A quirky farm stay brings you closer to alpacas and the little house

Alpacas were smart, hardy animals, and now for a Golden Bay couple, a source of income.

Alpacas were smart, hardy animals, and now for a Golden Bay couple, a source of income.

​You can’t be in a bad mood with alpacas, says Natalie Patterson, Tākaka wife.

She should know – she has a dozen. South American camelids are a calling card for Patterson and her husband Grant’s Alpacas Off Grid farm and lodging business.

The Pattersons moved to the Tasman region almost three years ago. Previously the owners of a guesthouse on Waiheke Island, the alpacas they owned there proved popular with the public.

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In the hills near Akaroa Township lies a furry wonderland of 170 friendly alpacas – you can even cuddle them.

Patterson said that was before the explosion of alpaca memes such as “No probllama.”

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“We’ve had people say, ‘I don’t care what your accommodation is like, I just want to meet an alpaca’, so I was like, ‘Oh that’s interesting, there’s something there -inside “.”

Natalie and Grant Patterson run Alpacas Off Grid, a lodging and farm tour business in Tākaka.

Natalie and Grant Patterson run Alpacas Off Grid, a lodging and farm tour business in Tākaka.

The couple sold and moved to what was then a more affordable part of the country.

They are now the proud owners of a herd of 12, which the public can meet through farm tours or by staying at the farm accommodation.

Overnight options include a stay in a 1952 Bedford house truck. Guests often come to experience what it’s like to live in a tiny house.

They are also interested in the off-grid lifestyle. The Pattersons’ water comes from a stream on their property and their electricity comes from hydroelectricity.

Imported to Aotearoa in the 1980s, alpacas are hardy, intelligent animals accustomed to rough terrain that adapt well to New Zealand’s climate, Patterson said.

“We find them quite easy to maintain,” she said.

Guests can experience life in a tiny house by sleeping in the house truck.  The property is backed by the start of the Kill Devil mountain bike trail.

Guests can experience life in a tiny house by sleeping in the house truck. The property is backed by the start of the Kill Devil mountain bike trail.

“They respond very well to our calls. We’ve had a few sheep here before, and without a sheep dog, we found sheep very difficult to get into a pen and different pens.

A herding animal with its own hierarchies and positions, Patterson said the females are “super sweet and not really adventurous,” especially those with cubs (crias).

“They are adorable to watch. I call them mood enhancers because you can’t be moody around an alpaca. They are just such beautiful animals.

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