Southern Discoveries celebrates Chinese Year of the Sheep
Southern Discoveries celebrates Chinese Year of the Sheep… with mob of woolly stars
Tourism operator Southern Discoveries will be celebrating the Chinese Year of the Sheep by welcoming visitors on its Mt Nicholas Farm Experience with a mob of 500 sheep.
Over the next three weeks, visitors can get up close to the 500-strong merino mob, the same woolly ‘stars’ of the ‘Running of the Wools’ as part of the Hilux Rural Games.
This time around, the sheep have agreed to stay (almost) still so that visitors can have their picture taken with them.
Also waiting to greet guests at Mt Nicholas will be two pet sheep and sheepdog Belle to accompany the group on their visit to the working merino farm.
Southern Discoveries’ red catamaran Spirit of Queenstown has operated exclusive cruises to Mt Nicholas High Country Farm on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu since late 2013.
The award-winning company also operates in Te Anau and Milford Sound and plans to brighten all its vessels and visitor centres with festive Chinese lanterns.
In keeping with Chinese New Year tradition, all Chinese guests to Milford and in Queenstown will receive a lucky red envelope with a chocolate gold coin. The red paper packets (or envelopes) signify good blessings and happiness to the receiver.
Director of sales and marketing Julia Savill said the Year of the Sheep was a perfect fit with Mt Nicholas especially, and visiting the farm would be a special opportunity for many.
“The farm experience at Mt Nicholas is a unique chance to get up close to real working animals including sheep dogs and horses,” she said.
“We’ve seen a significant growth in Chinese visitors to Milford Sound, but we believe the farm experience will hold great appeal for our international visitors as it truly showcases the iconic New Zealand landscape.”
Last year China overtook the US in becoming the second biggest market for New Zealand tourism (after neighbouring Australia), signifying potential opportunities and growth within the East Asia market.
Like many tourism operators, Southern Discoveries has responded to the increase in numbers with brochures and cruise highlight information in Mandarin, as well Chinese speaking team members.
Last month, English, Cantonese and Mandarin-fluent Melody Ma was appointed sales manager for East Asia at Southern Discoveries. She brings a wealth of tourism industry experience and cultural insight to the team and has hit the ground running with preparations for the busy Chinese New Year.