St James Wild Horse Sale
Join horse lovers from around New Zealand at the iconic wild horse sale at St James Station, North Canterbury. This event only occurs once every two years. Join a 4x4 expedition through the vast, remote valleys of the Rainbow and Molesworth Stations. Meet the owners of two magnificent high country sheep and cattle stations deep in Marlborough's Awatere Valley, enjoy their hospitality and stay a night at Mt Gladstone Station.
Your journey starts in Blenheim, the wine capital of Marlborough. Ex farmer Will Parsons, local story teller will be one of your two drivers in our purpose modified SUV vehicles. They will take you on a journey through the rugged Rainbow Station pass, later tracing the snow fed Clarence River of the Molesworth Station to Hanmer Springs in North Canterbury. This is where you will stay the night before and after the sale. The Rainbow Station has some of the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand, so bring your camera and be ready for some big country. On the way you will picnic at the beautiful Tarndale Lakes. There will be frequent stops along the way for Will to share some of the stories of the local heroes and heroines of the area and point out places of interest.
On the day of the horse sale relax at the casual pre sale picnic by the river, this is a calendar social event for horse lovers from around the region. After lunch take part in the excitement of the horse sale. Hear the story of the origins of these powerful, good natured horses and how the biennial sale came about. Meet people who have purchased the horses and have had outstanding success with this beautiful and vigorous breed.
Number of passengers:
Minimum 6 maximum 8
Three nights, three days and a morning (includes a night at an Awatere Valley high country station)
Departure: From Blenheim 8.00 am Friday 29th Janurary 2021.
End: Returns to Blenheim betweeen 1.00 and 2.00pm Monday 1st February 2021.
Will Parsons who is an ex high country farmer and has been a professional tour guide since 2004 plus an experienced local rural driver.
You do not need to be fit to take this tour, light walking around the Hanmer Springs township and Mt Gladstone Station is optional.
Per person $2,450
Please see inclusions below
“"It was one of the best trips we have ever done." Andrea and Peter Forrest
Day 1: Friday 29th of January 2021
8.00 – 8.30 am You will be pick up from your Blenheim accommodation
Drive up the Wairau Valley and detour that the Rainbow ski field turn off, drive into the rugged off road trail of the Rainbow Station which leads you into the broad valley of the Molesworth Station
A picnic lunch along the way, numerous stop at various sites of historic and farming interest
5.00 pm Arrive at Hanmer Springs and check in to your accommodation – Drifters Motel
7.30 pm Dinner at a local bistro
Day 2: Saturday 30th January
9.00 am Breakfast at the Power House Cafe
Time to relax at Hanmer Springs, options to go walking, visit the thermal hot pools
11.30 am Meet at the motel to drive to the St James historic woolshed and buildings
12.00 pm Picnic lunch by the river near the sale yards
1.00 pm St James Horse Sale commences
Mix and mingle, look around the historic buildings after the sale
4.00 pm Return to the motel
7.00 pm Meet at reception to walk to restaurant
7.30 pm Dinner at local Restaurant
Day 3: Sunday 31st January
Continental breakfast at accommodation
8.00 am Depart for the Awatere Valley via the Molesworth Station
Morning tea at Lake Tennyson
1.00 pm Light lunch at the home of Bill and Nicky Stevenson’s at Upcot Station, in the Awatere Valley. Nicky will introduce you to the stock horses she has bred for farm work
3.00 pm Arrive at Mount Gladstone Station home of Jeremy and Hayley Pitts, where we will stay the night in their newly built shearer’s quarters (please bring your own sleeping bag and pillow slip, thank you. If you need to borrow a sleeping bag please contact us well in advance)
Afternoon tea with Hayley
Free time to explore the farm on foot or just relax
7.30 pm Dinner at the quarters provided by Hayley
Day 4: Monday 1st Feb
9.00 am breakfast at the quarters
10.30 am Depart from Mount Gladstone for the lower Awatere Valley
Arrive in Blenheim at between 1.00 and 2.00 pm, you can be dropped off at your accommodation or the Marlborough Airport
- Two nights in a comfortable studio unit at Drifter's Inn Motel, Hanmer Springs, North Canterbury, close to the thermal hot pools and cafes.
- All meals, picnic lunches, full breakfast day 2 and continental breakfasts day 3 and 4. Two course dinner from the a la carte menu at a local tavern and from the set menu at a Restaurant in Hanmer Springs. Farmhouse light lunch and dinner supplied by our hosts at the Awatere Valley. Alcoholic beverages are at your own expense.
- Enjoy the view and let your guides negotiate the rural roads in air conditioned 4x4 Toyota Fortuna and Land Cruiser.
- Meet Nicky Stevenson of Upcot Station at the Awatere Valley. Nicky will show you her beautiful stock horses and share her love of the land.
- Meet Hayley Pitts and her family at Mt Gladstone Station further down the Awatere Valley, here you will stay the night in her new farm quarters. Please note that in a rural setting like this accommodation is limited, you maybe asked to share a twin room and the bathroom is also shared but consists of multiple showers and indoor loos.
- Commentary from your guide Will Parsons at breaks along the way, Will is a local ex farmer and is knowledgeable about the history of this area.
by Harry Broad and various photographers
By Harry Broad with photos by Rob Suisted
At your library:
By L.W. McCaskill
THE AWATERE - A District and its People
By A.L. Kennington