New Zealand's Vanishing High Country Lands

Posted by Ed 12 mths ago
The rutted track climbs up and up. Short, thick tussocks make the trail hard to discern, and a cold gale howls down the valley.

John Templeton doesn’t break stride. He bends into the wind and forges upwards with the speed and sure-footedness of a mountain goat. A dozen excitable dogs trot at his ankles, and at his side Holly Addison, a 24-year-old shepherd.

The sun is bright in a clear, blue autumn sky. Far below, strands of the Rakaia river weave their way through grey, shingle beds. Mt Arrowsmith towers high above, snow sparkling on its unforgiving peaks.

The air is dry and crisp, and in the high afternoon sun, everything appears clearer. JT, as everyone knows him, and Addison are searching for a flock of merino sheep, barely perceptible as they graze among the brown hill-top pastures.

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Ed 12 mths ago
Please support our advertisers:
Ed 12 mths ago
Hongkonger tries life on a New Zealand farm as she swaps high fashion for the high country in a grown-up gap year
A Hongkonger ditches her office job, trades in her heels for a pair of wellies and puts in a tough but satisfying stint on a working farm in New Zealand
I am perched on the back of a Toyota Land Cruiser bouncing along narrow farm tracks that wind up to the Afton Saddle at Walter Peak Station. Also crammed into this tiny space at the back of the “ute” (Antipodean for a farm or utility truck) are 22 boisterous sheep dogs, several shepherd’s sticks, a spare tyre and a collection of tools for cutting and mending wire fences.
Growing up in Hong Kong, I thought I was used to feeling cramped. Evidently, it could have been worse. 

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