Twin Lakes Pack Trail
West Wanaka Station to Hawea Hotel – 6-10 riders
|Dates||Length of Stay||Number of Riders|
|28/29/30/31st Jan 1/2nd Feb 2018||8 days riding
8 nights’ accommodation
|23/24/25/26/27/28th Feb 1st/2nd/3rd March 2018||8 days riding
8 nights’ accommodation
|21/22/23/24/25/26/27/28/29th April 2018||8 days riding
8 nights’ accommodation
|6 to 10 riders||
5 saddles leftdue to cancellations
With stunning views of Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring and the beautiful Hunter Valley
Arrival on first day 3pm start – 2.5 hours riding
You will be picked up from your accommodation or Queenstown airport (It is better if you stay in Queenstown the evening before a trail, just to ensure there are not delays) The driver will stop to allow you to purchase lunch and any additional alcohol or supplies that you may needs. The journey to West Wanaka is very picturesque and steeped in history. On arrival you will be met by the Trail boss and wranglers at West Wanaka Station shearer’s quarters. This is our accommodation for the evening, a quick cup of tea/ coffee, safety talk and then you will be introduced to your horse. We will set out to enjoy and afternoons ride beside the picturesque lake Wanaka. This is to ensure that we have a happy relationship between horse and rider. Returning to the shearer’s quarters for our evening meal and overnight stay. The quarters enjoy hot showers, TV room and electricity with three separate bunk rooms. This is a great opportunity to get to know one another before our adventure begins. There are some nice walks around the river if you so desire after dinner or you could just enjoy a wine beside the lake.
Riding day 2 – 9am start – 5-6 hours
Tucker boxes packed, horses saddled and pack horses at the ready. We will ride through deer paddocks climbing up onto the top tracks of the West Wanaka deer farm. This particular piece of the ride has been voted the most scenic four wheel drive journey in New Zealand for several years by New Zealand Tourism Board. Here we enjoy views of Lake Wanaka, Wanaka and Hawea Basin and Mount Aspiring National Park.
Our destination for the night is the simplistic and rustic Minaret Hut. Minaret hut is basic Musterer’s accommodation with 8 bunks and a long drop toilet. You can choose to sleep in the hut alternatively; there will be a number of tents erected prior to your arrival at the camp site. We will enjoy a hearty meal and relax overlooking the lake from the banks of West Wanaka Station. From high in the hills the lights of Wanaka Township are visible under cover of darkness and friendly K’ak’ap’o (wild colourful Alpine parrots) usually join us in the camp. We are so close to civilisation and yet so far away.
Riding day 3 – 9:30am start – 5 hours riding
Leaving Minaret hut with lunchboxes full and pack boxes loaded, we head out for our destination at Minaret Station. This morning’s ride is the trail bosses favourite as the scenery is so dramatic and breath-taking. The trail leads around rocky bluffs and thick native bush as we drop down into the Minaret River where we will enjoy a cup of tea and lunch.
Then we will head off climbing out of the Minaret River through the boundary between these two iconic stations. We head through the deer fencing where there is in access of 350km of deer fencing and an opportunity to spot wild deer in their natural habitat. We will ride for approximately an hour before we reach the lush green paddocks of Minaret Station. Here we are riding along the side of Lake Wanaka with its stunningly clear glacial waters acting like a mirror reflecting the imposing mountain ranges.
We are very lucky to have permission to ride through these farms on the banks of Wanaka Lake. There is no vehicle access through this area, Minaret utilises a barge, boat or air transportation. This is why we utilise pack horses for this section of the trip to carry our belongings. Pack horses where the traditional method of transportation for all of these stations and we are revitalising this old tradition.
Our accommodation for the night is the recently, revamped shearer’s quarters where there are hot showers, flushing toilets and electricity is provided by the station generator. Our evening meal is being prepared by either the station owner or the station managers Wife at Minaret. This is a great opportunity to chat to those who live and work at Minaret station. We can relax and enjoy the beauty of this isolated environment.
Riding day 4 – 8 am start – 5hours riding/2hours on the barge
After breakfast and lunches packed we continue our ride up the lake to meet with the barge. This will transport the horses and riders across the lake. Don’t miss a chance for some unique photo opportunities. On arrival at the wharf at the other side of the lake, we unload the horses and saddle up for a two hour ride. Meandering through Kidd’s Bush we are now riding on our third iconic station high above the Lake Wanaka, looking back across at the trail we followed the day before. This track affords the rider a view of both lakes in tandem and is known locally as, “the neck” between lakes. Our accommodation for tonight will be the Hunter Valley Station shearer’s quarters. Hot showers, flushing toilets and a washing machine are available along with soft beds and the ability to charge phones and cameras for the next day’s ride. This evening we will enjoy a hearty farm cooked dinner with incredible views over Lake Hawea. Here there is an opportunity to chat to station hands, Shepherd’s and owners on the station.
Note: due to the sale of Hunter Valley Station we may have to spend this evening at Hawea Hotel if the new owner is utilising the quarters.
Riding day 5 – 9:30am start – 6 hours riding
At this point of our journey we say goodbye to our faithful pack horses. This means, for those riders who want a change of pace, this will be available if riders are capable and where the terrain allows. Leaving the comforts of the shearer’s quarters behind us we head up into the stunning Hunter Valley. Travelling through native beech forests, alongside the most magnificent lake verge we head towards our destination for the evening Hunter Valley boundary hut. On our journey we meander through old fishing cribs that have been here for many years. This is an indication of the wonderful fishing available in the rivers and streams that service the lake. We will see Hereford cattle roaming free. The boundary hut has a long drop toilet, solar lighting, 10 bunks and a very good horse paddock all with stunning views of the Hunter Valley. We will enjoy our evening meal in this incredible isolation.
Riding day 6 – 9:30am start - 6 hours riding
Here riders can either enjoy a rest day at Boundary Hut or ride into the magnificent Hunter Valley After we enjoy a hearty breakfast and pack our lunches we saddle up and ride deep into the Hunter Valley. This trail meanders through an ice blue glacial river flanked by magnificent mountain ranges. Riders can enjoy seeing trout playing in the river or rare New Zealand Falcons flying high overhead. This is a ride you will not forget for a long time as the incredible isolation and beauty is overwhelming. There are plenty of opportunities for trotting and cantering if people so desire and subject to riding abilities. Returning to the Boundary hut for the evening we enjoy wine and nibbles before a traditional Kiwi mutton roast, cooked over an open fire in a camp oven. This evening dinner will be served out on the deck. There is an opportunity to sleep out under the stars here if you so desire. There is no electricity in this hut but we do enjoy solar panel lighting. Hot camp showers are available with limited water supply. Note: in the event of high rain fall, the river maybe too high to cross and we will head back towards the Hunter Valley homestead Quarters (in the last 5 years we have never had to do this but we need to maintain safety of our riders at all times)
Riding day 7 – 9:30am – 6 hours riding
Tummies full of breakfast, tucker boxes packed we head out to cross the crystal clear Hunter river into the Dingleburn station. We will spend the day feeling as though we are riding in a postcard as the views throughout the day are spectacular and day dreamy. Normally, at this time of year the lake acts as a mirror, reflecting the stunning views. We will be looking back across the lake at Hunter Valley Station and Lake Hawea that we rode around the previously. Our accommodation for the evening is the Dingleburn shearers quarters, located in an amazing setting. Here we have hot showers flushing toilets, electricity from the station generator and a wonderful cookhouse where we will enjoy a farm cooked meal and relaxing evening.
Riding day 8 – 11:30am start – 4 hours riding
Our final day – we enjoy a relaxing morning with a 10am brunch in the cookhouse. Saddle up and head for the Hawea Hotel. We ride along the Dingleburn track; you will be amazed at the pioneering Kiwi ingenuity that constructed this access way into such a stunning and remote station. We will pass the waterfall that provides the hydro power for the station. This is a wonderful picturesque gentle days riding to end our adventure. Keep the camera handy. We leave the horses in the Dingleburn Cattle yards for the night. The horses will enjoy a good night on the hay whilst we will be transported to the Hawea Hotel for our nights’ accommodation and evening meal. This Hotel overlooks Lake Hawea and we can enjoy the luxury of dinner looking out over the lake. Dinner is a set menu (you will need to bring your wallet for alcohol which is not included)
Day 9 – breakfast is provided and then you will make your way home. Transportation is provided to Queenstown airport or your accommodation.
Cost per rider $ 5,350
POINTS OF DIFFERENCE THAT SET THIS TRAIL APART FROM OTHER NEW ZEALAND PACK TRAILS:
- We are exclusively 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
- Unique barge crossing of Wanaka Lake with horse and riders
- We transport our horses to the very best private land in the South Island that we can find
- We cater for differing riding abilities within the one trek
- We source local farm fresh produce to maintain a low carbon footprint
- Suitable for people with some riding ability and good levels of fitness.
- Includes transfers from Queenstown airport and return to Queenstown Airport (this is subject to traveling on set dates to meet rides)