My wife really wanted to do a farm stay during our holiday in New Zealand, and I stumbled across Shirley & Alan at Maungakawa Views, and I'm so glad I did!
Our stay with them was absolutely flawless. A warm greeting, a tour of the property, and we got to help feed little Percy the orphaned lamb his bedtime bottle!
I wasn't sure how into the whole farming thing I would get - have never been much of an outdoors person - so I loved how Shirley and Alan made me feel so at ease and let me know I could get as involved in the running of the farm as I wanted to. For the first half of our first full day, I was out with my wife helping Alan with the livestock. We stood on a platform at the back of his tractor as he drove us around and we said hello to countless cows and learned all about the farm and the livestock. We even got to help pull some weeds with a special tool.
We then went home for lunch, at which point I decided I was done for the day, and my wife went on her own with Shirley and Alan to do some herding and stuff after lunch while I stayed home. Shirley helped me start up a fire and I watched Dr Phil then went to bed for a nap. I loved that they made me feel so at home and relaxed, and that I was allowed to withdraw for a time and didn't feel pressured to partake in absolutely everything.
We were so thrilled to be there for Thursday evening as Alan plays bowls at the local village hall on Thursdays. He brought us along and we weren't expecting to be allowed to play, but the locals welcomed us with open arms! We we divided into a few teams and played a sort of mini tournament. I was on Alan's team and he was very patient with me as I'd never played before and after my beginner's luck had worn off I played quite horrendously LOL.
This evening of bowls actually turned out to be a highlight of our entire vacation, as we were able to meet and mingle with some true kiwi locals, learn about their lives, and just have fun and relax. Not many tourists get to have this kind of experience!! So thank you Alan for taking us along, and thank you to your friends for making us feel so welcomed and such a part of your group!
In terms of the accommodation, Shirley has a wonderful set-up. My wife and I had our very own room with an ensuite bathroom. We both had plug-sockets and an electric blanket each. There were drawers to store our stuff, and plenty of towels. The bathroom was well equipped, fantastic water pressure in the shower, and everything was clean and well-kept. Shirley even provided us with little bottles of shampoo etc, just as you would expect at a hotel!
There was space to park our car beside the house, and the directions to their property were easy to follow. Their house was particularly easy to find due to a "Maungakawa Views" sign and a New Zealand flag. The road was windy and made of gravel, so be prepared for that. It's accessible to all vehicles.
The food served to us by Shirley was absolutely outstanding. She really pours her love into every dish she prepares, and prides herself on giving us a real authentic Kiwi breakfast each day.
For breakfast we had Weetabix, yoghurt, cooked plums (yum!!!), as well as bacon, sausages, hash browns, eggs, cooked tomatoes, the list goes on. We were very well fed and ready for each day!
Day-time meals included a delicious meatloaf and some sort of corned beef, with potatoes and veg. All very succulent and tasty, even to me (I'm a VERY picky eater!).
The homemade, hot desserts were absolutely sublime. Oh my goodness and don't get me started on Shirley's scones - I ate five of them in one sitting and she even let me have the recipe!
On our first night there the sky was clear so my wife and I went out and laid down on their trampoline and looked up at the sky. Coming from the northern hemisphere, we had never seen the southern cross before, nor Venus. So that was pretty thrilling.
Shirley and Alan really made us feel so welcome and a part of their family. We loved meeting their animals, in particular Percy and their two dogs! Shirley's incredible cooking meant we never felt hungry, and we loved hearing Alan's stories and listening as he poured out his knowledge of the farm. They literally are two of the nicest, most humble and down-to-earth, beautiful, friendly, and welcoming people we have ever met, and they will long live in our memories.
This farm stay was worth every penny, and was the highlight of our entire trip. We would recommend it to everyone and anyone! Thank you Shirley and Alan, may God bless you both abundantly.
Our family of 6 stayed just 2 nights on Shirley and Alan's farm, but what a wealth of experience it gave us.
Being city dwellers, we love farmstays and always try to do one on visits to farming regions. All our past farmstay encounters all seem rather contrived with token animal encounters, compared to what Shirley and Alan have to offer.
They have generously opened their home and lives to visitors from all over the world. What you will see and experience is the real deal. It is not luxurious but the warmth and welcome is beyond compare. It is also spotlessly clean.
Shirley spared no expense feeding us well and on antique China ware, no less! If I had known, I would have been on tenterhooks seeing my kids using the cups and plates.
Alan, other than being a super efficient dishwasher, has a great sense of humour. Walking with him in the paddocks taught us so much. He is very fit; light and nimble on his feet too... tackling the slopes easily whilst we much younger ones clumsily tried to keep up.
He brought me on a 2 hour tramp up Te Tapui reserve just down the road from the farm. Much to learn from him.
Sparkles and Milo were their pet sheep I think. We got to feed them and Alan can demonstrate a shearing if you'd never seen one.
Shirley keeps a very lush vegetable garden with strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, silverbeet and potatoes, to name a few. It was great seeing new potatoes dug up.... With a real pitchfork!!
The kids got to collect firewood and wheel it in a wheelbarrow (who would have thought it so unwieldy!) back to the farm. Even the type of wood selected has its intricacies that Shirley shared with us.
They also had a grand and beautifully mannered horse whom we fed too. But not being used to horses, our affinity was more for their two working dogs-Boyd and Mac... really sweet boys who lap up every ounce of attention!
My best memory will be running through the paddocks with Boyd and watching him chase the ducks and bunnies.
This was definitely an enriching experience for the whole family.
This was a fantastic experience. We got to ride on the back of the tractor while relocating cows, bottle feed lambs, feed young cows and chickens, and walk dogs. Shirley and Alan are beautiful hosts. Shirley's cooking is great and Alan will teach you about all things farm. The scenery is beautiful as well - massively undersold on their website. I would recommend this to anyone who doesn't mind getting a bit dirty, it wa a wonderful thing to do. It was hard to leave and I'd go back in a heartbeat. Spend at least a couple of days here, it's definitely worth it.
The view is magnificent at Maungakawa Views! Just breathtaking! Our stay was everything I had hoped for. Shirley and Alan are kind and lovely people. They made us feel welcome and at home. They took me to visit with the animals and I even got to feed baby calves! So much fun! We really enjoyed talking with Shirley and Alan and felt like we got a glimpse of life for a New Zealand farmer. Amazing place. Amazing people!
Thank you Shirley and Alan for your hospitality!
We spent a magnificent three nights at Maungakawa Views. Shirley and Alan made us feel so welcome, from the loving attention that Shirley gave to our two boys to the great experiences Alan allowed us to share with him on the farm. Shirley is also an excellent cook. Our meals with Alan and Shirley, our evening chats, and the experiences with the sheep, chickens, and cows made us feel that we had gotten a really good experience of life on a New Zealand farm, and been part of the family for a few days.
This farmstay is perfect for families with kids. Our 6-year-old son actually broke into tears when we left, rounded the corner, and Maungakawa Views disappeared from view, when he realized how much he'd be missing Alan and Shirley.
Shirley and Alan were amazing hosts! They provided us with a great insight into their daily farm activities including for example, chopping firewood, herding sheep, feeding their animals and many many more.
Shirley is also an amazing cook! We enjoyed a delicious home-cooked dinner and breakfast :)
The facilities were clean and the bed was comfortable.
Our stay in this beautiful farmstay is one of the best memories for our recent visit to NZ. Shirley and Alan are the best host ever! We miss every single moments spent in this lovely farmstay; we miss every single meal prepared by Shirley; we miss the beautiful farmland; we miss the wonderful and educational farm tour conducted by Alan; we love the tractor ride; we miss all the animals there especially Boy and Joe; Our daughter miss the trampoline very much; we miss the lovely house with beautiful gardens; we miss the comfy beds and our lovely room; we also miss our hiking trip up the nearby mountain! Thank you Alan & Shirley for your kindness, thoughtfulness and hospitality!