Horse Trekking at Island Hills Station


2 days, 2 nights self-guided private trail horse trek – BYO horse
Cabin stay – pack transport and accommodation


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Experience true station riding

The Island Hills Station horse trail is a lovely ride through a diverse range of landscapes from open pastures to bush clad hills with breath-taking views into the towering mountain peaks of the Organ Range.

Bring your own horse and self-guide along the Island Hills, well marked, private trail. It is true station riding, with varied terrain and lots of hill work. Although there is plenty of easy wide grass track to canter through, there are also plenty of challenges including, creek crossings, rock/shingle surfaces, narrow single trail goat tracks, over hanging branches and plenty of gates to open and shut. We recommend that horse are shod.

Horse Trek Private Trail
True station horse riding Island Hills Station
Horse trekking Island Hills Station
Self-guided horse trek Island Hills Station


2 days, 2 nights

This is a bring-your-own-horse self-guided private horse trekking trail which is very well marked and easy to follow. The lodge style accommodation facilities are very unique, with fully serviced kitchen, BBQ and dining facilities, bunk beds and plenty of privacy.

Evening 1 The Cookhouse Accommodation Horse Trek


Evening arrival at Island Hills

 The trip starts the evening before starting on the trail with arrival at the Cook House accommodation (converted shearer’s quarters built in 1914). Your chosen booking date refers to the evening of your arrival.

You may arrive any-time between 5:30pm and 9pm. Please note, you must fully clear out of the Cook House before departure on the first day of riding.

There is electricity, hot water, a fully serviced kitchen, oven, microwave, BBQ and dining facilities, bunk beds with pillows and fresh pillow cases provided. You must bring your own sleeping bag.

There is no cell or internet reception on the property. All accommodation has VHF radios for 24 hour call in to base.

There is float parking, sheep and cattle yards, a horse paddock and options to tape off an area to accommodate your horses overnight.

The farm museum provides you with a sure memory of your childhood and a glimpse into high country station life many years ago.

Horse trek self guided private trail ford

Ford crossing

Arrival to the property involves driving 9 km of gravel road and crossing a ford with your float or truck so please keep in touch with the track manager if heavy rain is likely.

The gravel based ford is used regularly by stock trucks, bee keepers trucks and 4wd utes. The ford is about 1 km from the accommodation and there are options to leave floats parked there if necessary.


Ride to Valley Camp

18km, 5 hours (approx)

Your horse trek begins at your leisure the morning after the first night’s stay. This first day covers about 18 km and has an average ride time of 5 hours.

Your horse feed, tack gear, food, chilli-bins and bags containing your sleeping bag and belongings for an overnight stay need to be ready for transport to the next accommodation by 8:30am. The track operator will meet you at this time to welcome you and conduct a safety briefing.

Horse Trek Start Valley Camp
Horse Trek Overnight 2 Valley Camp


Valley Camp

The Valley Camp Hut was built for pest control and mustering and now gives you the chance to spend your second evening in the heart of the high country.

You will arrive at the Valley Camp where your gear will be waiting for you. The Valley Camp is a large, well-equiped open plan lodge with fully equipped kitchen, gas cook tops, BBQ, a small gas fridge/freezer for perishable items and dining facilities. There are comfortable bunk beds pillows and interior curtains for added privacy. The luxury of a hot shower and solar-powered lighting. It makes for a neat hut experience.

The area has a horse paddock with stream water and space to erect tape fences if required. It is recommended that you bring insect repellant for your horses and give them plenty of space to move about, as the sand flies will harass them at times.

Have your packs ready for transport by 9:30am. You can expect your packs to arrive back to the Cookhouse by 1pm.


Ride back to Cook House

12km, 4 hours (approx)

The second day of riding covers about 12 km with an average ride time of 4 hours to return via some different trails back to the Cook House car park. There are options to short-cut back to the car park at any time during the ride by connecting onto the main arterial farm 4WD tracks that run along near the trails. Most 4WD utes and floats could operate along the main farm tracks to recover injured horses.

By the time you have finished this Island Hills Station trail riding adventure you will feel like you have experienced high country life and learnt a little about the history while travelling through a very beautiful part of our back country.

Horse Trek Day 2 Ride Back Cookhouse
Horse trekking dogs allowed


Dogs are welcome on the track, but they must meet stringent criteria and controls so as not to upset other track and hut users, or disturb farm animals and wild life. Permission to bring a dog must be pre-organised with the track ranger at least one week prior to arrival at the property.

What to bring

We provide gear transfers to your accommodation and back to the start on your final day. We are limited to one pack of 20kg or less per person and one chilli-bin per group. You need to bring all of your food, but there is no need to bring any cooking or dining equipment.

  • Sleeping bag
  • All your food and refreshments
  • Hard feed or lucerne hay for the horses (NO meadow hay).
  • Saddle bags and/or day pack to carry extra warm clothing, gloves, beanie, wet weather gear, basic first aid, lunch food, snacks and drinks to carry while you ride.
  • Decent footwear, in case you need to walk
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Cap or hat
  • Headlamp (with good, fully charged batteries)
  • Camera
  • Personal effects
  • Medical treatments. For example, there are beehives present on the farm. Any riders with bee sting allergies should carry appropriate medications
  • Towel, soap and toiletries
  • Light covers, halters, lead ropes, horse feed etc can be transported out to the back hut for you


Pack Transport

Pack and/or gear transport is included, but limited to 1 pack of 20 kg or less per person and 1 chilli-bin per group. We take the utmost care with your belongings, however you need to pack breakables well and liquids in sealed containers as the access roads are bumpy and items will move about.

You can expect your gear to be at the accommodation facilities before noon, gear arrives back to the Cook House car parking area at approximately 1pm on your last day.

You may be required to carry your pack/gear a small distance in some extreme and rare circumstances such as an evacuation due to flooding or other acts of nature.


Throughout the season there will be some cold, rainy and some extremely hot conditions so please ensure you and your group are prepared for all weather, as conditions may be very changeable.

We provide a pack/gear carrying service so you will only need to carry what you need during the ride.

There are UHF radios in the isolated huts, follow the instructions to connect directly to the track ranger.

If a person in the group becomes ill or injured to the point where they can no longer ride, please administer first aid and make sure the casualty is warm and comfortable, take note of the location of the patient on the track using the provided map zones, note the type of injury/illness and any medical history, leave at least one caregiver with the casualty and go to the closest hut to radio the information through to the track ranger.

The track ranger will take over the response from here.

There are honey bee hives present on the farm for most of the horse trekking season, if anyone in your group have bee sting allergies please carry appropriate medication to treat.

Covid-19 Response

Follow Ministry of Health COVID-19 guidelines:

  • If you’re sick or unwell, stay at home.
  • If you have cold or flu symptoms, call your doctor or Healthline and follow their testing advice.
The weather in the high country can change very quickly so you must carry all the appropriate gear in your day pack for both cold and hot conditions.

The Island Hills Station Track may have very cold conditions at any time, so be prepared.

Check the weather forecast before you leave so you know what to expect during your walk.

If there is extreme weather causing flooding, the Island Hills Station Track may have to be evacuated.

Food and Water


All kitchens are fully equipped with: gas cooker, fridge, cutlery, plates, pots, pans, coffee plungers, tea towels, items for washing up and lots more. The Cook House on the first night also has an oven. There is also a BBQ at each night’s accommodation.

We recommend that you bring food that does not perish quickly or leak en-route.

It is necessary to carry some water. There is clean drinking water at each hut and some places along the track for refilling your drink bottle, however we advise that only hut supplies are tested.

Regular testing is not carried out. If you wish to treat water, either boil it for five minutes, filter or chemically treat it.

Island Hills Station
Based on 13 reviews
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Chris Burnell
Chris Burnell
21:45 04 Feb 22
Wonderful experience doing the 3 day Island Hills Station walking track. Shaun is an excellent host. The scenery is... stunning and varied. Would highly recommend the Walking Track more
Michael Markert
Michael Markert
23:30 13 Jan 22
What an amazing place and host! We made the three day walk, Shaun is a super host going the extra mile. Great huts and... equipment, and we loved the hot more
Karne Steel
Karne Steel
04:04 08 Jan 22
Let me start by saying that Shaun was an absolutely amazing host.6 of us completed the 3 day walk option (which... includes a nights accommodation before you start walking), I hadn't been on a multi-day walk before and I found it to be the right difficulty for me to manage after having an ACL repair 9 months prior. With the 2 day option you may miss out on some of the charming accommodation that the private bush/farm offers.The guide (Shaun), who briefs you ahead of the walk and checks in daily, does a great job at preparing the locations between guests and taking the edge off the walk with some good jokes.The accommodation and toilet facilities were great considering the remote location, especially the showers.Many thanks for a great new years more
Karin Klebert
Karin Klebert
05:04 03 Jan 22
What a special treasure we discovered here! Island Hills Station is how I see future oriented farms thriving.Thank... you all involved for making this such an amazing time for more
Victor Buckwalter
Victor Buckwalter
03:32 07 Dec 21
Loved every aspect of this walk. Superb!
Kelly Gilchrist
Kelly Gilchrist
02:02 06 Nov 21
We did the BYO horse trek over two days and really enjoyed it! Farm tracks, forest tracks, goat tracks, rolling... paddocks, river crossings, QEII Conservation area and a steep climb!The accommodation is fantastic. Hot shower and a flushing toilet in the middle of nowhere was an unexpected luxury! Just so happened we had the best hut mates too, so that was great. Got to say the Old Valley Hut was a favourite.Very much enjoyed the bubbles, salmon and cheese on arrival at Valley Camp after a long day in the saddle.Thanks for making this accessible to horse and rider, much appreciated and I hope this venture works out for more
Donna Chapman
Donna Chapman
23:51 03 Nov 21
We did the 3 day walk. If you are reading this and pondering whether to do the tramp or not...just do it!! Comfortable... accommodation, best showers in the south island, stunning and varied scenery, peace and quiet from the rat race of life, wonderful hosts and perfect weather. An amazing experience 😀read more
Wendy Newman
Wendy Newman
07:09 12 Oct 21
Just got back from a three day trek, what a fantastic resource on our doorstep. Shaun does a great job maintaining the... tracks and stocking the huts, like to thank our fellow trampers and Doug the dog for their more
Melissa Jessen
Melissa Jessen
08:27 21 May 21
Had an amazing guided hunting trip with Shaun, in the breath taking island hills. Shot my 1st south island red deer and... red stag. Shaun is a great guide, making you feel comfortable whether you are a beginner or seasoned hunter 👌 definitely want to go back again. A must do!read more
Kate Daellenbach
Kate Daellenbach
02:05 30 Jan 21
Beautiful place and a lovely walk. We did the two-day version, when our original tramping plans were scuttled by... shocking weather. They were able to accomodate us last minute. It still felt like a tramp - some nice little hills in there to get the heart rate up. Stunning, stunning views, some company in the form of cows (all very chilled out), and friendly informative hosts in Shaun and Hayley. Thank you Shaun and Hayley, and to the Shand family for sharing their bit of paradise. (PS. When you do this walk, plan to have a shower at the Valley Lodge!).read more
Julie Nixon
Julie Nixon
03:00 04 Jan 21
Thoroughly enjoyed our recent three day trek. Some good challenges along a well designed track that saw us enjoy... wonderful views along the way. Huts were a welcome sight at the end of each day. Great amenities and well stocked. Loved the pack cartage each day and walking with a day pack. Very well organised and Shaun makes you feel at ease out on the trail knowing there’s daily check ins at the huts and weather forecasts each night. Recommended to those wanting to visit our great outdoors and away from busy crowded more
Ray Fabish
Ray Fabish
05:34 23 Nov 20
We had a fantastic time. Shaun was professional, friendly, and faultless in the way he set us and the experience up.... The huts and showers have to be experienced to be believed. Would highly recommended to anyone who has a medium or better fitness levelread more
Christine Gabrielle
Christine Gabrielle
10:58 28 Oct 20
Highly recommend this guided trip-Kiwi value non-stop and memories forever.! You will learn things you did not know... about the NZ bush and wildlife and have such a better experience of the land!! Just carry a daypack and enjoy every minute. Super clean historic huts, toilets, showers (hot at every stop!!) Really well-organized..Plus awesome meals, wildfoods, treats and surprises-don't miss out! This one is a MUST DO even for experienced trampers-over gorgeous country with the Best Guide Ever (you can find the track yourself but you will miss half the experience without Shaun Monk with you!)--book it- you will NOT regret it. Plus if you're into hunting, teaching your kids to hunt-he is your man. Super thumbs up all around!???‍????????⛰???‍♂️read more
Dave & Lisa Anderson
Dave & Lisa Anderson
21:38 09 Oct 20
Had a wonderful trip during the school holidays with the children (aged 9 and 10). Fantastic track, great way to see... our own back yard. Beautiful native bush, birds, and wildlife. Make sure you take the time to check out the glowworms and have a go at catching some pests (the children were stoked to catch a possum). Totally more
Johannes Schulz
Johannes Schulz
09:24 28 Jun 20
Well, how to even start?This place resembles a tranquil and simultaneously wild area. Mountains, Manuka trees, rivers... - even mighty stags can be spotted. Beside the natural beauty of the Island Hills Station area, the hospitality and service of the owners leave nothing to be desired. Here I had my fist hunting experiences, extended walks through a natural paradise and a cozy resting place in the lonely huts that are provided.I can only recommend this place for anyone who seeks a close up encounter with New Zealand, its people and natural beauty, while having an andventurous blast for a more
Victoria Alexander
Victoria Alexander
04:49 23 Jun 20
What a way to rejuvenate! Island Hills truly has it all; well-equipped comfortable huts, diverse and interesting... walking options for every level of fitness and knowledgeable, enthusiastic, down-to-earth hosts. An adventure not to be more
Esther Riess
Esther Riess
01:01 22 May 20
You can truly call this place a piece of paradise! This is the first place in NZ I felt very sad to leave behind. Had... my first hunting experience and the walking tracks are something else! It’s a once in a lifetime experience. If cabins, outdoor wood heated baths under stars, mountains and hunting sound intriguing. Don’t miss out!read more
Arian Gaedke
Arian Gaedke
01:31 03 Mar 20
First hunt in New ZealandI come from Germany, hunting in Germany and New Zealand is very different. It was a great... challenge to hike and hunt in the mountains.It was very interesting to learn so many new things about nautur in New Zealand. Shaun taught me a lot of great tips for camping and survival in the bush or in the mountains.The trip was an exciting new experience for more
Haley Lloyd
Haley Lloyd
08:31 27 Nov 19
Such a beautiful place and the Bush Hut was amazing. The hosts were very down to earth and knowledgeable. A real off... grid kiwi back country more
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Horse Trekking Availability and Prices

View available start dates on the calendar, select the number of riders in your party, when you spot a date that works, click Book Now.

The trekking season runs from the second week in October through to mid-March.  The booking date refers to the evening of arrival prior to the first day of horse trekking.

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Our Address

Island Hills, 1612 Tekoa Road, Culverden 7392

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TEL: 0224 640 140

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