There are plenty of city kids who’ve never ridden a horse or collected eggs straight from the hen house, and even fewer who’ve actually milked a cow. But now, thanks to a dad who grew up in rural England eager for his kids to learn that milk doesn’t just appear in bottles or eggs in cartons and a weekend  farmstay, our tots can already chalk these up to experience.

A classic Australian farmstay, just 80 minutes from Sydney, where you can experience rural life on a cattle and sheep farm, Mowbray Park Farmstay offers a family break that ticks all the right boxes. Not only do they offer comfy accommodation, hearty meals and amazing facilities – including a kids club on weekends and during NSW school holidays – but a safe and relaxed environment for kids to interact with all manner of cuddly critters.


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We’d no sooner arrived than we were bumping along on a tractor ride which had our kids in gleeful conniptions. At the end of our ride, a smoky campfire awaited where we cooked damper (which my son swore was play-dough and refused to eat) and drank delicious billy tea.  A wander around the extensive property to visit some horses, cows and sheep followed and kept the whole family entertained until dinner and a barn dance. Though it was past his bedtime, we were on holiday, so we broke the rules and let our thrilled pre-schooler stay up with dad to sing and dance with the other guests while I took the little one to bed.

After a contented sleep dreaming of sheep and a hearty breakfast it was back on the tractor to feed the animals.  In the nursery, a roomful of fluffy bunnies had my tot in fits of delighted giggles, as did the snorting pigs.  Feeding two very friendly donkeys kept both the kids busy, as did the alpacas (or “backpackers” as my son insisted they were called), but it was milking the very patient cow that proved to be the biggest hit.

Saving the best for last it was time, for the kids at least, to ride a horse. While the other grown-up guests headed off on a trail ride, we watched as a tiny Shetland pony was saddled up and duly rejected by both my thrill-seeking little ones for its full-sized pony pal, which had originally been designated for older children.  Looking like peas on a drum off they were led for their first ‘pony’ ride, chests proudly puffed out and begging for more when it was all over. In fact, we all enjoyed ourselves so much we’re making a family farmstay holiday an annual event.


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A few farmstay faves

Mowbray Park, Picton, NSW

Experience a real slice of life on the farm with farmyard activities and a supervised kids clubs on weekends and holidays.

Lillydale Farm, Mt Barney Via Rathdowney, QLD

A family-friendly farm offering plenty of outdoorsy activities as well as farmyard fun 90 minutes from Brisbane.

Laurimar Glen Farmstay, Pipers Creek, VIC

A great spot for kids to participate in daily farm chores or simply hug a llama.

Settlers Rest Farmstay, West Swan, WA

Pull on your gumboots and experience life on the farm just 30 minutes from Perth CBD.


Published 22nd February 2013



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About The Author

Parenting and travel writer Aleney de Winter, is mum to two frequent-flying tiny travellers, son Rafferty 4 and daughter Marlo 1. Aleney shares her top travel tips and tales of adventure as the editor of family travel bible Out & About With Kids magazine and on her blog www.boyeatsworld.com.au


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  • This is interesting! Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply


  • What a wonderful and different idea!

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  • Also; great that this an annual event!

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  • Thanks for sharing this interesting and informative article; surely collecting fresh warm eggs; is a wonderful childhood memory and treat.

    Reply


  • this is a good idea. this would benefit the kids heaps and they would love to meet all the animals and get to have a glimpse at this lifestyle

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  • Was a good read thanks for sharings my kids would love this

    Reply


  • There is some great ones in SA. Some are down in the South east Region.Some also have a small sanctuary of wild animals they have rescued and nursed back to health, Some are able to be released back into their natural habitat,
    I think State Tourism Centres should be able to give you information. or organisations such as
    RACV, NRMA, RAA, RACQ, or others.

    Reply


  • I’d never thought about a farm stay for the kids. What a great idea.

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  • This is what we want to eventually build on our property in FNQ, I love the idea of getting kids back in touch with the food cycle

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  • Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved visiting farmstays!

    Reply


  • What a great concept this is

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  • will have to check out the one in vic for prices, it looks like a great family activity

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  • Wow, my kids would flip if they were allowed on a tractor!

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  • When our daughter was young we loved the farm stays, not all of them had horse riding but there were plenty of animals to keep her entertained.

    Apart from the outdoor, animal side of it, farm stays always offered us good value for money.
    Farm Stay Camping Australia has a good search engine to narrow down Farm Stays by state and place.

    Reply


  • Great holiday ideas, thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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