The Mt Nicholas Farm Tour: Exploring A Real New Zealand Wool Farm
September 10, 2018
If you are travelling in New Zealand then visiting a traditional farm should be on your list of things to experience! The Mt Nicholas farm tour is a great way to learn about a real operating NZ farm and meet the animals. This blog is all about our experience on the tour along with important information you may need to know!
The Mt Nicholas Farm Tour
If you drive anywhere outside of a city in New Zealand one thing will become apparent very quickly – farming is everywhere! Many Kiwi’s own farms and farming is a very prevalent career choice here in NZ. So, if you want to get to know the culture of New Zealand then going on a New Zealand farm tour is something you must do!
The other day we decided to go on a farm tour right from Queenstown! Our farm of choice was Mt Nicholas Farm as it is a Merino Wool farm near Queenstown, famous for having amazing views and being extremely picturesque. Although a New Zealand farm tour wasn’t originally on our list of things to do while in New Zealand, the Mt Nicolas farm tour came highly recommended so we decided to check it out for ourselves.
This blog is all about our experience on the Mt Nicolas farm, and what the tour is all about. Spoiler alert: we now think that a New Zealand farm tour should be on everyone’s travel itinerary!
Where is the Mt Nicholas Farm?
Mt Nicolas Farm is located pretty close to Queenstown by boat. With the Southern Discoveries Scenic Cruise, you can get there in only 1 hour and enjoy some pretty amazing views along the way! This is how we got to Mt Nicholas,
The other alternative to getting to Mt Nicholas farm is driving on one very scenic road from Te Anau. Te Anau is about 1.5 hours from Queenstown and then the Mt Nicholas Farm would be another couple of hours or so. While this drive is beautiful, it is a gravel road. I haven’t driven this route (yet) but I have heard it is awesome and if you are up for an adventure this may be a great option.
What is a New Zealand Farm tour exactly?
Like I said before, farming is a huge industry in New Zealand. Exploring a farm in New Zealand is truly a “Kiwi experience” and a look into a real industry in New Zealand and the lives of many Kiwi farmers. Meet the employees and farmers, learn about the industry, and best of all, meet the animals!
About Mt Nicholas Farm
Mt Nicholas Farm is strictly a Merino Wool farm which means they have mostly sheep – and lots of them! Mt Nicholas Farm is authentic and a real operating farm that is family owned and operated to this day. In fact, the majority of the wool they produce actually goes the popular brand “Ice Breaker” to make Merino Wool based clothing.
What our Day looked like
It was one very packed day full of new experiences and amazing sights! This is how our experience went from start to finish.
Getting to Mt Nicholas Farm (via one very scenic cruise)
We jumped on the Spirit of Queenstown boat at 11:00 am to make our way to Mt Nicholas Farm. This boat is also a common scenic cruise option for people just want to take in some incredible views from out on Lake Wakatipu. Not everyone who boarded the boat was going to Mt Nicholas, some were along just for the ride.
The spirit of Queenstown boat makes its way to Mt Nicholas in about an hour. Keep in mind, the boat does detour to some beautiful viewpoints along the way. With a hot chocolate in hand, Dan and I enjoyed the views of the surrounding mountains while listening to the captain’s commentary.
Arriving at Mt Nicholas Farm
Jumping off the cruise we were greeted by our tour guide. She introduced herself and before we knew it we were off walking out onto the fields passing pigs, dogs and chickens.
The first animal we were properly introduced to was the herding dog. She was energetic and couldn’t wait to greet each one of us visitors before she was put to work. We walked up to one of the gates to the fields where all of the sheep were. The dog was released into the fields and within only minutes she had the whole group of sheep heading over to us!
Getting to know the sheep
Once the sheep arrived a few of them were fed by the children in our group. They were given a little bit of feed and the sheep ate right out of their hands! One sheep, in particular, named Lucky particularly likes hanging out with the farm tourists. As we continued on to another area of the farm Lucky actually walked with our group as if she was also on the tour! It was very cute!
We were led to another fenced area where all of us were given the opportunity to feed the sheep and take selfies with them. I was surprised at how friendly they were and unafraid of humans. Although, I’m sure the fact that they knew we had food played a factor in this as well.
Learning about the wool and shearing
After feeding the sheep we were taken to the shearing shed where we learned about the process of actually getting the wool. We learned a little bit about the wool and how it is divided up by the quality. We also learned that the sheep come down to the shed twice a year, one for a little trim and once for the full shaved. Besides these “haircuts” the sheep roam pretty much freely on the property. From what I could tell, the sheep seemed like they had a pretty good life!
Beautiful views and lunch
That was enough about the animals and wool, we were then escorted onto a 4wd bus to explore the farm further. We drove up the hills and through valleys to take in some beautiful sights. The driver stopped frequently to let us out to explore and take pictures. The area of Mt Nicholas Farm is absolutely stunning! To us, visiting the farm was worth the views alone!
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we were given a picnic lunch with fresh bread and local meats and cheeses before getting picked up by the Spirit of Queenstown again for our lift back to Queenstown.
About the Mt Nicholas Farm Tour and Scenic Cruise
Southern Discoveries is the tour provider for both the Spirit of Queenstown boat and tour of Mt Nicolas Farm. Bookings can be made online or directly In their office at the St Omer Wharf.
Expect to pay about $70 for the cruise, farm tour, and lunch (although prices can vary seasonally so check their website just to be sure!)
Our tour started at 11 am and we were back in Queenstown around 2:30 pm. There are various departures times throughout the day and they run this trip 7 days a week all year around! If you are in Queenstown between September and November you could be lucky enough to check out the farm during the actual sheep shearing and watch the sheep getting their haircuts in action!
Our Overall Opinion
To be completely honest, before going on the Mt Nicholas farm tour we didn’t really know what to expect and we didn’t have the high of expectations either. The idea of visiting a farm worried me slightly as I love animals and the thought of seeing the life of an actual farm animal worried me. But to my surprise, the animals had a great life and the tour was fun and interesting!
We both thoroughly enjoyed the tour, the scenic cruise was beautiful and relaxing while we learned a lot on the farm tour and had lots of laughs watching the animals! If you are in Queenstown definitely make time to check out the Mt Nicholas farm, you won’t be disappointed!