Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo, New South Wales © Tourism Australia
Family farmstays in Australia
Wake up to the roosters crowing and kookaburras laughing and spot kangaroos grazing on the grass alongside sheep and cows with these unforgettable family farmstays.
By Bonnie Jackson
Australia is home to a vast array of incredible wildlife, and you don’t just have to meet these furry friends from afar. Get up close and personal with the friendly local kangaroos, koalas and countless farm animals at a farmstay. Join the kids as they run wild amongst the rolling fields, lay by an outdoor fire under the stars, shear the sheep and milk the cows. There is something for everyone at some of our favourite family-friendly farmstay experiences, found all over Australia.
Where: Near the small Queensland town of Maidenwell, a 2.5-hour drive north-west of Brisbane.
If you’re looking to live out your authentic farmyard fantasies, then Bunyip Springs is the farmstay for you. Here you can milk the cows and hand-feed the alpacas. Or you can groom, feed and even ride the horses (led by farm staff). You can even take a dip in the natural springs before settling in by the campfire to gaze at the stars in the evening.
How to experience it: Book into one of the cute three-bedroom timber cottages or a two-bedroom unit, all with fireplaces or wood-fired stoves.
Choose one of the beautiful Rustic Hut Farmstay’s frontier-style timber huts on its working dairy farm. Go all in and milk the cows, separate the cream and churn the butter. Collect eggs from the chicken coop, make damper (a traditional Aussie bread) on the campfire and feed the friendly farm animals. You can also head out along any of the numerous bush walks in the area, ranging from easy strolls around the farm and bushland to an eight-day walk to Cradle Mountain on the Penguin Cradle Trail.
Hutton Vale Farm
Where: Nestled in the rolling hills of South Australia’s Barossa Valley wine region.
Founded in 1843, Hutton Vale Farm is sustainably run, producing wine, wool and free-range natural-pasture lamb. A stay here can either be at the “Hutch Hilton”, a four-bedroom cabin with a lounge and indoor/outdoor kitchen, or in the more deluxe J.H.A. Stone Cellar, a two-bedroom villa situated in the oldest building on the site. The farm is only a 100-kilometre (60-mile) drive north-east from Adelaide, but there’s an airfield if you fancy arriving in style.
How to experience it: Book the family into the Hutch Hilton and enjoy quality time together both indoors (with games, books and and a cosy open fire) or outdoors exploring the farm and surrounding area.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo
Where: 370 kilometres (230 miles) outside of Sydney in Dubbo.
Pack your walking shoes and your sense of adventure! Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo has an experience for everyone. From an African safari right in the heart of Australia’s outback to camping under the stars surrounded by Aussie wildlife. Explore the stunning savannah, home to giraffes, rhinos, zebras and antelope. Look out over the sprawling natural grassland from your doorstep and hear the lions roar from the plains. Each experience is inclusive of accommodation in a unique lodge, and kids will absolutely love being so close to so many unique animals. There are countless animal encounters at Western Plains Zoo and activities to keep everyone entertained.
Morella Farmstay Cape Jervis
Built over 60 years ago, Morella Farmstay is still a working farm, with over 200 farm animals on 100 acres of fully fenced paddocks. Surrounded by the beautiful rolling hills of the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula, the self-contained homestead offers both ocean and landscape views right from your balcony. During your stay, the kids can tire themselves out playing on the trampoline, hammocks, swing set and the tyre swing. Or feeding the resident animals with the provided bags of food and hay bales. From sheep, to goats and cows, this place has it all.
How to experience it: Perch yourself on your back deck and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Fleurieu Peninsula while the kids are feeding the animals and running free in the paddock.
Where: Located on the Tomaree Peninsula in beautiful Port Stephens.
Escape to the Kookaburra Farmstay, a small, family-owned and operated farmstay located in beautiful Port Stephens. Jump on the tractor and embark on the farmstay’s dairy farm tour, giving you time to cuddle the little chickens, milk the cows and feed the calves and cows. This farm stay has everything you need for an unforgettable family trip away. With the perfect spot for a picnic, swimming spots nearby and friendly local animals, there is no doubt you’ll want to extend your stay.
How to experience it: Don’t skip the daily farm tour, running every afternoon, all year round, where kids will get the chance to feed the farm animals.
Where: Woombye, in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast.
Less than an hour from the trendy hotspot of Noosa, the perfect combination of luxury and adventure awaits at Sixty6 Acres. Aside from spectacular views and endless grassy paddocks, the picturesque property is home to miniature donkeys, sheep and steers just waiting for the kids to greet them. Spend days as a family splashing in the lake, practicing your golf putt and collecting freshly laid eggs. In the evenings, toast marshmallows by the fire, whip up a classic Aussie BBQ or revel in the comfort of your charming country quarters.
How to experience it: Kids will love leaping from the lake's jumping platform and taking the property's kayaks for a spin.