OUR FAVOURITE QUEENSLAND FARMSTAYS



Farmstay holidays are a great way to experience rural life by camping, caravan or comfortable accommodation. Kids love the hands-on experience that shows them where food comes from and the daily farm life – milking cows, shearing sheep, feeding chooks and collecting eggs for breakfast. If you are lucky you may even watch chickens hatching.

Australia has so many farm holidays to choose from that provide the full experience – learn how to saddle a pony, ride a horse, relax in a wagon ride and end the day toasting marshmallows on a campfire, gazing at the stars. These are some of our favorite farmstays in Outback Queensland. 

Gilberton Outback Retreat

Lyn and Rob French’s 35,612ha cattle station is rich with natural wonders, from panoramic landscapes to abundant flora and fauna; Gilberton is also internationally significant for the conservation of its cultural heritage. Home to seven generations of the Martell-French family, Rob’s first ancestor here was a teamster who bought the property in 1869 to supply meat for the butcher’s shop he opened during the north Queensland gold rush.


Now the couple is welcoming guests and sharing the Gilberton story. Lyn says her family realised the potential for tourism and decided to design and build a luxury cabin. The Gilberton Outback Retreat was handcrafted from local granite, sandstone, quartz, ironbark, ironwood, lancewood and corrugated iron.
High on a cliff overlooking the Gilbert River, the ­result is extraordinary. Standing in this cleverly designed hut, with attention given to every detail, including a glass barricade that allows unhindered views and open air ­between roof and walls, it’s akin to being on a ship’s deck, hovering above the outback. The self-contained hut is anchored deep into the hard rock, presenting a whole new take on the iconic tin shed and the notion of sleeping under the stars.
Guests can help themselves to supplies in a shop-sized pantry, cooked meals can be delivered or you can join the family at the homestead, where the dining-room walls are lined with photos dating back to the 1800s. Rob and Lyn tell stories about the joys, challenges and resilience of living in such remote reaches. Today, there’s little left of the once-thriving Gilberton Township. After the gold rush collapsed in 1873, prospectors were chased off by Aborigines, but the Martell family dug in and stayed to ­develop their cattle property.


Cattle Station at Charlotte Plains
We’ve just headed off on our Queensland Outback trek and one of the experiences on our bucket list was to soak in a hot natural bore bath. We had already found a few but they were so modernized and smelling of chlorine, we simply felt like we were in any old spa bath. 



So our prayers were answered by camping at the Working Sheep and Cattle Station at Charlotte Plains just 50kms East of Cunnamulla. Robyn runs the station on her own after her husband passed away 2 years ago and with the drought, has been chasing the tourist dollar to supplement her income. The property is the size of the island of Singapore, so she is a real trooper, not wanting to give it up as she was born and bred there.


Shandonvale Station
Deon and Lane Stent-Smith are a classic example of the entrepreneurs in this region and they operate Shandonvale Station, a working property two hours from Longreach. Down to earth and keen to give you a taste of the real Australia, the enterprising couple delivers this in spades. Shandonvale Station caters for a wide audience. For the adventurous there’s heli-mustering, herding sheep in buggies, a gun range and bush tours. Young families will love the chance to get back to nature, getting up close and even feeding the animals. Sheep, pigs, geese, emus, goats, camels, horses, pelicans, deer and kangaroos are all on hand. 


If you’re after a slower pace and want to disconnect and relax in a unique setting, there’s the treetop artesian spa that’s perfect with a bottle of bubbly at sunset or you can just sit back on the veranda of the 100-year-old Shearer’s Quarters and enjoy the serenity of the wide open space. It’s not unusual to be surprised at how quiet it is out here and often the only noises you’ll hear are the birds or the wind whistling through the paddocks.


To top all this off, Shandonvale provides luxury accommodation and delicious home-cooked meals. The Shearer’s Quarters have been recently renovated, with interior styling by Deon. From the outside, the quarters have retained their rustic charm while inside has all the creature comforts you’d expect from up-market accommodation and it can sleep up to eight people.


Barcaldine’s magical retreat Lara Wetlands

Jo Wills called on every ounce of that experience, along with a naturally bubbly personality, to build her dream tourism venture in the face of life’s greatest adversity.
After moving to Lara Station, nearly 30km south of Barcaldine, in 2009 and finding she and husband Michael were the owners of a beautiful wetlands oasis, the idea of sharing their peaceful retreat was always at the back of Jo’s mind. The property boasts a wetlands area that has existed for more than 100 years in a clearing among the eucalypts, so Jo set about fencing off a 2 square kilometre area – 70 per cent of it water – constructing an ablution block and clearing unpowered campsites, and opened for business at the start of May this year 2014.


So far 65 species of birds have been recorded, and the Birdwatchers Association of Queensland has expressed interest in mapping out the full extent of avian inhabitants. Veterans of all conflicts are especially welcome at Lara; Jo hopes her place will work its magic on troubled souls in the same way it has been helping her. A camp kitchen has recently been erected, complete with sink and pit for communal camp-oven cooking, but perhaps the crowning glory is a hot artesian pool. It’s been the perfect place for Jo and her friends to end their day after cattle mustering, submerged in warm thermal water with a wine in hand.

Noonbah Station
Noonbah (which means Red Soil) is a working beef cattle station south west of Longreach, in western QLD. There is a vast array of different landforms which gives us a wide range of habitat for different species of plants, birds, and animals. From red sandplains to sandstone ridges peppered with ghost gums, to arid Acaia woodland to channel country through to spinifex covered hard country. It keeps us endlessly fascinated. 

Boom and bust country we seem to bounce between droughts and flooding with short periods in between. Noonbah is now in it’s fourth generation of Emmotts. Noonbah offers bush camping and natural history tours. Angus Emmott is a well regarded natural historian who has featured on ABC Conversations and ABC 7.30 report, he offers intimate natural history tours on the property.

, Bonus Downs Farmstay

Bonus Downs, a privately owned property run by Lyle and Madonna Connolly, is the ultimate outback historical experience. You get to experience the magnificent Bonus Downs homestead, find yourself on a tranquil bushwalk or take in the day’s activities or absorb the atmosphere of the outback. Whatever your interest, there is something for everyone at Bonus Downs. Bonus Downs offers good old fashioned country hospitality in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.


Bonus Downs is 46 kilometres south west of Mitchell on the Bollon Road, has bitumen to the door and is only half an hour from the Mitchell spa. It has accommodation in the rustic Jackeroos Quarters. Camping is also available in the shearing shed or bring your own tent. Caravans, motorhomes and campervans are all welcome, powered sites and water is available. Fly ins welcome and school groups.


Australia has so many farm holidays to choose from that provide the full experience – learn how to saddle a pony, ride a horse, relax in a wagon ride and end the day toasting marshmallows on a campfire, gazing at the stars. These are some of our favorite farmstays in Outback Queensland.
Experience the tranquility of country life. Even just a short weekend break in the country, away from the daily hustle and bustle, can be enough to recharge your batteries.

Whether you choose to kick back and relax or experience some adventure, escape as a couple, hang out with the family or catch up with friends, the country offers something for everyone.

Leave the laptop at home, turn off the phone and go for a hike, explore country roads, try birdwatching or fishing, test your photography skills, read a book, savour your morning coffee, or simply take in the view and end your day with a glass of wine.

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We started our blog “tony&kimoutdooradventures.blogspot.com”, in 2015 after our great 5 week adventure in Europe. We’ve had so many adventures, we decided to start a blog to capture and show our family and close friends in Australia and many Overseas on what we get up to. On our sometimes long work days we realized most of the travel blogs we were reading were people who had quit their jobs, sold all of their belongings and travel full-time. While this way of life is admirable, it’s not reality for a lot of people so we created this space on the internet as a way to show others you can have the best of both worlds. We are happily married for 10+ years and both of us have great challenging and rewarding jobs and a house almost paid off. Plus in 2016 we added our Kelpie pup Shari to our Adventures. Travelling is an expense that brings us happiness, joy and helps create lasting memories. Travelling with that special someone in your life makes those adventures all the more memorable. Our Adventures are all about taking each experience, regardless if you know the outcome or not and facing it head on. Its about seeing the world from a different perspective, even if you’ve seen it a million times before. It is choosing to see the beauty from the ordinary and finding ways on how to do it differently. We get out every opportunity to explore our Town of Brisbane, State of Queensland and Country of Australia; Markets, Festivals, Concerts, Stage Shows, Beaches, Hinterland, Rainforests, History and Shopping. We also love getting 2+ hours out of the City of Brisbane to Camp, explore and enjoy the quietness. We enjoy putting technology away and enjoy the company of each other. We have already explored many parts of Australia from Cape York in Queensland to The Great Ocean Road in Victoria. Tasmania, Perth-Fremantle, Sydney, Melbourne, NT, many places in Queensland and Queensland Outback. We have enjoyed overseas destinations in London, Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, France, Spain, Dubai and Singapore. We also take time out to give back to the community in volunteering. We were privileged to be chosen as Games Shapers for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. We also help out many Breast Cancer charity walks and rides. Giving up our time is rewarding and uplifting experience some people will never experience. With many day and weekend trips away we always set aside a major trip each year. We are looking forward to our 12 Day New Zealand Cruise at the start of 2019.

13 thoughts on “OUR FAVOURITE QUEENSLAND FARMSTAYS

  1. I've never heard of a vacation like this, but I love the concept! It's so important to be able to grow your own food and have an understanding of the process. How awesome to make it into an entire vacation!!

    Like

  2. This post brings back memory of romance novels I read that were set in the Australian Outback. This is a nice idea to enjoy nature and learn about different areas outside the big cities.

    Like

  3. WOW! This post makes me want to go on a sabbatical and travel to my bucket list country; Australia is one place I would love to visit. And for sure not stay in some hotel,but enjoy the real farmland experience.

    Like

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