Time-out at Surico Alpaca Farm is a relaxing change of pace activity. One that broadly appeals to young
children and adults, generally interested in animals and/or farming of the same.
Farmed for their luxurious fibre from which
clothing, toys, duvets etc. are made, alpaca are low maintenance animals requiring little in the way of vaccinating, drenching or special food; unlike sheep. They don't turn tail and run like sheep as soon as you look at them either. Gentle and submissive, the appeal of alpaca is hard to resist. They make great pets too.
Times: 10am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm.
Designed for both education and interaction, this tour will
teach you a whole lot more about how alpaca, native to South America,
farmed in New Zealand; from breeding to stud services and shearing to processing the fibre.
It's a thriving industry to all intents and purposes. Who knew? And talk about technical. The people in this industry get right into it. For instance, Alpaca, like horses, come with a pedigree. Right down to the point in time when last mated and who with. "How rude." I thought. "There's just no privacy anymore."
From small beginnings as a hobby farm up north, Surico has grown big enough to become a leader in the field of alpaca farming in New Zealand. Sue and Hermione, the owners, have about 133 and know every singe one.
If you're the least bit interested in alpaca farming for yourself, these are the people to talk to.
On hand, alpaca products are available for purchase.
The other side of the tour is getting close enough to
stroke and lead an alpaca. A novel experience is the feeding.
Not shy, the animals will come right up to you
looking for treats (supplied) and with soft, rubbery lips, eat right
out of your hand.
Normally, alpaca feed on grass, hay and tree foliage but they do enjoy their treats.
Take advantage of a sunny day to take some fantastic photos because in part, the farm overlooks Lake Rotorua. Plant an alpaca in the middle of your frame and voilà, an excellent keepsake.
You don't expect to visit an alpaca farm and fall in love but that's what can happen. Meeting the likes of Lara, a baby alpaca (cria is the correct term) and finding out she's an orphan, well, say no more. The ohh's and ahh's begin.
Scruffy and dirty looking, she was the embodiment of an orphan. Look at that little face and tell me she doesn't tug at your heartstrings.
Surprisingly, her appearance was the only orphan-like thing about her.
A true little Miss Independent, she held herself aloof but certainly wasn't shy of strangers and happily ate out of hands extended with food. Like any good woman though, she was quite particular about whose hand.
Now, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right? In this case, Lara helps herself to the teats of an adopted mother when wanting milk, then wanders off to do her own thing again. Ain't nobody telling Lara what she can and can't do.
Apart from Alpacas, you might come across a rooster with his bevy of hens, or the quirky resident cat. While I was visiting, he picked his way daintily across the paddock, leapt onto a table chock-full of treats in paper bags, had a good sniff and finally made himself comfortable by sprawling all over the bags.
With no minimum number for the tours you can expect a personalised visit.
Address: 215 Tauranga Direct Road, RD 6, Rotorua 3096
Ph: +64 (0)7 332 2362
Mbl: +64 (0)21 278 4464
Website & Bookings: www.surico.co.nz
Notice is required for bookings (do this via the website or email) because the owners have to set up beforehand.
Surico is located in a rural area 16km (20 min drive) out of Rotorua. On the way, pass through Ngongotaha township (you can find food there) and continue until you get to the left-hand turn-off onto Tauranga Direct road.
Continue for about 2km until you reach the sign-posted driveway on the left. The driveway up to the farm is gravel and single-laned. At the top is a small parking area. Behind that, the farmhouse.
Besides Surico, the marker (top of google map) is the location of TECT All Terrain Park. Get a rush on the high-wire adventure course or have some fun on the running/walking, mountain bike, or motor-cycle tracks. Freedom campers are most welcome at the purpose built site.
The other marker is the location of Hamurana Springs, another popular place to visit.