Saddle up for the 14 best farm stays in Queensland
Yes, Old McDonald had a farm. The good news is, you don’t have to.
Instead, take your family to the country on your next holiday to get amongst rolling hills, chirping chicks, fluffy sheep, handsome cows and gentle horses in lush paddocks that run for days.
If this sounds like the kind of break you need, stat, pack your checked shirts and gumboots and head to one of these farm stays in Queensland to meet Old McDonald in real life.
Farm stays around Brisbane
Alright city kids. Drop your devices, leave your power cords and step away from the tele. Within an hour you can get out of your regular hectic life and connect with the family on a farm stay near Brisbane.
Tommerups Dairy Farmstay, Scenic Rim
They also farm free range animals and veggies and sell their homegrown wares onsite at their regular farmer’s markets.
Animals to meet and feed: Cows, chickens, sheep, pigs and goats.
Things to do: Milk the cows, collect the hens’ eggs, feed the pigs and goats, go fishing or picnic by the creek or river.
Accommodation: Expect rustic glamour and 4-poster beds in their 1880s renovated Cottage (sleeps 5) and Homestead (sleeps 10). Both options are self-contained with all the modern comforts like air-conditioning, fans, microwave, dishwasher and BBQ. Their Farm Cafe is also on-site if you’d rather not cook.
When to go: Check out their Farm Gate Festival (part of Eat Local Week in late June) and Feast in the Field, a lazy long lunch with paddock-to-plate experience.
Cedar Glen Farmstay, Scenic Rim
Cedar Glen Farmstay has called the Scenic Rim home since 1882. They’re heavy with horsey experiences and you’ll be able to tick off your farm animals and sneak off to Lamington National Park for bush walking to make the most of being in the country.
Animals to meet and feed: Cows, Arabian horses, chickens, sheep and pigs. You’ll spot kangaroos on the property, too.
Things to do: The Cedar Glen crew set up animal feeding twice a day and cow milking in the mornings. They cater for all levels of horse riding from getting your kids’ learner badges, right up to serious trail rides. Taste the flavours of our pioneers with some piping hot damper and billy tea, learn to crack a whip or get that boomerang to come back while you’re there.
Take a dip in the creek in the warmer months and go on the 4WD twilight tour to see the property and local area from 4 wheels.
Accommodation: The Homestead (sleeps up to 12) was originally built in 1901. It’s as pretty as a picture with high ceilings and you can make the most of the endless mountain views with the wide open verandahs.
Other options include the Stinson Cottage (sleeps 2 to 6), Dairy Cottage (sleeps 4 to eleven) and Wallaby Cottage (sleeps 2 to 7). Depending on how hands-on you’d like to be in the kitchen during your stay, self-cater or ask about their full catering packages.
Lillydale Farmstay, Scenic Rim
If your kids’ farm stay bucket list includes tractor rides, petting cute animals and roasting marshmallows, then head to Lillydale Farmstay.
You won’t be disappointed by the Mount Barney (one of the gentle giants in the Scenic Rim) backdrop or the handy meal packs. And did somebody say Kids Club (aka a nana nap for the parents)? Yes, please!
Animals to meet and feed: Cows, horses, chickens, goats and kangaroos.
Things to do: What can’t you do here?! Feed the animals, meet Wally the calf and milk the cows, collect hen’s eggs, then get your hands dirty in the veggie patch, go fishing and kayaking on the farm’s dam or go for a dip in the creek.
Head out on a nature walk around the property (you might even spot a resident koala or kangaroo), get lost in the maze, learn to rope (aka lasso), take a tractor ride, learn how to handle a boomerang and crack a whip and keep warm with a bonfire*.
*Marshmallows on request.
Accommodation: Stay in one of the three suites (each sleeps up to 4) in the 4.5 star Homestead with private kitchenettes, ensuites and outdoor courtyards. If you need more space, check out the self-contained two-bedroom cabin (sleep up to 9) – perfect for travelling with little ones as they can have their own separate room and bathroom.
You’ll spot roaming cattle and speccy Mount Barney backdrop sunsets from both. If you’re keen to stay out of the kitchen during your farm stay holiday, ask the Lillydale team to help with a meal pack or two.
Hot tip: Want more adult-only time? Sign your kids up for the Saddle Club or Kids Club. You’ll enjoy a bit of P&Q while your kids have a ball with the crew at Lillydale and learn a new skill.
When to go: Cooler weather = gooey marshmallows by a bonfire. It’s worth the clean-up effort.
Worendo Cottages, Scenic Rim
The multitaskers out there will love Worendo Cottages. While the kids are getting acquainted with baa baa black sheep in the paddock, you can prep an epic three-course meal at their on-site Wild Lime Cooking School.
Animals to meet and feed: Cows, horses and sheep.
Things to do: Feed the sheep daily at 4pm or arrange a wild bird-feeding experience and meet parrots, rosellas and lorikeets. Take on the farm circuit walk to explore the valley and end up at the Lost World Crossing. For legendary views, get those legs pumping to the hilltop and look out across Widgee Valley, or grab a picnic and have lunch with a view.
Take it easy in the evening and spend quality time around the outdoor camp fire and count the stars. It’s the best spot to do a “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” rendition with your little crew.
Accommodation: Worendo Homestead is perfect for extended family stays (sleeps 12) and has been pimped out with a wood fire, fully-equipped kitchen, air conditioning, BBQ and is also fenced so you can bring your furry friends as well. The Treehouse Cottage (sleeps 5) is your other family-friendly option and comes with a luxe four-poster bed.
Hot tip: Come for the animal interaction, stay for a belly full of goodness when you take on a class at Wild Lime Cooking School. You make your three-course meal and eat it too!
Clandulla Cottages and Farmstay, Scenic Rim
If you can’t live without caffeine and creature comforts while you’re doing your stint in the country, get your morning hit at Cafe de Barn at Clandulla Farmstay. Baby chinos are on the menu if your little mate is a cafe regular, too.
Animals to meet and feed: Cows, horses (regular Mr Eds and miniature horses), chickens, sheep, peacocks and a baby kangaroo
Things to do: Feed all of the farm animals and collect the hens’ eggs, and watch the cows get milked every day at 8am and 5pm. If getting your hands dirty in the farm yard makes your tummy rumble, upgrade your animal experience with a hot breakfast or dinner at Cafe de Barn.
Grab a picnic hamper bursting with local goodies, find a quiet spot around the farm or jump in the car and find the perfect excuse for a picnic after a decent hike through Mount Tamborine.
Accommodation: Choose from the self-contained family-friendly Rose Cottage, Mexicano Suite or Okotoks Suite. If you have a cowboy fan, book the Western-themed Okotoks Suite which can fit two adults and one child. Camping options are also available.
Hot tip: Real coffee is just a stroll away at Cafe de Barn! Upgrade the morning tour with an animal feeding and breakfast option including tasty hot breakfast with all the trimmings (and did we mention real coffee!).
Farm Stays in Southern Queensland Country
Take your crew west of the Great Dividing Range to explore the ‘farmy’ side of Southern Queensland Country.
Bunyip Springs Farmstay, South Burnett
Next, you’ll hear rushing springs and then a deep, “moooooooo” (some would interpret this as “welcoooome”) from one of the resident cows. You’ve officially arrived at Bunyip Springs Farmstay.
Animals to meet and feed: Cows, horses, chickens, ducks and alpacas.
Things to do: Explore the paddocks near the cottages to meet and feed the farm animals and collect hen eggs, giddy-up on a led horse ride around the property, milk the cows, go bush walking, spot wildlife and bird watch, find an elusive platypus in the Bunyip waterhole at dusk and dawn or swim in the natural springs.
Accommodation: Bunyip Springs has three types of accommodation including the colonial Lodge (sleeps 8) and Cottage (sleeps 6) originally built in 1910 and 1926 respectively. There’s also a more recently built two-bedroom unit (sleeps 4).
When to go: The cooler months are perfect to make the most of the wood heater.
Want to see what the fuss is all about? Here’s something we prepared something earlier.
Bestbrook Mountain Resort, Southern Downs
Bestbrook sits snugly in the foothill of the Great Dividing Range, an hour and a half from Brisbane. They may be known for their regular farmyard animal fun, but your puppies can enjoy paradise too on your holiday at Bestbrook Mountain Resort.
Your pooch can talk bones, the best spots to sniff around the property and how to swim laps at Gap Creek when they meet local canine hosts, Matty and Shiner.
Animals to meet and feed: Cows, horses, chickens, ducks, sheep, peacocks and turkeys.
Things to do: Animal feeding at 8:30am and 4pm daily, learn to milk a cow and churn cream into butter, taste damper and wash it down with some billy tea.
Trot or gallop on a trail ride or take it easy on a wagon ride around the property, learn to crack a whip or return a boomerang, fish or hunt for yabbies in Gap Creek, mountain bike or bush walk around the property or head to Main Range National Park.
Accommodation: Bestbrook has a couple of sleeping options ranging from two and three-bedroom country cottages (complete with indoor fireplaces and camp fires) to the village bunkhouse (four dorm blocks sleeps over 60 people) or bush camping sites.
Hot tip: Sundowners on the deck at 4:30pm. Be there or miss the epic sunset and country hospitality. If you’re not up for cooking, make the most of the on-site restaurant, which can take care of breakfast, lunch and dinner for you and the family.
Lee Farmstay and Cottages, South Burnett
Lee Farmstay is located in the heart of nutty-ville, aka Kingaroy. Their resident animals are just as more-ish as the famous peanuts (albeit slightly less salty).
Take it easy on the2.5-hour journey from Brisbane and taste local foodie faves like Red Washed Rind cheese and gooey fudge to break up the journey.
Animals to meet and feed: Pigs and their little but unrelated friends (guinea pigs), chooks, sheep, miniature horses (cuuuuute), peacocks, cows, turkeys and ducks.
Things to do: Feed the animals at8am and4pm each day, pedal your way around the property on the easy or scenic track, make a splash in the pool, sweat it out in the sauna, play hide and seek in the hay barn or let the kids loose in the play areas, sandpit or swings.
Soak up the country life after dark around the cozy outdoor fire and melt the night away with mountains of marshmallows under the sparkly stars.
Accommodation: All accommodation options are pet-friendly and have spa baths. The two-bedroom cottages (sleep 4 to 6) are great for smaller families. The Queenslander (sleeps 10) is better suited for extended families or bigger get-togethers.
Hot tip: BYO rod, reel and tackle if you’re up for a fishy adventure. There’s a dam on-site with eager fish waiting to challenge you!
Hinterland Farm Stays
Moo cows, paddocks and beaches. Oh my! You’ll feel like Dorothy (although you’ll never want to click those heels to go home) when you whisk your family away to the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast Hinterland for a farm-stay weekend.
Paradise Country Farmstay, Gold Coast
Paradise Country Farmstay is part of the Warner Brothers tribe on the Gold Coast. Stay overnight so your kids get closer to the animal action with hands-on farmhand experiences before the theme park even opens.
Animals to meet and feed: Cows, horses, chickens, pigs, and alpacas roam the farmyard. The nursery is full of wiggly piglets, fluffy lambs, kids (of the goat kind) and chirpy chicks. You can’t miss the cute Australian wildlife like koalas, kangaroos, emus, dingoes, cockatoos and snakes.
Things to do: Get your kids to walk in the shoes (or gumboots) of a farmhand before the day begins, milk the cows, collect hens’ eggs, help feed the animals and even bottle-feed some of the babies in the animal nursery. Make the most of the activities during the day with horse rides (from two years of age) and VIP experiences.
Accommodation: Family accommodation options range from camping, caravan and motorhome sites to higher-end eco camping. If you’re staying on Friday and Saturday nights, join the animal meet-and-greet from 5pm and share stories with other families at the campfire after dark.
Hot tip: Go the extra mile and check out the VIP animal experiences like breakfast with a koala or a one-on-one encounter with a dingo.
When to go: Add on a night or two to your Gold Coast beach holiday any time of the year.
Wittacork Dairy Cottages, Sunshine Coast
If you want to teach your kids about where their milk comes from, look no further than Wittacork Dairy Cottages, a real working dairy farm.
With Lake Baroon and Kondalilla National Park on your doorstep, you’ll be able to meet Bessie, learn all about her milk’s journey and have time to explore the Sunshine Coast Hinterland’s rainforests and waterfalls.
Animals to meet and feed: Cows and chickens.
Things to do: Learn from the pros and watch how a cow is milked (no sitting on stools and milking cows into buckets here!), feed the cute calves and collect the eggs from the hard-working hens. Stretch your legs on the 2km of walking tracks around the property. You’ll walk over cute bridges crossing creeks and spot waterfalls too.
Once your little ones need a break, take five on the deck of your cottage and take in the view of Lake Baroon below. When you’re ready to chase more waterfalls, head no further than Kondalilla National Park. TLC would be proud.
Accommodation: Choose from Carabeen Cottage, Marara Cottage, the Farmhouse or Tamarind Cottage. Just ask if you need a high chair, booster seat, bed rail or Portacot.
When to go: For waterfall action, head to Wittacork during the wet season (summer).
Noosa Avalon Farm Cottages, Noosa
If you want to have your farm and beach it too, pick Noosa Avalon for your family farm trip. After you’ve had your fill of farmyard action, leave your muddy boots behind and within 30 minutes you’ll be digging your tootsies into the squelchy sands of Noosa.
Animals to meet and feed: Pat friendly cows and chickens.
Things to do: Hang out and feed the farm animals, meet some of the local wildlife (koalas and kangaroos) or get your twitch on and spot birds in the rainforest. Head to Lake Avalon for a quick dip to spot turtles.
Accommodation: Choose from the 1920s Queenslander cottages or the homesteads. The Bottlebrush Cottage (sleeps 2 to 3) and Avalon Homestead (sleeps 6) have dog-proof fences (pooches need a holiday too, amiright?). Your dogs will be welcome at the other cottages on site, too. Just make sure your dog has some clean bedding and keep them on a lead when you’re out and about exploring the property.
All cottages are self-contained and have their own fire pits to (marshmallow) toast the night away.
Hot tip: You’ll be smack-bang in the middle of the Noosa Trail Network. For a change of scenery go for a bush walk, horse ride or buckle up your helmet and mountain bike your way around.
Farm stays in the Outback (and out there)
If you’re looking to truly immerse your family in the real Australian country life, you have to drive a bit further (or even take to the skies).
Don’t worry, the extra hassle of getting there will be worth it. Like Darryl Kerrigan, you’ll be wishing you had your own piece of Bonny Doon-ish paradise on tap. This is what the Outback is all about.
Shandonvale Station, Barcaldine
This place is THE historic, educational and darn tootin’ fun capital of the Queensland farm stay scene. You might be dustier than you would be in the green hinterland, but head to century-old Shandonvale Station to ride shotgun in a mustering heli, go yabbie catching, see the food production cycle first-hand and, at the end of the day, kick back in luxury accommodation.
Animals to meet and feed: So. Many. Animals! Cows, horses, chickens, ducks, sheep (just 4,000+ of ’em, no biggie), pigs, 140 camels, 20 guardian donkeys, goats and deer rule the land. You’ll also spot loads of emus and hoards of kangaroos. Plus a couple of loyal and hard-working pups to keep the other animals in line.
Things to do: Educate your kids on how their meat and veg make their way from the paddock to their plastic plate, explore the bush, sit back and take in the craziness of mustering (or upgrade your experience with a heli muster and see the action from the skies), fish from a canoe in the river, and stargaze well into the evening around a warm campfire. Oh, and feed the animals and learn all about the history of the property.
Accommodation: You’ll stay in a high-end renovated version of the 100-year-old Shearer’s Quarters. There are four bedrooms, each with queen beds and luxe 1000-thread-count sheets. The Quarters has a fully-functioning kitchen, fireplace and an old school bathhouse. Did somebody say claw-foot bath?
Food options: The Shandonvale team can provide a station produce brekkie basket jam, packed with fresh milk, butter, smoked bacon, lamb, goat chops and camel sausages. They’ll also throw in some seasonal herbs from the garden, eggs and home-baked bread.
For more deliciousness, sign-up for their gourmet dinner, cooked from their own produce and served in the dining room of the homestead.
When to go: You’ll catch the best weather from March to October.
How to get there: Fly to Longreach and take the farm limo (aka ute) back to the property. If you’d prefer to arrive in your own four wheels, take the Matilda Way or Capricorn Way via Barcaldine. It’s just down the road from ‘Barky’.
Bonus Downs Farmstay, Maranoa Area
Animals to meet and feed: Cows and horses.
Things to do: Learn the history of the property on the Homestead and Cottage tour, canoe and swim in the dam, take a bush walk and spot a baobab tree or bird watch. The Bonus Downs team also teach you some serious station skills like how to crack a whip and how to muster and brand cattle.
Cheer on the working dogs as they do their thing, plus little kids will love the ‘diggers’ as the fields are ploughed and dozed.
Accommodation: Get the true station feel as sleep on your own swag in the shearer’s shed (sleeps 80). If you’d prefer a bed and pillow to lay your head, go for the Jackaroo’s cottage (sleeps 12).
Campers and caravanners can set-up shop, too with 10 powered sites and non-powered sites available. The Smokehouse is a shared facility with a spit roast, fireplace and camp oven. Bonus Downs is pet-friendly.
Hot tip: Bonus Downs has their own airstrip so feel free to fly in if you have the wings and wheels.
When to go: March through until October.
Henderson Park Farm Retreat, Capricorn
Head north up the Bruce to Rockhampton and you’re only half an hour from Henderson Park Farm Retreat. Teach your kids the difference between a Brahman, Brangus and Drought Master Cross (moo cow) while you sink your boots into the dirt around this fifth-generation, family-owned commercial beef cattle property.
Animals to meet and feed: Cows and horses.
Things to do: During the day, go on a guided property tour, meet Big Red (the tractor), pat pups Diva, Missy and Jill, go on a native wildlife walk (you might spot an echidna), canoe or swim in Hedlow Creek or join in on the animal feeding. After dark, chill out and swap stories with the kids around the bonfire.
When you need a break from the cows, jump back in your car and within 30 minutes you’ll be beach-side on the Capricorn Coast.
Accommodation: Choose from Barrett House, an original homestead (sleeps 8), Hedlow Lodge (4 rooms that each sleep 4) or one of two cabins (sleeps 4). All accommodation options are self-contained and include a country breakfast basket to dig into. BBQ hampers are also available.
Hot tip: Take the Henderson team up on their hospitality and chomp into your steak dinner on the verandah under the stars.
When to go: Any time of year.