Imagine a place where your children can run free, where the rolling green grasses go as far as the eye can see, where kids can feed animals by hand or collect fresh-laid eggs. Where nature is right on your door-step and if you're not careful, on the bottom of your shoe. Trampolines and tractor rides; it might sound like the nostalgic past, but there is such a place, and it is only 90 minutes south of Perth at Harvey Hills Farm Stay.
Hosted by Alan and Sue Piper, Harvey Hills Farm Stay is set amongst the lush backdrop of Harvey Dam, only five kilometres east of the Harvey township. Four self contained chalets each sleep between 4 to 6 people, with one being wheelchair accessible. The larger chalets have a queen sized bed in the large living area, and a separate bedroom with four bunk beds.
Cots and high chairs are available to hire. The kitchen is well equipped, there is a bathroom, laundry and separate toilet. A BBQ on the verandah provides a perfect space to end the day while looking over the paddocks to the hills beyond Harvey Dam.
For those who still require their creature comforts, the chalets are air conditioned and yes, there is a television. However it is unlikely your kids will even glance at it when confronted with the wealth of activities provided by the farm and local district.
Each morning there is animal feeding, including rabbits, ducks, chickens, alpacas, goats, sheep and cows. There are also ponies, donkeys and kangaroos. When your little Dr Doolittle's have finished talking with the animals, there is playground equipment, a swimming pool and a cubby house.
Kids can feed ducks, cows, sheep, rabbits and more
Beyond the Farm Stay, the district of Harvey offers plenty of activities to amuse kids of all ages from wineries and the Harvey Cheese factory to the Harvey Museum, Stirling Cottage or perhaps a picnic at Harvey Dam. The township also offers plenty of restaurants and cafes as well as a supermarket.
If you spend a couple of nights at the Farm, you can afford to venture further afield. In Dardenup East is Gnomesville, a roadside congregation of garden gnomes. No one is quite sure how it got started but now incorporates over 1,000 gnomes. Most visitors leave behind a gnome to join the party and it is reputed that anyone devilish enough to steal a gnome will be followed by bad luck. Picnic tables and public toilets mean you can stay for lunch and investigate the residents of Gnomesville including The Rolling Gnomes, the Gnoman Empire soldier and even the Gnome Birth Centre [corner of Wellington Mill Road and Ferguson Road].
Donnybrook plays host to Apple Park, one of the largest free outdoor parks in the state with a mind boggling array of equipment, swings, slides and sandpits, and is a perfect location for a picnic or BBQ.