We’re always on the lookout for the next excuse to jet off with the kids somewhere exotic, searching for a vacay somewhere new and fabulous or – we live in hope – planning a solo adventure somewhere all by ourselves. But one thing we know our kids will absolutely want us to put on the holiday bucket list is the chance to see farm animals up close and personal on a cool vacation with a difference: a farm stay getaway. We’ve found family-friendly farm stays around Southeast Asia and Australia where tractor rides, hanging out with animals (ethically!) and getting realllllly mucky are the name of the game…
Mowbray Park Farm Stay
Set on a working farm that dates from 1822, this traditional rural farm (pictured top) has so much going on for kids we actually don’t know how you’ll fit it all into just one holiday! Activities on the farm include include archery, sheep shearing, boomerang throwing, cattle feeding and horse and pony rides. There’s also an outdoor pool, hiking trails, tractor rides and a kids’ club where little ones will be kept busy with treasure hunts, painting, movies and games. Accommodation is in rustic lodges, and your neighbours will include cows, donkeys, goats, sheep, alpacas, geese and ducks.
Mowbray Park Farm Stay, 745 Barkers Lodge Road, Mowbray Park, New South Wales, Australia; farmstayholidays.com.au
Thung Dong Farm Stay
CHIANG MAI, THAILAND
Nestled in its own secluded valley surrounded by the luscious jungle and rivers of Chiang Mai, this farm is not only perfect for kids who love animals (think dogs, pigs, chickens and even pink buffalo) but is also spot-on when it comes to peace, tranquility and really escaping from the hustle bustle of city life. Drink from the cold water springs, try trekking in the beautiful local area (overnight camping can also be arranged), borrow a farm bike for a cycling exploration or even take to the air on a jungle zip wire: whatever you decide to do it’s sure to be awesome. Kids are welcome to help feed the animals and the whole family should try out the nearby hot springs to really get into the back-to-nature feel.
Thung Dong Farm Stay, Huai Kaeo, Mae On District, Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand; www.thungdongfarmstay.com
Tamarind Gardens Homestay
DIGANA, SRI LANKA
Jet off to one of our favourite holiday destinations, Sri Lanka, and spend a few days at a community based project that has sustainability at its core. Tamarind Gardens is committed to providing guests with a taste of typical farm life, and while accommodation is simple (it’s been built by village craftsmen), the stunning scenery and the back-to-basics experience for families is second-to-none. Mini-farmers will be udder-ly thrilled to hang out with the small resident herd of cows and we think the whole gang will love learning how to make incense, going fishing with the locals, cooking up a storm Sri Lankan style with the staff and helping out with ongoing projects in the local community.
Tamarind Gardens, Aluthgangapitiya, Digana, Sri Lanka, e. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.tamarindgardens.com
This eco-friendly farm was first started in 2001 as part of a long term retirement plan for owners Adrian and Olivia. Hidden in the jungle near Kuching, the farm has been welcoming guests since 2011. Expect to be transported into a simple lifestyle in a gorgeous tropical setting, where you’ll be picking seasonal fruits, dining on fresh farm raised livestock and fishing for your own freshwater fish dinner. Keep the kids busy (and a little mucky) by getting them to help out harvesting veg and feeding the farm’s livestock: geese, ducks, dogs, turkeys and quails all live on site, with sheep and goats residing at the nearby goat farm. There’s also plenty to keep families busy with local sights and activities including the Matang Wildlife Centre, the beautiful Kubah National Park, Sarawak Cultural Village, Kuching Wetlands and Telaga Fishing Village.
The Kebun, Kampung Rayu, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia; www.thekebun.com
UK Agro Farm
The UK Agro Farm is well worth the trip just across the border to Malaysia for an authentic farm experience the whole fam will remember. This is a real working sheep and goat farm so expect a genuine farm atmosphere, gazillions of woolly faces, guided farm tours and a spin around the milking sheds! The countryside fun doesn’t stop there either: check out the mini zoo and meet the resident peacocks, hedgehogs, ducks, geese and turkeys. You can also head to the ethnic cultural centre, Jakun Village, to try your hand at blow piping and climb a tree house with the indigenous Orang Asli. The farm has villas and dorms for overnight adventures.
UK Agro Farm, Plot 8, Project Pertanian Moden Kluang, KM13 Jalan Batu Pahat, 86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia; www.ukfarm.com.my
Gumleaf Cottage Farm Stay
For a farm stay packed with a veritable menagerie of furry and feathery residents, Gumleaf Cottage is the ideal pick for families looking to hang out with some animal friends. Stay in a gorgeous three-bed cottage and spend your days helping out in the farmyard and your nights toasting marshmallows on a log fire. There’s certainly no shortage in variety when it comes to the cute and fuzzies on the farm: Gumleaf is home to ponies, rabbits, miniature goats, sheep, chickens, dogs, cats and parrots! There’s a children’s splash pool for when the weather is hot, horse-riding lessons for all levels of expertise, walking and hiking trails and all this comes with the added bonus of being nearby to the Perth Hills and Swan Valley vineyards. Wine-o-clock anyone?
Gumleaf Cottage Farm Stay, 1475 Brooking Road, Hovea, Western Australia, Australia; www.stayz.com.au