Four beats to freedom - a horseback journey through New Zealand

The Journey  -  where is she going?  Mary explains:

Route planning

I drafted out a route in the light of many conversations with people who know the country well, and as a result of hours poring over the maps. 


The essential map in the 1:50 000 260 series. This is the one which accompanies me. I also have a WONDERFUL CD-rom which has the whole of New Zealand on it in both 1:50 000 and in 1:250 000 scale. This is produced by TOPOMAP and is a marvellous tool for planning any trip of this nature. See their website on 

Land Access

One of the practical difficulties about attempting to ride 'off road' in New Zealand is that there is no network of bridleways or rights of way. If you are not 'on road' you are 'off road, and permission must first be sought from every landowner. First of all of course you must find out who the land owner is! I sometimes only get permission by phoning a week - or a day - in advance. It may be that they are lambing on one property when I wish to go through, for example: merinos are not very good mothers, and will easily abandon their offspring if they are disturbed by a strange rider, so the farmer may say 'no' when ordinarily he would be more welcoming. However, for those interested in 'joining the dots' the route to date looks like this:

20th Bluff - Invercargill with Invercargill RDA 35 km
23rd Dacre 37km
24th just short of Mataura 25 km
25th Diamond Peak Station 20 km
26th Gore - Gore RDA 15 km
27th Rest
28th Gore northwards 14 km
29th Through Waikaka to Leathen downs 30 km
30th  Leathen Downs to Moa Flat via Pomohaka river 30 km
31st  Judge Creek, above Millers Flat 16 km 
total in October 222 Km

1st Via Millers Flat to Roxburgh racecourse 30 km 
2nd Up to the Knobbies - wrong route taken! 28km
3rd Over the Knobbies to Alexandra 35 km
4 Alexandra RDA
5/6 Rest
7th Through Waikerikeri and Moutere stations 29km
8th To Cambrians station, north of Becks 29km
9th/10th Rest 
11th Hawkdun Downs 21km
12th up the West branch of the Manurekiwa stream,. 28km
13th Over Omarama Saddle to Berwen Station 31km
14th Through Omarama to Benmore Station 26.5km
15th Benmore to Twizel 18 km
16th Rest
17th Twizel - Ferrentosh 33km
18th Ferrentosh - Braemar, over the Tasman 29.5Km
19th/20th Rest - Braemar - Foggy with sore feet
21st Braemar - Glenmore Station beside lake Alexandrina 31Km
22nd With Rick downes at Glenmore
23rd To Mt Gerald (float to Tekapo) 31.5Km
24th farrier, Ride up to the Macaulay, to look at Lilybank,. 12 km
25th Mt Gerald - Royal Hut via Stag Saddle 29Km ++
26th Royal Hut - Mesopotamia 31 Km
27/28/29 At Mesopotamia waiting for the Rangitata to go down.
30th Over Rangitata to Haketere 32 Km

1st Behind Mount Harper , over Brown Saddle to Inveraray 31km
2nd Through Mt Somers to Stavely 21km
3rd Stavely - Creekdale 19.5km
4th RDA in Ashburton
5th Over the Rakaia gorge to Windwhistle and down the Hororata road 22km
6th - IN Christchurch
15th Float to Windwhistle, ride to Snowden Station 10.5 km
16th/17th At Snowden, Mustering
18th To Lake Coleridge station 23.5 km
19th Via lake Lyndon to Castle hill 22Km
20th/21st At lake Coleridge, Tailing on Prebble Hill
22nd To Flock Hill 26Km
23rd To Craigieburn 17km
24th Over Waimakariri to Mount White - Nigger Hut 36 kM
25th High up in Mount White 12.3 km
26th via Anderson hut - Esk head 36km
27th Esk head - Harwarden - HURUNUI HORSE TREKS, 
the home of Boris the Brave!! 32km
28th Dec - 8th Jan in Harwarden - R&R

January 2002
6th Floated round over Hurunui and rode to Island Hills station 
7th Island Hills to Valley Camp, up the Mandamus 12.5km
8th Over Organ Range and glynn Wye to Glenhope 21km
9th Up Waiau Valley and over Charlie's Saddle to Scottie's Camp 26km
10th At Scottie's Camp
11th To Clarence Valley and on the Hydro road to Fowler's Hut 26km
12th Over Island Saddle to Island Gully hut 22km
13th To Connor's Creek 27km
14th To Rainbow station 26km
15th North bank of Wairau to Raglan Station 17.5 km
16th North bank of Wairau through Manuka Island to Mt Patriarch 26.5
17th To Langley Dale 41km
18th Over Wairau Bridge to Blenheim RDA. PHEW! WE MADE IT! 30km
19th Ride into Blenheim to meet with the Mayor
20/22nd R&R in Blenheim
The road from Blenheim to Picton is cut deep into the hills and is thick with lorries so it would be pretty horrid and dangerous to ride along. I didn't think I could put my horses through that. 
23rd Ferry to Wellington courtesy of INTERISLAND HORSE TRANSPORT  
total south island 1284 km

24/30 In Wellington, Hutt Valley RDA
31st Petone to Silverstream along Hutt River trail with RDA riders 14 km

2nd Silverstream to Maymorn 16 km
3rd Maymorn to Kaitoke 15km
4th Kaitoke to Featherston, taking the Pylon track over the Rimutakas 16 km
5th Featherstone to Carterton, via Dalefield School 25 km
6th Carterton to Masterton RDA in a roaring southerly 20 km
7th/8th Masterton RDA
9th Masterton to Bideford 20.5 km
10th Bideford to Waimapu Station 15 km
11th holed up at Waimapu!
12th Waimapu to Alfredton 21 km
13th Alfredton to Pahiatua 33km
14th Pahiatua RDA 12 km
15th Pahiatua , through Balance to the top of the Tararuas 32 km
16TH to Ashhurst, beneath the wind farm 17.5km
17th Ashurst - Fielding 23.5km
18th in Fielding 
19th Fielding - Bulls 21.6 km
20th Bulls - Turakina 31.5 km
21st Turakina -Whanganui 31 km
22nd Whanganui city centre 5.4 km
23rd Whanganui RDA 5.2 km
24th Whanganui - Waiinu Beach 33km
25th Waiinu beach - Egmont Whanganui Hunt Kennels 21 km
26th float to Hawera
27th Hawera RDA

1st To Meremere 16km
2nd Meremere - Mangamingi 30.5 km
3rd Mangamingi - Omoana 23 km
4th Omoana - Jury Road 26 km (plus 3 in error!)
5th Jury Road - Matau via Te Wera forest 20 Km
6th matau - Gumboot Gully 29 km
7th Gumboot gully - Okoki 24.5 km
8 - 11th In New Plymouth
12th to Waiiti beach 4km
13th Over Whitecliffs to Tongarparutu 20 km
14th Tongarparutu to Pioi Station 28 km
15th Pioi to Waimakau 36 km (9 hours!)
16th At Waimakau
17th Waimakau - Kiritehere 34.5 km (9 hours)
18th At Kiritihere
19th Kiritehere - Kinohaku 28 km
20th Kinohaku - Operau 34km
21st t Operau - Pakoka Landing 26 km
22nd - TeMata 15 km
23rd / 25th In Hamilton
26th Avalon - Horotio 17 km
27th Horotio - Orini 30 km
28th Orini - Lake Waikere 20.5 km
29th Lake Waikere - Mere Mere 34.5 km

Break in Auckland

11th Pook road - Runciman road 15km
12th Runciman Road - Totara Park 28km
13th In totara Park - RDA and Pony Club 
14th totara Park - Ambury Park 19 km 

North Island to date 978 km
Total to date 2262 km
- Through Auckland - what fun!
Kumeu- Wellsford: Wellsford - Whangarei - Mangawhai Forest, Waipu cove Ruakaka forest
Whangarei (RDA) - Keri Keri: Keri-Keri (RDA) - Kaitaia: Kaitaia (RDA) - CAPE REINGA; - Via 90 Mile beach. Hope to get there at the end of May 2002

See the map and some pictures of the country en route.

Latest Map HERE





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  Four Beats to Freedom - 2001.