St James Wild Horse Sale Tour

St James Wild Horse Sale

2021 TOUR

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.


From Blenheim 8.00 am

2023 date to be confirmed, expressions of interest are welcome.

Returns to Blenheim between 1.00 and 2.00pm


Per person on application

Please see inclusions below

Group size:
Minimum 6 maximum 8


2 nights in a comfortable studio unit in Hanmer Springs

1 night at an Awatere Valley high country station, in the newly built farm quarters.

by SUV Toyota 4x4.

You do not need to be fit to take this tour, light walking around the Hanmer Springs township and Mt Gladstone Station is optional.

St James horses
This photo & photos above, Jane Thompson

The rugged Rainbow Valley

Mornign tea at a high country farm
Hayley relaxes at smoko time with a pet lamb.

Cob cottage
Historic cobb cottage at Mt Gladston Station.

“One of the most pleasurable aspects of our tour were the guides and their ability to meld the guests into a family."  Jill Rodgers


2021 TOUR

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


2021 TOUR

  • 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.



St James Gelding Muster 18

A short video of the 2018 gelding muster.The video shows a mix of yearlings and two year olds that will be in the January sale. The video also shows some of the breeding mares. Again, all the musterers are riding St James horses, with the exception of the Kaimanawa pony in the mix.

Posted by St James Horse’s on Friday, 18 May 2018


AWATERE VALLEY - The Portrait of a Valley

by Harry Broad and various photographers

MOLESWORTH - Stories from New Zealand's Largest High Country Station

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