Whether you’re after a romantic getaway or want to show the kids there’s life beyond their electronic devices, farm stays offer the perfect taste of life on the land. Here are some of Australia’s best.
Bunyip Springs Farm Stay
You almost certainly won’t meet the farm’s mythical namesake, but you may well be fortunate enough to glimpse a platypus at the waterhole on this cattle farm. Guests can feed calves and milk cows, book a horse ride or take a bushwalk. Nearby is the Maidenwell Observatory, for evening viewing of the brilliantly clear skies. 503 Maidenwell-Bunya Mountain Road, Maidenwell; (07) 4164 6175
The Stephens family have owned this cattle property in the foothills of the lush Lamington National Park for more than 100 years. Animals are fed twice a day, and kids (or big kids!) will love the opportunity to collect eggs and have a go at milking a cow. Other activities include horse riding and bushwalking, lessons in whip cracking and boomerang throwing, and a sunset four-wheel drive tour, complete with champagne. 3338 Kerry Rd, Beaudesert; (07) 5544 8170
Bruce and Julie Armstrong offer an accessible taste of the outback on their Merino sheep farm, mid-way between Sydney and Adelaide. Farm activities include a property tour, swimming, tennis and bushwalking. Julie’s formidable green thumb has resulted in a stunning garden that guests are free to explore. Accommodation includes the Pink Palace, a 1940s cottage, and a new, six-bedroom lodge.
1823 Carrathool Rd, Carrathool via Hay; (02) 6993 5807
Honeycomb Valley, NSW
Sustainably-farmed Honeycomb Valley is just twenty minutes from the family-friendly beaches of Forster, offering the best of both bush and beach. Check out the vast native bee garden, solar outdoor oven, the menagerie of goats and alpacas, and take part in farm activities from pony and trailer rides to rounding up the free-ranging chooks at sundown. 3736 Wallanbah Road, Nabiac; (02) 6554 1460
Sixth-generation farmers Tim and Jane Parsons run their 300-hectare sheep property in the Derwent Valley with a strong ecological ethos. Accommodation is in cottages set by a small lake, perfect for dusk viewing of wildlife. Tours of the property with farmer Tim include watching sheep shearing followed by morning or afternoon tea of scones and cream, or a barbecue lunch. 5831 Lyell Highway, Hamilton, Ph (03) 6286 3333
Joanna River Farm and Cottages
Just off the Great Ocean Road at the foot of the Otway Hills, this 280-acre sheep farm has four self-contained cottages with ocean, valley and farmland views. There are plenty of farm animals to feed, including Choco the alpaca and Pickles the donkey, and guests are welcome to collect eggs, gather fresh herbs from the garden and pick fruit from the old orchard. At night, you can visit glow worms in a fern gully on the property. 420 Blue Johanna Road, Johanna; (03) 5237 4219