Sunday 11 September 2022


On this rather cold, damp morning I visited Shamarra Alpacas, across the harbour near Wainui. They've got about 170 on the farm, which doesn't sound a lot, but boy! They are multiple-prize-winning and eye-wateringly valuable animals, especially the studs. Some of the alpacas I met will be on their way soon to Italy, France, Germany and other far-flung destinations, sought-after from here because their breeding is so good.  

I wouldn't know about that, but can certainly confirm that they are very cute, pretty, amenable and sweet. Also convenient: the females - hembras - come into season on command, and give birth only during daytime. They also spit at any males they encounter after being impregnated, which is endearing. They are shorn once a year, and have toe-nails that need trimming at least twice annually.

They haven't been shorn yet this season, so were very fluffy and soft to the touch. I did enjoy meeting them, and fondling both them and the jerseys, blankets and so on in the shop, made from their super-fine fleeces.

And that was that for my animal-focused trip. It made a nice change from the usual sort of famil, and it was fun. I stopped at the nearby Barry's Bay Traditional Cheese factory, and again at Little River to marvel at the unusual 4-star motel there made out of shiny corrugated iron grain silos, and admire the art in the gallery next door, and then, after a short detour to Birdlings Flat to look for jasper and agates, it was off to the airport and goodbye to Christchurch again. Till next time.

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