Escape to the country with a farm stay family getaway
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, life on a farm can be pretty idyllic. Collect fresh eggs for breakfast, feed playful alpacas and embrace the fun of country living with a few nights at these memorable farm stays.
For those who want to disconnect from everyday routines
With 300 merino sheep, horses ready to be saddled up and taken for a ride, and afternoon scones fresh from the oven, the lack of Wi-Fi won’t be a problem at Ba Mack Farmstay, a Central West sheep farm 25 mins from Mudgee. Run by mother-daughter duo Julie and Katie, this welcoming farm stay takes pride in connecting children with animals, from cuddling lambs to horse riding. Stay the night in a two-bedroom cottage or restored vintage train carriage, and make the most of the complementary Kids Club every afternoon so you can explore Mudgee’s famous wineries while the kids play on the farm.
For those who want to bring home the fruits of the season
There’s something especially sweet about eating a crunchy red apple or scoffing a slice of sweet berry pie when you’ve picked the fruit yourself. In Bilpin, a quiet town in the Blue Mountains, orchards line the region’s rolling hills, with plenty of opportunities to fill up your own buckets of blood-red plums in January, golden delicious apples in February, strawberries in March or peaches over the summer. Bilpin Country Lodge is the perfect base for your family’s fruit-picking journey; the kids will be endlessly entertained with opportunities for yabby fishing, campfires, canoeing, mountain bike trails, trampolines and visits with Charlie Brown the Shetland pony.
For those who want to play with the animals
Around 200 alpacas roam the grounds at Starline Alpacas Farmstay Resort, a picturesque property nestled between the wineries of the Hunter Valley. Kids can let the cheeky alpacas nibble lunch straight from their hands, as well as help feed the sheep and chickens in their coop. There are more than a dozen cottages and suites on the property, plus a swimming pool, spa, sauna, tennis court and children’s playground.
For those wanting something a little different
On Redleaf Farm in the Southern Highlands, ethically raised saddleback pigs run free across the organic farm, along with a whole menagerie of Highland cows, horses, dogs, ducks, chickens, geese, peacocks and even a donkey. Owner Katrina is passionate about educating the next generation about sustainable agriculture and the provenance of our food. Kids can wander the neighbouring forest, with a magical waterfall and swimming hole, while adults will love the luxe accommodation options: choose from 1920s century refurbished train carriages or safari-style glamping tents.
For those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty
Pulling up your sleeves and getting stuck into the real (and sometimes dirty) work of running a farm can be an exhilarating and satisfying experience. At Amaroo Cottage Farmstay near Bathurst, the whole family can come together to help muster stock, and mark and shear the lambs. After the hard work is done, the 760-hectare farm is yours to explore: spot native wildlife or stargaze on skies uninterrupted by artificial light. Accommodation is in a three-bedroom self-contained farmhouse with a continental breakfast basket on arrival, and kids up to 16 years stay for free.
For those who want to find the perfect spot for the entire extended family
Six generations of the Lever family have lived on this idyllic farm on the Richmond River at Dairy Flat in the far north of NSW, a 40-min drive northwest of Kyogle. Dairy Flat Farm has three country-style cottages, which sleep a total of 16, and an expansive five-bedroom homestead. There’s plenty to keep the young folk occupied: feeding the chickens, goats and lambs, learning how to milk a cow and bucket-feeding the calves afterwards. When you’ve had your farmyard fill, there is also a tennis court, saltwater pool and lush bushwalking tracks in the Toolum and Toonumbar National Parks.
For those who want to learn how things grow
Sustainable agriculture is an important part of our future, and at Jamberoo Valley Farm Stay, a 20-min drive from Kiama, kids can learn about the farm’s biodiverse and polyculture philosophies, while picking fresh vegies, herbs and more from Jamberoo’s fields. Parents will love the luxury accommodation, with a stylish two-bedroom cottage featuring a Swedish hot tub, modern kitchen and sunlit deck that overlooks the valley and ocean.
For those who want to sleep in style
It’s a choose-your-own adventure at The Woods Farm, a three-hour drive south of Sydney in Jervis Bay. Families can pick from eight individually styled cottages to suit their personality: from the pretty Flowerhouse to the soothing aesthetic of the Greenhouse. Luxe glamping tents are furnished with beautiful king-size beds (and an extra day bed for the kids), plus fire pits, barbecues and a food truck turned camp kitchen. There’s plenty to keep little ones busy — from free bikes to giant yard games and an outdoor swimming pool. Get up close to the farm’s animals, including miniature goats, horses, alpacas, cows and chickens.
For those who want to experience authentic country life
There are farm stays and then there are red-dirt-under-your-fingernails outback experiences — which is exactly what Corynnia Station offers families wanting a little more adventure. An hour’s drive west of Griffith in the Riverina region, this 6800-hectare property is a working sheep farm as well as a farm stay. Accommodation ranges from a one-bedroom 1930s cottage to a country lodge that sleeps 12. Take the farm tour to see the 19th-century shearing shed and the thousands of merino sheep, explore red-dirt country by bicycle, play boules and tennis, and finish the day stargazing by the campfire.
For city slickers who love the great outdoors
Just an hour’s drive southwest from Sydney in Picton, Mowbray Park Farmstay offers the perfect opportunity to get away from it all. Your days on the farm can be as busy or slow as you wish: jump on the back of a tractor to explore the paddocks, learn to milk cows and crack whips, get the kids riding ponies, or simply relax in the unspoilt bushland that surrounds the property. There are seven lodges to choose from to suit families of all numbers, plus camping and caravan sites.