There’s a lot of talk come Easter time about chickens and bunnies (usually of the chocolate variety) but what better place to spend the Easter holidays than on a farm?
Get out your wellies, pack up the family and get back to nature. These farmstays give kids – and adults – a chance to feed the animals, collect the eggs and enjoy some country fresh air.
Six generations of the same family have run this wheat, sheep and cattle property in the heart of NSW’s sweeping Riverina country, between Sydney and Melbourne. Kids can feed the ducks, chooks, alpacas and other animals, collect eggs, or jump on hay bales, while Dad is welcome to muck out the pig stall or help with the fencing (just if he wants to). There are hayrides, pony rides sheep-shearing, a horse trail, a swimming pool, tennis courts, bush-dance nights, plus country cooking and starlit nights.
Rates: adults from $165 pp per night, children from $65 pp per night. All meals included.
Tobruk is just over an hour’s drive north-west of Sydney. Go for the day to watch Aussie bush skills – sheep mustering, shearing – as well as some whip-cracking and boomerang throwing, followed by genuine billy tea and damper (you need to book). Or hang your hat at the homestead, which caters for up to 3 families, stay overnight and wake up to some country air.
Rates: from $299 per weeknight and $399 per weekend night for up to 5 guests in the homestead.
Near Torquay, just inland from the Great Ocean Road, these cottages are on a farm where sheep, cows, horses and pigs share their paddocks with kangaroos. City kids get a kick out of collecting eggs in the morning and picking fruit in the orchard. There are echidnas on the property, lots of birdlife, bush paths for bike-riding as well as a tennis court and other sports activities. And the beach is close by.
Rates: from $190 per night for Rose Cottage, sleeping up to 6 guests.
Head to the beautiful Clare Valley, about 2 hours’ drive north of Adelaide, to this
historic sheep-grazing property. Start the day feeding the pet animals then explore the farm’s impressive pioneering past – woolshed, station store and more. In summer you can laze around the pool and in the cooler months you can arrange a bonfire for toasting marshmallows. Bed down in the heritage buildings (handsomely restored and self-contained) including the stallion box and the 1860s council chambers.
Rates: from $274 per night for up to 4 guests, including hearty breakfast provisions. Rates drop for multiple nights.
This 40-hectare farm in Tasmania’s tranquil Derwent Valley is 40 minutes’ drive from Hobart. Perfectly scaled for children are the miniature donkey and miniature goats but there are also ever-so-cute alpacas, as well as sheep, cows and, of course, chickens to feed. Cottages are tucked among the gumtrees or, for a romantic stay, try the luxury gypsy wagon(sleeps two).
Rates: from $165 per night for 2-bedroom chalets, with continental breakfast the first morning.
A stunning location at Beaudesert, inland from the Gold Coast, this working cattle property has been welcoming guests for 30 years. You’ll be busy with animal feeding, egg collecting, milking the house cows, horse-riding, river-fishing, bushwalking and swimming. Four cottages are dotted around the property. Cook for yourself or indulge in some hearty country cooking from the homestead kitchen.
Rates: from $295 per night for up to 2 adults and 2 children (meals extra).
A rural retreat south of Manjimup in south-west WA with comfy timber cottages and a veritable Noah’s Ark of furry and feathered creatures. Goats, miniature pigs, miniature pony, rescued kangaroos, a peacock, bantam hens, ducks, pet sheep, rabbits and more. Canoe on the dam or toss in a line for some trout fishing.
Rates: from $180 per night for a cabin for up to four guests.
On the banks of the Adelaide River an hour’s drive form Darwin, Mt Bundy is a working cattle property that offers a glimpse of farming Top End–style. Pony rides for children, farm tours to see brumbies, buffalo and cattle and native wildlife, barramundi fishing and sensational sunsets. There are cottages, cabins, campsites, luxury tents and eco tents.
Rates: from $200 per night for a cottage for up to 4 guests.
All photos courtesy of Farmstay properties