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.
Tin Dragon Trail Cottages, Branxholm
Tin Dragon’s five self-contained cottages are made from local stone and named after Chinese miners who worked the area’s tin mines. Tucked away in North East Tasmania, its neighbours include breweries, cheesemakers and cafés. Keen bushwalkers and mountain-bikers can hit the nearby trails, while little ones will enjoy patting the friendly alpacas and picking fresh vegies from the organic garden.
Brickendon Estate, Longford
“Discovering newly hatched ducks, taking in the perfumes of the old roses, being visited by the descendants of convicts on the trail of their family’s past... our family is so lucky to have called Brickendon home for nearly 200 years,” says owner Louise Archer. Just south of Launceston, the estate’s World Heritage-listed colonial Farm Village – which includes a chapel, blacksmith’s shop and cookhouse – dates back to 1824. Stay in the Farm Cottages or convict-built Historic Cottages.
Ratho Farm, Bothwell
You’re in wild trout territory here in Tasmania’s Central Highlands. Even the young or inexperienced can go fly-fishing with a guide in the Clyde River or play a round on the golf course thought to be the Southern Hemisphere’s oldest. Stylish minimalism meets rustic chic in the convict cottages and stables by the river, with camping and homestead rooms available for bigger family gatherings.
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28 Gates, Gretna
Chase trout year-round at this huge Merino farm (it’s more than 2000 hectares), an hour’s drive north-west of Hobart. The historic Bloomfield property is home to 28 Gates boutique luxury accommodation, which sleeps up to six in a refurbished building that was once the stables and grain loft. Owners Susie and Michael Parsons put out the welcome mat with sparkling wine and homemade cake. When kids aren’t learning the art of fly-fishing (take your pick of five lakes stocked with trout), they can play with and feed the farm pets, plus there are tours of the property, which was established in 1862.
The Rustic Hut Bush Retreat, Penguin
“Our authentic rustic huts are set amidst stunning Tasmanian wilderness, offering unique, hands-on farm activities that everyone will enjoy,” says owner Tania Farrell. Help milk the cows and make cream that will appear shortly thereafter on scones or take a night-time wildlife-spotting walk on the 20-hectare property, which is 30 minutes’ drive from Devonport. The four huts are handbuilt from timber, with wood heaters and handmade furniture inside.
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