Explore a private station
Join me in my native backyard and directly support our conservation efforts in return for a unique, completely private experience.
This New Zealand Bush Experience has a focus on providing a mixture of adventures and activities that will show you what going bush is really all about in New Zealand. This private station provides zero disruption and a chance to connect directly with nature. In fact, we’re so sure that you won’t spot another person out here, Bushman Tours will give you your money back otherwise.
Island Hills Station provides a chance to tramp through deep, regenerating beech forest while helping to reset and check traps for introduced pests. It’s here you’ll learn about the efforts I control with the station’s owners and what you can do to help, even after you’ve left. By booking this tour, Bushman Tours will donate traps to the station as part of your fee. These traps will support the conservation work here and bear your Visitors ID, offering the chance for you to receive updates on the efforts and support you’ve provided – even long after you’ve left.
On this Adventure you will:
- Have one of the region’s largest stations all to yourselves.
- Be guided by one of Canterbury’s leading pig hunters and Bushmen (often seen on magazines like The Hunters Journal).
- Be able to hike and scramble up a variety of different terrain, mountains and native bush.
- Customise and have the final say in what you want to do. (As this trip is completely private, we are not restricted to one track or activity).
- Experience wild foods caught and prepared on-site – the freshest, healthiest you can consume.
- Stay in traditional huts and lodges that come with excellent cooking facilities, beer fridge, a warm shower, fires, a BBQ and bunks with pillows and mattresses.
- Challenge yourself on a safe, well-designed Adventure overseen by a guide with decades of experience.
This tour is perfect for groups of just about any size, families and young ones new to bush life, or couples who want a guarantee of a private adventure. But don’t wait around, this tour is popular!
Don’t forget to check out my other tours via my profile, including hunting trips and my famous ‘Parent & Child Experience’.
I have walked through a lifetime of backcountry adventures all over New Zealand from multi-day solo hikes, to backpack hunting along mountain ranges. I'm ready to help turn your outdoor challenges into safe, awesome experiences.
My wide range of knowledge on wildlife, plants, conservation, bushcraft, mountain safety and New Zealand's unique history makes for a great chat while walking the trails or relaxing around the campfire. It's been great spending the last few years building Adventures and Tours for families, new hunters and travellers from all around the world.I'm privileged to be looking after Island Hills Station and heading up the conservation efforts on the QEII covenant section of the privately run land. It's a special part of the Hurunui district and it's where we'll spend our time. Looking forward to taking you out!
A REAL BUSH ADVENTURE
We went out with Shaun for three days to experience what he had on offer and let me just say, wow! He managed to show us many activities, the extent of deer and pigs on offer as well as the incredible work he’s doing on conservation there through the QEII convenant. You have my absolute guarantee that you will not regret booking this Adventure!
– Ollie Law | Bushman Tours Founder
After meeting, we will drive together to the homestead of Island Hills Station and start heading up into the mountains. This alone is an epic drive, nearly an hour to the Station, and you’ll get to experience the sheer scale of the place. After dropping off gear at the hut, an unmarked hike awaits through traditional native beech forest with a lesson on natural growth, devastation and conservation work. It’s here you’ll learn about many of our native trees and their unique ways of life.
When we reach our first set of tops, prime your eyes for local stags (something I frequently keep under control). We’ll arrive at our first hut (built, owned and maintained by myself and the station owner), you’ll be briefed on the conservation work and can help prepare the camp for the evening campfire and BBQ – or just relax.
On the second day, you can choose from a variety of activities including bushcraft, checking and setting conservation traps (large, bulky boxes that earn you a cold beer or two that night) and other pest control methods.
There are also some big hikes around the full station (looking for local stag and pigs), replacing timber and resources, or for those keen to just take it all in, lounge around the lodge and sunbathe by the rivers that flow from the mountains.
I will put the group through some activities, teach you bushcraft, how to build your own hill stick, skinning a possum and preparing wild foods. If you’re trying to find that Real New Zealand Experience, this is it.
Wild foods & wild times
In the evening after a day of hard work and big walks, we’ll feed you up and make it all worthwhile with some locally sourced, free-range foods (some of the finest in the region). This includes:
- wild venison
- wild pork
- West Coast whitebait (available seasonally)
- homegrown lamb
- wild bacon
- free-range eggs
- Locally grown fruit and veggies
The whole group will help prepare a feast and set up the campfire for a beautiful, fun night of socializing under a blanket of stars and zero connection to the outside world. Something we all desperately need right now.
On the last day, you’ll have the chance to soak in the views, enjoy brunch and get some last-minute photos before heading out on an intermediate hike over a few hours, leading you deep through native bush and circling back to our starting point. It’s here you may be visited by local birdlife like fantails and – if we’re super lucky – Kākāriki (small, green and rare parrots) that have been seen on occasion here.
Give back to conservation:
What’s the catch? Well, during your Adventure, you’ll learn a lot about what it takes to maintain an ecosystem like this – especially when there is no government support. Imagine trying to maintain a 7,000 hectare garden. You’ll learn a lot from me like how to set traps, how to study the surroundings for conservation issues and helping me prepare for the winter/summer by lugging some new traps up into some of the densest bush in North Canterbury. Challenging work that makes a meaningful difference will be rewarded with beers and a good feed that evening.
At checkout, we’ll invite you to donate towards a new trap. You can put your name on this trap and will be directly supporting conservation work in New Zealand by donating it to the station. You’ll be notified on how much this single trap has done to support pest control afterwards. These hills are not supported by the government, so it’s people like you and I who keep the pests under control for our native wildlife. If you can, please help us contribute to this. (Bushman Tours will donate a percentage of the booking to the same cause).
Why book this?
You’ll explore river systems, mountain tops and historic lodges and can choose to locate some wild game while supporting New Zealand’s natural ecosystem. Evenings can be around a fire, down the river or in the warm lodges after your hot shower or bath. Wild foods, conservation talk, good banter, drinks and peaceful night’s sleep is a typical evening out here. A weekend at Island Hills Station simply can’t be topped.
This Adventure has been designed to suit people with all experiences and backgrounds and is fully customisable on the day – meaning if you turn up and prefer to relax or get into some hard work, we can accommodate.
The wilderness, supporting conservation, and learning about this delicate part of Canterbury allows our Visitors to get a fully private and personal experience. The private, historic huts are just the icing on the cake; handmade and looked after by a team of locals. Join me today and experience the New Zealand bush in its absolute prime.
All tours require the proper gear to ensure you’re having the time of your life, and are well prepared if things go south. It’s the real and rugged New Zealand out there!
Sunscreen & hat
Toiletries & Underwear
Top & Bottom Base layer
Top Base layer
Torch & Batteries
Warm hat & gloves (March to October)
Warm hiking layer
Pack Cover / Liner
There are add-on extras for this tour. These are the little things that’ll either make your Adventure easier to organise or more rugged - your choice. You can add these during the booking process.
If you're looking to eat more than just some freeze-dried meals and want to opt for fresh, locally sourced foods, it doesn't get much better than this. I have caught and prepared all the food on offer here, right from the station. Join me for a beer while we get the BBQ running.+ $50 NZD
If you've always had an interest in hunting but didn't know where to start, this option allows you to safely give it a go. We will walk through rifle safety and preparation, have some basic shooting practice, then head up into the hills to see what we can bag. This is perfect for those who don't want the pressure of a full hunting trip but want to see if it's right for them.+ $300 NZD
Filming of your Adventure
A 20 to 30-minute high definition video will be caught and shared with you post-Adventure. This is a fantastic way to really embrace the trip while someone else captures the moments. My contacts here are professional videographers often seen on key hunting channels and magazines like The Hunters Journal. Don't miss a chance to bring them along!+ $600 NZD
If sleeping under the stars sounds like you, I know the perfect spot. We have a specific hill that nestles in the valley perfect for a good sunrise. We can opt for a night out instead of the lodge (fully flexible) and enjoy the variety of sounds the bush has to offer.Free
Helictoper Drop Off
On some occasions, I can reach out to my contacts who have regularly dropped my Visitors off to the station from above. This allows us to set down on a mountain ridge and descent down while our gear is dropped off below. It's an exciting and fantastic way to start the trip and if available will show you how epic this station really is. Please select this at checkout and I will provide a quote.+ $500 NZD
Q & A
Your Bushman has added a couple of answers to questions other Visitors have asked in the past to help you with your booking plans. Once you book a tour, you'll be in direct contact with your Bushman for more support.
Do I need to be an experienced outdoors person for this trip?
Not at all. This unique Hurunui Station has an abundance of trips to offer those of all experiences from beginners, kids, to expert hunters. I’ll ensure that whatever you’re up for, we’ll find something for you and there is absolutely no judgement on your preference.
On the first day, I’ll gauge this pretty quick with a nice walk through our conservation section and we'll talk about options on the station.
I’ve never hunted before, is this hard?
If you’re interested in hunting, there may be an opportunity for this, however, it’s best to head over to my other hunting tour for a more specific Adventure. If we do get the chance to do this, I will provide very detailed, careful training on what to do. I’ve got experience with every kind of skill level and this option is great for those that are curious about the profession.
What is a station?
New Zealand Station’s are not like your typical Australian one; flat, barren and full of grazing cows. Although this is a farm, the majority of it is covered in mountains and bush.
Although bee farming, cattle and more is worked here, it’s also a haven for wildlife and more importantly, a place for endangered animals to come. With huts, lodges and hilltop camping spots, this Station is one of NZ’s best playgrounds.
Our group is bigger than four people, do you offer more people?
Yes. I regularly have large groups, sometimes 10+ but this depends on the activities required. This tour will soon be available to larger groups but if this is you, jump on my profile and send me an email at the bottom and we can arrange.
Here’s a few answers to the more general questions about the whole journey. You can visit our help and support area for any further information or contact us via the chat function.
What is the refund and cancellation policy?
Bushman Tours sets a standard cancellation policy that can be found via our Terms & Conditions. This is globally set at 48 hours notice. However, Bushmen may add to this depending on the requirements for the Adventure (e.g. - hiring gear and renting equipment on your behalf). The final policy will be located at the bottom of the checkout, or you can reach out to us to check.
What happens if the tour is cancelled due to weather?
In most cases, the Bushman can arrange another day to run your tour, but this also comes down to when you're available if travelling through New Zealand. We recommend ensuring you have insurance for cancellation of any tours. If the Bushman has to cancel due to a health risk, we will call you to arrange another option.
What gear do I need?
Although we have a minimum requirement of gear, you will need the right equipment and gear that is relevant to the Adventure you're booking. This is usually found at the bottom of each tour page, but for our minimum, please visit our FAQs & blog page.
Can I hire gear/equipment?
In some circumstances, your Bushman will have equipment for you to hire. This is available to browse and book through the checkout. We may also have options through our checkout. Although you may be able to borrow gear during the tour, it's important to reserve it now.
What food shall I bring?
Depending on the length, this can vary. Your Bushman will advise on the tour page what is recommended for this particular Adventure, but typically, what we offer at checkout via the add-ons section is what you'll need. Keep it lightweight and nutritious if you buy your own.
Where do I meet my Bushman?
We always try to pick the closest iSite (Visitor Centre) to your Adventure's location. Instructions on precisely where to meet are sent after the booking is made. However, you can also message your Bushman and arrange another location as long as it's close enough to the region.
How much extra is it to add family/friends onto the booking?
If you book and find that more people want to come with you, we can arrange to add them onto the booking (this is dependant on the Bushman's preference to the number of people to take out). The more that book on the original checkout option, the cheaper the fee for each individual - so spread the word before you go to book! Please note, you cannot add or bring extra people 48 hours before the tour starts.
Can I talk to my Bushman before the Adventure?
Absolutely! Once you book, you will be able to login and chat directly to your Bushman through a private, secure chat. Here you can arrange some extras you would like to do, timings for pick up and much more.
Need more help?
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