Horseback riding is a perfect way to get an up-close-and-personal view, rather than flashing through in a fast-moving vehicle. And most horseback riding operators will take you off the beaten track, into landscapes you would otherwise never see. Most riding operations only offer short-term outings (1- to 4-hour treks) but they cater to a wide range of riding abilities. One of the best providers of longer treks is North Canterbury-based Alpine Horse Safaris (tel. 03/314-4293; www.alpinehorse.co.nz), which offers 3- to 12-day treks covering up to 400km (more than 200 miles) of some of the most beautiful landscapes in the South Island. Plan to spend around 6 hours a day in the saddle. Accommodations are provided in mountain camps and musterers' huts. (Musterers are farm workers who gather livestock; their huts provide them with shelter when they're working in the high country.) Cape Farewell Horse Treks, 23 McGowan St., Puponga, Collingwood, Nelson (tel. 03/524-8031; www.horsetreksnz.com), has 1-hour to 7-day horse treks across the farmlands and beaches of the Abel Tasman region, near Nelson.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.