Start your tour with seven days exploring farms in the North Island accompanied by your tour guide, Friendship Force NZ Field Rep Debbie Lattey. You will then be hosted by two rural NZ clubs, Wairarapa and Manawatu, for a week each, and be shown the best of rural life in New Zealand!
Home Hospitality provided by the Friendship Force clubs of Wairarapa and Manawatu.
Live With a Local
- Visit or be hosted on farms owned by Friendship Force members or their friends and families.
- Learn about farming in New Zealand from real New Zealand farmers.
- Immerse yourself in real down-to-earth Kiwi hospitality down on the farm.
- Learn about Maori culture with the Matariki Hangi & Cultural Show, and enjoy a traditional Hangi.
- Join your hosts as they cheer on the top New Zealand sheep shearers competing for The Golden Shears title.
- Visit sheep farms and a sheep station and watch farm dogs at work.
- Visit a dairy farm and see milking sheds in operation.
- Stay on a New Zealand vineyard and enjoy our world-renowned wines.
- Tour a local venison farm, an oyster farm, and a macadamia or olive grower.
- Explore the beautiful countryside around Matamata and Hobbiton where Lord of the Rings was filmed, and spend time exploring Hobbiton.
- Learn about Maori culture with the Matariki Hangi & Cultural Show, and enjoy a traditional Hangi.
- Visit Rotorua’s famous Agrodome farm show. Hear amazing facts and have a few laughs as you’re introduced to 19 breeds of sheep.
- Experience the kiwifruit industry on an idyllic working kiwifruit orchard.
- Discover New Zealand’s wonderful birdlife with a visit to Mt. Bruce Bird Sanctuary.
- Visit an alpaca farm and learn about these lovely gentle animals.
This Journey will appeal to those who love the outdoors and are interested in farming and rural life. - Debbie Lattey, Journey Coordinator
Explore Farming in New Zealand
23 Days / 22 Nights Program and Itinerary:
February 23, 2019 – March 17, 2019
Coordinator: Debbie Lattey
All Friendship Force Itineraries are subject to change.
Feb. 23, 2019 - Arrival; Auckland
Arrange to arrive in Auckland. Taxis, shuttle and the airport bus will get you to the city in around 45 to 60 minutes.
Overnight stay at VR Auckland City Hotel in one-bedroom twin apartments, including a simple boxed breakfast.
Your Journey Coordinator, Field Rep Debbie Lattey, will meet you on arrival at the hotel and the group will have dinner together that evening to start getting to know each other.
Feb. 24, 2019 - Auckland
Your tour starts today with a 60 to 90-minute drive to Vineyard Cottages, your home for the next two nights.
Check into your Settlers Cottage before a walking tour of the eight-acre property with its vines and fruit trees.
This evening, dinner is a “hands on” affair. With the assistance of the chef and a table full of local produce, create some magical dishes to enjoy together. A local winemaker will join you for a tasting and to provide wines to match your dinner.
Feb. 25, 2019 - Auckland
After breakfast, join your host Elle for the day to visit and tour a local venison farm, an oyster farm and if time permits visit a macadamia or olive grower.
Dinner will be served back at Vineyard Cottages (beverages at own expense.)
Feb. 26, 2019 - Auckland to Rotorua
After breakfast, say goodbye to Elle and say hello to your driver, who will pick you up from Vineyard Cottages in your private 16-seater Mercedes Sprinter van with luggage trailer.
Enjoy the countryside as you’re heading south for about 2.5 to 3 hours, leaving the Auckland region for the Waikato region.
Arrive at the Shires Rest Cafe around noon for lunch (at own expense).
At 1 PM, start your tour. Fall in love with the Alexander family sheep farm, just as acclaimed director Sir Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy did, as you journey through the unequivocal beauty of the land, with the mighty Kaimai Ranges towering in the distance.
After your tour of Hobbiton, meet up with your driver and travel the short distance to Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty region (traveling time around 1 hour).
Check into the Ibis Rotorua Hotel, your home for the next 3 nights. The Ibis is a moderate hotel, but in a great location to make the most of Rotorua’s sights. Easy walking distance to the lake and to the city center.
This evening enjoy the Matariki Hangi & Cultural Show. This show is a great way for visitors to experience the unique Maori Culture through an interactive performance, as well as getting a taste of unique New Zealand cuisine with a hangi & buffet featuring an assortment of local dishes.
Feb. 27, 2019 - Rotorua
Enjoy your breakfast before being picked up from your hotel around 9 AM for the short drive to New Zealand’s Agrodome.
Agrodome is set in the heart of 350 acres of lush farmland and offers their world-famous Farm Show, starring a cast of talented animals. We are hoping after the show you will meet with one of the staff for your private dog trial display and time for questions about all things Agrodome.
Return to your hotel around 12 noon. Rest of day at leisure.
Feb. 28, 2019 - Rotorua
After breakfast – around 9 AM – meet your Rotorua advocate, Sabine, in the hotel lobby. Sabine is originally from the Netherlands and has been at home in Rotorua for over 20 years. She is so passionate about local produce and the people who grow it, so she has many contacts that we wouldn’t be able to find in the travel brochures. She will join you and your driver for the drive to Te Puke (we pronounce it “teh-pook-eh,” just to put your mind at rest) for a visit and tour of Kiwifruit Country.
Experience the kiwifruit industry on an idyllic working kiwifruit orchard. The 60 hectare “Longridge Orchard” has over 30 canopy hectares of Zespri Green and Zespri Gold kiwifruit. This is one of the larger kiwifruit properties in the Bay of Plenty. The rolling hills and plateaus provide spectacular views and vantage points.
After your visit to kiwifruit country, return to Rotorua where Sabine will have organized something nice for lunch.
At or after lunch meet Te Rangikaheke Kiripatea from Kai Rotorua, a man who is dedicated to bringing community/free vegetable gardens to towns and suburbs. Enjoy some great story telling about his projects.
Return to your hotel mid-afternoon and enjoy your evening at leisure.
Mar. 1 to 7, 2019 - Rotorua to Masterton; Hosted by FF Wairarapa
Breakfast at your hotel, check-out and be ready to board your van for the day’s drive to Masterton around 9 AM. Total traveling time will be between 6 and 7 hours.
A lunchtime stop for 1.5 to 2 hours will be arranged, as well as short stops at Lake Taupo and the Desert Road.
After arrival at Masterton you will be met by your hosts, FF Wairarapa.
FF Wairarapa is based in a rural farming area, and your hosts look forward to showing you the following highlights during your week with them:
- Visit Glenburn Station which is a working coastal sheep station and see sheep dogs at work.
- Visit a local small cheese producer and a mushroom factory.
- Explore the Shear History Museum to learn about the history of shearing in New Zealand.
- Cheer on New Zealand’s best sheep shearers as they compete for the title of Golden Shears champion at the grand final of this annual competition.
- Take a tour of the famous Mt. Bruce bird sanctuary and see some of New Zealand’s amazing birdlife, including our iconic Kiwi.
- Enjoy a classic Fish & Chip Dinner with your hosts – a must while in New Zealand.
Mar. 8 to 9, 2019 - Masterton to Wellington
Train departure from Masterton at 10.44 AM, arrive Wellington at 12.24 PM
Welcome to the “Coolest little Capital in the World.” Your accommodation for the next two nights will be at Wellington Travelodge, including breakfast.
The rest of today and tomorrow is at leisure. Maybe start with a visit to Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum. Entry is free (exhibitions excepted) and it’s a nice walk along the waterfront.
For your free day on 9 March, maybe take the cable car from downtown Wellington to Kelburn. Enjoy the views from the top and walk back down through the Botanic Gardens. Or spend the day shopping. Or take an early morning ferry trip to the South Island and return in the evening. There are lots of options!
Mar. 10 to 16, 2019 - Wellington to Palmerston North; Hosted by FF Manawatu
After breakfast and check-out, meet your driver at the hotel lobby for your 1-hour drive to the Kapiti Coast.
We stop at Otaihanga, your Journey Coordinator’s home, to meet the Alpacas and have an early lunch.
After lunch continue to Palmerston North where you will be met by your hosts FF Manawatu.
The Manawatu Friendship Force Club is in a prime dairy and sheep farming area, and a number of the club members are farmers or former farmers. The club is excited to show you the best of their area. Some of the highlights of your stay in Manawatu will be:
- Visit local sheep and dairy farms, some owned by FF members or their families. See milking sheds in operation.
- Visit Massey University and learn about innovations in NZ farming systems.
- Visit the Feilding Early Manawatu & Farming Museum which displays a wonderful selection of early farm machinery.
- Tour the Feilding saleyards and watch as pens of sheep and cattle are auctioned off to local farmers.
- Visit the Central District Field Days, an annual event which showcases all aspects of farming life in New Zealand.
Mar. 17, 2019 - Departure
Your farming journey is now complete. Options are to fly to Auckland for your flight home or extend your stay in New Zealand – our travel agent Susanne McCardle will be happy to help you with travel and other arrangements if you’d like her to.
$2400 USDPrice Includes: FFI and host fees, all travel within New Zealand from arrival in Auckland to the Journey’s end in Palmerston North; all accommodation; entry to all listed attractions; and some meals.
International airfare is not included. Nine nights in hotels and 12 nights of home hosting.
Know before you go
- Journey number 15014
- February/March in New Zealand is late summer, with daytime temperatures in the low-to-mid 20s C.
- You will need a moderate level of fitness as there will be some walking each day.
- You will need sturdy footwear for the farm visits.
- The order and inclusions of the itinerary are subject to change due to adverse weather or other circumstances beyond our control.
Friendship Force International provides opportunities to explore new countries and cultures from the inside by bringing people together at the personal level. Through the signature program of home hospitality, local hosts welcome international visitors into their culture, sharing with them meals, conversation, and the best sights and experiences of their region.