You can ride on all beaches in Southland, unless they are specifically signposted (usually to protect wildlife, including nesting rare birds).


Oreti Beach

Accessed from Sandy point, Oreti beach offers 26km of smooth sand.

Sandy Point Domain

15 minutes west of Invercagill, Sandy Point Domain is 2000 hectares of recreational land.

Terrain - flat (fairly flat), sand trails, Beach, Forest, Native bush \ trees, well marked trails

Routes begin at the horse float/truck car parking area, there are several trails to choose from, see the visitor centre for map. Some tracks are shared spaces and some tracks dedicated to certain recreational users such as walkers or mountain bikers *refer to map

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good parking, though not perfectly flat, must pick up horse poo

5-10 spaces

Other facilities

sand rolling pit, picnic area

Maps and Information

Available from the visitors centre.

This information provided via our online form

Eyre Mountains - Taka Ra Haka Conservation Area

The park is approximately an hour’s drive from either Invercargill or Queenstown. Access is from a number of points along State Highway 6 (between Kingston and Five Rivers), the Five Rivers – Mossburn Road and from State Highway 94 (Mossburn – Te Anau Road). Note many access routes into the park are on public access easements through private property. Please respect local landowners by keeping to formed tracks and complying with access information posted on signs.

DOC Brochure

DOC Website - please note, the initial 'activities' indicator does not reflect that horse riding is a permitted activity.

Horse riding is permitted in the Eyre Creek and Upper Mataura River.

Upper Mataura River

The Upper Mataura River is accessible via Cainard Road, off SH6 at Fairlight. Follow the road through Cainard Station to Robert Creek, a tributary of the Mataura River. A Department of Conservation sign provides access information through private property – please observe the guidelines

4 hr, unmarked route From the last marker post travel along the Mataura River for about four hours, reaching a large patch of bush near the head of the valley. The historic beech hut (4 bunks) is visible on the true right of the river at the edge of the bush. This character hut is one of the oldest musterers’ huts (circa 1913) remaining in Southland. There are no toilets situated at the hut so please bury your waste away from buildings and water sources.

Eyre Creek

Access to Eyre Creek is from State Highway 6, just west of Athol township. Travelling north, turn left onto Eyre Creek Road from SH 6, just prior to Athol. Follow the metal road through Glen Eyre and Eyre Creek Stations. There is 4WD access to the park, as well as horse riding and mountain bike opportunities. A Department of Conservation sign provides access information through private property – please observe the guidelines.

Shepherd Creek Hut 4WD Track 10 km

From Eyre Creek Station continue on the 4WD track for about ten kilometres, along the true-right bank of Eyre Creek to Shepherd Creek Hut (6 bunks). It is necessary to cross Eyre Creek twice. Care should be taken as this creek is subject to sudden rises and falls. Horses may be kept in the stock holding paddock situated at the hut.

Shepherd Creek Hut – Dog Box Hut 2 hr,

unmarked route From the Shepherd Creek Hut it is a two hour walk to an historic musterers’ hut (circa 1916), aptly named ‘The Dog Box’. The track follows an old 4WD road through patches of mountain beech forest, mostly along the true-right of Eyre Creek. The creek is crossed a number of times before arriving at an open grassy valley. It is a further 40 minute walk across tussock flats to the Dog Box Hut. Due to the fragile nature of this historic building overnight accommodation is not permitted. There are also no toilet facilities so please bury your waste away from the hut and water sources. From here Jane Peak first comes into view. This is the highest mountain in the park ( 2 022 m) and is usually climbed from the Gorge Burn in the Oreti catchment (see the map on pages 2 and 3).

Mavora Lakes Conservation Park

Horse riding is allowed within the park. A holding paddock is located at the bottom end of North Lake Mavora and also at Forks Hut. Horses are not to be tethered in the camping area. Trekking routes are not specified but all sensitive habitat areas, especially stream margins and wetlands, should be avoided.

No horse trekking beyond Boundary Hut.

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The Mararoa River should only be crossed between the lakes or at the 4WD vehicle access point to the Windon Burn. Horse owners are responsible for providing sufficient processed feed for their animals. Please ensure that feed is free of undesirable plant material, such as oats, to help reduce the spread of weeds.