Spend a weekend in the NSW countryside! Last weekend, Rachel Chappell, Founder of North Shore Mums took her family to a farmstay in the Southern Highlands, at Morvern Valley Farm in Bundanoon. With so many country towns across NSW doing it tough after the recent bushfires, she’s calling for North Shore Mums to get behind these communities across NSW and to #holidayherethisyear!
After spending the weekend at a farmstay in the Southern Highlands, it’s made me see first-hand why we, as Sydney-siders, need to book our holidays in NSW this year.
Just six weeks after bushfires ripped through parts of the Southern Highlands, the recent rain has not only extinguished all the fires, but the countryside has bounced back and is lusher and greener than it has been in a couple of years! As you drive along the main country roads across the Southern Highlands, you’ll see a sections of blackened trees stumps where the fires came through, but there are large sections that haven’t been touched. In fact, if you didn’t know how bad it was in early January, it’s possible you wouldn’t even realise how scary it got.
Although the fires have gone, the impact on the people who live and work in the Southern Highlands continues. Whilst some people are having to rebuild, most are recovering from the huge loss of business during the time, and they really need our help!
The good news is, Sydney-siders can help in the easiest (and most enjoyable) way imaginable…. by simply booking a holiday in NSW! Whether it’s a weekend, a week or a fortnight – this year, rather than book that beach holiday in Fiji or a trip to Disneyland, stay in your own country – and visit those areas that we affected by bushfires. Book some country accommodation, dine at the local restaurants & cafes, buy homewares from the gorgeous gift shops, shop at the local grocery stores and support the people who have been through a tough few years.
Morvern Valley Farm Stay
We spent the weekend at the beautiful Morvern Valley Farm Stay, which is located in Bundanoon – right in the middle of the Southern Highlands.
We had actually stayed at Morvern Valley Farm Stay almost five years ago (at the time, my girls were 3 months, 3 and 5 years). This time we returned, they were 4, 8 & 10 years old! Both times, we’ve had such a brilliant time. It doesn’t matter if you have toddlers or teenagers… kids of any age would love this type of holiday!
The farmstay is owned and managed by a local family (The Peacocks!) – who live nearby, but not on the farm – which means you are free to explore and enjoy the farm independently, but they’re never far away if you have a question.
During January, they cancelled and fully refunded all the bookings that they had – but as this is one of their busiest times of the year, this has obviously impacted them financially too – and will have far reaching impact for the rest of the year.
The Morvern Valley cottages
There are three self-contained cottages at Morvern Valley – each is scattered about 100 metres from each other, so there is plenty of privacy.
We stayed in Alecia Cottage, which was an incredible experience in itself – it was like taking a step back in time, to a world our grandparents probably grew up in (but with the mod cons thrown in). The cottage is themed on a 1940’s Australian farm house with lots of French Provincial detail. Embrace antique four poster beds, floral prints, patchwork quilts, cabinets of memorabilia and old family photos on the wall. We had a difficult time trying to negotiate who would get the bed with the mosquito net over it! This was truly memorable in itself, and a refreshing change from the modern interiors we now live in.
This cottage features three bedrooms – each with a double bed, and the third with an extra single bed – so could fit seven people. The mattresses are super comfy, and we all got excellent night’s sleep (apart from the occasional child).
The bathroom is well appointed with a large spa (and shower), plus also an accessible shower, toilet and washing machine.
There’s plenty to keep you warm during the colder months too – a large open log fire with safety screen, warm with fluffy doonas, extra quilts, electric blankets and heaters.
Everything you need with little kids!
It’s perfect if you’ve got a baby or toddler – there’s a portacot, two highchairs and a huge cupboard filled with toys, books and DVDs. No need to pack all that stuff! Plus, there’s an accessible ramp up to the cottage for prams or wheelchairs.
Collect your own eggs
Each cottage has its own chicken coop with Silver Spangled Hamburg chooks, New Hampshire hens and Welsh Harlequin Ducks – where you can collect fresh eggs for breakfast each day!
Exploring the farm
We spent hours in the paddocks, simply hanging out with the farm animals and exploring the property. There are roaming horses, miniature ponies, cows, sheep, alpacas & donkeys, plus cages of rabbits, chickens, ducks and even a peacock! My girls loved feeding the larger animals carrots, plus we made sure we kept food scraps for the chickens.
There’s also a couple of tyre swings hanging from the trees, some cubby houses to play in and a few old tractors scattered around the property.
Behind the paddocks, there’s a creek and some fabulous walking trails through dense bushland.
One of the highlights was the Treasure Hunt that takes you on a trail throughout the bush at the back of the property. Grab the map from your cottage, and follow the clues which takes you on a tour of the property. My girls loved working out how to get to the next station and to see what treasure was in the magic letterboxes! The hunt took about 90 minutes and was a great opportunity to explore the bushland.
Bundanoon is a small & beautiful county village, that has everything you need – The Bundanoon Hotel (a pub with a great family-friendly bistro), pizzeria, Chinese restaurant, a few cafes, newsagency, butchers, deli, gift shops and grocery store. It’s surrounded by national park (some of which was burnt) and beautiful green, rolling hills.
The farmstay is just a 10 minute stroll into the town centre – so easy if you want to walk up for lunch or dinner.
Things to do around the Southern Highlands
Bundanoon is centrally located in the Southern Highlands, and there are lots of places to go in the area that are just a short drive away!
- Fitzroy Falls – 25 minutes drive from Bundanoon. A boardwalk leads alongside creek through native bush to a lookout at the top of the breathtaking falls, which is flowing after the recent rain. Must do! Just $4 to park, and no entry fee.
- Berrima – Berrima is scenic 25-minutes drive from Bundanoon, through rolling hills and beautiful Southern Highlands landscape. Explore the heritage listed village, walk along the river, play in the fabulous playground or visit The Berrima Museum or the Berrima Court House for a first-hand experience of our early convict history and the justice system
- Tallong – lookouts over Shoalhaven Gorge and Morton National Park – Badgery’s Lookout and Longpoint Lookout. See kangaroos in the wild. Lunch at Tallong General Stores
- Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventure – either do the 1.5 km walk or partake in the highest zipline tour in Australia! Details.
- Bowral – Old world architecture converted to designer retail shops, gourmet food outlets, side street cafes and restaurants. Visit Corbett Gardens or the Bradman Sports Museum.
- Horse riding – The Man from Kangaroo Valley Trail Ride or Shibumi Equestrian Centre
- Markets – see the monthly schedule of markets in the Southern Highlands
- Cellar doors, breweries & wineries
Bushwalks in the Bundanoon
If your into bushwalks, there are some great ones to do with kids
- Fern Glen Walk: 10 minutes return (great first bushwalk)
- Erith Coal Mine Walk – 1 hour return, 2km
- Fairy Bower Falls Walk – 1 hour return
- Echo Point Loop Walk via The Lovers Walk, 1.5 hours return
- Tooth’s Lookout to Fairy Bower Falls Walk – 1.5 hours return
- Glow Worm Glen Walk, 1.5 hours return
- Bundanoon Creek walk: 5.5 hours, difficult
Special Offer: Farmstay in the Southern Highlands
Thinking about booking a weekend getaway at Morvern Valley Farm? Book Friday and Saturday night for $790, and you’ll be able to stay Sunday night for FREE! Plus, you’ll also get a gourmet breakfast basket on arrival.
Or, if you want to spend more time at this beautiful spot, book Monday – Thursday (4 nights) for just $690.
Click here for rates and to book. Be sure to mention North Shore Mums when you enquire.