Budget Touring: Farm Stays

By: Gwen Luscombe


Farm stays offer unique travel experiences direct from your caravan's front door

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ON THE FARM

For those who are seeking budget-style accommodation and who also want to give Aussie farmers a helping hand, farm stays are a great option.
Increasingly, Aussie farmers are opening up their properties to travellers who are keen for an overnight farm-stay experience. With plenty of space and the option of enjoying a live working cattle station or produce farm, farm-stay experiences are quickly gaining popularity.
Visitors get to enjoy something different from the usual caravan park experience and get an inside look at rural life at a working farm. Many properties also offer on-site activities such as horseback riding, cattle mustering and, for families with young children, you’ll often find options for farm animal interactions too. It’s a great way to support Aussie farmers and rural/ regional communities.
Interested in wide open pastures? The following properties are certain to inspire.

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Woodcutters, Bruny Island, TAS

This wool-producing farm on Tasmania’s Bruny Island specialises in fine merino wool and prime lambs. Here, campers can enjoy the spectacular views of Shelter Cove in North Bruny, with water frontage to D’entrecasteaux Channel. There's a choice
of camping on grass near the water’s edge,
or a gravelled and grassed area close to a large waterhole.
Wildlife spotters are in luck here with plenty of wallaby, brushtail possum, eastern quoll, wild duck, sea eagles, native hen, and an array of other small bird species regularly visiting. Campers can fish from the shore or gather wild oysters from the bay.
While this property is close to cafes and the tourist areas that Bruny Island is known for (cheesery and winery included), it’s also far enough removed to enjoy plenty of stargazing without the city lights polluting the sky.

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Wunglebung, Tenterfield, NSW

Ever wanted to take your horse with you on holiday? This 2000ha working cattle farm on the Upper Rocky River and Bicentennial National Trail has national park boundaries and plenty of trails for horseback riding where you can even BYO horse.
Located approximately 45 minutes from Tenterfield, it’s a great place to enjoy the quiet, or you can unhitch your rig and go exploring in town.
Campers can enjoy river frontage and plenty of company from the local wildlife including platypus, kangaroo, wallaby, gliders, loads of bird-life and possums.

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Olive Hill Farm, Margaret River, WA

If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy the Margaret River region and aren’t keen on the traditional caravan parks, Olive Hill Farm has 17 established caravan bays to exclusively cater for those who enjoy farm life, farm produce, and are looking to stay and relax in the region. Catering to fully-contained vehicles (no toilets are provided on-site) there’s plenty of privacy, peace and quiet and the area is also pet-friendly.
Foodies will also enjoy the farm produce that’s available from their own smokery and deli (and they’ll deliver it to your campsite!) The 150-acre farm produces eggs, beef, pork and lamb, all of which are sold at local farmers markets and direct to customers. Once you’ve indulged in the tasty stuff, take the time to stroll through the farm woodland walk as well and simply soak up the surrounds.

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Ossies Homestead, Gulnare, SA

Located in the mid-north of South Australia, Ossies Homestead Farmstay is set over 40 acres with plenty of space for self-contained caravanners and RVs. There’s also a hosted bed and breakfast option available in their Heritage Homestead.
At Ossies, visitors can enjoy the alpacas, sheep, geese and ducks or grab a fishing rod and head to the Bundaleer Reservoir for a bit of birdspotting while you wait. Stay close by and hike through the Heysen Trail from Spalding to Wirrabrra Forest or venture into the mining town of Burra.
Lovers of a tasty drop should take a day trip to the Clare Valley, just 55km north where you can spend a day wine tasting (and shopping) at some of Australia’s finest wineries. The nearby towns of Jamestown, Spalding, Gladstone, Laura and Crystal Brook are full of history and heritage attractions and are well worth the visit.

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Downderry Wines, Narrogin, WA

Speaking of wine, what a better way to kick back and enjoy the serenity with a glass of vino in hand? Downderry Wines is set over 75 acres, (10 of which are vineyards) among the rolling wheat fields of Narrogin.
Visitors to Downderry can also enjoy award-winning wines and the company of the farm’s resident pet cows, sheep and alpacas who have all been hand-fed and are child-friendly.
While you’re there, pop into the tasting room for a bite to eat and some free wine tastings at the cellar door. There’s also a selection of locally-made treats to enjoy with your wine or to take home and devour later.

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Gum View, Cleve, SA

Situated on Australia’s ‘seafood frontier’ the Eyre Peninsula, Gum View is off the beaten track but perfectly positioned to enjoy the incredible 360-degree view of Darke Peak Ranges and Carappee Hill Conservation Park. It’s the ideal place to call home while visiting popular local spots such as Port Augusta and Port Lincoln. Alternatively, venture into the RV-friendly local town of Cleve with its range of shops, cafes and an
18-hole creekside golf course.
Back on the farm you can catch a feed of yabbies in the dam or simply sit back, enjoy the wide-open spaces and watch the sunset over the Ranges.

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Evans Farm Stay, Katherine, NT

Finding a farm stay in the Northern Territory can be tricky, but local farmer Paul Evans has an incredible one that is centrally located to all the incredible natural attractions in the Northern Territory. This semi-bush block is only a 10-minute walk through neighbouring bushland to reach the Katherine River and 15 minutes from the centre of town.
Visitors here are in the perfect place to head out to explore some the Northern Territory's most spectacular natural attractions such as Cutta Cutta Caves, Pine Creek, Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park and much more.

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Iffy Downs, Kojaneerup South, WA

Settle in here for some million-dollar views of the Stirling Ranges right from your comfy camp chair. Kojaneerup South is in Western Australia’s Albany region (roughly 85km from Albany) but this farm stay is out of the hustle and bustle as the town of Kojaneerup South itself has roughly 40 residents.
The remote nature of Iffy Downs offers an incredible amount of tranquillity, open skies for stargazing and plenty of fresh air and sunshine. It’s also a great stopping point when visiting areas such as Albany or Esperance where you’ll find Cape Le Grand National Park with beaches such as Lucky Bay, the Recherche Archipelago islands which are havens for fur seals and sea lions and the highly photographed Lake Hillier with its striking shade of pink.

Tucker Homestead, Majors Creek, QLD

Local mango and lychee farmer Estelle Tucker’s farm welcomes self-contained vehicles and pets on leads to her 40-acre property in rural Queensland outside nearby Townsville. Here you can relax, enjoy the views of Mount Elliott National Park and watch the local wallaby wander among the mango trees or take a short stroll down to the nearby creek.
Depending on the season, you can enjoy farm-fresh produce and day trips out to the historic gold mining town of Ravenswood or Paluma and Crystal Creek Rainforest which offers World Heritage rainforest with incredible views from McClellands Lookout. At Little Crystal Creek and Big Crystal Creek, you can stop for a picnic, bushwalk or cool off in the large swimming hole. Alternatively, grab a ferry to the secluded Magnetic Island. As part of the Great Barrier Reef, it’s a gorgeous island to explore with its wildlife and attractions.

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Duffholme Cottage, Mitre, VIC

Located on the border of Victoria and South Australia, this pastoral property is halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide. The majority of this 300ha property is native bushland, giving visitors plenty of options to explore and hike. Guests here are also welcome to join farm hosts Robert and Denise for a drive around the property to observe native animals and lots of birdlife. Families travelling with children can enjoy the kids' play area as well as the opportunities to feed the sheep, ducks and chickens. And, if you’re travelling with pets in tow, it’s pet-friendly too.
From your site, you’ll get views of Mount Arapiles and those keen for a challenge can join regular climbers tackling this popular hike. Drive 12 minutes to the nearby town of Natimuk where you can dine at the local hotel or cafe and explore the historic main street. If you’re keen for a day trip, the Grampians National Park or the caves at Naracoorte aren’t too far away.

The full article appears in Caravan World #578. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!