Imagine a big red barn surrounded by alpacas, sweet-natured pigs, miniature horses and more. Where you can spend your evening gazing at the starts and morning enjoying a cup of tea whilst your kids feed the animals. All this only a forty minute drive south of Christchurch!
I had stumbled across Warwickz Farm, a rare breed’s conservation farm, whilst looking for a farmstay within easy driving distance of Christchurch. Accommodation is in the ‘Red Barn’ which is set amongst the animals and offers a main double bedroom and adjoining smaller bedroom. The price includes continental breakfast and a farm and garden tour.
We arrived at Warwickz Farm in the late afternoon, following a day in Christchurch. As soon as we drove on to the farm the kids were ecstatic, spotting the chickens, horses and a peacock. Chris, the enigmatic owner was incredibly welcoming and accommodating and we decided to do our Farm Tour that afternoon as the kids couldn’t wait to meet the animals.
Warwickz Farm has over 200 animals from over 40 breeds out of over 20 species. Through their hard work, owners, Chris and Elaine have created a magical and educational place which also serves to nurture rare breeds. The Farm Tour is really fun and Chris tailored it perfectly for our overexcited, jetlagged young kids.
We got to feed the alpacas, horses and Kunekune pigs, cuddle rabbits, chase around the chickens and hear tales of naughty sheep. Chris is full of fascinating stories about the running Warwickz Farm and his animals, including how the 2011 earthquakes appeared to affect the fertility of his chickens! We finished our tour in the gift shop (also part of the Red Barn) to admire his wife Elaine’s fibre art (I ended up buying a very cool alpaca luggage label).
That night we drove into Rolleston to find some dinner. We ended up buying a picnic from the supermarket so we could return to the beautiful Red Barn and eat dinner under the stars. The next morning we awoke to find Chris had quietly laid out breakfast for us – even offering to make us cups of tea while we were in bed. The kids were delighted to get the chance to roam around the farm again and feed the alpacas.
From Warwicz Farm we set off for Lake Tekapo (around 2.5 hours). Our stay at the farm, was the perfect start to our South Island adventure. Luckily Chris has written a book about his farm endeavours, ‘Canterbury Tails’ and we left with an autographed copy, a lovely reminder of our stay.