Zoe Bryson spills the beans on New Zealand agriculture and the best places to explore down under.
20-year-old Zoe Bryson travelled to New Zealand as part of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) rural and agri-affairs study tour to learn about the country’s farming practices.
She spent two weeks with 19 other Young Farmers before a further two weeks travelling and sightseeing.
On reflection, Zoe says there is a lot to learn from NZ farmers general attitudes to farming: they are business-minded, resilient and more open-minded towards change.
Here’s her top tips on all things NZ ag, lifestyle and touristy hotspots…
For working on a farm, these are essential. All Kiwi farmers own a pair of gumboots.
They are effectively just shorter rubber wellies.
Prepare yourself for beer at any point throughout the day.
NZ farmers are much more laid back than in the UK and it is not uncommon for milkers to have a couple of beers during the process – be it morning or afternoon…
All joking aside, NZ farmers are very business-minded and most have no emotional attachment to their land or farm, unlike many in the UK.
It means that some of their farming choices may seem slightly ruthless – although the impact on their finances is always at the forefront of their mind.
A lot of this is probably due to the fact there is no Government subsidies since the 1980s.
The vast majority of dairy farms in NZ are grass-based with cows grazed all year round – something I would say is the biggest difference between UK and NZ dairy farms.
It means farms have very little steading – often just a parlour.
NZ is also home of the Kiwi cross cow which is becoming increasingly popular…
Bay of Islands
This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in NZ due to its stunning scenery.
Best way to explore? Take a kayak around the waters or hike along the paths.
Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park
From the turquoise lakes to the towering volcanoes and hot spots, the scenery is breath-taking.
Best way to explore? Walk across the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Hobbiton Movie Set
I would recommend whether you are a Lord of the Rings fan or not… It is a very enjoyable and entertaining day!
Fiordland National Park/ Milford Sound
It is not hard to see why this is one of the most popular tourist destinations.
Best way to explore? Take a boat ride around Milford Sound – or if you have slightly longer, hike it instead.
The adventure capital of the world is a must.
From the famous Nevis bungee jump to jet skiing or white water rafting, the list of activities is endless.
Be sure not to leave without heading to Fergburger for a world-famous burger. It is worth the queue…
Best way to explore? Take a gondola 450m above the town on the Skyline Queenstown.
Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers
Situated along the west coast of the south island this is another location with breath-taking views.
Best way to explore? Take a helicopter ride up to the glaciers.
The National Park has stunning views and is a great location for doing a skydive…
If you are an adrenaline junkie – or not, like myself – doing a skydive is one of the most exhilarating and surreal experiences and you will definitely not regret it.
Best way to explore? Kayaking around the coast.