E V E N T S /  H O R S E  T R E K

Kaimanawa Classic/ December 7-9, 2018
2- and 3-day horse trek

This event is now fully subscribed. If you would like to go on the waitlist please email info@offlimits.co.nz. 

The dates shown are confirmed but subject always to New Zealand Defence Force requirements regarding military activities. All bookings must be made online.

About the event

The 2018 Kaimanawa Classic Horse Trek plans to return to the Argo Valley area as this is where we are likely to see the largest number of Kaimanawa horses. This year was a ‘muster year’ so the Kaimanawa horse herd has been reduced and the area we were planning to camp in currently has limited horse numbers.
This is a challenging trek for some riders and horses. Fortunately, we have the ability to alter routes at the last minute due to military activities, weather and rider/horse fitness. The experienced crew are there to ensure your safety and to expose you to the unique scenery that makes the Waiouru Military Training Area one of the best places in the North Island to ride. We look forward to seeing you there.

Event dates for 2018 are December 7-9. The dates shown are confirmed and subject always to NZ Defence Force requirements regarding military activities. All bookings must be made online. This guided tour is strictly limited in numbers and bookings are on a first received basis.

Please read the details below and mark on your calendar to register early as entries will be limited for this popular ride.


Day One - Friday: Lake Moawhango

3-day trekkers this is your day one.
Approx. 35km
Let’s start our trek with some beautiful scenery. If weather permits, we will see the three mountains of the Tongariro National Park and the alpine splendour of the Waiouru area. We will ride on some bulldozed and gravel tracks today. We plan to have our lunch stop overlooking the stunning Lake Moawhango. A day to have your camera at the ready. Late in the afternoon, we will move to the Argo Valley camping spot.


Day two/Saturday: Westlawn Hut

Two-day trekkers this is your day one.
Approx. 36km
This day you will experience it ALL, from big hills to bulldozed tank tracks, actual horse tracks, section’s of fine gravel and a couple of river crossings. Yes your horse and you will NEED TO BE FIT. We have a very experienced crew and they will assist and support you through any challenges. However you do need to have a fit horse to cope with the challenging terrain.


Day three/Sunday: Argo Valley. Final day. Shorter ride.
Approx. 8km
We understand you have a big trip home today so we will plan to be back to camp by lunch. We know it’s all about the horses so we will spend all our time in the valley riding up close to the wild Kaimanawa horses and having heaps of photo opportunities. We will have some sections of gravel and some off track exploring in the Argo. A gentle ride today with small hills.


This year, we plan to camp all three nights in the Argo Valley at the muster yards. This puts us right in the heart of the Kaimanawa horse’s preferred grazing area. Access is via gravel road. 4wheel drive is preferred and recommended if towing a float.

Saturday night: BBQ.

We will be hosting a BBQ and entertainment night on Saturday evening. Bring your camp chair and refreshments up to the campfire and mingle and have some laughs. Most trekkers camp in their trucks or floats but you are welcome to bring your tent. Horse water is via the river. You will need to roll up your sleeves and keep your horse supplied. Best you bring your own drinking water. You will also be able to purchase lunches as part of your registration. All other meals (except BBQ) are self-catered. [Special diet requirements are NOT catered for sorry]

We are able to provide you with a cut lunch each day if you wish to preorder. The lunch will be sufficient for the day and consist of sandwiches, a cookie (or similar) a piece of fruit and a small bottle of drink. It will come in a plastic bag so you will need to have a more robust container to carry it with you on the trek. The cost for lunches for the 3-day trek is $45 or the 2-day Trek $30. If you would like to preorder your lunches it is essential that you do so when you register. We are not able to take orders for lunches other than on the registration form. Unfortunately we are not able to cater for special diets for preordered lunches.

Collectable trek t-shirts
Keep your eye out for the collectable trek t-shirts that can be ordered from right here when you complete your registration. You will look great on the trek with your 2018 collectable shirt.

Horse yards

We plan to use the Argo muster yards as our secure pens so bring your electric fence units or polo pens for your individual pens. There is grass but we suggest you also bring some hay or whatever you normally feed your horse. FYI big changes in diet may cause your horse to tie up.

Riding terrain

This alpine environment can be hot and dry or wet and very cold, or all 4 in the one day. The tracks can go from being hard under foot to slippery. We advise you to shoe your horse. We will mainly follow bulldozed tracks, motorbike and horse tracks but there will be some short sections of gravel road. So expect a bit of everything including the odd steep bits on the hill climbs. There will be crew on hand and you can always lead your horse for the short distance if you’re unsure.

Driving terrain

Access is via gravel road which is steep in some places. 4wheel drive is preferred and recommended if towing a float.

The central plateau can be hot and dry or sleet and very cold, and all these things on the same day. In this environment its best to be over prepared then lacking especially if it’s wet and cold.  Check out our suggested gear list below.

This alpine environment can change quickly so we may need to change our routes if the weather becomes toorough because of the openness of the country it will make unpleasant riding. We have alternative routes planned for this scenario. So if there is an extreme fire risk or heavy rain, then the organisers reserve the right to close or alter tracks for the safety of all participants. This will be advised on the day.

Horse requirements
This trek is not suitable for undisciplined or green horses. It is best to bring feed for your horse as they may not be used to the tussock. Standard hay is ideal as changing your horses diet with supplements may see them bind up on a longer ride. If your horse kicks please mark its tail with red tape. It is your responsibility to keep your horse away from other horses. This trek is not suitable for horses that are uncontrollable in wide open terrain or uncontrollable with large groups of horses. No stallions. No pregnant mares. Horse must be over 4-years old. There will be quad support on this trek so introduce your horse to these before they come on the trek.

Rider requirements
You will get the most out of this trek if you and your horse are reasonably fit. You don’t have to be endurance fit by any means, as this is a walking trek. Every rider must wear a riding helmet. Every rider must attend the safety briefs. We are riding on military land which has unexploded ordinances; to ensure you and your horses safety it is required that you follow the instructions of the safety briefs and not go riding off on your own or in front of the lead guides! The army can stop these treks if we do not follow safety requirements. If you can’t follow the rules you will be sent home. Do not litter, take all your rubbish with you. No riders under 14-years old. The terrain is not suitable for beginner riders. No firearms.

Gear list
Wet weathers, thermals, food, cooking gear, camera, BYO refreshment (yes you can bring your beers), first aid kit, riding helmet (compulsory), warm riding gloves, sun screen, lip balm, scarf or neck sock (ideal for protection against wind and dust), tent and ground sheet, camp chairs (the tussock is not that comfortable), head torch, water bucket, electric tape and unit and standards, electrolytes and your horse first aid kit, hay etc, winter rug.

The registration fee for the 2018 Kaimanawa Horse Trek will be:

  • Rider 2-day event $250
  • Rider 3-day event $320
  • Lunches $45 for 3-day trek, $30 for 2-day trek
  • Collectors trek t-shirt before trek $25. View size guide and design
  • Collectors trek t-shirt at the trek $30 (only a few available at trek until stocks run out).

This trek really is a must do adventure. It is not suitable for unfit undisciplined horses or riders. We do not allow riders who disrespect the rules to return and we reserve the right to revoke participation for those who fail to follow instructions. The rules are simply to minimise hazards and injury to participants and their horses and are standard trekking rules. A comprehensive 2018 Kaimanawa Horse Trek participants guide will be issued in November to all those who have signed up and paid for the trek.

Brilliant trek, had a fantastic time. Thanks to the crew, what a challenge for them. They got all of us and our horses sorted. Will be back for the next one. Kia Kaha ~ Melanie Hubbard.

Cancellation and refunds
Events could be cancelled or modified due to military requirements, weather conditions or unforeseen logistical issues which make the running of events either unsafe or unable to be conducted on the scheduled dates and in the locations advertised. Please refer to the payments and refunds section for details on the cancellation and refund policy.

National Army Museum
Remember the legends and pay tribute to the sacrifices. Stories of courage, comradeship and honour – all this and more at the National Army Museum
Facilities include café, gift shop, interactive Kidz HQ, kids treasure hunts, greenstone memorial, and research library. Open daily 9 am to 4.30 pm, State Highway 1, Waiouru. Print off this discount voucher and present it at the Museum reception to receive discounted entry. The voucher is valid until December 31, 2018, so if you don't get a chance at the time of this event, be sure to stop there next time you are passing through.

In the first instance enquiries should be made to Diana Booth. Email info@offlimits.co.nz. Telephone +64 21 129 7670.

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Start price per adult

VENUE. Waiouru military training area.

BOOKINGS. Registration opens September 12, 2018.

SUITABLE: Fit horses and riders. No children.

CANCELLATION. Weather or fire risk, or military requirements.