• About Alpacas

    About Alpacas

Whats up with Rising Sun

Rising Sun

I’m a bit of celebrity around the farm and on social media. My fleece is super soft and luxurious, but even more than that, I’m apparently a one-of-a-kind, perfect specimen of an alpaca! I’m also as lovable as I am handsome, so pop into Shamarra Alpacas for a tour and a pat.

Whats up with Harlequin


A glamorous damsel through and through, I’m a big fan of being groomed well ahead of a photo op (your next selfie on a farm tour). My big eyes look even better when my fleece is on fleek. And I’ve been known to wear the odd denim jacket or hat, depending on the season.

But don’t be intimidated by my flair for fashion; I’m always up for a solid cuddle like my other friends.

Whats up with Tornado


I absolutely adore wee human kiddos and alpaca babies alike! Arguably the friendliest of all the furry faces here at Shamarra, I like to get visits and snuggles year-round.

They come from a place located over 4000m above sea level, a high alpine desert of snow-capped mountains called the Altiplano in Peru.

It is here, thousands of years ago on these cold, desolate plateaus that Peru’s ancient ancestors domesticated the most beautiful animal that Pachamama, (mother earth) had created. For centuries it is the alpaca’s fleece that has allowed the animals to defeat the chilling wind and freezing cold – the people of Peru would not have prospered without the warming comfort of this amazing fibre.

The ancient Peruvian people, the Incas, were masters in the art of weaving and wove a fabric from the fleece of the alpaca that was so soft and luxurious that it was prized above all else and considered more valuable than gold.

The Spanish invasion in the 14th century caused chaos and devastation. The Spanish plundered the abundant treasures of gold, silver and precious stones, but they ignored the greatest treasures of all: the alpaca, and the rare luxurious alpaca fabrics that were the foundation of Incan wealth.

In the effort to conquer the people, there was wholesale slaughter of alpaca and the carefully tended alpaca herds and centuries of breeding knowledge were lost forever. To escape the plundering Spanish Conquistadors, the small number of alpaca that survived were secretly moved high into the barren and remote mountains where they are still found today.

The beautiful textiles coveted by Incan royalty for centuries were destroyed along with the Inca themselves. All across the remote valleys, once prosperous villages fell into a poverty that has endured for five centuries.

Alpacas and their fabled cloth were forgotten.

It was not until 300 years later, in the 17th century that alpaca was rediscovered. Ironically, royalty once again wore the fabric of the alpaca when Queen Victoria of England commissioned several gowns to be made from alpaca fleece.

But it was almost another 100 years before the lasting renaissance of the Alpaca in Peru when pioneers such a Frank Webster Michell and great breeders such as Don Julio Barreda saw the potential of the alpaca not only as a fleece producing animal but also as a resource which would benefit the people and the economy of Peru.

It was not an easy path and there were many setbacks along the way, but perseverance prevailed and in recent years alpaca has emerged once again and is now seen as a luxurious alternative that rivals other mainstream natural fibres.

In a bid to remain socially and environmentally responsible, the world’s fashion brands now include alpaca in their luxury collections. Alpaca is recognised as a better and more environmentally friendly substitute for cashmere and other natural fibres.

Today’s alpaca is the synthesis of a long and often tragic history, a beautiful animal with big dark eyes whose shy knowing glances seem to reach deep into your soul. Maybe they remember their origins in a land where they were sometimes treated with indifference and had to weather many a man made storm in order to cling to their fragile existence.

But it is all of this, coupled with our love for these endearing creatures that forms a common bond that brings us together.

Alpaca – easy on you, easy on our earth.

Extracts from Synthesis of a Miracle by Michael Saffley and quotes by Don Julio Barreda

Shamarra Alpacas view over Akaroa
  • “Kia ora :) It was a pleasure to visit this wonderful & peaceful place! For me it was my last day in Christchurch & I couldn't have imagined a better experience for the day. Everything was so lovely & kind. From our wonderful guide to all the sweet animals. I'm really grateful that I could have some time in this place. Thank you for the chance to have some time at your wonderful place with your wonderful animals! I can totally recommend this adventure! :)”

    Janine, Google Review – September 2023

  • “This was the best hour of my life! Super friendly hosts, and the cutest and very well behaved alpaca! You can see how well looked after and loved these alpaca are. Awesome experience being able to sit down and have alpaca cuddles in the paddock and even hand feed them!! 10/10 would reccomend to anyone 😁”

    Sarah, Google Review – October 2023

  • “Even though it’s only an hour, you get maximum quality time with the alpacas. The staff are friendly and can’t wait to share their knowledge with you. Cuddling takes timing and patience, but when you finally get to hug one of these fluffy guys, it’s the best feeling. Would go again.”

    G6988VYbrianf, Tripadvisor Review – September 2023

  • “This was a very memorable experience we had. The farm offers fun tours where you can get close-up with their friendly and fluffy alpacas, you can cuddle them, feed them and take beautiful photos and videos. Moreover one of the most unique places because of the amazing breathtaking views of Banks Peninsula, enjoying the beautiful scenery and fresh air, is a truly unique experience you won't forget.”

    Rovelyn, Google Review – August 2023

  • “Such a wonderful experience hanging with Alpacas for an hour. This tour is excellent and I would highly recommend it.”

    Robyn M, Google Review – August 2023