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Sample the Wooly Wonders of the Golden Shears Festival

Published by Redpeffer, Writer

Country: New Zealand

The Experience

When you think of New Zealand, it may well conjure up images of spectacular scenery and dramatic landscape, perhaps great food and quality wine. For some the image may also involve long haul flights. Somewhere on that list you may also think sheep, lots and lots of them. They're the mainstay of life in New Zealand and the Jackie Howe Festival of the Golden Shears is when all the sheep and all of those whose lives depend upon them meet for three days of festivities.

The Jackie Howe Festival of the Golden Shears involves competition, partying and general celebrations of the woolly creatures. For those whose interest in sheep is fairly limited, there are still plenty of opportunities to get stuck in and enjoy all the action. New Zealanders take enormous pride in the history and traditions of sheep shearing and wool handling and the three day festival honours this. The competition can get quite heated as speed and efficiency compete to be the ultimate sheep shearer. Never has watching sheep get naked been so serious and yet so much fun.

The best time of year to visit the Jackie Howe Festival of the Golden Shears is in September. Each year the town of Masterton on the North Island sees hundreds of entrants in competitions ranging from novice to senior and open competitions. It's all taken very seriously indeed and the rewards are high with not only financial renumeration but media opportunities at stake too. It can make a huge difference to the lives of the winners.

To celebrate the art of wool in all it's forms, a more recent addition to the festival has been a wearable wool arts competition which allows fashion to live alongside more fundamental ways of life. It's also a great way to utilise the huge quantities of fleece generated as a result of all those sheep shearing competitions!

The Toowoomba region of Queensland has developed significantly over the years since the festival has been operating. Recreating life of the 1890's, the festival also showcases the lives of the original faming pioneers whose spirit enthuses the Jackie Howe Festival of the Golden Shears and who populated these areas way back.

Partly located in the Woolshed, visitors to the Festival of the Golden Shears have the chance to see shearing stands, bale packing and all things related to this mammoth industry. It's a fantastic opportunity to experience the cultural as well as the economic significance of sheep shearing to New Zealand. A holiday to Queensland would be bereft without a visit to such a major festival.

When to Go to Festival Of Golden Shears

The best time of year to visit Queensland and take in the sheep shearing festival is the end of August. History lovers and steam aficionados will especially enjoy this experience.

Odds n' Ends

Entry charges for an adult are $15.50 and children are $9.50. Family tickets are also available.

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Language Guides

Hindi , Japanese are some of the languages spoken in New Zealand. If you know of a freely available phrase book or podcast for one of the missing languages, let us know!


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