There are so many things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand, but a trip there can never be complete without visiting a family-owned farm. It can be hard to pick the right farm though, where both North and South Islands offer sprawling farming landscapes, grazing cattle and sheep. The best farmstay in New Zealand? No need for that, take the Mount Nicholas Farm experience by Southern Discoveries!
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What is so special about the Mount Nicholas Farm Experience?
Farms are a big part of the New Zealand way of life and that they are reportedly about 27 million sheep in the country. For a country with just 4.6 million people, there’s a whole lot of sheep right there! To be exact, that’s an average of 5.8 sheep to 1 person.
At the Mount Nicholas Farm, 29,000 merino sheep and 2,500 Hereford cattle reside on 100,000 acres of breathtaking terrain – an extraordinary landscape surrounded by mountains, thousands of glaciers, ice-carved fiords, forests, alpine lakes and vast snowfields. How’s that for a farm?
Being the 2nd largest farm in the whole of New Zealand, its terrain is as big as Singapore, but only a mere 19 people live on it. Can you imagine that?
This farm also produces wool exclusively to the world-famous Icebreaker clothing company and is just one of the many family-owned high country stations on Lake Wakatipu.
What’s more, you have to take a ‘Spirit of Queenstown’ cruise around the lake to reach the farm. But we are not complaining. This is the fastest way to get to Mount Nicholas from Queenstown or you would have to drive a good 3-4 hours to travel there (it’s a big detour on the roads).
Trust us, this scenic journey to Mount Nicholas Farm will give you some fond memories to talk about for the foreseeable years to come.
Mount Nicholas Farm Experience vs Regular Farmstays in New Zealand
For those who do not have plans to do a farm stay but still want to experience the New Zealand way of life, this 3 hours 30 minutes tour promises to bring you the best of what one of the biggest farms in New Zealand can offer *ahem* not to mention how affordable it is (99 NZD) considering there are lunch/afternoon tea and cruise included as well *ahem*.
The Mount Nicholas Farm Experience is suitable for adults and kids, alike so as long as you have a keen interest in farms and how they operate, you will enjoy this experience.
This experience provides a little something for everyone, whether it’s for yourself, your family and your elderly parents/grandparents.
Of course, Mount Nicholas Farm does offer farm stays as well, for those of you who are wondering or still yearning for a farmstay in New Zealand instead.
Journey to Mt. Nicholas – Lake Wakatipu
As mentioned earlier, you will have to take the Spirit of Queenstown Cruise to get to Mt Nicholas High Country Farm, where you will get to enjoy panoramic views up the lake to Glenorchy, Mt Earnslaw and the Southern Alps.
Just cruising along the glassy waters of Lake Wakatipu makes the whole trip worthwhile already!
Along Lake Wakatipu, there are many high country stations, but Mount Nicholas Farm is one of the only few stations that is still wholly owned and operated by a Kiwi family till this day.
Note: Many tourists on board the Spirit of Queenstown do not alight throughout the whole scenic cruise (Not everyone is heading to the farm). Don’t get carried away and remember to alight upon reaching the Mount Nicholas stop!
Getting Close-up with the Animals
Follow the informative journey of merino wool in a fun and interactive environment, from mustering sheep through to the creation of Icebreaker clothing.
The crew members are extremely down-to-earth, and they’ll ensure you get to learn as much as possible so ask whenever you’re curious!
English commentary with information handouts provided in English, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, German, Spanish and French with be provided, so rest assured, you will be able to understand and follow-through fully.
Mt Nicholas farm takes pride in using many traditional farming practices used in New Zealand since centuries ago. Their annual “fall muster” is a ten-day event that involves seven workers on horseback as well as 30 dogs that are used to muster more than 9,000 merino wethers down from the mountains.
For us, the most intriguing part of this whole tour was watching sheep being herded and corralled by the dogs, Bell and Khan!
These dogs may have retired from their shepherd duties and are now happily living in the mountains, but their herding skills are still top-notch. They are also extremely friendly!
Fun fact: With so many sheep on the farm come with high upkeeps. Mount Nicholas Farm has to generate more income to remain self-sustainable. Other than having farm experiences and farmstays in New Zealand, one of such additional revenue streams is game hunting, where deers are considered pests in the farm. A win-win situation for the farm owners.
The Cream of the Crop – Highest Quality Merino Wool
Ever wondered why your grandma’s hand-knitted sweater feels so prickly?
Don’t worry. You are not allergic to wool. The wool is just a little too thick.
Merino wool, on the other hand, does not prick your skin as it is only 18.3 micron. What’s more? Being one of the best natural insulators found in the world, merino wool is also flame resistant and completely biodegradable once it gets into contact with dirt.
Doesn’t it already sound like a better alternative to man-made materials such as plastic? That’s because it is! Merino wool has been used in combination with other materials to produce environmentally-friendly products.
To sum it all up, Mount Nicholas Farm is a true hidden gem in Queenstown, offering an inexpensive but epic experience to travellers of all ages. We won’t share the farm experience in too much detail lest it spoils the fun for you.
Ready to begin your farmstay in New Zealand and inhale the fresh mountain air? Witness the magic of Mount Nicholas Farm yourself!