New online directory showcases local farm tourism

Kiwis are being encouraged to travel locally.
Kiwis are being encouraged to travel locally. Photo credit: File / Getty

With international travel essentially off the table for the foreseeable future, Kiwis are being encouraged to take the opportunity to travel locally and visit farms around the country.

A new online directory - New Zealand Country Trails - showcasing on-farm tourism experiences and activities has been launched, helping connect city folk with a vast array of rural experiences on offer. 

The directory is a collaboration between Federated Farmers and Jim Collins & Partners.

"As you're wandering through rural New Zealand it's not easy to navigate what's actually available out there, so we came up with this idea of putting a website together so you can easily see, as you're going through Tokoroa or you're going through Mid Canterbury, what's out there that you can stop and experience - and having a one-stop-shop for that we thought was quite effective," Federated Farmers chief executive Terry Copeland told Magic Talk's Rural Today on Thursday.

"Right now with international tourism off the agenda for a lot of our Kiwi travellers out there, we've got an opportunity to showcase the very best of what rural New Zealand looks like, and when you're travelling through rural New Zealand what you can do."

He said travellers were sure to get a taste of country hospitality when they signed up for any of the experiences. 

"Farmers are very proud of what they do out there and to be able to show people what they are doing on the land - it's a win-win really."

Surveys show the country's appreciation for the work farmers are doing has increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Copeland says he believes there's renewed interest not just in learning about farm-related activities but also in seeing the scenery in rural areas.

"It's actually quite a dynamic space really, rural New Zealand, and not only are they producing food but there's all sorts of other experiences that are done on the side - whether it's river guiding, or horse trekking or other farm demonstration-type things there's lots to do out there."

And it won't just be travellers benefiting from the initiative, says Copeland.

"Business is not always easy out there when there's droughts or other impediments to normal farm income so being able to supplement that not only boosts the income but also gives other family members something to do or during downtime on farm there are certain seasons that are a bit quieter they can concentrate on other things, which is always helpful."

Farmers who want to be part of the directory can apply online.