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 country’s best.
Chamel Fields, Kyeema
Small is beautiful on the Fleurieu Peninsula, where Chamel Fields breeds miniature horses and Dexter cattle. Adopt a horse for the duration of your stay or bring your own to enjoy 40 kilometres of trails in Kuitpo Forest, located across the way. For lodgings, choose between the 1930s cottage or the renovated American-style timber barn, both with kitchens, air-con and slow-combustion heaters.
Rawnsley Park Station, Flinders Ranges
Kids can learn about wool classing and shearing on this outback station, which runs 2000 head of Merino and Dohne sheep. Explore the property and neighbouring Flinders Ranges on foot or by mountain bike, four-wheel drive or helicopter. Families can book the 1950s two-bedroom Rawnsley Homestead or luxe Eco Villas with views of Wilpena Pound, while those on a budget can opt for a self-contained unit with a shop, swimming pool and the Woolshed Restaurant nearby.
Beltana Station, Flinders Ranges
“We are a real working sheep and cattle station where people can meet real station workers,” says co-owner Laura Ragless. Families are well catered for at Beltana, which has a swimming pool and outdoor cinema during summer. There’s an on-site café and museum, as well as sunset tours to local beauty spot Mount Scott. Large groups (up to nine) can book the tidy four-bedroom Overseer’s Cottage. The old Shearers’ Quarters have been refashioned into rooms with communal facilities.
Redwing Farm Stay, Weetulta
Pigs with attitude, donkeys, mini cows and Godfrey the giant cow are among the cast on this working sheep farm on the Yorke Peninsula. Each month brings a new experience, from lambing to sheep sales to hay harvest. Rustic-luxury accommodation is in restored shearers’ quarters and a barn, both with two bedrooms. The latter is best for families.
Narnu Farm, Hindmarsh Island
Kids as young as two and a half can take a mini trail ride and join in the twice-daily feeding of deer, piglets, baby rabbits and even emus. Guests can also pile onto “Elsie” the restored red Bedford truck for a drive around the island property, stopping to feed horses on the way. The seven self-contained cottages range from two to four bedrooms.
Top image: Beltana Station