I have never met a person who does not go nuts over alpacas. I am serious!
This is the last post of the New Zealand series, and I am saving the best for last. This post is cuteness overload; it is possibly the cutest post ever on this site. You’d better prepare yourself to Awww non-stop 😉
Almost a year ago, way before I decided to visit New Zealand, I learned about Shamarra Alpacas Farm when I was reading Legal Nomads, my most favorite travel blog. At that point, I had never seen alpacas in person and was not even entirely sure what kind of animals they are. I do not think there is any of them in Asia. Their peculiar cuteness made a deep impression on me, so I bookmarked the post. (I do it very often, even when I have no immediate plan to visit. Do you guys do it, too?) Around February this year when I chose to go to New Zealand, this farm was featured prominently on my places-to-visit list.
The farm is located in Akaroa, less than two hours drive from the city of Christchurch. Because I did not drive, my only option was to stay in Christchurch for two days and go on a day-trip to Akaroa, where I would be picked up by the farm staff. I thought Akaroa was just a pit stop so I did not do any research about it, and oh man I was in for a fantastic surprise. This small historic French and British settlement is so incredibly picturesque and relaxing, thanks to its stunning nature and quaint colonial architecture.
Mandatory history lesson for y’all: Canterbury’s oldest town, Akaroa was founded in August 1840 by French settlers. It has been suggested that French interest in New Zealand speeded up Britain’s decision to annex New Zealand. By the time French settlers arrived, the Treaty of Waitangi between the British Crown and Māori chiefs had been signed. Akaroa has a fine collection of 19th-century cottages and houses. Once a fishing and farm service town, it now serves mainly holidaymakers and tourists. The French associations are evident in street names. The resident population is slowly declining, and now more than 60% of the dwellings are holiday homes.
The town center is tiny, so several hours between my pick-up and drop-off time were the perfect amount of time to explore. There are accommodation options, so you can stay overnight if you want to dig deeper.
The farm is actually located 20 minutes drive from the town center, so if you do not drive the farm offers to pick you up in front of Akaroa i-SITE visitor information center, as long as you let them know when you book your tour. In my case, I left Christchurch at 8.30AM on the Akaroa Shuttle and arrived in Akaroa an hour and a half later. It was a pleasant trip, but the beauty of the sceneries along the way was somehow compromised by overcast skies. However, the clouds cleared up completely when I arrived. It was strange and fortuitous because I am here to tell you that the glory of Akaroa harbor shines most brightly in sunny weather.
The first thing I saw when I arrived at the farm. Almost fainted!!!
I seriously wonder how it feels to wake up to this view everyday. I mean, if you look at something everyday, however gorgeous it is, you will eventually get used to it at some point, right? Do the people at the farm no longer bat an eyelid?
I was picked up and dropped off by Frank and Anya, the farm owners. They both were lovely, and it was interesting to talk to them in an one-on-one setting and learn a bit about their lives. Which would not have been possible if I had driven up there myself. They went from South Africa to the Caribbean before settling in New Zealand more than a decade ago and starting their farm. And you can tell by the way they talk about and interact with their alpacas that they do care deeply about them. As a dog parent, I always find it heart-warming to see people treat animals right.
I wish the tour lasted longer than just an hour. I literally can spend an entire day observing and photographing them.
They are mother and daughter, I think? I wanted to squeeze them so badly, but as soon as you get near them they will dodge you 🙁