Sleeping on a New Zealand Sheep Farm
Some of my most memorable and exciting adventures in New Zealand were the ones I hadn’t planned or anticipated. Take for instance, my overnight experience on a real sheep farm.
New Zealand is currently home to 60 million sheep. That’s 60 million sheep that dot the hillsides and valleys, the mountains and lush green pastures. Not only did I see and photograph hundreds of sheep on my travels, I was lucky enough to stay overnight on a sheep farm – for free.
During my last week in New Zealand, my friend and I drove from Dunedin to Oamaru, a coastal town in the South Island known for it’s blue penguin colony. We had planned to spend a quiet night in Oamaru relaxing in our hostel and visiting the penguins. The hostel we booked looked absolutely amazing; it had a spacious lounge and sun room area overlooking the Oamaru Harbour. It felt less like a hostel and more like home. I was excited to stay there.
However, after arriving, we discovered that there was a mix-up in our booking. The owner had only booked a bed for one of us and unfortunately, all other beds were booked out. My friend and I stood speechless, wondering where we were going to sleep that night. Fortunately, the owner apologized and offered us alternative lodging at his own house. In addition to the hostel, he and his wife also ran a Bed & Breakfast in their home.
Not knowing what to expect, we accepted his offer and followed his truck out of the town centre and to his countryside home, otherwise called the “Sheep Out B&B”. To my surprise, the B&B was absolutely breathtaking. It was a modern guesthouse surrounded by peaceful gardens and located on a countryside farm with sheep, pigs, alpacas, goats, horses, and peacocks.
That night, we enjoyed the whole property to ourselves. We pet and fed the animals, explored the farm, and watched as the sun set – with nothing but rolling green hills and the soft pink and blue hues flooding the sky. In the morning, we had the opportunity to see a sheep shearing demo. To begin, the owner rounded a small herd of sheep into a pen and then gently tipped each sheep onto its back. He firmly but comfortably supported the sheep and then proceeded to remove the wool from the belly, legs, back, and neck with an electric shear. The whole shearing process only took a few minutes. Afterwards, I had the opportunity to shear a sheep myself – which was an incredible (and slightly terrifying) experience in itself.
Traveling has certainly taught me to go with the flow and embrace the unexpected. Things won’t always go as planned, but that is A-ok. I arrived in Oamaru expecting a dorm bed and penguins. Instead, I got a private guesthouse and sheep – lots of them.