About Glenorchy Animal Experience

Our family farm has been owned by the same family for over 100 years.

Surrounded by stunning scenery, we offer fun encounters for both children and adults with a large variety of friendly farm animals.

OPEN DAILY.

History

Old Tractor
Historical image

Our farm has been owned by the same family for over 100 years. The main farm work is still being done by the owners while staff are here to help us run the day by day tourism operation. Our farming principles are based on experience and sustainable stewardship of the land.

What we offer

Alpacas and horse by the lake
Looking after the Horses
Woman with sheep
Herd of sheep

We offer a glimpse into the daily life on a small Glenorchy farm. While our pet animals are the main attraction it is not unusual to be able to witness farm work going on around you. There are strict safety rules when you visit to keep you and your family safe. Please adhere to the rules. The good thing about visiting an operating farm is that you can ask us anything you always wanted to know about farming. Whether it is about animal husbandry, pasture care, or machinery: we’re happy to share our knowledge.

Sheep Shearing Demonstration

Sheep Shearing with Audience
Sheep Shearing Almost done
Sheep Shearing Close up
Sheep Shearing From Side

During the warmer months you might be lucky to catch us shearing or crutching our sheep. While we do not run our daily sheep shearing demonstration anymore we are always happy for visitors to watch when we work in the shearing shed. Feel free to ask questions about shearing and wool processing.

The large sheep farms around Queenstown and Glenorchy –in all of Central Otago –are called “stations” and can be thousands of acres, with thousands of sheep. Every year the sheep are rounded up in the annual muster and sheared by a team of shearers –some can shear up to 300 sheep in one day.

Farm Work

Tractor carting Bales with dogs on the back
Sheep Shearing Almost done
Feeding pigs
Excavator loading trailer

Work on the farm starts long before we open for visitors; first it’s checking on stock and feeding the animals. Some animals are moved from their larger night paddocks to their day paddocks where they will be ready to meet you. Apart from animal welfare there is maintenance on machinery and plant to be done, from fixing fences to repairing a chainsaw or a tractor. Seasons dictate what work takes priority such as lambing in spring and hay-making in summer. Evenings, after visitors go home, allow us to finish work, let animals back into their night paddocks, and check on everything and everyone once more.

Hand-rearing

“To hand-rear: to feed and care for until fully grown”

Cheeky Lamb
Baby Possum
Two Chicks
Cute Pig

This is a process which will establish trust between animal and carer. Once our animals are fully grown we spend a lot of time training them to gain a good balance between trust and respect which will enable you to interact safely with them.

Most of the animals you meet are pets; a pet animal is a friendly, domesticated animal which is kept for companionship. A trusting animal makes the best pet: while it will regard us humans as friends, it will also show respect for people.

You will find that a lot of our animals come running to you and want to be with you. This is not natural behaviour, it is a bond built on trust. It is a privilege to have so many animal friends. During your visit you may not notice any of this; it is your prerogative to come and enjoy the company of our friendly farm animals.

Co-existence, friendship, and pecking order – or: are all our animals friends?

Horses with mountain backdrop
Sheep with Chicken on the back
Horse and rooster
Alpacas in the mountains

As long as animals’ needs are met they generally are very complacent and tolerant. However; not all animals will allow other species to encroach their space and there are always some that are more tolerant than others. Companionship develops slowly but through observation and by giving animals space we often achieve good results of co-existence between animals.

Of course there are exemptions. For example our deer will never be friends with our dogs. But that is the deer’s instinct that is stronger than her experiences.

This is not to be confused with the natural pecking order amongst animals. All animals on the farm live in a kind of “self-imposed hierarchy” referred to as “pecking order” (the term comes from birds where the top rooster or chook will “peck” on the others to maintain their status.) Pecking orders are often displayed during feeding. If you offer food to an animal and a higher ranking animal misses out, the higher ranking animal will “butt in” and push the other one away. This is natural behaviour and despite this our animals are still friends.

This was such a fun activity for everyone in our group – from 19month to 70. Highly recommend the visit.
Emily Luck, via Google

Opening Hours

Wed-Sun
10:00am - 4:00pm

Closed Mondays & Tuesdays 

Last admission 3pm.
Closed for winter: May until October 2024.