Yes, you can milk a cow and collect the eggs but these farmstays offer a whole lot more. Belinda Jackson rounds up some of the best in the Top End.
Kings Creek Station
Families on the big drive around Australia can discover Kings Canyon, in Watarrka National Park, using this nearby camel and cattle station as their base. Sleep under the stars at the Old Drovers’ Camp or stay in the canvas Safari Cabins with solid floors, share bathrooms and a self-catering kitchen (the rate includes a bushman’s breakfast). At the nightly camp fire, kids can toast damper on a stick. Quad-bike safaris and heli rides are also available.
Hale River Homestead at Old Ambalindum, East MacDonnell ranges
Located about 135 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs, this homestead brings families into the fold; they can help feed calves and horses, give it a go as a jackaroo or learn old skills such as rope-making. “It’s living history,” says owner Lynne Leigh. Do a tour with jeweller Dave, who’ll take you fossicking for gems. Guests can take up residence in the century-old Homestead or Cottage.
Bullo River station, East Kimberley
An iconic Australian property, Bullo was made famous by former owner Sara Henderson’s books about life on a remote cattle station. It’s an adventure playground of barra fishing, croc spotting, cattle mustering and horseriding. Okay, so the rate isn’t cheap but it’s all-inclusive and reflects Bullo’s isolation and high-cost activities, which include visiting Aboriginal rock art sites with a guide.
Mount Bundy Station, Adelaide River
Close to the Northern Territory’s jumping croc cruises, this historic cattle station has a pool, barramundi fishing and friendly animals (including Nigel the bull) to keep guests busy. Families can stay in the Cook’s Cottage, the Stockman’s Quarters’ shared accommodation or safari tents overlooking a billabong. There’s also a caravan and camping area on the banks of the Adelaide River. A four-wheel-drive sunset tour of the property is a great opportunity to see birds, wildlife and cattle before drinks and nibbles on Champagne Hill.
SEE ALSO: The Best Family Farmstays in Victoria