I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
Published September 4th 2011
Entertaining young kids during the school holidays could be a task many parents don't relish. You don't want them to watch TV day in and day out but finding things that would lure them outdoor could be a challenge. Bluehills Farmstay could provide a solution to this problem. They're so jammed packed with outdoor fun that your kids would not even dream of wasting their whole days indoors.
Located in the Shire of Harvey, about 150km south of Perth, Bluehills Farmstay is just far enough to feel that you've really gone out of town. To approach from Perth, drive south on South Western Highway and turn into Weir Rd. About 6km in, you'd see the Harvey Hills Farmstay and you should slow down then as Bluehills is just around the bend and you might miss its gate otherwise.
Once you arrive, you'd feel relaxed already with the view of the Harvey Dam on the distance and not a neighbour in sight. The kids could immediately make use of the playground and with the small number of chalets, they wouldn't have to wait too long for their turn on the trampoline. Make sure they get an early sleep though, as they could expect activities to start quite early.
Bluehills Farmstay with Harvey Dam as background
First thing in the morning, they could start with egg hunting. The lucky ones could then have fresh free-range eggs for their breakfast. If they're not so lucky, at least they could still feed the chooks. Who knows they would be grateful enough to produce the elusive eggs on the morrow?
If the chooks have a policy of "we except feeding but touching would send us running," their neighbours the rabbits are more open to petting. To approach the bigger animals though, Justin Ward, the owner-manager would be at hand to assist. Pony rides are in the menu, as well as the more difficult "sheep-riding" (or just plain mucking around, some would say).
A cow watches as Justin helped my son 'ride' a sheep
Owners Justin and Anthea Ward are a lovely couple. Anthea is an artist and you could enjoy some of her work simply by walking along the Harvey town centre, as she drew the murals along the wall there.
One of the murals by Anthea Ward
If you find that the Bluehills Farmstay is fully booked by the time you enquire, you could try your luck at UDUC Farmstay which belongs to Anthea's parents'. It only has one cottage situated within a working farm, so there are more "real" actions here to watch (depending on season), like the tractor harvesting hays and the farmer tending honey bees or moving the cows from one pasture to another. To top it off, you could still go to Bluehills for your morning children activities.
'Herding' the cow at UDUC Farm
At around $200 per night (exact value depends on how many members in your family), farmstay isn't exactly dirt-cheap, especially if you'd like to stay more than just a couple of nights. Once you're there, however, you don't need to spend on anything else other than food, as the place has all the entertainments you need to occupy your young ones. And best of all, you can retain your sanity while the kids have fun. So, overall, I'd say it's a holiday-solution that is worth considering.