Our trip to New Zealand started off with an idyllic farmstay. Farmstays are a popular way to enjoy New Zealand and I would have loved to stay at more!
It took a day of traveling, but we were so excited to finally arrive in New Zealand! We stopped in a seedy area of Auckland and bought a paper sack full of delicious fish and chips – and it was super cheap! We found it fun to be in a developing part of town, with no other tourists anywhere near us.
The drive from Auckland to Matamata was wonderful. Low clouds hung heavy with rain, we bounded across rolling green hills, and sheep, cows, goats and horses grazed peacefully. Beautiful scenery filled every window of the car. It was raining, but it didn’t bother us on our 2.5 hour drive.
Our destination for the night was Kauri farmstay, a charming 50-acre farm tucked in the hills of Matamata. When we got to the house we were all pretty tired and hungry. The kids immediately started claiming their beds and making themselves at home!
Our host, Jim, recommended we go to Onyx in Cambridge for dinner. It offered some typical New Zealand food. Matt got the lamb, I got a scone and the kids got pizza. It was fine, but nothing special.
Waking up in the morning was a delight! I opened the curtains and a couple of the horses were walking by the room. Fresh dew covering the ground and the air smelled deliciously clean. Our fridge came stocked with fresh eggs, milk, bread and jams. We had a delicious breakfast, then the kids ran around playing in the rocks and dirt eating the tart crab apples off the tree!
Kauri farm raises cows and hosts horses and a few dogs. Later in the morning we went to feed a couple of the cows. They are quite used to the attention that the farmstayers give them – they came running with just the whistle of Libby, our other host. While they were eating, she answered questions and offered a chance to sit on the cow; of course, Royce volunteered! He is such a brave animal lover!
Next we went up to the barn to get feed for one of the horses. Royce sat on it while it ate. It was only able to eat part of it because Libby offered to let us ride. I think the horse was pretty annoyed because while we were riding, it kept trying to make it back to the rest of its feed!
I was first to ride the horse. She led me around and offered to let me go on my own, however the horse was, shall we say, “lively” as it was determined to go back to its meal. I took a short ride and let Matt have a go. Matt demonstrated more bravery and took the horse for a nice little trot. Both Royce and Jeannie courageously took to the saddle and enjoyed being led around! It was especially rewarding to watch Jeannie since she usually tends to shy away from touching animals!
We really couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to New Zealand! It was a lovely and restful way to start our trip. Not to mention it was close to our next destination: Hobbiton!
Read here how camper vans are a popular way to see New Zealand.