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Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
The horses are typical hardy New Zealand hacks bred by the hosts, all of a solid build ranging from 15.1hh to 17hh. They are forward moving, calm, sensible, gentle and yet able to dig in and get the job done on terrain that climbs to 6,000 feet above sea.There are a number of Clydesdale crosses which can accommodate heavier riders, please check for availability of these if you exceed the weight limit but are interested in this ride. Saddles are comfy stock and western saddles and all the tack is well kept and suited to the horses.
The terrain is varied and can be steep in places, and the trails may cross rivers, but the horses are all honest, calm and sure-footed. They are comfortable going high into the mountains and through glacial fed rivers and streams.
Riders should have some experience, though general fitness is more important for long days in the saddle. Horses are selected for each rider based on experience level as well as height/weight, and the ride can be adjusted to fit many experience levels. The pace of the ride for the first few days is limited by having the pack horses, so less experienced or less confident riders will have time to build up to doing more trotting and cantering towards the end of the ride. There will be opportunities for more experienced riders to do trotting and cantering on some days. The minimum age for this ride is 12 years, children must be good riders and accompanied by an adult.
The weight limit for this ride is 16 st/220 lb/100 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
On this trail you will spend 4 nights in renovated shearer’s quarters, 3 nights in basic cabins or camping, and 1 night in a hotel. On occasion one of the nights in shearer’s quarters (at Hunter Valley) may be substituted for a second night in the hotel if the owner is in residence.
Shearer’s Quarters: These cabins, traditionally used by farm hands watching and tending sheep in the valleys, have all been renovated to provide comfortable accommodation with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. They come equipped with hot showers, flushing toilets and electricity (often from a generator). Beds are dormitory style, with two or three rooms at each cabin. There is usually a dinning/social area at each cabin where you can relax in the evening.
Basic cabins: These huts have long-drop toilets and water will be provided for washing. There is solar power lighting and a limited water supply to have hot camp showers at the Boundary Hut. Beds are dormitory style in one room, or there is the option to have a 1/2 person tent.
Hotel: The final night of the tour (and night 4 if Hunter Valley is unavailable) is spent at Hawea Hotel on the shores of Lake Hawea. Rooms will be twin or family with all modern amenities including hot showers, flushing toilets, electricity, Wi-Fi and TVs. There are common areas available to relax in including a bar with pool table.
Food on the trail will be locally sourced as much as possible, adding to the authentic feel of the trek. Meals will generally be rustic and hearty farm fare including. On the last night dinner will be in the hotel restaurant from the set menu (alcohol not included). At breakfast there are cereals, toast and preserves as well as a cooked breakfast (bacon, eggs, sausages), tea and coffee. Lunches are pack-ups of sandwiches/wraps, fresh fruit, home baked slices, sweets and nuts. Dinners are designed to enhance the visit through each high country station with Angus beef, roast merino lamb, high country salmon, Mount Harris venison. Puddings also include the fruits from central Otago. There is a complimentary glass of wine with dinner, additional drinks can be purchased before the trail and will be carried to each overnight location for you.
Please enquire if you have any dietary requirements: every effort will be made to accommodate dietary needs but please note that all the food is carried in pack boxes and the isolated location of the trails can make it difficult to source certain items.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
Visa requirements are not currently necessary for the U.K., other Europeanor USA nationals. But do check before travelling. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on travel insurance, passport and visas. They can be reached on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk
The British Consulate in Auckland can be contacted on .Tel +64 9 3032 973 email: postmaster.Auckland@fco.gov.uk.
The New Zealand High Commission in the U.K can be found at New Zealand House, 80 The Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4TQ. Tel (020) 7930 8422. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wanaka has four very distinct seasons with the warmest months being December to March.
The region shares the same latitude as Bordeaux, Belgrade, Venice, Portland and Montreal. Because New Zealand is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the weather changes quite quickly so you need to be prepared for this, always carry additional warm clothing, including a waterproof outer layer.
The town's average annual rainfall of 682mm, is half the New Zealand average, with most rainfall occurring in spring months.
There are no specific health requirements in place for visitors to New Zealand. Ask your GP for advice before travelling.
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org. You can also check the Department of Healths website at www.dh.gov.uk.
There are no specific health warnings for this ride. Insect repellent is a good idea though!
Voltage is 240V, 50 Hz as in EUrope and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.
There are opportunities to charge phones and cameras at some, but not all, accommodations along the trail. Spare batteries and/or a powerbank are a good idea. There is only Wi-Fi in the hotel on the last night.
We recommend you bring the following equipment (in a soft travel bag, please avoid hard suitcases):
Paddock boots or hiking boots with half-chaps or full-chaps
Riding hat or helmet STRONGLY ADVISED
Shirts or t-shirts
Pullover, fleece sweaters or fleece jacket
Warm coat and windbreaker
Comfortable trousers for evenings
Warm woollen/ merino clothing/ Thermal underwear (including long Johns)
Comfortable light-weight shoes for evenings
Hat or cap
Warm Hat/gloves/warm socks/ scarf
Personal toilet bag
High protection sun screen and lipstick
Tissue/toilet paper and wipes
Soap and shampoo (biodegradable if possible)
Antibacterial product for hands
Sleeping bag suited to mountain conditions
Sleeping bag liner
Hot water bottle if you feel the cold at night
Camera + batteries + powerbank
Electric adaptor if needed
Panadol or equiv. (if you think you will require this)
Chocolate (or other sweeties you can’t resist)
This is a 9 day/8 night programme with 8 days riding available on set dates.
2019: 11 March: 8 April
Single rooms are not available in the shearer's quarters so guests need to be willing to share. Single tents are available at no additional cost. Single rooms in hotels may be arranged subject to availability, please enquire.
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Kiwi Tracks: New Zealand Journey by Andrew Stevenson
Deer, K’ak’ap’o (colourful Alpine parrots), Hereford cattle, trout, New Zealand falcons
New Zealand is a fertile and mountainous group of islands in the south-west Pacific Ocean. It is made up of two main islands (the North Island and South Island) and a number of smaller islands.
New Zealand's first settlers were the Maori, whose Polynesian ancestors probably landed on what they called Aotearoa ('Land of the Long White cloud') during the 10th century AD, making New Zealand the last major habitable land mass to be settled by mankind. European settlers first came across New Zealand in 1642 when the Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, spotted it in the course of his search for Antarctica. He named the South Island 'Nieuw Zeeland' after the Dutch province. James Cook sighted the North Island in 1769 and returned with various charting and scientific expeditions a number of times over the next few years. His enthusiastic reports encouraged a wave of European settlers who came across from Australia, and whalers who came from the UK, the USA and France. They gradually displaced Maori from their lands.
New Zealand is a country of rare seismic beauty: glacial mountains, fast-flowing rivers, deep, clear lakes, hissing geysers and boiling mud. There are also abundant native forests and long, deserted beaches. Because of its isolated geographical location, New Zealand is home to many unique species of flora and fauna, including the kiwi, kakapo and weka (all flightless birds).
New Zealand is twelve hours ahead GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.
The international dialling code is +64.