Craig’s Royal Hotel had two unusual visitors this week in the form of two alpacas. Pictured at the entrance is Amanda Hibbert, handler, and owner Barbara Linley.

TWO alpacas from the award-winning Ambleside Alpacas stud in Berrybank checked into Craig’s Royal Hotel on Tuesday as part of Australian Alpaca Week celebrations.

2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the Australian Alpaca Association and festivities and events will take place across the country throughout the week of 2nd – 10th May.

Established in 1998 by Barbara Linley and the late David Linley, Ambleside Alpacas, in conjunction with Ambleside Pastoral Company, is situated on 1800 acres in the Western District of Victoria. Ambleside prides itself on breeding superfine alpaca and merino producing luxurious fleece and yarn for the premium market.

The alpacas are checking into Craig’s Royal Hotel for some well-deserved rest & relaxation time before Mother’s Day celebrations begin!

Amanda Hibbert and the alpacas checking into Craig’s Royal Hotel with receptionist Kaitlin Dawson.
Amanda Hibbert and the alpacas checking into Craig’s Royal Hotel with receptionist Kaitlin Dawson.

An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid – it resembles a small llama in appearance. There are two breeds of alpaca, the Suri and the Huacaya.

They are bred specifically for their fibre – to make knitted and woven items, similar to wool.

The fibre comes in more than 12 natural colours as classified in Australia.

Alpacas have been domesticated for thousands of years and are social herd animals that live in family groups, consisting of a territorial alpha male, females and their young. Alpacas made excellent herd guards, fearlessly warding off foxes to protect newborn lambs, and can live for up to 20 years. Craig’s Royal Hotel is located in the heart of historic Ballarat, this grand Victorian-era property opened in 1853 and has hosted princes, poets, punters and prime ministers as well as writer Mark Twain and opera Singer Dame Nellie Melba and now alpacas!