Swimming with horses? That’s new to me! Going on a horse trek is one of my favorite things to do during my holidays. Just for a couple of hours, not for days in a row. Just south of Lake Taupo is Turangi, a good base for the famous Tongariro Crossing. A 20km mountain hike is not really my cup of tea, so I decided to go swimming with horses instead.
Via Facebook I found some folks to join Tom on the walk, so early morning I dropped them off at the Tongariro Crossing and drove up to the ranch. Such a beautiful sunny day! John and Sammii were already waiting, a lovely couple who run their business with passion. John belongs to the Maori tribe (Iwi) Tuwharetoa, who got the land back a number of years ago.
As a 10-year-old girl I was obsessed with horses and I enjoy riding since.
Korohe Horse Treks
The horses of Korohe Horse Treks are definitely not average; they are obviously well-trained and used to go through thick forest and a rocky, deep river. My horse Uira was so brave and dutiful around the Waimaro River! This is not something you can do with any horse.
When the river gets so deep that the horse starts to swim, is an indescribable feeling.
What a memorable and unique ride, one of the best I have ever done in my entire life! I felt already super lucky to be able to do this, moreover because it was a private ride with just Sammii and me.
I am so grateful my Kiwi cousin Astrid told me about this fantastic ride!
Of course I wished that the trek would have lasted longer when the ranch came into view again. If you want to go all the way to Kaimanawa Forest Park, book the half-day experience. It’s not cheap but definitely worth it!
Korohe Horse Treks offers several kinds of horse treks, depending on the experience and preference of the rider(s):
- 20 min lead rein with small forest ride NZ$40
- 1hour forest walk NZ$70, fast pace NZ$150
- 1hour forest and river walk NZ$90, fast pace NZ$170
- 1.5 hour forest & river walk NZ$130, fast pace NZ$200
- Half day experience (2.5-3 hours in the saddle, briefing, etc.) forest & river NZ$400
- No full day or multiple day possibilities
These rides are professionally and patiently guided to ensure all riders are safe and comfortable. Please bring cash. Besides a jeans and T-shirt, I was so glad I wore my water shoes! Riding caps are provided. Should you need riding gloves, go to Williams Tack and Feed in Taupo. The shots are made with my new waterproof camera.
- 29 Kepa Road, Turangi, New Zealand (North Island)
- +64 22 167 2112 (call or via Facebook Messenger)
- [email protected]
Where to stay
My recommendations for places to stay in/around Turangi, depending on availability, your budget and preference:
- Motel: Turangi Bridge Motel in Turangi
- B&B: Absolute Riverside in Turangi
- Resort: Oreti Village Resort in Turangi
- Lodge: Poronui Lodge in Taharua
- Hostel: Off The Track Backpackers in Turangi
- Camping: Kiwi Holiday Park in Turangi
Where to eat
Turangi is not particularly overloaded with restaurants, so try to come in early or make reservations in advance to ensure a seat. In general I can say going out for dinner in New Zealand is pretty pricey.
- Rust Gourmet Burger Bar
- Floating Rock Café at Karatau River Wines
- Turangi Tavern
- Lakeland House Restaurant
Without a doubt, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the most spectacular hikes of New Zealand, possibly one of the most beautiful sceneries of the world with the volcanic landscape at sunrise. It’s New Zealand’s oldest national park and a World Heritage Site.
If you want to hike the Tongariro Crossing, make sure you:
- are fit enough to walk 20km in mountainous circumstances, partly uphill;
- start early (6.30h latest) to avoid crowds, you’ll finish between 13:00h and 15:00h;
- dress in layers; it can be close to freezing point in the morning while hot in the afternoon, a wind/water resistant jacket is highly recommended;
- bring sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat or baseball cap, camera, handkerchiefs, hiking shoes, food and plenty of water;
- check the weather in advance and only go if it is responsible and safe according to locals;
- inform someone about your plans, who will raise an alarm if you do not return.
Take into account that from Turangi and Tongariro Crossing starting point is still a 40 min drive, the pick-up point is 30 minutes by car. Are you backpacking without a car? Got nobody to drop you off at Tongariro Crossing? Then book a return transfer to/from the Tongariro Crossing from/to Turangi. For a private guided walk to Tongariro Crossing you should expect a completely different price level.
Got extra time on your hands and/or looking for other activities to do in and around Turangi, Tongariro Crossing or Lake Taupo?
A Scenic Flight over Tongariro Crossing is fun for everyone who is not afraid of flying, especially for those not able to do the walk itself or would like to see it from bird view perspective. A special and unique experience! Or this spectacular Tongariro Volcanic Helicopter Flight.
Soak your tired body at Tokaanu Thermal Pools in Turangi. Open daily between 10:00h and 21:00h (except Christmas Day). Admission fee is NZ$8 for public pool and NZ$12 for private pool.
Or explore one of the many exciting activities around Lake Taupo such as:
- Half-Day Kayak to the Maori Rock Carvings in Lake Taupo
- Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Board Hire
- Tandem Skydiving at 12,000 Foot above Lake Taupo
- Visit Huka Falls
How to get there
For car rental I can highly recommend Sunny Cars as it is reliable and fairly priced yet all-inclusive with great insurance coverage to avoid unpleasant, expensive surprises upon pick up or drop off.
Stray is a wonderful, relatively cheap way for backpackers to explore New Zealand by bus.
The closest airports to Turangi and Tongariro Crossing are:
- Taupo Airport in Taupo (TUO, 32 km)
- Hawke’s Bay Airport in Napier (NPE, 96 km)
- Rotorua Regional Airport in Rotorua (ROT, 105 km)
International airports such as Wellington (WLG, 345km) and Auckland (AKL, 315km) are distant.
Check Skyscanner for flight possibilities and prices.
I can could write a whole seperate article about campers alone, which I will not do for now, but I would like to recommend to check out the website of WorldWideCampers.com. Available in English, Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian and French, offering an easy way to get quotes to compare and find the best deal for camper rental in New Zealand for example.
One thing is for sure: visiting Turangi is a great idea! Have fun!!
Going to New Zealand? Would you like to read more? Check the NZ Blog Archives. More to come soon!
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