Just two hours' drive from Auckland is a land of spectacular views, amazing beaches and the source of Maori culture. The perfect place to start a trail ride! Pakiri Beach is a 17 km long, wide sandy beach complete with surf and the occasional dolphin, a fabulous place to ride and swim. The Warrior Trail a cultural and historical ride following ancient Maori warrior trails through coastal bush and high country. This is a based ride with a one night stay out at a traditional Maori meeting place. This is a spectacularly beautiful part of New Zealand - a wonderful place for a horse riding holiday. The rides are easy to combine with additional itineraries and will round off your experience of the country.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from JH of Marnhull on 13/05/2018

Ride Summary
Wonderful situation with 17 km of white beaches, sweet beach huts to stay in, and the proprietor Sharley is a fabulous host! She has a great choice of well schooled horses and her staff are knowledgeable and fun to be with.
What was your overall impression of the holiday

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How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
The host matches your ability to a suitable horse.
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Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Day 1
Arrive Pakiri at approx. midday 2 pm. Introductory ride along beautiful Pakiri beach for approximately 2 hrs. Dinner with your hosts and over night at the farm house or in the beach house.

Day 2
Depart Pakiri at 10 am. for a days riding on the beautiful white sand Pacific surf beach. Here you may be lucky enough to see wild dolphins playing in the surf and indeed ride in and swim with them - this of course can't be guaranteed but we do this occasionally! You will ride along trails in the pine forest once used by Maori warriors in ancient times as they protected their territory here from visiting tribes. Lunch at the freshwater Lake Tomarata .If the weather is fine you might like to swim your horse and cool off. Then up over Te Arai Point where the views over the beach and out to the islands are spectacular. Return along the beach to your farm accommodation at Pakiri and a hearty dinner. Approx. 5 hours riding.

Day 3
Today you will ride over coastal farm country through paddocks of sheep and cattle, then through native New Zealand rain forest where you will follow an old Kauri logging trail used many years ago by bushmen felling the ancient kauri trees. From here you will ride on to recently cleared land at Whangaripo , picnic lunch and then return through the native bush and a rare wetland forest to your accommodation at Pakiri. Approx. 5 hours riding

Day 4
Depart Pakiri for the Maori Marae at Leigh. We climb high above the white sands of Pakiri beach to the lookout fortress of the paramount chief Te Kiri the ancestor of your hosts. Here you will be able to look out over the ocean to the Little Barrier Hauturu and Great Barrier Aotea islands and the Hen and Chickens Taranga Islands and Coromandel and also to Rangitoto and Auckland city in the distance. You will travel over beautiful farmland down to the little fishing township of Leigh where we stop for lunch at the Seafriends Café and aquarium. A short ride from there to Omaha Marae, a genuine Maori marae still run on the traditions of the past. You will all sleep the night together in the Whare nui meeting house on mattresses on the floor as is the custom. You will be able to talk with the people and learn something of their history and their lives today. Approx. 5 hours riding

Day 5
After a hearty breakfast you will return to Pakiri stopping for lunch at Te Kiri's Pa high above the sea. From here a steep descent to the beach where you can enjoy a brisk gallop along the sand and then ride through the dunes and along the estuary where you can see a wonderful variety of birds , up over some hilly farmland and return to Pakiri to your accommodation. An afternoon tea or a cool beer rounds off your riding holiday before your departure to Pakiri. Approx. 5 hours riding

These departures depend on there being a minimum of 4 riders on the ride (6 to stay at the marae) and on the availability of the services we require to use for the ride. If for any reason (eg. Flooding or washouts etc.) we consider the ride to be unsafe we reserve the right to cancel and refund your payments, or if the Marae is not available because it is being used by the people for a Tangi or other sacred service we reserve the right to find alternative accommodation at either the Sawmill Motel or Goat Island Outlook and leave the Marae component out of the tour. This will not affect the enjoyment of this wonderful horse riding holiday. We will do this tour on demand for groups of 5 people or more.

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.

Horses & Riding

There are 60 horses who are currently working as trekking horses, including Thoroughbreds, Arabs, Clydesdales x's, Connemara x's and Percheron x's. The horses were chosen for their kind temperaments and their unflappable attitudes. They are forward going and relaxed. Our horses are ridden in snaffle bits, fitted to English and stock bridles

Rider requirements

Intermediate riders onwards happy and in control at all paces in varied terrain

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The accommodation on the trail comprises beach cabins on most nights. On night 3 you will sleep in the meeting house on mattresses on the floor. Beach Cabins Enjoy views of the sea and the Pohutakawa trees from these cosy cabins. Once used as huts for forestry workers, they have been converted into comfortable rustic beach accommodation. Each cabin has a double bed, a small kitchen and dining area (including a small stove and fridge, cutlery and crockery) and a bathroom with a hot shower and WC. The cabins also feature small deck areas with a view over the water and the pohutukawa glade. Situated amongst the sand dunes, they have easy access to our private beach

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

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.

General information:

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 email@newzealandhc.org.uk.

Climate Summary

New Zealand has a temporate climate although the Southern Island is considerably colder than the North with regular snowfall in the winter and even frost.

In the Northern part of the North island enjoy a sub tropical climate with temperatures from 16C in winter falling to about 9C on cold nights and up to 28C in summer occasionally even higher. They have a lot of rain which is why New Zealand is so green but in summer the rainfall is not high.

Climate Chart


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.


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.

Film and Camera Equipment

The scenery and surroundings on the trail are stunning. You will be riding in a remote area so best to stock up beforehand

Packing List

Sturdy footwear, Riding or jodhpur boots (hiking boots with a heeland half chaps), Warm clothing (polyproplene or wool), Sleeping bag (can be hired), Waterproof hat/sun hat, Swimming costume, Towel, Sunblock, Insect repellent, Camera & spare film, Flashlight(small), Gloves

Supplied; Oilskin raincoat, Saddlebags, Riding helmets

Departure Dates

2020: Feb 10, 24; Mar 9, 30; Oct 19; Nov 23; Dec 14.
Other dates available upon request for groups of 5 or more

No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.

No of   
Riding days Product item description £
20205d/4n5double pp4,109
No of   
Riding days Product item description
20205d/4n5double pp4,545
No of   
Riding days Product item description $
20205d/4n5double pp5,355
No of   
Riding days Product item description SEK
20205d/4n5double pp47,905
Recommended Reading

Two Worlds: First Meetings Between Maori and Europeans 1642-1772 by Anne Salmond is a fascinating historical account of the first contact between the Maori and European explorers. The Greenpeace New Zealand Story by Michael Szabo, chronicles the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior by French agents and outlines Greenpeace activities in New Zealand and the Pacific. Te Ao Hurihuri: Aspects of Maoritanga by Michael King, is a collection of writings on Maori culture, with contributions from a number of respected Maori authors. Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff, is a gritty, no-nonsense account of Maori urban life, subsequently made into an internationally acclaimed film of the same name.For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com

Other Activities

In the area there are beaches, wineries, Goat Island Marine reserve (excellent snorkelling), fishing, diving and kayaking.


There are many melodious birds and a huge number of native birds unique to this country. The wild animals are introduced species gone feral, rabbits, red deer and wild pigs. The only mammal native to New Zealand is a bat and there are also several species of skinks, geckos and many insects the most unusual being the giant weta.

If you’re lucky you may see dolphins & even get to swim with them!

Other Information

Comprehensive Travel Insurance covering Horse Riding is a requirement.

If staying in Auckland your hosts recommend The Great Ponsonby B&B Art Hotel; great hosts, very comfortable and very central.
30 Ponsonby Terrace
Ph. +64 9 3765989

Other Country Information

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.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Wellsford, NZ
Transfer is via shuttle from Auckland payable on site. Transfer time is approximately 2.5 hours.
Flight Guide:
London to Auckland £700 - £1000. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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