Awesome Family Farmstays Near Melbourne

  • Family

Life on the land may hold a certain appeal for those who live in concrete jungles, but the reality for most Melbourne city-slickers is that experiencing life on a farm is limited to quick visits to the petting zoos dotted around the city and suburbs.

Unless, of course, you sleep over at a farmstay getaway location…

If it’s something you’d like to explore, one great resource is Downunder Farmstays – which matches visitors with host families.

Or, if you prefer a quick weekend break closer to home, try this list of some of the best farmstays for families near Melbourne.

1. D’Oro Tourist Farm

Two different locations are on offer through this business – run by Doug and Jan – and the emphasis is definitely on tourist.

The farms are open for day visits and also have limited, affordable accommodation, with one four-bedroom heritage farmhouse available at the Birregurra site and more modest cabins and a caravan ready to stay in at the Freshwater Creek venue. The animals differ slightly from site to site – expect more native animals at Freshwater and more beef cattle at the Birregurra farmstay. On top of that, there are alpacas, chickens, donkeys, sheep and more, and the kids can get hands-on to see what living on a farm is like, with some extra fun. Expect hay rides in the ute, donkey rides, animal feeding and egg collecting – all within handy distance of Melbourne.

What You Need To Know

The accommodation option and animal experiences vary slightly across the two sites, so it’s worth a chat with the owners to see which one you and your kids might prefer.

Phone: (03) 5264 5130
Where: Freshwater Creek & Birregurra
For more info: visit the website

2. Animal Land

Animal Land

It’s close enough to Melbourne for a day visit, but if you want to embed yourself in a farmstay experience, there is an accommodation to sleep seven people in a self-contained unit on the property.

The accommodation includes continental breakfast – including fresh eggs you can collect yourself from the chicken coop! Farm tours during the day are also available (a family voucher is included when you book a two-night stay).

Patting the baby animals and going on pony rides will add to the experience for your little ones, and ending the evening with some toasted marshmallows over the campfire is an added bonus.

What You Need To Know

Because it’s only a 30-minute drive from the CBD, it’s an easy spot for a quick weekend getaway the kids will love.

Phone: (03) 9740 1345
Where: 200 Duncans Lane, Diggers Rest
For more info: visit the website

3. Tarndie

At just under 150km from Melbourne, the town of Warncoort is an ideal distance for a short break with the kids.

This working wool farm is a slice of Victorian farming history in action, with a couple of accommodation options (including the Farmers' Cottage and The Stables Studio) suited for families. It’s been in the same family since 1840 and is one of Victoria’s oldest surviving homesteads. But what do the kids want? There are animals for them to feed, cuddle and pat and plenty of open space to run around in.

What You Need To Know

The property’s Polwarth sheep produce amazing wool that you can touch and learn about – and buy to take home for craft projects. The wool-filled pillows, quilts and underlays provide a touch of country comfort.

Phone: (03) 5233 6241
Where: 37 Roseneath Rd, Warncoort
For more info: visit the website

4. Sylvania Park

Goats? They’ve got ‘em.

Mohair goats, to be precise. Shaggy, friendly, soft-to-the-touch goats.

Classic farmstay experiences like this one always include collecting fresh eggs from the chickens, and animal feeding is another important part of your stay at Sylvania Park. The farm tours take place in a restored shearing shed from last century and the kids will love feeding and cuddling baby goats and going on tractor rides – as well as having the freedom to simply run and frolic in the open space.

If you’re looking for bushwalking nearby, the Grampians National park has plenty of great trails to discover.

What You Need To Know

It’s quite a drive from Melbourne – about 9km from Horsham – but, once you’re there, the little ones will enjoy country living and exploring this farm retreat.

Phone: 0419 322 605
Where: 808 East Rd, Drung
For more info: visit the website

5. Donkey Tales Farm Cottages

Love donkeys? Especially miniature donkeys? Your kids will love this.

With names like Moondust, Sunshine, Magic Skye and Manhattan, the cute factor is in overdrive and the conversation during the drive home may be along the lines of asking if they can have a miniature donkey for their own. We’ll leave that one to you…

The location in Maryborough is in the heart of goldfields country, so there are lots of other touristy things to see and do in the region. Even if you simply stay put for a lazy weekend, with sixteen acres of farmland to wander across, there are lots of native animals to see and plenty of relaxation and together time to enjoy.

What You Need To Know

Each cottage has two bedrooms and sleeps up to five people.

Phone: (03) 5461 3782
Where: 30 Leeway Lane, Daisy Hill
For more info: visit the website

6. Fernleigh Farmstay & Bike Park

Yes, there are animals but there is also so much more at Fernleigh. When the weather is warm enough, there’s a swimming pool to splash around in and, if the kids are feeling active, there's plenty of room to kick a footy, have a hit of cricket, or even play volleyball or tennis.

If you’re handy with a fishing rod or a yabbie net, there are dams to explore, plus there is the usual farmstay fun, with eggs to collect, animals to feed and lots of lovely places to walk around and take in the scenery. But what else is special about this place is the bike park. You can bring your own bikes, or hire them here, and the kids will love the tracks they can tear around on. Just the thing to build up an appetite for marshmallows toasted on the open fire later...

It’s all on a sprawling 11 acres near Mansfield – about two and a half hours from Melbourne.

What You Need To Know

A few different accommodation options offer something to suit every family, with Fern Cottage sleeping up to eight, Miners Cottage sleeping up to six and Goughs Cottage perfect for a family of four. Try Group Lodge for a large booking, which has room for 38 people.

Phone: (03) 5777 3531
Where: 735 Pirires-Goughs Bay Rd, Goughs Bay
For more info: visit the website

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