After Bethany’s school trip to a farm a month or so back in Hong Kong, I had been thinking about how I could show her what you would really see on a farm. New Zealand is the perfect place for her and Mitchell to experience this, but we were restricted as we couldn’t leave the Auckland area. After a bit of researching, I discovered Kiwi Valley. It is a hobby farm just to the north-west of Auckland city with the added bonus (for Bethany) of horse riding.
Hobby farms range in scale and scope. We went to Butterfly Creek a couple of years back (which I also consider a hobby farm despite it trying to branch out and be something more) and it was ok, but it didn’t really focus much on the farm animals. I was hoping there would be a stronger focus at Kiwi Valley on the farm aspect and I wasn’t disappointed.
We stopped for lunch at their little cafe first off and straight away the kids were confronted with chickens and a peacock roaming around the outside area – although the peacock tried to come inside at least once. The kids were delighted. The food wasn’t too bad – certainly edible and the setting was nice. A real change from the rush of Hong Kong life.
Entry to the farm was reasonably priced and included food to feed pretty much ALL the animals.
The kids started out in the nursery where they got to cuddle some cute little bunnies. Mitchell was incredibly curious and surprisingly gentle with them. From there, we found a friendly donkey who was keen to eat the feed he knew we had. There was a path to walk around with several paddocks and lots of different animals to feed. Sheep, goats, ducks, even emu’s! The animals knew the drill and the kids loved it. They were laughing and squealing as the wet cold noses took the food from their hands. The animals were happy to let them pat them and feel their fur, wool and horns. We were trailed by a group of chickens keen to peck any leftover feed that dropped to the ground as we walked and fed the animals.
The highlight of the day for Bethany was the horse riding. She was lucky enough to ride two different horses – a quarter horse and a thoroughbred. She sat atop them with the biggest grin from ear to ear as they were led around. Her enjoyment of horses hasn’t diminished from being in Hong Kong – is that a good or bad thing? (I do know it could potentially be an expensive thing!)
I really liked Kiwi Valley. It was small enough to do in a few hours, but had the feel of a farm, and engaged the kids to be adventurous and curious. It wasn’t over priced and the feeding of the animals was a real bonus. I thought it was a great experience for my ‘urban’ kids to show them what a real farm should have on it, especially given our time and travel limitations.