For over a hundred years, sheep farming has been one of the staple agricultural industries of New Zealand. Travel around our great nation from top to bottom and everywhere you'll look, you'll probably see a dozy, fuzzy white face watching you pass. The wool from these animals has proven a lucrative market for Kiwi farmers for generations, but have you ever seen how they get it off the sheep?
In Kaikoura, you can.
Shearing is caring
Though better known as the whale watching hot spot for tourists travelling the South Island, the township of Kaikoura (approximately 180 kilometres north of Christchurch) is also where you can check out real sheep shearing and meet some of the animals involved. You'll find this experience at The Point, which itself is around four kilometres outside of the town, towards the famous local seal colony.
This is a very kid-friendly show, which takes place every day at 1.30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Start by bottle-feeding an adorable lamb or two (if you visit between August and January), petting them and getting as many selfies as you can. You can also hand-feed 'Ram Man', The Point's friendly Drysdale ram. Don't forget to say hello to the dogs, too, who love attention and are very photogenic.
Then the shearing show starts for real. A local farmer will take you and your fellow onlookers through the process, teaching you about the many different wool types, sheep breeds and the various tools of the trade - both new and historic. Of course, you will also witness the shearing itself as a placid animal is given a bit of a hair cut! It might look uncomfortable, but a professional shearer can lop a coat of wool off in less than two minutes, without any harm or injury to the animal.
A journey to Kaikoura
Make your New Zealand holiday more relaxed by jumping on board a train trip with KiwiRail Scenic. Our Coastal Pacific route starts or ends in Christchurch, weaving along the east coast and stopping in Kaikoura. All of our carriages have been designed with NZ's scenery in mind, featuring wide, panoramic windows to let in all the spectacular sights. You won't have to worry about running down the battery on your phone or camera to take hundreds of pictures, either, as we have installed power points throughout the cabins.