Four nights & three days
Discover the richness and diversity of farming in Taranaki. Over 3 days/4 nights be guided around a range of agricultural and horticultural holdings in Taranaki with an itinerary designed to meet your interests. Hear from the owners and managers themselves about their experiences and the innovation going on in their industry. Experience the best of rural and urban hospitality and accommodation throughout the trip.
About farming in Taranaki
Taranaki covers an area of about 7250 Km sq. The region is exceptionally fertile, due to the rich volcanic soil and the generous rainfall which means excellent grass, making Taranaki one of the world's premier dairying areas. Approx 2/3 of Taranaki's farms are dedicated to dairying production and produce about 20% of New Zealand's milk. Taranaki is also a leader in the latest dairying technology. In addition Taranaki has a range of other farming and horticultural units from sheep and beef farming, agroforestry, industrial hemp, bees and honey, hydroponics andflowers which can be covered as part of the tour.
- 3 days / 4 nights all-inclusive
- Consists of: hosted dinners, all meals, snacks, drinksand alcoholic beverages; transport ; 4 star luxury accommodation; experienced local guides
You will have the opportunity to have your itinerary tailored for your own interests. Below is one that may interest you or give you some ideas for an itinerary that suits you.
Arrive at the leading luxury boutique Nice Hotel to be welcomed personally by Terry Parkes, the proprietor or Cathy Thurston who will be your host for the evening.
Join Terry for a cocktail and nibbles (he may even show you how to make them) followed by dinner and a few local stories. These nights have been a hit in the past (nights to remember). Or if Terry is away join one of his chefs and experience a lovely wine and food matched dinner.
You will then be ready to retire to your beautiful accommodation to enjoy a blissful night’s sleep.
Days One – Three New Plymouth to Hawera and return to New Plymouth
You will have a very early start to get to your first farm, leaving the Nice Hotel by 6am. You will drive past the rich dairy farms on the coast passing through the townships of Oakura and Okato before reaching Pungarehu and the farm of Robyn and Kevin Barrett. An organic 90 hectare dairy farm for the last 11 years you will have the opportunity to view the latter part of the morning's milking before joining the Barrett's in their home which has stunning views from the mountain to the sea. Here you will hear more about why the Barrett's chose to go "organic", what that entails from a farm management perspective and also have the opportunity to view some of the memorabilia from Kevin's and his son's illustrious rugby careers.
Your next stop will be a dairy farm owned by Parninihi Ki Waitotara (PKW) tucked under Mt Taranaki to view and hear more about herd homes - these are providing relief for both the stock who gain shelter from the hot sun and heavy rains but also allows the soil and grass time to recover.
You will then head to Skeet Rd where you will visit another of the PKW farms which uses solar power for its 60 bale rotary shed cow shed. Hear about the advantages such sheds have on the operations of farms. By now you will be hungry so enjoy the a lunch and hospitality at the local country pub the Kaponga Hotel.
After lunch your transport will take you to Little Tempsky Rd to visit a PKW farm with a state of the art calf rearing unit. Nearby the next PKW farm has one of the most modern and innovative effluent management system. Hear how this positively impacts on the environment and can be managed remotely. Just along the road from here visit the dairy farm whose profits go into support Taranaki Rugby for uniforms, club rooms and coaching. The farm is owned by Origin Energy and has an on shore gas production station in the middle of the farm. Origin leases the farm to the Taranaki Rugby Community Trust.
It will then be time to head to your accommodation for the night - Tairoa Lodge and Cottage in Hawera. Your elegant accommodation will be matched by a superb dinner and breakfast.
Day 2 Hawera to New Plymouth
You will have a more leisurely start this morning with an 8am breakfast.
Your transport will then take you just south of Hawera to WTARS (Westpac Taranaki Agricultural Research Station) which is situated on the greenbelt surrounding the Fonterra Whareroa Dairy Factory. Commissioned in 2002 the farm focuses on cutting edgefarm systems research and small plot trials. The site provides a Dairy NZ research base in Taranaki. Current trials include a feed conversion efficiency project, a stocking rate farmlet trial, pasture trials of ryegrass cultivars and the use of solar power and its contribution to farm economics.
Agroforestry is the next focus of your next stop. Makara, 10 km East of Tariki owned by JeremyThomson. This farm was purchased in 1979 with conservation planting commencing in 1980. In 1996 Taranaki Regional Council produced Agroforestry Plan No 1. Makara Farm was the pilot property model. Since 1979 there has always been focus on planting for diversification, sustainable income and succession. The 374 hectare, 900 acre property has a wide range of amenity plantings integrated with woodlots, dry stock and a dairy support business. A gourmet lunch will ensure you have the energy for a walk across some of the farm to view what has been achieved and hear about plans for the future.
You will then head through rolling countryside to Tarata where you will visit a sheep and beef farm known as MataRata. You will be hosted by the Coogans and Hockens. During a trip around the 1200 acre "lifestyle block" you may be lucky enough to help out with some late afternoon "jobs" before heading to the famous woolshed which comes equipped with a shower, toilets, kitchen, pool table and Bryan's collection of memorabilia. Over dinner primarily produced from the farm, learn more about the unique farm history, on-farm innovations and hear stories about Bryan's colourful political battles over farming issues among many other things.
It will then be time to return to New Plymouth and your elegant accommodation once again at the Nice Hotel.
Day 3 North Taranaki
This again will be an early start as you head out to the Faull farm in Tikorangi. A recent supreme winner of the Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards this farm has a high-tech 60 bale rotary shed which is fully automated to allow for the collection and analysis of a comprehensive range of performance data. A former farm dairy has been converted into a fully automated calf-rearing complex with a computer-controlled feeding system.
Your next stop will be to visit a large scale cow house on the Allen farm. Here you can view and hear how they went about it, how they organise the herd and the benefits they have seen since it has been operating. Next stop will be to see bees in action on a nearby farm. Stephen Black started with 2 hives in 2001 purely as an interest. Today there are over 1000 around Taranaki and their products are destined for local and international markets. Stephen and Fiona Black are one of the few who are involved in the entire beekeeping process. Hear from Stephen about the harvesting process and what it takes to be involved in the business. Later on in the day you will visit Fiona in their production plant and shop to hear about the processing and enjoy a tasting.
An alpaca farm will be your next stop before lunch. Lynette and Stephen Gopperth have over 140 alpacas which they raise and shear for their fine, strong fibre. Alpaca fleece is known for its softnesslustre and 22 colours which include white, cream, fawn, black, brown and grey. They also have show animals which are halter trained and groomed. There is a shop on the property where alpaca wool and products can be purchased.
A delicious lunch will be next at a café close by.
You will then head to Natural Fare a hydroponics operation which is one of New Zealand’s biggest herb producers. Young salad greens are also produced and the operation has established a reputation for the quality and flavour of its produce. With approximately 8,000 sq m of glasshouses owner Russell Jordan will share his journey as a hydroponics pioneer with you. He says it's a system that will allow the world to feed itself in future because it yields as much as 10 times what can be grown in the soil.
You will then have the opportunity to visit the Green Meadowsbutchery on the outskirts of New Plymouth. Green Meadows beef is form Angus cattle reared near Opunake in South Taranaki. This climate provides the perfect environment for their animals to eat pasture and grow naturally. At Green Meadows beef the cattle graze on cool climate grass. This gives the meat outstanding flavour, colour and texture. Plus, the cattle live a happy life out in the open. The supplements that the animals are fed on (grass, silage and hay) are also grown on the farm. Here Pat the butcher will demonstrate the best way to cut a beast and there may be the opportunity to taste some of the produce.
It is then time to visit Bees R Us and have your tasting with Fiona before your coachtransports you to the last stop of the day – ahorticultural operation Birbeck Blooms belonging to Margi and Bruce Willan. Margi and Bruce “retired” from dairy farming and now grow hydrangeas. From a trial planting of 1000 plants in 2000 Birbeck Blooms has grown five fold to the stage where it is a producer of premium hydrangea flowers which are exported to the USA, Asia and the Middle East. All but the initial planting are grown in large planter bags enabling the production of true pinks and reds. The main flowering period is from December to April but as with any horticultural venture there is always work to be done.
It is then back to the Nice Hotel to relax before your final meal of the tour. At 7pm meet in the dining room of the Nice Hotel for your final dinner of your experience.
Enjoy another restful sleep at the Nice Hotel and meet for breakfast the next morning before you depart or set off for another adventure.
* As part of the tour price a contribution will go towards Taranaki Rural Support Trust
- Good walking shoes and a pair of walking boots or gumboots (should be comfortable and well broken in and preferably waterproof)
- Raincoat (waterproof, windproof with hood)
Joe was a third generation dairy farmer near Opunake before he decided to change pace in 2008.Together with Margy his wife Joe grew the original farm of 85 hectares to 276 hectares before deciding to liquidate some assets and have a lifestyle change. Greenmeadows beef was born out of a desire to have another entity that the family could expand on, work in, and grow into a valuable value add business utilising the product they already had - beef. The farm is now 170 hectares and finishes around 1000 prime steers annually to an average live weight of around 620kg. The unique point of difference with Greenmeadows beef is it is an internet based model. You order on line, pay on line and it is delivered to your door. There is no retail shop and advertising is all on the internet. Joe played 34 games of rugby for Taranaki, including internationals against the British and Irish Lions in 1977 and the Springboks in 1981. Injury and farming cut his time short and he finished playing in 1981 aged 26. Joe is currently President of TRFU, a position that is held for a two year term with the provincial team having won the ITM cup in 2014.
Peter is the third generation of his family to farm his Tataraimaka property .Growing up on a semi-developed farm adjacent to Pukeiti Gardens and Kaitake Ranges forged bonds with this high-rainfall , lushlandscape that proved irresistible. After completing a B.Hort.Sci at Massey University and spending time in London teaching ballroom dancing he returned in the mid 1980s to assist his parents open Patuha Farm Lodge. Peter continued his involvement with the Lodge, enjoying all facets of this small hands-on hospitality venture , whilst managing the family drystock property until early 2000s .At that point he and his wife Sue purchased the drystock property outright and currently operate a dairy-support unit.
As well as actively farming Peter is contracted as an Agricultural Tutor to local schools and tutors a course for young adults in South Taranaki-in this role he strives to excite the next generation with passion and enthusiasm for our land and the challenging life it can offer.
David has owned and managed five dairy farms over the years with his wife Adrienne mainly in North Taranaki and they are currently based on a dairy conversion farm near Waitotara. David holds a Diploma in Business Studies and is currently studying for a BA. In his past life he served on the Fonterra Shareholders Council, was the Vice Chair of Dairy Farmers NZ, Director LIC (what does that mean) for the Taranaki region, been Chairman of three equity partnership dairy farms as well as being a judge for Sharemilker of the Year. David has also recently been Chairman of the Westpac Taranaki Agricultural Research Station. He has contributed to many community groups and trustsover the years. He is currently a trustee/consultant on a number of farms, a Board member of Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust and a JP. Having been a marathon runner in his spare time he now enjoys road and mountain biking.