St James Wild Horse Sale Tour

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.

Your journey starts in Blenheim, the wine capital of Marlborough. Ex farmer Will Parsons, your guide, will drive you through the Rainbow Station to Hanmer Springs in North Canterbury the day before the sale. The Rainbow Station has some of the most dramatic and rugged scenery in New Zealand. On the way, picnic at the beautiful lakes of Tarndale and Tennyson.

On the day of the horse sale  relax at the casual pre sale picnic by the river. 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 biannual sale came about. Meet people who have purchased the horses and have had outstanding success with this beautiful and vigorous breed.

On the day of the sale you have free time to pamper yourself at the natural thermal hot pools at Hanmer Springs, go shopping at one of the boutiques, join a health and beauty spa or take a stroll around one of the many nearby forest walks. We will give you a list of options.

Day three is a scenic tour through the Molesworth Station, New Zealand's largest high country farm. Hear commentary from Will about the history and wildlife. He will tell you the sometimes humorous, sometimes dramatic stories of the past owners, cooks, rabbit hunters and musterers of the Molesworth Station. Afternoon tea is at a high county homestead in the Awatere Valley were  you will get a taste of station life.

Number of passengers:
Minimum 6 maximum 8



Two nights, three days

Departure: Saturday 30th January 2021, Christchurch.

End: Monday 1st February, Blenheim


Your guide:
Will Parsons who is an ex high country farmer and has been a professional tour guide since 2004.



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


Per person $1,700
Single supplement is an extra $150 per person. Includes all meals and accommodation ex Christchurch.


St James horses
This photo & photos above, Jane Thompson

Old tack room and foundry at St James station.
Old tack room and foundry at St James station.

Gorge near Acheron, Molesworth
Gorge near Acheron, Molesworth

Rainbow River
Rainbow River

“"It was one of the best trips we have ever done."  Andrea and Peter Forrest


Day one: Blenheim to Hanmer Springs via the Rainbow Station

We will leave Blenheim and drive up the Wairau Valley and turn onto the Rainbow Valley road, your homemade picnic lunch will be in the heart of the rugged and isolated Rainbow Station. You will hear the stories of many characters who lived and worked here.

Stop at the lakes of Tarndale and Tennyson. Other stops along the way to take photos, just sing out!

Arrive at Hanmer Springs in the late afternoon, you will have time to relax and freshen up before dinner at one of Hanmer Spring's best restaurants.

Day Two: The horse sale at St James

In the morning have a leisurely breakfast at a local cafe, you will have free time to take a forest walk, relax in a hot pool or shop. We will give a list of things to do.

At around 11.00 am we will drive to St James Homestead original site. Lunch is a riverside picnic with other horse enthusiasts before the sale.

The horse sale begins at around midday and goes on for around an hour and a half. Have a social drink after the sale with the sale participants or have a guided walk with Will around the historic buildings.

Return to Hanmer Springs, joining up for dinner in the early evening.

Day three: Return to Blenheim via the Molesworth Station

 The return journey is through the Molesworth Station, New Zealand's largest farm. Will your guide will tell you stories of the many characters who made history in this magnificent landscape. We will have our picnic lunch one of the Department of Conservation information shelters, followed by warm high country hospitality at a station homestead in the head of the Awatere Valley before returning to Blenheim.


  • Two nights at Bella Vista Motel, twin share of single supplement studio units are available.
  • All meals, picnic lunches, full breakfast day 2 and continental breakfast day 3, two course set dinner at Malabar and MK Restaurants at Hanmer Springs. Complimentary glass of wine or beer.
  • Afternoon tea at the country farm of Nicky and Bill Stevenson. Nicky will show you her beautiful stock horses and share her love of the land.
  • Comfortable 4x4 air conditioned Toyota Hiace van.
  • Your driver Will Parsons is experienced in driving on high country roads.
  • Commentary from your guide who is an ex farmer and is knowledgeable about the history of this area.
  • Covered trailer with dustliner for your luggage.
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