New Zealand working holidays

Published by Jody on October 6 2012 12:37 in New Zealand | Working Ranches
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New Zealand working holidays are popular among travelers and young people, but horse riding holidays can also offer you just that, for as long or as short a horse riding holiday as you wish to take. Take Beaumont High Country Experience. Here, it's all about getting involved in the day to day operation of a real working cattle station, meaning a New Zealand working holiday with all the fun and relaxation of adventure travel.

horse riding holidays in new zealand Beaumont High Country Experience

Beaumont High Country Experience is an expansive 18,000 acre ranch, which you can explore by horseback on your New Zealand working holiday while herding sheep.  But your New Zealand working holiday can be as working or as relaxing as you like - the horse riding holidays are tailored to your needs - simply tell Beaumont what you want to get out of your horse riding holiday and they will provide. However relaxing or intense you make your New Zealand working holiday, you're sure to experience amazing, natural landscape and a true adventure when you saddle up for sheep mustering at the cattle station. Get stuck into the gathering of the sheep or cattle in the high country or, if you'd rather just relax and take in the scenery, enjoy an off-road backcountry horse riding trek over diverse, hilly terrain.

horse riding holidays in new zealand Beaumont High Country Experience

You'll need a good level of fitness if you opt for lots of horse riding during your New Zealand working holiday at Beaumont, but if you or any of your party feel you don't make the grade, you'll have great fun taking ATV tours around the historic cattle station.

Working holidays in New Zealand really do feel like an adventure horse riding holiday when you visit Beaumont High Country Experience.

For more information on New Zealand working holidays and horse riding holidays, see Top50Ranches.com

Horseback riding holidays at Beaumont – a ranch with history

Published by Jody on May 8 2012 06:30 in Cattle drives | Cowboy Culture | Historical Ranches | New Zealand | Ranch Life | Ranch Owners | Working Ranches
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Horseback riding holidays at Beaumont High Country Experience in Southland, New Zealand, offer more than just a unique sheep mustering experience on the 20,000-acre sheep and cattle station. Head to the 160-year-old New Zealand ranch and you’ll discover Flecks Hut, a small, unassuming building with a big history.

Flecks Hut at BeaumontGuests ride out to Flecks Hut

Back when the hut was inhabited by the Fleck family more than 130 years ago, horseback riding holidays were non-existent at Beaumont. Before the Flecks even came to the live at the ranch in the 1870s, Beaumont was farmed as early as 1850, making it one of the first runs to be taken up in Southland. At that time it was managed by Captain William Stevens, an ex-whaling man who officially took over Beaumont Station in 1857 after it was purchased by the government following growing concern over ‘squatter’ farming on Southland. Stevens purchased two properties, Beaumont and Fairlight, in partnership with his half brother, Captain Howell. When the partnership dissolved after a couple of year, Stevens took full ownership of Beaumont, leaving Fairlight to his half brother. Captain Stevens is synonymous with much of the early history of nearby township Riverton, the first settlement in Southland, his sisters being the first white women to land in that part of New Zealand.

And so it was several decades later in the late 1870s when the Fleck family came to live at Beaumont. John and Mary Fleck had emigrated from Ireland in 1862, and for many years John worked as a shepherd on the adjacent Dunrobin Station. It was only when he was offered work at Beaumont as a boundary rider, riding the outskirts of the property to collect wandering stock on unfenced land, that John and his family came to live at Beaumont, in a small hut that took the Fleck name.

Flecks hut itself is a small, single-room abode still boasting most of its original features, including the door and table which have been inscribed with many signatures over time – some dating back as far as 100 years. Still clad with the original corrugated iron, the hut was imported all the way from England – a very long ocean journey in those days.

During their time at Flecks Hut, Mary gave birth to two daughters who sadly died in infantry, and a cairn still today marks their grave where they were buried on a rocky outcrop a short distance from the hut. On leaving Beaumont, John purchased 150 acres close to nearby township Riverton, where his family still own land today.

Offering horseback riding holidays at Beaumont today is the Minty family, whose farming history in Southland dates back three generations. The Mintys purchased the homestead block of Beaumont in 1982 before acquiring the Ardross lease in 1993, bringing the station to its present size of 20,000 acres. On its horse riding holidays, the Minty family enlightens guests about much of the ranch’s history, and takes trails rides out to Flecks Hut itself where guests can see the historical property in much of its original state.

The Minty family has not only opened its doors to guests for horseback riding holidays, but continue to operate a working cattle and sheep station, making Beaumont High Country Experience exactly that – a working ranch experience, not just a horseback riding holiday. Travel to the New Zealand ranch and you’ll discover on horseback the amazing, natural landscape on a true high country farming adventure. Whether it’s joining the mustering team to help with the gathering of sheep and cattle in the high country, or enjoying off-road backcountry horseback riding over diverse, hilly terrain, your horseback riding holiday at Beaumont will be part of the ranch’s new history.

For more information on horseback riding holidays at Beaumont High Country Experience, visit Top50Ranches.com

Planning a ranch vacation: Top 10 tips

Published by Jody on April 17 2012 08:46 in Argentina | Australia | Canada | Cattle drives | Children's Programs | Dude Ranches | New Zealand | Pack trips | Shopping | United States | What to wear
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Planning a dude ranch vacation isn't something to leave until the last minute! There’s a lot to consider, so follow Top50's top 10 tips to make sure you get the most out of your western riding holiday

1. Best place for a ranch vacation?
Which country? Which state? Mountains or desert? The options are endless. Here at Top50 Ranches we showcase Canada guest ranches, USA ranch vacations, Argentina horse riding holidays, riding holidays in Mexico, Australia horse treks and New Zealand cattle stations – but your choice will depend on how hot you like it and the kind of riding country you’re after. For mountain riding, Colorado, Montana, Canada and Argentina are good choices. If you like hot weather, choose a ranch in the southern States and south America, which boast great weather all year round. Best place for winter sun? Australia, which of course has its summer during the USA/European winter. Taking the kids? Find a child-friendly ranch with a supervised children’s program.

2. Budget early on
The cost of a dude ranch vacation varies greatly, so it’s worth setting a budget early on – taking into account getting there (flights, care hire if applicable), spending money and tipping. If you know your limits, you won’t even be tempted to consider ranches you can’t afford and save yourself disappointment. And it might be that you realise an extra year of saving might be worth it if you do want to opt for some luxury dude ranches.

3. Getting cheap flights
To avoid a shock when it comes to booking flights, check when it’s cheapest to fly before you book your ranch. Book as far in advance as you can, as prices tend to rocket closer to the flight date. Don’t be tempted to go for the very cheapest flight if it means several tight connections – give yourself plenty of time in case of delays, so you don’t run the risk of missing your connections.

4. Pack sensibly
Pack lots of layers if the weather is variable, and remember your swimsuit! Pack plenty of comfy jeans for riding, low-heeled shoes/boots for riding, smarter clothes suitable for dinners in the evening, and a pair of sneakers will also come in handy for exploring the ranch on foot. Check to see if you need to pack your hard hat or boots, as some ranches provide these for guests. Padded underwear and a good sports bra will also come in useful for long days in the saddle!

5. Leave room in your suitcase
…for souvenirs, gifts for friends back home, and the western riding gear you’re sure to be tempted by at local western outfitters.

6. Money matters
Some ranches charge extra for certain activities and remember that tipping is pretty commonplace – especially in America – so take enough currency that you won’t need to rely on your credit card (complete with hefty fees for use abroad). And yes, you will want to buy that shiny new pair of cowboy boots!

7. Do your western riding research
You will of course get ‘Western Riding 101’ from the wranglers before they set you loose on the open range, but it’s worth getting familiar with the western riding aids – many of them verbal – and techniques such as neck-reining. We can’t promise your dressage schoolmaster will know what on earth you’re asking him to do, however! Really keen? Book a couple of lessons at your nearest western riding centre.

8. Car hire
Even if you’re not planning a road trip and your chosen ranch provides airport transfers, you might want to head off ranch a couple of times to see the local area – especially if you’re near Yellowstone or Glacier National Parks, The Grand Canyon and other famous landmarks. From the UK or Europe? Booking car hire from the UK/Europe is vastly cheaper than getting it while in the USA and Canada, so save yourself some money and sort it before you go.

9. Make sure you’re legal!
Immigration officers abroad are notoriously strict, so avoid a lengthy delay at airport customs by making sure you have the right documentation before you travel. For travel to the US, that now means applying for a visa waiver online and paying a small fee, which you can do online here.

10. Get fit for riding
You might already pack in several hours’ riding a week, but hard riding all day for up to two weeks on long cattle drives or pack trips can take its toll on your muscles. Avoid burning out after the first day by getting fit before you go – swimming is a great way to up your fitness levels and muscle endurance, and practise sitting trot as often as you can to prepare that bottom!

To find your ultimate dude ranch vacation, visit Top50Ranches.com

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