Is the typical night out at a medium to medium-high price airBnB suite soon beginning to feel monotonous and routine for you and your partner? Are you looking to find a good weekend night out that’s on a budget and like to get the most bang out of your buck for what you pay for?
Enter Farm Stays and Bush Resorts!
Farm stays and bush resorts are vacation accommodations where people can come and experience a more down-to-earth, organic retreat.
If you’re also looking to find adventure on a cheap budget try Farm Stays or Bush Resorts. Read on to know more about these places and start your cheap vacation!
What Do You Do at a Farm Stay/Bush Resort?
Put simply, treat farm stays and bush resorts like you would any other vacation spot. The main difference here is the other activities associated with the location where you booked your stay. You can relax, unwind, take in the scenery, join your host for planned outings, or even decline the offer should you decide otherwise. However, you should set your expectations on the premise that it is recommended to participate in outdoorsy activities. Typically, most farm stays and bush resorts will have a wide variety of affairs to choose from;
- driving farm vehicles,
- taking tours of the entire property,
- gathering chicken eggs,
- feeding farm animals and even
- sheep shearing to name a few examples
More outgoing vacationers should look into bush resorts, as this variety of living space is usually situated outside of conventional farmland and has more access to larger, even more scenic and natural places like national parks, nature reserves, and state conservation areas.
Just remember to make it clear what your intentions with your host are when engaging in these activities; there are some “farm stay” work-exchange engagements where people are expected to perform some of these activities for room and board.
What’s the Difference Between a Farm Stay and a Bush Resort?
The main difference between a farm stay and a bush resort is the location. Farm stays typically refer to any accommodation on a working farm, while bush resorts are associated with living arrangements in more natural, untouched surroundings. As mentioned above, bush resorts have an edge over farm stays when it comes to scenery. You technically have more freedom to explore with bush resorts as they are situated in large, national park-style reserve areas granting you access to miles of discoverable wilderness. In such cases, it is recommended to ask your host about any safety precautions you may need to follow and any guidelines on how far you can wander. Some bush resorts will require you to use tents when staying overnight, while others have actual brick-and-mortar accommodations.
Take note that some park reserves require you to pay a permit fee to vacation in the area, so be sure to clear up all the details with your host, lest you risk being banned from the site by authorities in addition to being fined. Alternatively, you can do a Google search on privately-owned bush resorts to avoid any hassles with landowners.
Farm stays are more clear-cut with their accommodations. While not as potentially massive in size as bush resorts, farm stays offer you a down-home feel with all the amenities and small comforts that being in a rural country setting could offer. Usually, the farm stay is situated in the vicinity of, or near, the actual farm so you’re not quite sleeping next to the pig pen. Some farm stays also offer camping sites, instead of cabins or cottages, for the more intrepid weekender so inquire if you’re into that. In addition, most vacationers who book farm stays typically are looking for tours of the farm and recreational activity outside of the usual bed-and-breakfast, so keep this in mind when you book; some farm stays are strictly room and board. When in doubt, refer to your host.
Do I Need to Make Any Special Preparations for Farm Stay or Bush Resorts?
No. Think of it like a camping trip. Prepare as you normally would for any extended holiday spent outside your home. Farm stays and bush resorts have the luxury of having a host accommodate your itinerary and find activities suited to your taste. For example, weekend couples may be treated to scenic views and intimate partner bonding activities, while young families can expect much of their experience focused on educational hands-on engagements for the kids. As stated above, host-directed activities differentiate farm stays and bush resorts from your typical, run-of-the-mill camping trips. While food and drink should be no issue, you should also inquire on how these amenities will be served during your stay as some retreats may have set meals (depending on how big your party is), and may charge extra for add-ons.
While this point may seem redundant, always keep in mind when at these retreats to conduct yourself accordingly and be mindful of the company you’re with. Usually the atmosphere in these places is casual and unpretentious, but don’t take this as an open invitation to wear flip-flops everywhere and act as obnoxious and unchained as you would in your own living room. Always keep in mind that the host-guest relationship is paramount; remember that you are a guest and are expected to follow rules respectfully, particularly during any hands-on activities or tours.
Also, do take note that some of these resorts are located in areas where services such as water and electricity are rationed so be prepared to slightly modify your grooming and personal hygiene schedules, if necessary. Wifi may or may not be included, so ask your host about this as well.
How Expensive is It to Book at a Farm Stay or Bush Resort?
It costs about the same amount of money you would spend on a medium-high tier airBnB reservation, or a 3 or 4 star hotel on average. While price estimates vary from location to location, you can expect to pay just about as much as you would at a boutique hotel. Just like hotels however, farm stays and bush resorts price ranges’ are subject to facilities and other services present at the site. Before booking, it is advisable to do a little research and ask questions about the entire experience such as,
- Is food and drink included?
- Does the place have adequate parking?
- Will we need to take another vehicle to the site after we park?
- What sort of activity packages does my stay come with?
- What time do these tours/activities usually start?
- Will these activities happen on-site or a different location?
- Are these activities supervised?
- Can we stay in the area without participating in any activities?
This is not an exhaustive list and simply a guide to ask questions relevant to your trip expectations. More importantly, the price range may vary depending on how your host answers these questions. To err on the safe side, take note of other user reviews regarding the amenities in question and then weigh your options.
While some of these amenities may seem like standard fare in most resorts and vacationing spots today, it is important to note that most of these farm stays and bush resorts are usually set up secondary to the site; think of it as an additional investment the landowners created.
Are There Any Farm Stays and Bush Resorts Worth Mentioning?
For all practical purposes, this article will cover select farm stays and bush resorts in Australia. Here are our recommended noteworthy Farm stays and bush resorts in Australia:
Wilpena Road, via Hawker Flinders Ranges SA 5434
This bush resort presents itself as a more luxurious, “glamping”-style, bush retreat. Located in the Flinders Ranges National Park area of South Australia, Arkaba boasts a 60,000-acre private location reserved for a maximum of ten guests.
You can expect:
- scenic evening dinners,
- a rich Aboriginal history, delivered and presented by experienced tour guides, and
- a tour of the national park via 4WD vehicles
A bush resort that is VERY pricey, but well-worth the investment.
Tara’s Richmond Farmstay
31 Ogilvie Lane, 7025 Richmond, Australia
This farm stay, located a 3-minute drive away from Richmond town center, features a 24-hour reception, a view of the nearby Coal River and free wifi. The apartments are pet-friendly and have private patios.
You can expect:
- a free continental breakfast (with mostly freshly-made ingredients)
- an interactive farm with lambs, sheep, ponies and ducks
- a fully equipped kitchen in their apartment
Homey, inviting and highly rated.
3241 Hume Highway, Mount Adrah, 2729 Tumblong, Australia
Another humble farm stay, this particular resort prides itself on being a top-rated location in the Tumblong area. User reviews on booking.com like the comfy beds, delicious coffee and the private balcony with a view.
You can expect:
- free private parking
- a farm tour with kangaroos and llamas
- a very scenic, mountain view
Top-rated in its location, scenic and great for couples.
Urandangi Hotel Bush Resort
Hutton Street, Urandangi, Queensland 4828, Australia
A bush resort located in a small community with a down-home feel. The owner, Pam, is a very welcoming and accommodating host who conducts tours about the local area and takes care of the farm’s kangaroos and joeys.
You can expect:
- unpretentious, simple but clean amenities
- a “contiki” tour of the local community
- dining with the local bush animals
Unpretentious, friendly and simple accommodations.
Spicers Hidden Vale
617 Grandchester Mt. Mort Road, Grandchester, Ipswich, Queensland 4340, Australia
A 4-star hotel luxury farm stay that offers much in the way of activities, Spicers is a highly-rated experience that one needs to try out. Whether you’re staying as a family or a couple, there is no shortage on the list of things to do to relax and unwind.
You can expect:
- mountain bike tours
- “Homage” restaurant that uses locally-produced ingredients
- 12,000 acres of safari with a koala reserve
When you just need to get away from it all, splurge here.
What is Agritourism?
It would be remiss of me not to include the importance that farm stays and bush resorts have in terms of supporting the individuals who host such services. This sort of niche is classified as “agritourism”, simply defined as any sort of activity that brings about people to a farm. While this sort of vacationing is a common tourism magnet in many countries (such as Australia and the Philippines), Europe has only noticed the trend growing in their backyard in the 1980’s. With the advances in agricultural technology, an expectation to produce consistently every year, and the general risk of catastrophic weather patterns, most conventional farmers today need some form of additional income to supplement their livelihood. So as you enjoy your weekend while (hopefully) helping the farm hands till the land, you can also take pride in knowing that you have contributed to making their (and their community’s) lives a little bit better.
Did I Have Fun on Our Farm Stay or Bush Resort Trip?
Booking a stay at these places provides a more wholesome feeling vacation experience. It’s nice to unwind and let loose after long, hard days at the office, but sometimes it also helps to have someone organize your days off so you don’t waste precious time on the weekend on your phone trying to figure out what to do for fun. I’m adventurous, but also a self-proclaimed mama’s boy, so I see the virtue in having someone hold your hand as you try out new things; everything can be enjoyed… so long as you aren’t completely traumatized from your first experience.
So, do yourself a favor and try new things out. Book a farm stay next weekend and see exactly what it is you’re missing out on.