They've caught eels, shot at clay birds, had to navigate themselves through the tricky Auckland traffic - but roasting marshmallows with a bunch of 5-year-olds was a different challenge altogether for this year's rural bachelor contestants.

The eight finalists, aged between 21 and 35, arrived in Auckland on Sunday and are heading south to Hamilton in a convoy of campervans for this year's Fieldays at Mystery Creek, which starts tomorrow.

The youngest bachelor, Kaleb Foote, a shearing champion from Glen Murray, just south of Auckland, said he was a typical farm boy who wasn't much of a romantic. He hoped his conversational skills would help him charm the women.

"I probably wouldn't beat around the bush too much ... Hopefully my wit and charm will come in handy at some stage and I can charm the pants off someone. That's wrong ... I can't believe I just said that ... "


His roommate for the week, Rob Ewing, a farm manager on Australia's East Cape, was relying on his strong accent to help pull in the votes.

His highlight of the trip so far was catching eels and toasting marshmallows over an open fire with kids from the Harrisville School in Tuakau, while he was most nervous about the contest's speed-dating round.

"I reckon if I come eighth I've done all right with the competition."

Former contestant Glen Hammond from Tuakau is chaperoning the men. He said they had a full itinerary for the week, including cooking, log splitting and blind dating.

Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year finalists

Brandon Sayliss, 24, Taupo

This sporty bachelor is on the hunt for an energetic woman who can keep up with him as his dream date includes a round of mini golf, then going ten-pin bowling and watching a movie before dining at a nice restaurant. Brandon says his top agri skills include stockmanship, animal husbandry and fencing.

Gus Thomas, 31, Rakaia

This southern man prides himself as a people person whose enthusiasm for his job helps motivate others. He has a Bachelor of Science in biology and is looking for someone who enjoys watching thought-provoking movies and having a quiet drink on a beach at sunset.

Kaleb Foote, 21, Glen Murray

The youngest bachelor holds the title of New Zealand's number one shearing champion and says his tractor driving and sheep and beef handling will also impress. When it comes to a perfect date, he doesn't care where it is as long as there's a few laughs and good conversation.

Oscar Smits, 28, Reporoa

Oscar starts his day milking cows, shifting stock, feeding out, driving tractors and finishes it with a training session. The gym bunny enjoys mountain biking and going to the beach in his spare time and says he's looking for someone he can have a good conversation with.

Paul Olsen, 35, Manawatu

As the owner/operator of a potato growing and drystock farm, this year's oldest bachelor knows how to produce a good spud. When he's not knee-deep in potatoes, Paul can be found having a few beers at his local, hanging out with friends or playing rugby, hunting or fishing.

Jamie Havill, 25, Ahaura

This rural bachelor likes to whistle while he works. The self-confessed Taylor Swift fan manages a self-contained dairy farm on the West Coast and lists his top agri skills as animal husbandry and pasture management. Jamie's dream date would be a lake-side dinner cooked on an open fire.

Rob Ewing, 27, Cape Paterson, Australia

Rob Ewing thinks he's got what it takes to win the golden gumboot. He spends his days managing a 350 herd Angus Seed stock production farm on the East Coast of Australia and can be found driving around on his quad bike or tractor feeding and checking the cattle.

Peter Damen, 25, Tasmania

Kiwi girls be warned, this organic farmer has his sights on taking home more than just duty free when heads back across the ditch after Fieldays. His dream dates would be hopping on his dirt bike and going for a bush ride to the river for a spot of lunch and a swim.