In­sider’s Guide to South­land

AN­NIE STUDHOLME casts an eques­trian eye around South­land to as­sem­ble the ul­ti­mate horse lover’s guide­book

NZ Horse & Pony - - In This Issue -

Cast­ing an eques­trian eye over the south of the Main­land

South­land is (ob­vi­ously!) New Zealand’s most south­ern­most re­gion, and en­joys dra­matic scenery span­ning lush rain­forests, fer­tile farm­lands and sweep­ing coast­lines. The weather can be a par­tic­u­lar chal­lenge, es­pe­cially in the colder months of the year, but old­fash­ioned charm and south­ern hos­pi­tal­ity en­sure it’s a great place to fill all of your eques­trian dreams, no mat­ter what dis­ci­pline you choose. There are plenty of trails to choose, vary­ing in length from short rides to ‘lose your­self in there for hours’ rides. While some are eques­trian only, some are shared tracks so be wary of moun­tain bik­ers and walk­ers.

The do­main also has toi­lets, a sand rolling pit and pic­nic ar­eas. The park­ing is good, but please re­mem­ber to pick up all horse poo. The do­main is also home to the South­land Rodeo As­so­ci­a­tion and South­land Pony Club.

Oreti Beach, made fa­mous by Burt Munro, stretches for al­most 26km, per­fect for a gal­lop.”

ORETI BEACH Sandy Point also pro­vides ac­cess to Oreti Beach. Made fa­mous by South­land mo­tor­cy­cle leg­end Burt Munro, Oreti Beach stretches for al­most 26km. It’s the per­fect place to ride, whether you want to go for a good gal­lop or a quiet stroll, boast­ing miles and miles of per­fectly smooth sand. Of­ten it’s just you, the wildlife and your favourite horse. Un­less it’s oth­er­wise sign­posted, you can ride on all beaches in the re­gion.

DONO­VAN PARK is also a great fa­cil­ity which is used by a num­ber of groups for dif­fer­ent events in­clud­ing the Lorneville-Makarewa Pony Club, Event­ing South­land and the South­land A&P Show, but it can only be used as part of a sched­uled event.

EYRE MOUN­TAINS/TAKA RA HAKA CON­SER­VA­TION PARK

If you are look­ing to get off the beaten track for a longer ride, or per­haps an overnight trek, the 65,160 ha Eyre Moun­tains/taka Ra Haka Con­ser­va­tion Park pro­vides unique op­por­tu­ni­ties for horse rid­ers to en­joy a back­coun­try ex­pe­ri­ence in a re­mote set­ting. The area is iso­lated and, for the most part, phys­i­cally de­mand­ing and the weather can change in a flash, so you need to be well-pre­pared.

Ac­cess to Eyre Creek is from State High­way 6, just west of Athol. Fol­low the metal road through Glen Eyre and Eyre Creek Sta­tions. From Eyre Creek Sta­tion you can con­tinue on the 4WD track for about 10km along the banks of the Eyre Creek to Shep­herds Creek Hut where there’s a stock hold­ing pad­dock.

From there, you can head up to the his­toric Dog Box Hut (circa 1916) travers­ing through patches of moun­tain beech for­est and nu­mer­ous river cross­ings be­fore ar­riv­ing at the open grass val­ley where you get amaz­ing views of the park’s high­est point, Jane Peak. Due to the frag­ile na­ture of the build­ing, overnight ac­com­mo­da­tion is not per­mit­ted.

UP­PER MATAURA RIVER There is also a nice trek along the Up­per Mataura River overnight­ing at the his­toric Beech Hut, which is one of the old­est mus­terer’s huts in South­land. You’ll get there from SH6 at Fairlight, mak­ing your way through Ca­nard Sta­tion; it’s a four-hour drive from this point. For more in­for­ma­tion on DOC lands, phone (03) 211 2400 or check out www.doc.govt.nz

THIS PAGE Sun­set at Oreti beach ABOVE RIGHT The his­toric Beech Hut RIGHT Trekking at Eyre Creek Sta­tion

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