Alpacas charm Melburnians

Melburnians fell head-over-heels in love with alpacas as a herd visited City Square.

Tourists, shoppers and office workers went cheek-to-cheek for a selfie with arguably the cutest livestock in the country.

The herd of alpacas munched contently from their buckets, seemingly unperturbed by the trams and bustling city streets around them.

Alpaca breeder Angela Betheras said she fell in love with the breed 12 years ago and now has a herd of 70 at her property in rural Victoria.

"I just fell in love and they are so intelligent and I think sheep are just a bit silly," Mr Betheras told AAP on Thursday.

Ms Betheras said the fleece was lighter and warmer than traditional wool but the yield is smaller with only about 3-6kg per clip.

The softer fleece on the saddle is used in clothing and the coarser hair from the leg can be used in making carpet.

But if you prefer your alpaca with some salt and pepper, there is a growing market for their meat among some Australian restaurants.

"It's very lean and has to be quick fried and eaten rare or slow cooked and tastes like a cross between veal and kangaroo," Ms Betheras said.

The South American natives came to Australia for the first time in 1988 and at that time cost up to $45,000 each.

There are over 160,000 alpacas in studs across Australia and people are encouraged to visit over Australian Alpaca Week, starting May 2.

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