A Sunday Morning Experience with Alpacas and Llamas
It’s 7 am on a Sunday morning. As my family sleeps in their cozy beds I’m driving on a rocky, country road. I’m practically dozing off at the wheel, hoping my anticipation will overcome any sleep-deprivation. Driving to Sutton is a pleasant drive, it’s a quiet atmosphere, there are no cars on the road and I drive in peace knowing I won’t hit any Kangaroos passing my way.
Like a little kid, my excitement builds passing through the large gates of Alpaca Magic; I’m going to befriend a Llama. The narrow and loosely gravelled driveway stretches for another kilometre and I’m afraid my already worn-out tires are going to burst. An Alpaca races next to my car, causing me to abruptly scream; they are everywhere!
This is my experience at Alpaca Magic.
For the next kilometre, all the eye can see are hundreds of different breeds of Alpacas; either ignoring me completely and lazing away, or briskly running to the paddocks for food. Alpaca Magic is the only Alpaca and Llama farm openly available to the public in the ACT and NSW region. Once a month the farm offers a special event, to have the up-close experience of having breakfast with the Alpacas and Llamas; this was the experience that defined my Sunday morning.
Walking into the main house, I’m greeted by a beautiful, old Blue Heeler. After petting her, a tall, brown Llama catches my immediate attention. It remains still, staring into the large, colourful Koi Pond. I wonder what deep thoughts it has. I’m immediately greeted by the farm’s owners, cooking a giant feast on a Barbeque, they’re lovely people. I feel great excitement as I stare at the large herd of lounging Llamas. The owner cautions that, although they are gentle creatures, don’t directly look into their eyes as they’ll think you’re displaying dominance. I’m handed a small, plastic bag of chopped carrots and make my move into the herd.
The tall, brown Llama races over and starts leaning against me, I’m baffled. I keep a strong stance and start petting my first Llama. It feels softer, fluffier and stronger than sheep’s wool, but is coated in tanbark. Couples and families join me petting and feeding these fluffy beasts. Chatting with a few people, I discover most of them are from Sydney and are here as a Birthday or late Christmas gift. The Llamas are extremely interested in befriending me, albeit solely for my carrots. I concede and give them what they want, running back and forth snatching more carrots to feed the hungry animals, especially for the overfriendly, yet greedy ones. Everyone’s shooting posed or natural Llama selfies, I follow and have a photo shoot with a smiling and friendly Llama. I’m over the moon with joy!
A bell loudly rings as the owner shouts that breakfast is ready. A steaming hot buffet of eggs, bacon, sausages, halloumi and freshly baked bread from down the road await for self-serving, I’m starving. This is the perfect way to start the day. I eat with one of the owners as we cheerfully talk about the history of the farm. An adorable Cria runs over in an attempt to steal the food off my plate. I would have surrendered my food to his overpowering cuteness had I been eating alone. The owner and I discussed the different activities available on the farm, and if I’d be interested in participating in the Llama walk, to which I immediately said yes.
I became extremely delighted and enthusiastic to spend the rest of my morning walking a Llama. The friendly Trail Walker spent a few minutes instructing the techniques to walking and befriending these magnificent beasts. She and I briefly chatted about her volunteering position at the farm and her extensive love for Llamas, Alpacas and all things related. I was partnered with Samson for the morning. Samson was a shy giant and although he was an obedient Llama for the walk, he avoided standing near me at all times. Our group consisted of eleven people, and eleven Llamas with very different personalities, which made for an interesting walk.
In the beginning, many of the Llamas refused to walk the trail, preferring to stop and eat leaves, jump on dirt hills and just stand still. Fortunately for us, the Trailer Walker was experienced with these stubborn animals and eventually, we ventured onwards. The trail was flat grounded and beautiful, walking through classic Australian countryside bush with Kangaroos and musical birds. We all stopped for a quick visit break with the farm’s Donkeys. The Donkeys were small, adorable, incredibly soft and gentle to pat. I never expected to pat a Donkey on this trip. The trail continued with strangers chatting, Llamas constantly eating and many photo breaks, including a few for myself! After a little under an hour, the walk finished with a fantastic viewing of the sleepy, beautiful crias in the paddock, finishing off a wonderful morning.
A mundane Sunday morning for me would never typically involve driving thirty minutes outside of Canberra to the small country town of Sutton. Although many people go out for Brunch on a Sunday morning or visit the markets; meeting, patting, eating and walking with Llamas and Alpacas was an incredibly worthwhile experience. I had an unbelievable time and have left the farm with an ongoing smile and an extensive amount of knowledge about Llamas and Alpacas. I plan to visit again with friends and family.