A farmstay is a wonderful way to escape the busy city, breathe some fresh air and introduce your family to some furry friends! So if you’ve always wanted to give one a try, but haven’t been sure what to expect, let North Shore Mum Maryka Stalley share her experience with you.
Barcoos Farmstay is a three-hour drive from Sydney and is located 10 minutes outside Bathurst. It’s a 300-acre working farm and we were excited to be spending two nights there. I had heard about farmstays but never really looked into them, so this was going to be a new and exciting experience for us city folks!
We left home just before lunch on a Friday, stopped at the Blue Mountains for a bite and then reached Barcoos at 3pm. We received a warm welcome from our host Elaine (and Ruby and Carly the gorgeous Border Collies) who showed us to our accommodation. We stayed in the Valley View Unit which was so spacious and had plenty of room for our family of five (Issy, 9, Jake, 7 and Elliot, 5)! There are also two other options for accommodation as well as powered campsites and camping facilitates at Barcoo.
After a quick change we were ready for our first afternoon of activities. What makes Barcoos so unique and unforgettable is that the hosts Elaine and Ken spend each morning and afternoon with you, educating and entertaining you with a host of farm activities! There are so many activities to do on the farm that during our two days there we didn’t get to do everything they have on offer!
Our first afternoon of activities started by meeting Georgie the Saddleback/Berkshire pig! Wow, was Georgie big and she is only one years old! Issy and Jake straight away threw themselves into the experience. Elliot was a bit more wary and just watched from the beginning but it didn’t take him long to warm up.
Next we fed Patty and Mary the sheep and then straight into the chicken coop to fed the chickens and collect the eggs (eggs that we would be eating for breakfast the next morning!). It was then time for a walk into the paddocks to collect Coco the Shetland Pony and give her a brush so that she could be harnessed to pull us along on her sulky. We all had a blast riding around the farm on Coco!
That evening, I was glad we brought some food to cook for dinner, as the kids were exhausted and the last thing we wanted to do was head to town to eat. Our accommodation had cooking facilities and a good old BBQ saved the day!
The next morning, we were pleasantly surprised to open our door to some freshly baked bread, courtesy of Elaine! Breakfast was a yummy feast of fresh eggs the kids collected the day before and the freshly baked bread!
The morning activities started with feeding the pig, sheep and chooks, as one of the of resident Alpaca’s. Next it was Zara the pony’s turn to entertain the kids with pony led rides around the farm.
One of the highlights for the boys was learning to drive the big blue tractor with Farmer Ken around the paddocks and receiving their Tractor Learners Licence. They were chuffed!
After our morning activities we had a few hours to spare so we drove into Bathurst to explore and drive around Mount Panorama pretending we were race car drivers (of course doing the speed limit!).
Barcoos is a working farm, so for our Saturday afternoon activities we headed out to the paddocks with Farmer Ken as he had to feed the sheep and cattle. We helped to herd the sheep and cattle from the back of the Ute and helped unload the hay bales. We were also driven around the farm to see the beauty of it! When we returned it was once again time to feed Georgie and the chickens.
I loved watching the excitement on the kids faces after each activity and hearing about how enjoyable things were and what their favourite activity was. That night we even had Jake in tears as he was so sad to be leaving the next day – he didn’t want to go home. He was even asking if we could come back the next weekend!
On our last morning we fed Georgie the pig and the chickens and the kids really felt like experts as knew what they were doing and what the routine was!
Later, Prudence the Clydesdale pulled the kids along on a sled through the fields. The kids and adults were also able to ride Prudence around the farm!
We really felt like we experienced life on a farm and with every activity Elaine was there explaining why we were doing it or how it helps the animals. The hands on experience gained by the kids will never be forgotten!
I know Barcoos Farmstay has created happy lasting childhood memories for my children! The kids are still asking when can we go back to the farm! Thank you to Farmer Elaine and Farmer Ken for a fantastic stay and for making us feel part of your farm. We will be back!
Keen to experience life on a real farm? Barcoos Farmstay is located at 1080 Trunkey Road, Perthville (10 minutes from Bathurst). For more information, check out their website, Facebook, Instagram, or Tripadvisor.