What You Will Find in This Post
The Benefits of Farmstays
Farmstays are a great budget accommodation option and are often located in picturesque places. But even the prettiest views are easier to find, than the chance to get to know a local, and that is where a Farmstay really delivers.
Gumtree Farmstay Oamaru New Zealand
At Gumtree Farmstay in the south island of New Zealand, you are welcomed whole-heartedly into a family home and working farm, where you can experience as much or as little of farm life as you wish, where you can get advice on the Victorian Heritage Town of Oamaru just 10 minutes away, or on planning a delicious day trip in the Country.
Interview with the owner of Gumtree Farmstay
Welcome Jennie. Tell us a little about your family – 100 words or less
Hi everyone, I am an Aussie from North Queensland; Hubby Grant, whom I have re-christened “Alpha Male” since he has begun my farming education, is the Kiwi and farmer of the family; Joshua, our first born is nearing the terrible teenage years (help!) and is a serious bookworm, which I confess is inherited from me; next in line is Kate who enjoys sports, books, friends and her wardrobe contents; and last but definitely not least is Lucie, a born organizer and our own “Little Miss Helpful”. Phew, this is hard work.
What led you to leave Australia for life on a New Zealand farm?
My husband!! He has wanted to return to NZ for years and I guess one day we just decided that if we didn’t take the plunge then
he we would regret it forever. Can you imagine how annoying it would be if at age 75 he was still going on about it? Alpha Male comes from a farming background and I have always wanted to expand on what we were already doing on our town block – namely being as self-sufficient as possible. I did not realize how much hard work it would be though!
Have you travelled much yourself, and if so, where to?
Now that I think about it, I have travelled quite a bit. When I was in my late teens/early twenties, I worked in the U.K., travelled extensively through the U.K. and France, then briefly through Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Hungary and Turkey. I have worked on a Kibbutz in Israel (early prep for farm life), Egypt, Canada, Indonesia, Thailand and of course quite a few New Zealand trips whilst still living in Australia. We also circumnavigated Australia with a caravan when Joshua was just 13 months old which was an amazing experience.
Has it been difficult adjusting to farm life – Care to share some stories?
Where to start? It has been challenging – mainly because of my inexperience with all things involving farm work – along with my dreadful fear of full gown cattle!(Umm… Awkward pause…)
Having said that, I am proud to say that in my first Spring on the farm I have hand reared 56 calves and 19 lambs. Especially proud, seeing that I am not a morning person and it involved getting up EARLY; whizzing milk up from powdered form in a huge vat with a huge blender attachment on a huge workman’s drill; then trundling the vat around filling feeders for jostling, hungry animals. But my reward at the end was bottle feeding the lambs – sooo cute. And did I mention this happens two or three times a day, not just EARLY in the morning. Meanwhile I am practicing developing my farmer’s eye – looking for signs of bloat and other ailments. I know!
On the prompting of friends I have just started a blog where I am sharing my learning experiences. For a tongue in cheek look at my sometimes embarrassing escapades visit Diary Of a Fallen Farmgirl.
What Gumtree experience is most popular with guests?
I don’t even have to think about this one. Most definitely feeding the lambs, with interacting with the calves coming a very close second.
What has been the most satisfying aspect of hosting guests in your home?
The fact that I can experience the world without leaving the farm – I love the stories from around the world that our guests share with us. As a parent I am also grateful that our children have the chance to hear different views, and accents and meet children from different countries.
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How can we arrange to stay at your farm?
Thanks for your up front and entertaining answers Jennie, and thanks also for the photos.
Alpacas at Gumtree Farmstay
Gumtree Farmstay has now added a herd of Alpacas to their repertoire of cute farm animals.
Rooms at Gumtree Farmstay
Guest Rooms in the main house.
There are two hosted bed and breakfast rooms in the main house (see above). They accommodate up to 5 people and have a dedicated bathroom.
A Tiny House – Shepherd’s Rest.
The latest accommodation option is an exciting glamping option The Shepherd’s Rest.
This new hut is slightly removed from the main house and is a favourite retreat for adults.
We have stayed at Gumtree several times and thoroughly recommend this farmstay to anyone wanting a fair dinkum Kiwi experience. Jennie and Grant will do their utmost to ensure you have one.
Any visit to Oamaru should include a visit to Moeraki Boulders about 30 minutes south and the Otago Peninsula.
Read more New Zealand posts here.
This interview is linked to Budget Travelers Sandbox. Make sure to visit there every Thursday for around the world travel photo fun.
We lived in New Zealand for a bit when my youngest was a baby, 10 years ago now – and I’m thinking about taking her back now she’s old enough to remember. Staying at Gumtree sounds like it would be a fabulous experience, especially since she’s all about animals.
Sounds like a perfect fit – your daughter would fit right in with Jennie and Grants children, and there are lots of things to see and do in the area. I intend to do some more mosts on that!
I did my teacher training in Edgecumbe, New Zealand, and stayed on a farm. I really enjoyed the time I got to put into the farmwork.
It is lovely living on a farm – lots of hard but enjoyable work – and the N.Z. countryside is so beautiful.
What a delightful looking place to get a real taste of life in New Zealand. Will keep this in mind should we get there.
Thanks Jackie, Jennie loves having guests – you would love it there.
A lovely interview Jan. Gumtree Farmstay looks like a fabulous place to stay..and not just because they are friends of yours!
Thanks Jenny, Yes it is a lovely farmstay, and Jennie and Grant are very friendly!
Interesting story 🙂
Thanks Muza 🙂
Love all the photos, especially the sheep through the fence! So cute!
Thanks Jade, I really like that one too – and I arranged it so that the sheep was looking up at the cow in the garden, lol.
What a lovely interview and what a fun selection of photos. I don’t envy her the farmer’s life with the horrible early morning hours but it wqould appear to have its rewards too.
Thanks Leigh, I think she is loving it!
Mary @ The World Is A Book
Beautiful property! We spent part of our honeymoon in NZ 12 years ago and we wanted to return with the kids. This looks like an ideal place to stay with kids. My kids love animals and I’ve always wanted to stay at a farm. That sheep is just adorable!
New Zealand is so beautiful and a farmstay is perfect with the kids that’s for sure. Jennie would love to have you if you decide to do it!
Michele @ Malaysian Meanders
We’re considering a trip to NZ within the next few years. I’ll definitely have to keep Gumtree in mind. I’ve never stayed on a farm, and it sounds like a fab experience.
I think your family would love it – make sure you go in Spring Time (lots of lambs to cuddle).
Gumtree looks like a lovely place to stay. What a nice change of pace it would be. Love the pics of the happy little girl and cute animals, too.
It is a lovely farm – you can walk up the hills and get lovely views – or you can just sit on the deck with a glass of wine and some of the lovely Whitestone Cheeses from the factory at Oamaru – wish I was there now!
I can understand why the lambs would be so popular. I spent a short time in NZ many years ago, and would love to go back, and maybe do a farm stay 🙂
Great idea Nancie and Oamaru has so much to offer and a lot to see in the general area as well. Jennie tells me they just got some much needed rain to keep that grass looking green.
Gosh you are one brave Mamma for trying so much new experiences while liviing on a Farm 🙂
The early mornings do not sound like fun, but the experiences of feeding lambs sounds worth it.
Great to hear more about Gumtree Farmstay and the behind the scenes of another family – thanks Jennie for such a great insight to your lifestyle.
Oh I hate getting up early! (and by my husband’s standards I actually sleep in!!). I think if I had to choose between the calves and lambs I would choose the calves! (This is from a totally work perspective – the lambs required more frequent feeds during the course of a day, while the calves went from twice a day to once a day). But in saying that the lambs are always cute and cuddly so you don’t mind as much. The calves are a lot of fun though, once you get used to them, I was a bit scared at first, they tend to knock you around a bit (in a friendly kind of way!).
The vibrant green depends on the time of year and amount of rain. It was certainly lush when we were there a couple of months ago. They have just cut and baled the grass now for cattle feed (I believe).
Thanks for Sharing Nancie.