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Farming and flying

Flyinn™ is family owned and operated by founders Matt and Jo McCaughan. It is based at Geordie Hill, a fully functioning 5,500 acre sheep and cattle station. This has been in the family for four generations, since 1911.

Centrally located in New Zealand’s South Island high country, Geordie Hill runs over 7500 sheep and 200 beef cattle. Livestock are kept outside on hill pastures all year and traditional teams of sheep dogs are used when mustering (rounding them up).

Our merino sheep produce the world’s most exclusive, amazing soft, superfine wool. Their meat is a really special type of lamb; sweet, fine grained and low fat. This is now marketed under the brand Silere.

The station is just a short 20 minute flight from Queenstown Airport, and the private grass strip of 900m ensues the utmost convenience for our guests. Guests enjoy taking part in this station experience and the station tour. Seeing flocks of 1000 or more sheep being worked with dogs is a highlight.

Merino Wool

The sheep produce around 30,000 kg of superfine Merino wool. This wool is sold to mills all around the world. New designs in outdoor wear such as Icebreaker and Smartwool are making increasing use of 100% pure NZ merino wool.

The fibre diameter ranges from 15 to 19 microns (1 millionth of a metre). Sheep are individually ear tagged and their micron is recorded by computer. Wool is classed at shearing, according to its micron and quality. The finer the fibre is, the finer and softer the fabric that can be made from it. Finer wools are used for traditional high quality Italian fabrics for suits.

We find merino wool exceptionally comfortable to wear whilst flying, as it is very breathable on hot days, but still keeps you warm and is great to layer up on cooler ones. All our guide pilots’ shirts are made from merino.

Cattle

Geordie Hill also runs a breeding cow herd of 120 cows. Most of the calves are kept on to 18 to 24 months and fattened. Cattle are on pasture all year and get very little supplementary feed. The grass fed beef has a great taste!

Shepherds in the high country use teams of dogs to help them muster stock off the hills for shearing, weaning and so on. The sheepdogs make it possible for one or two men to handle mobs comprised of thousands of sheep.

Crops

Crops are grown for winter-feed, these include Oats, Turnips and Lucerne (Alfalfa). Fertiliser and seed is spread on the hill pasture with fixed wing aircraft using Global Positioning System for accuracy.

Modern technology is blended with traditional shepherding and sheep management to produce quality products for the world’s markets.

Activities

While staying at Geordie Hill, guests have the opportunity to join in on a wide range of activities unique to our station lifestyle. Many guests find that a highlight is spending time out in the hills with the shepherds and their dogs, mustering and moving a couple of thousand sheep.

You may make the most of a farm tour on our 4WD tracks, borrow a mountain bike, or take a walk in our peaceful valley. During the summer there is a chance to take a swim in the clear (cool!) Lindis River, or maybe just find shade under a willow with a good book.

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