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.
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.
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.