Visiting the Bay of Islands by Cruise Ship

The Bay of Islands is one of the most popular ports of call in New Zealand – with over 60 ships making tender during the busy summer season, bringing with them over 129,000 passengers. Here at Horse Trek’n our morning session rides are specifically designed to be able to accommodate cruise ship passengers visiting the Bay of Islands. Take advantage of our free pick-up and drop-off services from your tender wharf or in other central locations around Paihia and come along for a ride – experiencing some of the best views the Bay of Islands has to offer.

We offer horse riding options for everyone, no matter your current experience level. It could be your first time, or perhaps you have been riding for a lifetime – our friendly and experienced guides will match you with a suitable horse and share with you some of the best kept secrets and panoramic views across the Bay of Islands and Waitangi area.

Throughout the summer we offer 3 main horse riding experiences, so whether you are after a relaxing walk to absorb the scenery, a trek through stunning pine forest and native woodlands or the once in a lifetime opportunity to take your horse for a swim in the pacific we certainly have something for everyone!

We are committed to providing the best quality experience possible to all of our customers, and having recently been recognised by Trip Advisor with a certificate of excellence… don’t just take our word for it see what other customers have had to say!

Our rides are suitable for all riders from beginners through to experienced riders – our relaxed team of horses are here to help you enjoy your experience. Wondering which ride might be the one for you? Take a look at our rides & prices page – or contact us to find out more.

 Skip the queues on board by using our website to help you book and plan your trip in advance – and also avoid missing out on a great experience. You can book today and check availability online using our safe and secure booking platform to plan your trip.

Cruise Ship Horses

Don’t want to be stuck in a group with others and would rather have a private tour with your own personal guide? No problem – we can arrange for private bookings in advance for an extra cost. Visit our private rides page to arrange your booking.

See what other Cruise Ship passengers have had to say:

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely Yes. Due to the nature of cruise ship bookings and needing a pick-up service we are often unable to arrange for same-day bookings. During our busy summer season from December – March we will often be booked out up to a week in advance.

To avoid any possible disappointment please consider making your booking in advance. We allow bookings up to 12 months in advance – though please note unpaid bookings may be subject to any price increases that may occur before your ride.

For any changes made to advanced bookings please view our full terms & conditions.

Our cruise ship passengers have several options throughout the morning sessions:

Ride the Waves – Departs 10am – Finishes at 12pm

Forest & Hillside Trek – Departs at 10am – Finishes at 12pm

Bayview Scenic Ride – Departs at 12:30pm – Finishes at 1:30pm

We offer a comprehensive and free pickup and return service from either the Paihia & Waitangi Wharf’s, or from the iSite in central Paihia. Please allow 15-25 minutes for transport on busy cruise ship days due to traffic.

If you are making your own way to us via the scenic walkway – please note the approximate walking times from our location below:

  • Horse Trek’n – > Waitangi Wharf (30 minutes)
  • Horse Trek’n -> Central Paihia (iSite) (50 minutes)

Please note: Our ability to get you back to your cruise ship in time depends on your boats departure time, which will be subject to change, please keep this in mind when making your booking. We do not recommend booking any rides at times other than the recommendations above.

The most common way for cruise ship passengers to reach us is to utilize our free pick-up and drop-off service. We run a service from 2 key locations: Paihia Central (iSite) and the Waitangi Wharf (most common location of tender).

Pickup’s are confirmed on an individual basis but normally are 15-30 minutes prior to the departure time of your ride. The 3.5 km trip time varies dependent on traffic between 5 and 25 minutes so you may need to factor this into your itinerary for the day.

To request a pickup on your advanced booking, please use the ‘special requirements’ section in your booking form online. Alternatively send us an email directly and we will come back to you with confirmation.

If you would like to make your own way over to us, whether by walking, cycling or by Taxi you can find a comprehensive set of directions on our Find Us page.

In the event of your cruise ship not being able to make it into port, or being unable to tender due to sea swells – we will offer a 100% refund on any payment that has been made in advance. We will be notified in the event of this happening, but when you are able please follow up with a call or email so that we can process your refund.

While most healthy horses can easily carry a rider and saddle, they do have their limits. Now researchers have identified a threshold for when a rider is too heavy for a horse to consistently and comfortably carry – this is around 18% of the horses body weight.

We do have a couple of horses available to take riders over this limit – but as their availability is restricted by the number of people on the ride please ensure you get in touch with us directly for any exemptions to the limit.

If you are in doubt, please err on the side of overestimation. If upon arrival the riders are of questionable weight, we have a scale on-site. If a rider is too large for the horse reserved, they may not be able to ride, since there may be no large substitutes available. To avoid possible embarrassment please be honest!

First Time Riders:

If you are riding for the first time, or perhaps you have ridden a hand full of times previously we’d recommend you take a look at booking our one hour Bayview Scenic Ride. This is a walking paced ride that gives some of the best views of the Bay of Islands (including your cruise ship!) and departs at 12:30pm each day, allowing plenty of time to return you to the boat.

Experienced Riders:

For experienced riders we would suggest you take a look at our Forest & Hillside Trek or our Ride the Waves experience. You might also prefer to get in touch with us about booking a private session if you would like to guarantee riding at a faster pace.

If you can’t find the answer you are looking for here – take a look at our more in-depth FAQ page. Alternatively drop us an email using the form on our contact us page, or give us a call on +64 (0) 210 680 633 and we will help in any way we can.