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The Mt Nicholas Farm Experience: Touring a Real New Zealand Wool Farm

The Mt Nicholas Farm Experience: Touring a Real New Zealand Wool Farm

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2023 UPDATE: The Mt Nicholas Farm Experience is no longer operating. Luckily, a very similar farm tour exists near Queenstown at Walter Peak High Country Farm. You can book a tour to Walter Peak Farm online here, or simply read more about Walter Peak Farm here.

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 New Zealand.

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 the Mt Nicholas Station 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 (formally called the Mt Nicholas Farm Experience) 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 Mt Nicholas Farm Experience from Queenstown is all about.

*Spoiler alert: we now think that a New Zealand farm tour should be on everyone’s New Zealand south island travel itinerary!

Where is Mt Nicholas Farm?

A Moreno Sheep poses for a photo at the Mt Nicholas Station near Queenstown
Literally striking a pose for the photo!

The Mt Nicolas Farm is located near Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. From Queenstown, the only way to get to the farm (aside from almost driving all the way to Milford Sound) is by boat, specifically the Spirit of Queenstown catamaran operated by Southern Discoveries.

The Spirit of Queenstown Scenic Cruise is included in all of the Mt Nicholas Farm Experience tours and is a very beautiful way to start your farm tour.

So for those joining the Mt Nicolas Farm Experience, you simply need to meet at the Queenstown pier where the catamaran to the farm leaves from. You’ll enjoy a scenic cruise on the way to and from Mt Nicholas Farm!

If you want, you can book the scenic cruise on its own without the Mt Nicholas Farm experience. This is a great tour that’s both short (only a couple of hours) and affordable!

What is the Mt Nicholas Farm Experience exactly?

The Spirit of Queenstown ferry docked at the Mt Nicholas Station
Getting off the scenic cruise and onto the Mt Nicholas Station

The Mt Nicholas Farm Experience is a tour of a real working farm where you’ll learn about the history of farming, meet the animals, and take a tour of the property.

These tours are suited to people of all ages and kids especially love interacting with the animals.

On the tour, you’ll also get some farming demonstrations such as herding and also get to feed some of the sheep on the property.

About Mt Nicholas High Country Farm

A shed at the Mt Nicholas Station
A shed at the Mt Nicholas Station

Mt Nicholas Farm is strictly a Merino wool farm which means they have mostly Merino sheep – and lots of them! Mt Nicholas Farm is an authentic and real operating farm that is family-owned and operated to this day.

In fact, the majority of the wool they produce actually goes to the popular brand “Ice Breaker” to make Merino wool clothing.

If you visit at certain times of year you can find the sheds filled with sheep waiting for a haircut before spending months roaming free on the mountains on the farm. This is a difficult job in which shearers are only paid around $4 NZD per sheep they shear (you’ll learn all about this on the tour!)

Mt Nicholas Farm also herds their sheep using horses. This is due to the mountain landscape the sheep roam and the difficult task of rounding them up.

Mt Nicholas Farm Experience – Our Tour and What to Expect

The Mt Nicholas Farm Experience is much more than just a farm tour and lasts for almost half a day. Here’s our own personal experience and what you can expect if you choose to do the tour.

Getting to Mt Nicholas Farm (via one very scenic cruise)

A photo of Bailey on the Spirit of Queenstown scenic cruise to the Mt Nicholas Station
On our way to the station!

The first part of the tour involves a very scenic cruise across Lake Wakatipu. In fact, just doing the scenic cruise on Lake Wakatipu is a must-do in Queenstown!

We jumped on the cruise at 11:00 am to make our way to Mt Nicholas Farm. This boat is also a common scenic cruise option for people who 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 boat makes its way to Mt Nicholas in about an hour. Keep in mind, the boat does a 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

the sheep getting herded towards us at the Mt Nicholas Station
Merino Sheep being herded together by the dog

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

A young boy feeds a sheep at the Mt Nichlas Station, Queesntown
The kids loved feeding the animals!

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 really likes hanging out with the farm visitors.

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 then 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

Moreno Wool in the sheering shed at Mt Nicholas
Moreno Wool in the sheering shed at Mt Nicholas

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, once for a little trim and once for the full shave. 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

A landscape view of the Mt Nicholas Farm
A landscape view of the Mt Nicholas Farm

After learning all about the animals and the wool they produce, 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, joining the Mt Nicholas Farm Experience 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 boat for our scenic lift back to Queenstown.

About the Mt Nicholas Farm Tour and Scenic Cruise

Bailey feeds a sheep on the Mt Nicholas Farm
Even we enjoyed feeding the animals!

Expect to pay about $100 NZD (adults) and $69 NZD (kids) for the cruise, farm tour, and lunch. You can book your Mt Nicholas Farm Tour in advance.

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 round!

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 Experience we didn’t really know what to expect and we didn’t have the highest 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 working 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! It’s definitely one of the best tours in Queenstown!

You can secure your place on the Mt Nicholas Farm tour here!

Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand

Bailey takes a selfie with a JUCY campervan
Ready to hit the road!
Bailey stands infront of a JUCY campervan in New Zealand
JUCY is another favorite!

The first step to planning your New Zealand road trip is choosing your set of wheels! Most people rent a campervan or motorhome to get around, but you can also just rent a normal car and stay in hotels (as opposed to camping.)

You can search for rental cars online here in advance to compare car models and prices.

You can also do this with motorhomes and campervans on a website called Motorhome Republic. It shows all of the available campervans and motorhomes for your specific New Zealand road trip dates. You can compare prices and company reviews here too!

JUCY is our personal favorite campervan rental company in NZ. We love JUCY because they have such a range of both cars and campervans available, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something to suit your budget and travel style.

We’ve actually secured an exclusive discount code for our readers with JUCY. Just click here to browse their availability and use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off! You must act quickly, though, as this code is only valid for bookings made before June 30, 2024, with travel dates before December 21, 2024!

You can check prices, availability and book with JUCY online here.

Star RV is another company we personally recommend but specifically for motorhomes! They offer larger motorhomes (as opposed to budget campervans) at really reasonable rates.

Star RV has actually given us a discount code for our readers too! Use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off your motorhome rental! Note, this code is only valid for bookings made before June 21, 2024 with travel dates before Dec 21, 2024. Click here to browse availability, prices, and book with our discount code!

Before you go…

Bailey and Daniel from Destinationless Travel pose for a photo with a sheep in New Zealand
Thanks for reading!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read our guide to the Mt Nicholas Farm Experience. Please if you have any questions about the tour or just about Queenstown or New Zealand in general, leave them below in the comments section!

And, if you found this blog helpful, be sure to check out all our Queenstown and NZ blogs on our dedicated Queenstown and New Zealand pages. There are lots of great guides to make planning your trip to NZ much easier!

Related articles:

Where to Stay in Queenstown

Queenstown Ski Season Visitor Guide

8 must-do day hikes in Queenstown

Best Restaurants in Queenstown

Choose the BEST Milford Sound Cruise


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