"Mum, can we please stay longer….like forever!"
When my kids declared that they were ready to pack up city life and move to Kookaburra Farmstay for good, I knew our holiday had been a five-star success! Who needs Roblox, when there are goats and chickens to feed.
Close animal encounters at Kookaburra Farmstay | Pic: Lisa Wolff
My children are animal-crazy so we've done our fair share of farmstays. To be honest, I'm not usually a big fan. I find that generally, the accommodation is dusty and grungy and that I spend the time dodging mounds of animal droppings and swatting away flies.
But Kookaburra Farmstay is different (in a good way). It's an easy 2-hour journey North from Sydney, just off the main road in Bob's Farm, and a short drive to the popular coastal paradise of Nelson Bay. The accommodation is homely and authentically farm-y but immaculately clean and tidy. The farm itself is beautifully maintained and the animals are clearly adored and well looked after.
Time To Relax
It's all about the animals | Pic: Lisa Wolff
The minute after we arrived and unpacked, I could immediately feel my stress levels dive down into an unfamiliar sense of relaxation. The kids were aquiver with excitement as they explored our cottage and danced among the chickens on our private deck who had come to welcome us.
Chickens and ducks in our back yard | Pic: Lisa Wolff
Kookaburra Farmstay is the love-child of former-corporate city slickers, Callum and Mel Mercer who have invested so much heart into creating this wonderful slice of farm life that they generously share with their guests. Farmer Kate manages the farm and is an absolute gem. She leads the daily afternoon animal-feeding tour and is super knowledgeable, hospitable and passionate about the animals and life on the farm.
There are three choices of accommodation at the farm stay. The new Farmhouse sleeps 19 guests in five bedrooms. It's the perfect choice for large family groups. There are also cabins which can each house up to 5 people and are clustered together nearby the playground.
We stayed in one of the two charming cottages. Our cottage had three bedrooms, two rooms have a queen bed and the third with two bunks and a single. There is a large open plan living area with a fully-equipped kitchen, couches and a TV. Adjoining the living room is an extensive deck with a barbecue and table tennis table. Plus loads of gumboots in a variety of sizes, so you don't have to get your own shoes muddy.
Our comfortable farm cottage | Pic: Lisa Wolff
A few steps from our cottage was a hen house and Farmer Kate had told the kids that they could open up the gate in the morning to let the chickens and roosters out. This was a highlight of the dawn and the kids loved setting the chickens free to roam. They then checked all the hiding spots for freshly-laid eggs and usually discovered at least a couple. Scrambled eggs for breakfast! Yum!
Run free Chickens.... | Pic: Lisa Wolff
There was also a family of the cutest guinea pigs living under our cottage and they would regularly come out to graze in the grass. Our kids did everything they could to encourage a cuddle but they were too skittish and shy. The chickens, however, were not at all coy and would gather on our deck during breakfast to catch some crumbs. The kids gladly obliged and soon the ducks and geese joined the party.
Any leftover bread was offered to the goats in the nearby paddock and even the cows came in for a pat.
Daily Farm Tour
Feeding the goats | Pic: Lisa Wolff
At 4pm (3:30pm in winter), all the guests gathered near the cows to hand feed the enormous placid bull Paulie and the cows. Then the kids grabbed bottles of milk and fed the adorable calves, Dwayne and Johnson.
My, what a long tongue you have Cow | Pic: Lisa Wolff
Giving the calves their milk | Pic: Lisa Wolff
Next, the kids (and some grown-ups) boarded the tractor-trailer and bumped along to the pig enclosure to give Pepperoni the pig her dinner.
The best ride on the farm | Pic: Lisa Wolff
Next up, the two donkeys, Eddie and Murphy and Jenny the pony, had their snacks and the kids got a chance to sit astride the pony and give her a cuddle.
Giddy'up pony | Pic: Lisa Wolff
Then it was onto duck island, accessed via a plank or a more challenging tightrope, to feed the quackers.
Crossing to Duck Island | Pic: Lisa Wolff
Our final stop was at the goats and alpacas, who were very happy to get their food. We discovered that if you blew in the alpaca's face, it would spit at you, which the kids found absolutely hilarious.
Hey, no spitting here Alpaca | Pic: Lisa Wolff
The tour was a wonderful, well-organised and very enjoyable interactive animal experience and we all loved it.
Choose Your Own Adventure
I love that at Kookaburra Farmstay you can be as chilled or active as you like. We chose to hang around the farm for our two-day stay, playing board games, going for walks, reading books and bonding with the animals. But guests can also hit the beaches surrounding Nelson Bay or even head into Newcastle for some cafe food and shopping.
A getaway to Kookaburra Farmstay is special - it's a tonic for the soul, a wonderful opportunity for the kids to explore safely and get close up and personal with the animals. We can't wait to return.