Did you know sheep farming had a significant impact of the development of New Zealand’s economy…and that to this day it’s an important agricultural business for the country?! After one visit to New Zealand you’ll even start to question if there are possibly more sheep than people living on these islands. (Rumor has it that yes there are quite a few more sheep than humans.) It’s quite possible that I have never seen more sheep in my life than I did while visiting New Zealand. So I was very intrigued to get the chance to visit Sheepworld to learn more about sheep farming. It was a day well spent learning about the rural farm life of New Zealand!
Sheepworld is located in Warkworth New Zealand. It’s less than an hour drive north of Auckland. It can make for a lovely day trip where you get the chance to step outside the city and enjoy the quieter, slower, rural life of New Zealand. Or it can be a pleasant stop of your epic Northland road trip (Scenario B is how Sheepworld fit into my itinerary). Either way you can spend an hour here or half a day. It’s more about what you want out of the experience and how much time you want to spend among your new farm animal friends!
At Sheepworld you get a hands on, educational experience of what sheep farming really is. Not only can you interact with and feed farm animals but there are a variety of shows and experiences offered at Sheepworld as well. Insider Tip: I actually thought I would only be spending about an hour at Sheepworld and when I finally checked my watch I had been touring the property for over 3 hours!
Feeding Your Furry Friends
When your in the Sheepworld Ecowool shop make sure to pick up some snacks for your soon to be furry friends. For a couple bucks you can get a bag or souvenir cup of pellets, and you shouldn’t pass up this opportunity. It’s a fun way to further interact with the animals and let’s be honest they’ll absolutely love you for it! Let’s just put it this way they are going to be more willing to take a selfie with a human that has food than one that doesn’t!
I really enjoyed feeding the alpaca. They were so curious and interested in the food and would follow me back and forth just waiting for their treat. They also seemed to make such silly faces that you couldn’t help but giggle about what amusing creatures they were. On my visit they seemed to be the most interactive residents on the farm. Most of my time…and food was given to them!
The Sheep and Dog Show
The price of your Sheepworld ticket will change depending on what you want to do on your visit. You have the opinion of simply touring the grounds, interacting with animals, and feeding them…or paying a little bit more money to do all that AND watch the Sheep and Dog Show. Now I’m usually prone to buying the cheapest ticket when visiting places. I don’t like to pay extra for what I refer to as “additional experiences”. A lot of times I think of these things as tourist traps, and a lot of times…let’s face it… they are. However, you MUST and I repeat you MUST see the Sheep and Dog Show at Sheepworld. Pay more to see the show, you won’t regret it.
The Sheep and Dog Show runs twice a day. Check the website for the most up to date show times, because this is a can’t miss on your visit. The show is over an hour long and is extremely fun, educational, and interactive. (I actually got to be a part of the show…more on that later!)
They start the show by having a demonstration on how the dogs actually herd the sheep. It’s fun to watch, since this is something most us have never seen before. You also learn how some dogs need to use their bark to herd, while others are good herders for their sheer quick and agile abilities. You get to see both types of dogs in action during the demonstration and man they are darn good at their jobs. I kept thinking to myself poor little Lemon would be horrible at this!
Once the dog is able to heard all the sheep we start the sorting process. And here is where my handy work came in. They explained the process of sorting and then asked me and another girl to help out by actually sorting the sheep. Let me tell you it wasn’t an easy process. The sheep really have no desire to listen to you and unfortunately my teammate wasn’t very good at remembering the sorting rules. So we failed miserably! (I’d show you the video but well it’s way too embarrassing.) They actually said they hadn’t seen the sorting done that bad in quite a long time. Fortunately the crowd liked it and everyone laughed at our poor excuse of sheep sorting.
Then it was time to shear the sheep. You get a live demonstration of a sheep being sheared. You learn all about the process, the safety concerns, what the wool is worth, and what a full day of shearing is like. Some kids got to help out in the experience and then we all got to bottle feed the most precious baby lambs. Yeah! Teeny tiny cute baby little lambs. Made my day! So needless to say the show is worth the mulah. Pay up darling!
Eco Discovery Trail
If you’re like me, and you’re on a mission to get your 10,000 steps daily there’s a great trail to walk at Sheepworld. Because we all know sitting in the car, on a road trip, is a real buzz kill for your poor Fitbit. So get some steps in and walk the Eco Discovery Trail at Sheepworld. In 400 metres you’ll discover a well maintained path through native bush. Although it’s very short it was a beautiful and peaceful stroll surprisingly very different from the farm world around you!
Additional Tips and Info
- Make sure to stop at the Honey Centre.
- Feeling famished, check out the Sheepworld cafe!
- It’s Wine Time!
- There’s always a beautiful beach close.
- Herding in action, so impressive. Must Watch!
This little piggy went to Sheepworld…Adventure awaits!