Australian punters are most aware that New Zealand produces fantastic horseflesh. With so much beauty, lush grass and peaceful conditions, why wouldn't they have happy, contented and fast horses!
Kelly Landry went to Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island on a cold winter's morning to visit Horsepower Experience. It's set on an historic horseracing establishment famous for many outstanding equine athletes.
Even if you don't love horses, and fortunately Kelly does, it's a great place to see how retired champions still enjoy themselves. The names Hartnett's Creek and Russian Road may ring a bell with racehorse followers. They won plenty in their "hay" days.
When Kelly was a little girl she flirted with the idea of becoming a jockey but grew too tall. At Horsepower she was at last able to don the silks for the first time.
Anyone with horseracing aspirations can have a go. You're behind a real harness-racing horse in a specially developed dual sulky, created with the best technology available to the cycle manufacturing industry.
You can reach 50km/h on the 800m smooth racing surface which was designed for the dual sulkies. It's an all-weather dust-racing surface.
If that's not enough, it's in the beautiful rural setting of Canterbury, surrounded by the hills of Christchurch and the Southern Alps, combined with modern and historic buildings.
There's a form guide to follow so you can pick your favourites and have a little bet on the side.
Three kilometres from Christchurch Airport on New Zealand's South Island.
The Horsepower Experience is $200 for adults and $140 for children for three hours. All clothing and safety gear are included. It's held at 9.30am and 1.30pm during summer.
Europcar has car hire starting at $55 a day.
Air New Zealand has flights to Christchurch.
One-way fares from:
- Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast $249
- Adelaide $335
- Cairns $399
- Perth $531
Subject to availability at time of booking.
Prices correct at November 26, 2009.
For further information
Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476
The Horsepower Experience
59 Russley Road
Ph: +64 3342 9246
Fax: +64 3342 9246
Ph: 1300 131 390
Visas: Australian citizens do not require a visa to enter New Zealand.
Electricity: 230V at 50Hz using the same plugs as in Australia.
Time zone: GMT +12.
Currency: The New Zealand dollar.
International dialling code: +64.