Farm stays in Australia

How to find agriturism opportunities—the chance to stay on a working farm—in Australia

The first time I ever saw the Southern Cross, I was in the middle of Mt. Bundy Station, a vast cattle station outside Adelaide River in Australia's Northern Territories ( I was sitting on the terrace of a ranching family's private home, sipping a cold beer from my host's fridge and chatting with him about life in the Outback.

My bedroom (one of only two in the main house B&B—there were more in the outbuildings) was as cozy and homey as a family guest room. The next morning, after an ample and delicious breakfast, I drove past the farm's horses—grazing between 15-foot termite mounds—until the red dirt road became asphalt again, turned back onto the arrow-straight Stuart Highway through the Outback, and headed off to explore Oz.

That farm stay was about the best introduction to Australia a man could wish for.

How to find Australian farm stays

Some local tourist offices provide lists of local farm stays.

Few are listed in genral guidebooks—but you can sometimes find guides available in local bookshops.

You can always just look forsigns on country roads, pointing down rutted dirt tracks toward a farmhouse set among the vineyards.

If you want to find and book a few before you leave, here are the best online resources for finding farm stays all across Australia. Not all sites are available in English, but the pertinent details are usually pretty easy to figure out:

Farm stay resources in Australia

Australia Tourism Commission ( - At Australia's official tourism Web site, in the Accommodation search section, you can specify "Farm Stays." The site lists around 300 all across Australia.

Agritourism Australia ( - Listings of Aussie farm stays in Queensland, plus some in Victoria and Western Australia.

Australian Farm Stay ( - Three dozen primo farmstays across Oz.

Bed & Breakfast Farmstay and Accommodation Australia ( - Covers standard B&Bs, but also nearly 40 farmstays scattered across Australia.

Bed & Breakfast and Farmstay Association of NSW and ACT ( - More than 120 farm B&Bs and 85 apartments, cottages, and houses on farms across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Bed & Breakfast and Farmstay Queensland ( - Dozens of B&Bs and farm stay operators in the Queensland region.

Bed & Breakfast and Farmstay of Far North Queensland ( - About 50 farmstays and rural B&Bs the tropical northern reaches of Queensland.

General/global resources

Agrisport ( - It's very much a homemade site, and far from the best organized around, but it's loaded with links once you drill down. These are not only to specific guest farms and dude ranches, but to other outdoors and agritourism links as well, all grouped by country or state. One annoying factor: you have to open a site in a new window to see what its actual url is (otherwise every page is masked as "").

Agritourism World ( - Ladies and gentlemen, behold: a list of thousands of farm stays around the world... in alphabetical order by name. Not even sure why I bother including this sits, since the results are nearly random—a farm B&B in rural Pennsylvania wedged between one in Italy and another in Belize. How useful is that? Still, if you just want to roll the virtual dice when it comes to location, you'll find plenty of agriturismi here.

Earthfoot ( - Under "Homestays" you'll find one for Australia.

Organic Places to Stay ( - OK, nearly two-thirds of the listings here are lodgings that happen to offer organic food. The other third, however, are B&Bs, rental cottages, or homestays on working organic farms. There are listings all over the world, though currently just one in Oz.

Become a farmhand; sleep for free - If you really want to get your hands dirty, sign up to become a temporary farmhand through one of two volunteer organizations: WWOOF ( and Helpx (


What is a farm stay?

The concept behind agritourism (or rural tourism, or farm stays, or guest ranches, or farmhouse B&Bs, or whatever you want to call it) is simple: you spend the night as a guest on a working farm. From there, though, the concept flies off in many directions.

Sometimes you just hole up for the night in a B&B converted from a farmhouse.

Sometimes you actually stick around to do volunteer work for a few days (a week, two months, a year), as with the worldwide WWOOF network.

Sometimes, just renting a cottage in a rural area where sheep wander past your window is enough to count.

Ideally, the property's owners live on-site and are farmers who derive the bulk of their income from agriculture, using this newfangled form of tourism merely to help make ends meet.

In some countries, the practice of agritourism is highly regulated; in others, it’s a wild west of opportunities, and you have to pick carefully to avoid spending the night in a barn atop a pile of hay (unless that's what you want—I've done it in Europe, and it's great).

How much does a farm stay cost?

Double rooms at a working farm in Australia run anywhere from $10 (in bunk-type accommodations) to $200, but are usually around $40 to $80.

What is a farm stay like?

I've stayed at loads of agriturisms: vineyards and dairy farms, barns amid olive groves and frescoed villas next to horse stables.

Each stay has offered me a different experience of farm life for a fraction the cost of a hotel.

Many agriturisms require a two- or three-night minimum stay (for some, a week).

Roughly half accept credit cards.

Sometimes you get four-star luxury and satellite TV. Sometimes you’re a straw's-width from sleeping in a stall.

Most, though, are just what you'd expect from a farmhouse B&B: simple comforts, solid country furnishings, and rural tranquility—barnyard noises excepted.

The hosts tend to be a sight friendlier than your average hotel desk clerk. Some invite guests to dine with them, family-style, in the farmhouse.

Breakfast is usually awesome: farm-fresh and farmer-hearty.

Tours Under $995 G Adventures

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in April 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.