Remove yourself from the fast lane and spend some time at these working farmstays and cattle stations. It’s an experience you – and your kids – will never forget.
Settled in the foothills of Mt Barney in southeast Qld, Lillydale Farmstay is an eco-friendly opportunity for a wide range of people, from adventure seekers to those who just want to relax. Activities range from horse riding to the strenuous activity of being on the receiving end of a massage. You can choose to help out on the farm and feed the animals, or go bushwalking and fishing, or just chill on the verandah with a glass of wine. No pressure.
(07) 5544 3131, www.lillydale.com.au
Boshack Eco Springs
About two hours northeast of Perth, Boshack Eco Springs is surrounded by beautiful scenery, bushland, freshwater springs and a lovely lake. Sleep out under the stars in a tent, plump for a cottage if camping isn’t for you, or take a tour – which isn’t just about the farm: you can feed the animals, go on a hayride, join a bushwalk, dreamtime or pioneer tour, try some bush tucker and more.
0408 005 628, www.boshackoutback.com
Bullo River Station
If cattle mustering and bull wrestling is your cup of tea, try this Sydney-sized property on the edge of the NT and WA. The Bullo River Station is where author Sara Henderson lived and wrote her tomes, including the best seller From Strength to Strength. Her daughter now owns the station, and you can tour the local region full of wildlife, amazing scenery and Aboriginal rock art. Also, if you fancy (and can afford it), there are helicopter tours available.
(08) 9168 7375, www.bulloriver.com
Glassford Creek Farmstay
To really work a farm, riding is a must – and at Glassford Creek in southeast Qld you can learn all there is to know about horses. The owner of the station and teacher at Glassford Creek is Bill Oram, a bushman who spent a great deal of time with the Royal Household’s horses as a junior liveried servant. Under his tuition, you’ll be mustering cattle in no time, as well as performing other general day-to-day farm duties.
(07) 4974 1185, www.glassfordcreekfarmstay.com.au
Set your swag down and spend the night gazing at the starry skies, or if that doesn’t tempt you, you can always stay in the shearer’s quarters, which aren’t out in the elements. Charlotte Plains offers 70,000 acres of true farm experience on a sheep and cattle property in outback southern Qld, as well as tours of the shearing shed, under the stars dining and more. There’s also a naturally hot artesian bore spring to relax in after a hard day’s work.
(07) 4655 4923, www.charlotteplains.com.au
Oxley Farm, just an hour and a half north of Adelaide in Kangaroo Flat, is definitely one for the kids. Full of cuddly critters and farm animals just begging to be fed, milked, petted and hugged, it’s perfect for families. The animals range from goats to chickens and even alpacas and deer. There are walks around the farm once the daily chores are done, as well as plenty of games and activities. Oxley Farm is close to the Barossa Valley too, which could form the perfect diversion for wine-living big kids!
(08) 8522 3703, www.oxleyfarm.com.au
Mowbray Park Farmstay
Just over an hour southwest of Sydney, Mowbray Park is a farm offering a slice of country life for the city folk. There are plenty of activities to provide an introductory glimpse into daily farm life, from milking cows to feeding animals, horse riding, canoeing, swimming, sheep shearing, working dog demonstrations and more. Ideal for a delicious roast in a rustic setting surrounded by country hospitality.
(02) 4680 9243, www.farmstayholidays.com.au