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Horse Riding

Our district has a variety of trails available to use for horse riding. Here you can learn what trails are available and what you should expect before riding said trails.

Queenstown Wānaka Relevant links

What to expect when you see horses on trails

  • Horses use trails for walking only (~4-6km/hr).

  • Horses can’t access cattle grates or swing bridges.

  • Horses prefer walking on the grass verge at the side of a trail, rather than on gravel chip.

  • Trees/overhanging branches are obstacles.

  • Manure is kicked to the side of the trail by the horse rider.

Passing etiquette

When passing a horse rider, please remember 'go slow, go wide, and call out from a good distance': 

  • Call out a greeting and who is passing.

  • Horse rider will acknowledge the call with a wave.

  • If you don’t receive a wave, call out again.

  • Communicate with the rider to determine the best way to pass each other safely.

  • Check with the rider if the horse is OK with dogs. If a dog is barking or looks nervous, communicate with the rider the best way to pass safely. (Exposure and repetition de-sensitises both animals).


Queenstown

  • 4km one way (and then beyond along Glencoe Road). A four wheel drive track. Good steady climb from the river bed at Ford St to the top vantage point with trig station overlooking the Whakatipu basin. Is a busy track with walkers/dogs and the odd vehicle and bikes. Tobins Track is also part of the Arrowtown Millennium Track that heads towards the Chinese village. 

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  • Mostly flat wide trail, predominantly along the Shotover River. Can be completed as a circuit from the Old Shotover Bridge. Old Shotover Bridge is a popular trail intersection, watch for cyclists, walkers and runners. Note there is limited parking and space for horse floats. 20km from Morven Ferry Road to old Lower Shotover Bridge. Limited parking at both ends.  Unfortunately, there are metal cattle stops along this trail, some horses will cross them but if you have shoes on it is too dangerous.  This could limit your ride considerably.

    Theres is a 1 hour loop from old Lower Shotover Bridge you can ride along the flat open trail past an equestrian centre to the first small cattle stop, (partly filled in) cross that, then loop back to the bridge.

    If going all the way to Morven Ferry Road has a few switch backs and climbs above the river also a few metal cattle stops (not horse friendly).  Again courtesy when using this trail is a must. Parts of this not suitable for green horses.

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  • 12km to Arrowtown one way from the old Lower Shotover bridge. A fairly flat ride with nice wide areas along the way.  A few road crossings as it meanders through the country out towards Arrowtown then climbs up through Millbrook finishing in Arrowtown.  A wooden bridge to cross on the Slopehill road section and a couple of narrow bits - otherwise very doable. You can get as far as Speargrass Flat Road and loop ride back along the road to Lower Shotover Road and head south where you join up again with the trail you rode out on. Lots of traffic, but verges are nice and wide mostly. Limited parking at both ends.

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  • Mostly flat trail through a rural area, with some riding next to high-speed roads.

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  • A very popular track for runners/children/walkers/dogs/bikers and prams. Not suitable for green horses. Is predominately undulating with a few blind spots and a few narrow areas to be mindful of for passing.   The track runs both sides of the river so to do a loop you need to cross the river at the bottom of Tobins and at the southern end near the small green foot bridge.  You can do a small loop or carry on out to the swing bridge at Whitechapel and back.  

    There are a couple of solid wooden bridges to cross as well. Good communication with other track users will help you have an enjoyable ride. Parking is available at the north end of Wilcox Green off Nairn St. Avoid parking on the grass, particularly in wet weather to avoid damage to the reserve.

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  • Round trip is about 3-4 hours. Very busy in summer with runners/walkers/bikers and 4WDs.  Is a 4WD track all the way with approx 12 river crossings before climbing up along the cliff edges looking down into the river. Do not attempt this ride when there has been a lot of rain and rivers are high. Can be a squeeze with vehicles but passing is doable if you are careful. The track heads up into Macetown and down into a lovely valley that has historic buildings. 

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Wānaka

  • Flat easy horse riding trail that links the Hāwea Lake and Hāwea Flat areas with the Domain where the Pony Club hold their sessions.

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