Five Fantastic Farmstays
21 March 2011
Considering we live in a land with more sheep than people, we thought it was high time we got our city kids acquainted with rural New Zealand. Here are five of the best farm stays around the country:
A Coastal Dairy Farm Near Auckland
An hour’s drive from Auckland and set on a 350ha coastal dairy farm between the townships of Wellsford and Warkworth is Waitapu Farms. Here you will find Radcliffe Cottage, a sunny home away from home with views across grassy plains, rolling pastures and picturesque valleys. Guided farm tours & walks, picnics on the property and calf feeding are some of the onsite activities so don’t forget to pack your gumboots. There’s also stunning local beaches and the vineyards of Matakana nearby. The only rush hour traffic will be some peaceful cows that may meander past your window.
A Horse Farm in Queenstown
Share your holiday with 20 horses and ponies, a couple of friendly dogs, a pair of Paradise ducks and a very lazy cat called “Possum” at Queenstown’s only working horse farm with private self-catering holiday home accommodation. You’ll have access to private lessons at the Equestrian Centre 300m from the cottage and with the great restaurants of Arrowtown a 5-minute drive away you will have plenty of excuses not to cook on this holiday.
Adventure Farm Stay in the Waikato
Get outdoorsy with an adventure farm stay offering horse trekking, kayaking, cow milking, sheep shearing, horse grooming and hand-feeding or petting of lambs, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, goats and even an emu. You can also toast marshmallows in the firepit, travel in a pony-drawn buggy, visit greenstone or bonecarving and try some New Zealand wines.
A Wairarapa Beach Farm and Vineyard
Reef Point Lodge is surrounded by and part of Flat Point Station's 9000 acre working sheep and cattle coastal farm with its very own vineyard. Choose from the Lighthouse Chalet with unrestrictive beach views and cosy fireplace or the Homestead, Crowsnest Cottage or Young Nick’s Chalet. This comment from the guest book says it all: "We sat and watched seals frolicking, ships on the horizon, a motorboat heading out fishing, mustered sheep moving, ink black nights with jewel-like stars of the milky way, golden globe sunrises and changing tides. Our busy life stresses just melted away.”
Organic Farming in South Otago
River View farm stay is situated on Hunter Farm: a 1200 acre organic sheep and beef farm in South Otago with views of the Clutha River and the Blue Mountains. Fallow deer and wild pigs live in the surrounding bush for adventurous local hunters. Help shift the sheep, take a scenic walk then enjoy a good hearty southern meal with homegrown organic lamb and veges.
When the family has had enough farming, don’t forget to ask your hosts for local insight into the area – they’re sure to have a favourite local spot not mentioned in any guidebook, if you’re lucky they may even give you a personal tour.
For more in your region, check True NZ Guide to Farmstays