WINTER FARM STAYS
Rolling green hills, animals and fresh country air – what’s not to love about a country escape? Farm stays are a budget-friendly and educational way to reconnect with nature and the ones you love and old school good fun for the whole tribe. Here are a few of our favourites.
Hosanna Farm Stay
If you’re after a farm holiday with an in-house masseuse, a chef and five-star comforts, you might want to look elsewhere.
However, for families wanting a digital detox, to get back to nature, interact with animals and enjoy some old-fashioned fun with your family and friends, Hosanna is a hidden gem that the kids will be talking about for years to come.
In fact, this was one of the best weekends we’ve had with our tribes.
This 100-acre property at Stokers Siding in the Tweed Valley, an hour and a half from Brisbane, 40kms from Byron Bay and one hour from Queensland’s Gold Coast, is as scenic as it is good, dirty fun!
Guests can choose from ensuite cabins, rustic huts or camping in their own tents. We opted for the rustic huts – Hosanna’s version of ‘glamping’ - to keep with the simplistic theme of the weekend but also to save bringing our own linen, towels and setting up our own camping gear.
There are six huts and they sleep two adults and two kids comfortably.
There is animal feeding, a timber playground but it was the Lily Lake dam – particularly the 3m diving board - which was a hit with our families.
The beauty of Hosanna is that adventure can be found at every turn - from easy walking trails to the timber play fort and a simple rope hanging from a tree, which the kids were soon using to swing themselves across a babbling creek.
The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly the farm tour with owner Alex. It is the best $10 you will spend - but just a disclaimer, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
After collecting eggs, feeding cows and a trip to the vegetable patch and an educational chat about the origins of the land, the tour concludes with some ‘paddock bashing’ and a hairy drive through creeks, around and under low-hanging trees and bushes.
Hosanna is a self-catering property so your food is stored in large boxes in a communal freezer with your family’s name on it and meals are prepared the communal kitchen, where you can find herbs, spices, cutlery, plates, pots and pans and glasswear.
When night falls, you are allowed small campfires to toast marshmallows under a star-filled sky.
Set in the Lost World region of the scenic rim overlooking the Rainforest Mountains of Queensland’s Lamington National Park, the setting for this farm holiday is nothing short of idyllic.
There are three cottages to choose from and we stayed in the four-bedroom Worendo Homestead, which sleeps 12 people and is a charming Queenslander-style cottage with the all of the comforts of home, panoramic views, a fireplace for cosy winter nights and a fire pit outside where we roasted marshmallows under a blanket of stars.
There is no reception here so it’s very much a welcome chance to switch off and step away from the every day.
The property is home to some very friendly sheep and baby lambs, which graze in the cottage’s backyard by a wooden tree swing.
You can handfeed the sheep and cuddle the lambs at 4.30pm daily with Worendo’s hospitable owner Nathan Overell, who is on hand to answer questions and chat about everything the region has to offer.
Nathan also organises farm tours and animal feeding with Dave and Kay from the neighbouring Tommerup’s Dairy Farm, which is a fun and worthwhile experience.
The kids loved the dairy tour where they helped milk a cow and later bottle-fed the milk to some very hungry calves.
Worendo guests are also invited to enjoy a picnic at the old stone hut – accessible via a very rickety old wooden bridge – by a creek, which was pure magic and one of the highlights of the weekend.
There are bushwalks into the Lamington National Park, horse-riding nearby, waterfalls to swim in, and a dam full of bass and silver perch on the property if you’re keen to throw a line in. The beauty of a farm stay at Worendo is, however, that you can do as much or little as you like.
Jamberoo Valley Farm
Families can experience being part of a working farm at this property just 1.5 hours from Sydney. Jamberoo Valley Farm runs several programs throughout the year including Farmer for a Weekend for families and other programs include growing and cooking seasonal food and sustainable living.
Rangitikei Farmstay, New Zealand.
This award-winning 630-hectare working farm, located in the heart of the Rangitikei district half way between Wellington and Taupo, offers a truly authentic New Zealand farm experience. Guests can watch shearing and mustering demonstrations, tour the farm and feed the animals while the kids will love the pony rides. They also offer Amazing Race-style obstacle courses and warm Kiwi hospitality.
Tobruk Sheep Station
A fun and interactive farm experience for all ages, Tobruk is the most authentic rural and outback experience in the Sydney region. Set on more than 70 hectares of land on a high plateau above the Hawkesbury River, Tobruk is surrounded by State Forests and bushland, with amazing views to the Blue Mountains. Tobruk Station has an authentic, rustic charm combined with a scenic backdrop of bush, beautiful paddocks and dams. Stay and watch the world famous Tobruk Australian Outback show featuring a sheep muster, sheep shearing, stockmen on horseback, working dog display and whip cracking.
Stoney Creek Farmstay
This Queensland farmstay is ideal for those who really want to experience real Aussie country life away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Guests can go horseriding, enjoy 4WD tours and relax at this 1000-acre working cattle property just 32km from Mackay . Choose from cottage, stable or camping accommodation and, in keeping with this wood theme, the main cabin’s toilet is located inside a gum tree.
Bellevue Farm Stay
Just a couple of hours drive from Melbourne and 20 minutes from the Great Ocean Road, you will find Bellevue Farmstay nestled on a hill at Scotts Creek in Victoria's South West. This working farm is home to a menagerie of animals including dogs, cats, alpacas, sheep, goats, a horse, camel calf and an the orphan fawn as well as an abundance of native wildlife such as koalas, echidnas, kookaburras and kangaroos.
Images by Tara Samuelson Photography