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There are a variety of trails available to ride out on which are clearly marked making them safe for competent riders who are new or already familiar to high country horse trekking. However, St James high country riding is not the same as riding on other terrains so here are a few factors to consider before your trek. 

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Be prepared to be totally off the grid when riding up in the St James Conservation Area.

The weather in the St James can change very quickly so it is important that riders are prepared for all weather conditions when riding out. Always check the weather forecast in advance before commencing your trek. A warm northwesterly wind in the Canterbury Plains will generally bring cooler conditions in the mountains and a cold northwesterly can also bring the likeliness of snow. The St James High Country that sits behind Hanmer Springs is above eight hundred metres with some trails going beyond that height. In cases when it has been raining, be aware that river levels may rise, which could make the crossing dangerous and unsafe at the Waiau river and other waterways on your route.

 There is no mobile phone coverage beyond Jacks Pass.

To make your trek as stress free as possible, we have a list of items that you might find helpful to take on your trip. When packing, be mindful that you will need to carry the gear on your saddle unless you have booked a pack horse. The huts can get busy during the high season and there may not be bunks available so it is always best to carry a small tent on you so that you are prepared for these occasions. We ask that riders please keep the huts clean and tidy with dry firewood stacked for the next person before departing. Any horse manure left needs to be spread about so that it breaks down quickly. Please ensure that you use the holding paddocks or the designated areas for holding your horses when camping out. 

Our horses come with all the riding gear equipment and saddle bags for your trip. 



  • Toothbrush & toothpaste 

  • Sun-block/moisturiser

  • Comb

  • Sun-glasses

  • Plasters

  • Sterile pads

  • Bandages 

  • Painkillers

  • Savlon


  • PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) or EPIRB. PLB's can be hired for $15 per day.

  • Headlamp and spare batteries

  • Camera

  • Maps

  • Chapstick

  • Insect repellent

  • Snacks 

  • Sunhat

  • First aid kit

  • Drink bottle


  • Riding pants

  • Warm sweater 

  • Socks

  • Leggings

  • T-Shirt

  • Underwear

  • Balaclava

  • Gloves

  • Riding boots or suitable riding footwear

  • Riding helmets are supplied however we do encourage you to bring your own if you have one. 

  • Swandri

  • Warm hat

  • Gloves

  • Waterproof jacket or Drizabone

  • Waterproof overtrousers


​There may not be bunks left at the hut you are aiming for, especially on long weekends and holidays, so please be prepared to sleep in your own tent.

  • Warm sleeping bag and liner

  • Waterproof bed roll or light bivvy bag

  • Ground pad

  • Tent (small/light)



Cooking gear:

  • Pot scrub and detergent 

  • Bowl or plate

  • Sharp knife, fork, spoon

  • Cup 

  • Matches-waterproof

  • Cooker

  • Fuel

St James Conservation Area Brochure

St James Conservation Huts & Paddocks

Pukatea Horse Trails & Adventures

Pukatea Horse Trails & Adventures

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