Taste Farm Life in Regional Queensland: Your agritourism adventure awaits!
Sandy beaches, tropical waves, mocktails by the pool – it all sounds divine but what else could you do for your next family break? With international travel on hold for a good while longer, now is the time to think outside the box for your next family holiday. If the hustle and bustle of everyday life is getting you down, it’s time to escape – to the country! Treat your family to an agritourism adventure when you taste farm life in regional Queensland at these hidden gems.
Australia has an abundance of fabulous family holiday destinations, and Queensland has the very best of them. Queensland provides its locals and visitors the best of both worlds with holiday destinations and day trip offerings to suit everyone’s tastes: you can still have your sandy beaches and tropical waves (our coastal towns make great holiday bases!) and explore regional Queensland’s best farming and food experiences. Agritourism is the way to go!
At Families Magazine we love to travel and share our favourite holiday experiences with you, so to inspire you to ‘get off the beaten track’ we’ve found the best farm experiences, animal interactions, food and wine sampling, and pick-your-own fruit and veggie venues all within convenient day trip distance of Queensland’s regional towns.
Follow the links in the snippets below to find full reviews of each day trip – with handy driving maps! – and taste farm life on your next vacation!
Discover the Bundaberg region
Getting a taste of farm life in the Bundaberg region is easy as there are so many options to consider. We loved our trips to Bundaberg recently where we hung out with goats, lambs, horses, chooks and more. We got to experience all the best things that the local area had to offer and actually taste the local delights too!
If you are in the Bundaberg region you simply must stop in at The Bundaberg Brewed Drink Barrel. Right in town, you can take the True Brew tour to learn about the history of Australia’s favourite ginger beer. We also did the taste testing of all their great flavours (made using local produce)! Yum!
If that inspires you to go out and get your own fresh produce, you will want to head on over to Tinaberries to pick your own strawberries – it is just a 12-minute drive away from The Barrel… and you can fill your boots with fresh, juicy strawberries!
If you are looking for a day trip that involves animals, then you won’t want to miss Splitters Farm. We loved, loved, loved our visit last year. Splitters Farm is a caravan park & farm stay and is just a 10-minute drive north of Bundaberg’s city centre. It is a working cattle farm surrounded by lush tropical bushland and over 3kms of river frontage. The farm is open 7days to day trippers – we did their self-guided farm tour.
Before you leave Bundaberg, make sure you stop by Alloway Farm Market just 15 minutes out of Bundy to pick up the best locally grown figs you have ever tasted!
Sample the best of regional Cairns
There is so much more to the Atherton and Port Douglas region than breathtaking beaches, world famous reefs and heritage listed rainforest. Take time to explore some of the hidden gems that this region has to offer.
A trip to Jaques Coffee plantation just outside Mareeba, is the chance to learn about how coffee is grown by doing a plantation tour. Go inside the factory and roastery and listen to behind-the-scenes commentary before sampling some of the best coffee around.
After your coffee, head to Gallo Dairyland just outside Atherton to see an operational dairy farm in action. Kids will love visiting the baby animals while parents will enjoy lunch with a view, finished with a delicious cheese platter.
On selected days of during the week, be sure to visit Rainforest Bounty where you can see native fruits being grown and turned into gourmet produce. Taste Cape York Lilly Pilly Chutney, Boonjie Tamarind Vinegar and Ooray Plum Spicy Sauce, an entirely new category of food product.
Our special mention is Kinrara Expeditions, who do 5-day tours from Cairns to the timeless volcanic lands south of the Tablelands. Experience life off the grid on a unique cattle station as you have never known it before and explore ancient lands as you canoe, hike and reconnect with nature.
Taste farm life in the Toowoomba region
Toowoomba is an easy drive from Brisbane and a great base from which to explore the Southern and Darling Downs. Perched on a plateau of The Great Dividing Range, the incredible panoramic views are incredible, inspiring you to explore the gems hidden in its rural landscape.
J2J Pastoral in Goomburra and Gleneden Family Farm in Maryville are both working farms an hour’s drive south of Toowoomba. Although practically neighbours, each offers visitors a different experience, and you can easily experience both in the same day. At J2J Pastoral, kids can roll up their sleeves to help the farmer feed his cattle, collect eggs, and bottle feed the calves, just like real farmers do. Up the road at Gleneden, you can see traditional farming displays in action, including bullock driving, blacksmithing, whip making and cracking, and maybe even butter churning or sheep shearing depending on what’s on the farmers to-do list for the day.
Heading north for your next day trip, horse lovers are in for a treat! You can “Cowboy Up” for a trail ride through a working cattle property, seated in a comfortable western saddle atop a good-natured – and possibly even movie famous – Quarter Horse.
If just one horsey encounter isn’t enough, your next day trip will take you on a farm tour at Hoofprints of Change. Here, the stock horses will be your teachers, helping you reconnect away from the busyness of life. You will come away refreshed, and maybe with a basket of fresh farm produce!
At Queensland Dairy & Heritage Museum, 2.5 hours north of Toowoomba, your family can learn all about rural life as an early settler. With displays of how farming was in the past, children can take a step back in time to see how farming has changed over the generations and might even be lucky enough to help make some butter by hand with one of the volunteers.
Exploring Mackay and the Whitsundays
The Mackay region will have you offshore exploring stunning islands one minute, then hitting the open road through vibrant green sugar cane fields the next.
To start your day, head to the Greater Whitsunday Farmers’ Market for breakfast by the water. Held every Wednesday morning from 6:30am, the market showcases local, fresh produce giving you the opportunity to buy direct from farmers in the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday Region.
From there, drive to Ballantyne’s Strawberry Farm to pick the most delicious strawberries, and blueberries too, depending on the time of year you visit.
Back on the road, cruise through the Mackay hinterland to Freckle Farm, home to the happiest farm animals in the region. This is the perfect spot to stop for a picnic lunch plus a tour of the working farm. Bookings are essential.
To round out the day, a visit to the infamous Sarina Sugar Shed is a must! Learn how sugar is made in the miniature working sugar mill and distillery topped off with the chance to taste something sweet.
Agricultural adventures in the Townsville region
From the coast to the outback; after dipping your toes in the waves at The Strand, head 2.5 hours inland for a totally different holiday experience.
Heading into the “wild” west – just over an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Townsville – will see you at Leahton Park, Australia’s “Texas in the Outback”. Here, you can take a horse-drawn wagon tour across the plains to see Texas Longhorn Cattle with horns spanning up to 3 metres and even buffalo and bison! Your tour includes cowboy coffee or billy tea brewed on an open campfire, but that’s not all that this wonderful venue has to offer – you will just have to see it for yourselves!
Life on a cattle station can be challenging and exciting, and students or tour groups can get a taste of real farm life with a short stay at Wambiana Station. The experience is authentic, as your hosts are the 4th generation of their family to live and work on the property. From divining for water to pregnancy-testing cattle, there are opportunities to explore the many facets of life on a cattle station in a very “hands-on way.”
If you’re heading north from Townsville, Frosty Mango is a must-visit waypoint. It’s the perfect place to refresh with fresh homemade ice creams, pancakes, coffees and sandwiches in a lovely tropical fruit orchard setting. While you are there, don’t forget to grab your photo with the big Mango Man before heading on your way with your delicious and exotic fresh fruity produce.
Ready to explore?
Before you pack the kids in the car, you’ll want to read the full version of these articles. There are more suggested stops for places to experience and taste farm life, and driving maps detailing distances and travel times so that you can plan your journey. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of each snippet above to enjoy your next adventure holiday!