At the very beginning of our Round the World trip a year ago, we went horseback riding on the beaches of Nicaragua. It was our very first country destination on what would be a journey through 25 countries over eleven months. It seemed symbolic that we would end off our world tour with another ride in our final destination of New Zealand.
When I was very young, I had my first horseback riding experience in New Zealand. As a 10-year old on summer vacation with my mom, visiting my aunt in New Zealand, there were no shortage of child-friendly outdoor activities they could put me through. Wanting to repeat these positive memories I had growing up, Steve and I saddled up for a 2.5-hour ride with Stone Hill Horse Trek, which included a “rustic picnic”.
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The ride setting was on a rural farm in the Waikato region, about an hour’s drive from Rotorua on New Zealand’s North island. It was easy to find, but a vehicle is absolutely required to get to the farm. Our guide was Nicole, her husband’s family owns the farm. Amazingly, she had just delivered a baby foal the evening before, her dedication to the horses took her to the wee hours of the morning — she apologized in advance if she was tired on our trek.
Steve and I each got on a horse, and off we went. The trek was a guided ride through the giant farm property. While I had a good time enjoying the wildflowers and grassy scenery, poor Steve was highly allergic to something in the air. Poor guy, he was sniffling and sneezing the whole ride, to the point where an extra-loud sneeze startled the horse he was on.
We stopped about an hour into the ride for a picnic, although it’s probably more described as a light snack of homemade bread and cheese. We topped our snack with fresh watercress, which we picked ourselves! To quench our thirst, we scooped cold spring water from a nearby stream. We love the idea of being able to enjoy these natural things straight from nature.
In contrast to some of the other outdoor activities available in this region, a peaceful horseback ride is certainly not as thrilling as bungee jumping or zorbing, but it was a safe, well-organized and simple way to enjoy the scenery and interact with animals.
The 2.5 horse trek with snacks is $120NZD per person. We were given a slight discount in exchange for this blog post. As always, all opinions are our own on Modern Mix Travel.