fortune. Gold fever can be a strong draw card however; the reality of this arid environment took many lives.
There is an opportunity for riders to change the pace today if you so desire.
As we ride up the valley the majestic Old Man peak stands in front of us (waiting for us to conquer the following day.) Our accommodation for the evening is in “Fat Mans Hut,” the original hut is over 100 years old and has been utilised by Musters to tend their sheep. A new cook shop has been constructed alongside the existing building which includes a welcome hot shower (high country style) After dinner enjoy the most breath-taking display of stars, the lack of light pollution makes the starlight very intense. Tents are offered here if people would rather have their own privacy.
Riding day 3 – 9am – 7 hours riding
After a cooked breakfast with lunches packed we saddle up riding out of Fat Mans hut and head onto the mountain track which leads us up Old Man Peak. This is the highest stock pass in New Zealand at just under 6000 feet above sea. The landscape on top is the nearest you will find to being on the moon. On a clear day you can see the four highest peaks in New Zealand’s South Island, Aorangi (Mount Cook) Mount Aspiring, Mount St. Bathan’s and Mount Tutoko, lakes Dunstan & Pukaki. As we descend we enjoy views out towards the Southern Alps with Mother Earth laid out before us like a patchwork quilt. We descend into the Dunstan Downs cattle yard at 3000 feet to enjoy our lunch beside the Alpine Lindis pass. Our pack horses are waiting in the cattle yards to carry our gear through the mountain passes. After lunch we cross the road, riding into Dalrachney Station. Here we ride along the river filled with wild lupin’s and roses (depending on the time of year), painting the landscape blue, pink and purple, (keep the camera handy it is a unique feature of the McKenzie and Lindis pass area’s) Leaving the river behind we begin our ascent on the steepest part of our trail. You will begin to understand the type of horses you are riding as they are purpose bred for this terrain. We are heading to our accommodation for the evening, at the Lindis Ridge hut set high on the edge of the Southern Alps @ 5000feet above sea. This site is looking out over typical, “Lord of the Rings” Country.
This hut has 10 bunks with two separate bedrooms, a long drop toilet, solar lighting and a log burner, with a deck that faces out into the mountains and overlooking our spectacular ride the following day. We enjoy nibbles, a glass of wine and a hearty dinner.
Riding day 4 - 3 1/2 hours riding
After a late breakfast, to allow us to take in the stunning mountain scenery which surrounds the Lindis Ridge hut. We pack our lunch and descend down into the head of the Lindis basin where we will be met that afternoon by our back up vehicle. On our arrival tents will be erected for our evening’s accommodation. This is a short day to enable the riders and horses to rest before tomorrow’s stunning and dramatic ascent to the top of Mount Prospect.
For those riders who enjoy walking and observing Alpine plant life, this is a great opportunity to do so. This location is filled with unique New Zealand flora and fauna.
Tonight we enjoy a hearty back country meal flanked by the Southern Alps.
Riding day 5 – 7.5 hours riding
Today is one of the trail bosses favourite days riding; enjoy a day filled with mountain scenery on horseback, second to none in New Zealand. You can be forgiven if your mind tells you that you are riding through the Rocky Mountains in USA or Mongolian mountain ranges (without the worry of grizzly bears or mountain lions). Breakfast over, pack horses loaded and horses saddled we forge even deeper into the mountain ranges. Today is filled with adventure as we follow old pack trails around the side of Mount Prospect. Our trail leads us over shingle slides and through snow fed creeks. Here keen eyes may spot Shammy (Chamois -an agile goat/ antelope with short hooked horns) and Himalayan Tahr (is associated with wild goats from the Himalayas in southern Tibet). We cross two mountain ridges before descending into native beech forest and bush arriving in Timaru Creek where we will have our lunch.
Tummies full, we begin the second half of our days ride along the side of Timaru Creek, looking up into the rock formations that we have ridden before lunch. Our trail takes us up and over the Mount Martha saddle which is part of the famous “Te Areroa trail” https://www.teararoa.org.nz/ Our accommodation for the evening is beside the Longslip Station hut where there is a long drop toilet and tents will be erected for our accommodation. There is a beautiful crystal clear mountain stream beside the camp site if riders would like a swim. Hot showers will be provided from our camp trailer.
Dinner tonight will be a traditional Kiwi barbecue
Riding day 6 – 6 hours riding
Breakfast over; lunches packed we begin our last day’s equine adventure. Heading towards the Ahuriri River we ride alongside a safaris park which is filled with Red, Fallow and Wapiti stags with heads full of impressive antlers. We ride through many small streams with some opportunities for trotting and cantering. This is Merino sheep country whose fine wool has made New Zealand famous.
Today we will enjoy views of the Ahuriri conservation park. We head to the end of our ride at the Historic Ribbonwood woolshed. The last 45mins of this ride, we ride alongside a mountain stream in the bush before reaching our destination and the end of our trail.
Here we will be met by a vehicle and transported to our accommodation for the evening in a comfortable hotel. Riders can enjoy a relaxing evening which includes a dip in the Omarama hot tubs to soak away those aches and pains and enjoy the incredible stars in this “light” conservation area. The horses will be put on the truck and transported to a good paddock for them to enjoy a well-earned break and dinner.
Tonight we enjoy our final dinner together at the hotel.
Day 7 – Final day,
after breakfast you will be picked up by Bus and returned to Queenstown Airport or your accommodation.
Cost per rider $ 3,950.00
- Includes transfers from Queenstown airport and return to Queenstown Airport (this is subject to traveling on set dates to meet rides)
POINTS OF DIFFERENCE THAT SET THIS TRAIL APART FROM OTHER NEW ZEALAND PACK TRAILS:
- We are riding on private land through iconic high country stations. This allows us to experience the 100% pure unspoilt environment of New Zealand. Where you will enjoy dramatic scenery and complete isolation rarely found in these modern times.
- Small personalised groups
- Ability to trot and canter where terrain and weather permit
- We transport our horses to the very best private land in the South Island that we can find
- We source local farm fresh produce to maintain a low carbon footprint
Extended ride enjoys the final evening in Oamarama hot tubs under the stars http://www.hottubsomarama.co.nz
Pictures by Andreas Baumann
Pictures by Michelle Jarvis