A Memorable Weekend on an Australian Farm in the Granite Belt Region

When was the last time you gave a milk bottle to a baby wallaby? Walked around with piglets? Cuddled a tiny kitten? Played with a lamb? Or seen baby turkeys?

I don’t even know where to start to explain why this weekend on a farm was memorable. Honestly, can you choose which one is the cutest? Because I cannot!

Australia Farm Baby Wallaby
Australia Farm Lamb

Australia Farm Kitten
Australia Farm Piglets

My in-laws were visiting us in Brisbane from Paris. For their fourth trip to Australia, it was becoming harder to find a weekend trip to experience something new around Brisbane! That’s how we decided to go down to Girraween National Park for the weekend: although it’s still in Queensland, it does not feel like it. It was a perfect choice that met all our expectations.

If you plan to spend time at this Australian farm, you may be interested in reading this article about my weekend itinerary in the Granite Belt region and Girraween National Park.

 

We were lucky to find accommodation in an extraordinary farm that made the whole weekend in Girraween even more amazing.

Liz and John receive visitors on their 1,500 acres farm located on the highest point near Stanthorpe (more than 1,000m in altitude). The colder and less humid climate was just perfect for our French visitors.

If, like us, it’s already dark and calm when you arrive for your first night, you’ll have fun surprises the next day.

As you wake up in the morning, you may wonder if you’re still dreaming when you look out the window.

A sheep is walking around followed by a lamb… and piglets! Further away, Liz is followed by a dog, but of course by a lamb and a kangaroo too, in a field where granite boulders seem to have randomly landed. Suddenly, a deep sound brings you back to reality. Kind of. The biggest sheep you’ll ever see is standing in front of your door, reminding you loudly it wants some breakfast too.

As you can imagine, the experience at this farm goes far beyond talking about zucchinis production or sheep and cow herds. Liz and John have a lot more to offer with their entire family that will welcome you and follows you around during your stay:

  • Bella, the funniest and biggest sheep you’ll ever interact with, will make sure you know it’s breakfast time by waiting in front of your door, hoping you’ll share.
  • Effie, the dog who never gets tired of playing, will make sure you always have company on the property – and even further. If they’re not working, be ready to throw sticks to the sheep-dogs. A fulfilling activity as you feel empowered with your new ability to create happiness.
  • Molly, the grown-up kangaroo who never left, will sit next to you as you enjoy the end of the day around the fire pit. Liz and John are wildlife carers. They give love and help to orphan animals until they’re old enough to live by themselves. But they’re probably too good with them: some like Molly just stick around and keep coming back!

 

Australia Farm Big Sheep Bella
Australia Farm Kangaroo Molly

Liz will look after everything so you feel comfortable, you have all you need and an opportunity to encounter all her protegees if you wish. Make sure you don’t fill up your days too much to be back at the farm before sunset. That’s when you’ll have the best chances to see all this surprising family together. Dogs don’t mind the cats. Cats don’t mind the birds. The lamb acts like a puppy. The piglets are scared of you, but not of the dogs. Honestly, it defies common sense and looks unreal!

If you’re as lucky as we are, many babies will be around to create the cutest memories you can ever have on a farm!

 

The accommodation was great for four people. We even could get two double beds. Don’t expect anything fancy – but just what you need for a lovely weekend!

 

We found Liz and John’s farm on Airbnb for approximately $100/night (incl. fees – if you book in advance) for an independent small house. We had an equipped kitchen so we could cook our own meals. The small house can sleep up to five people. Use this link to register on Airbnb and save $25 on your first booking!

 

Where is this special farm?

 

Liz and John are a few minutes away from Applethorpe, near Stanthorpe, in the Granite Belt region. It took us around three hours to drive down there from Brisbane.

 

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I am a part-time traveler: I combine a full-time job with a passion for traveling. I love to share my trips and tips to inspire others to explore what’s around them. Before moving to Australia, I lived in France, England and Turkey. I’ve finally found my balance in Brisbane.

40 thoughts on “A Memorable Weekend on an Australian Farm in the Granite Belt Region

    1. It’s so tempting to adopt some of them, isn’t it? But most are a lot happier there than anywhere else. Although I fell in love with this kitten, I know it wouldn’t have a fun life in our city flat with only one visitor a day when we’re traveling. It’s a big commitment too!

  1. I can’t get over how soft Bella looks! Would you believe that I’ve never been to the zoo as an adult before? I didn’t realize that you were allowed to feed the animals which makes this even more awesome. I feel like the experience would be so much more fun in Brisbane, with those cute wallabies around!

    1. Soft? Hmmm… I’m not sure! She was a bit dirty ahah! The sheep were due for shearing but it had been postponed a few times because of the weather.

      This wasn’t a zoo. I don’t go to the zoo anymore as an adult since I’ve been made aware that keeping animals in captivity is bad for them. I prefer visiting sanctuaries or safaris (but that’s a $$ challenge lol).
      This one is a baby wallaby who, unfortunately, lost its mother and wouldn’t have survived by itself. So it has been rescued and given to this farm to take care of until it’s grown up and ready for the wild!

      1. I didn’t mean to say zoo, I meant I’ve never visited a farm as an adult before! My family comes from Haiti so they would take me to the countryside when I was younger but I never got the full experience of getting to care for the animals. Oh no, that’s so sad to hear about the baby wallaby! I think it’s amazing that they were kind enough to take in and care for rescue animals.

  2. OMG is that a pic of you holdinga wallaby joey?!?!?!? You’re living the life I’ve always wanted to live. I’m so jealous you had this experience.

  3. I want to visit Australia and its amazing zoos!! I love to capture animals in my camera and always dream of bottle feeding tiger cubs and now kangaroo also. haha. Just loved the way you have shown all this.

    1. Thank you for your nice comment. To be honest, I’m not a fan of zoos and animals kept in captivity for entertaining purposes. Captivity for animals – especially big animals like tigers – is heartbreaking as it’s very bad for them. I’d rather visit places where they rescue and help animals that aren’t fit to be in the wild. That’s why I’d be super careful about a tiger cub feeding experience. Please do research before to ensure it’s not a place where they exploit the animals just to please visitors and make profit… ;)

      1. Honestly speaking, even I am not in favour of keeping animals in cages, but there are other zoos also where animals can move freely. Moreover, I would rather love to do the safari in national parks/sanctuaries instead of zoos. But I think there are zoos in Thailand and in other destinations where you can feed the cubs of tigers and do other entertainments. So, I thought it might be an amazing experience for tourists. By the way, I like your thoughts.

        1. Going on a safari to observe wildlife in their natural habitat is fantastic and I can only recommend this experience. However, when I talk about animal in captivity, I include zoos (not only animals in cages). Animals in zoos cannot move freely and for most of them the space they have is a lot smaller than what they need. I’m not saying all zoos are bad, some do a great work to support conservation of endangered species. But I think they are rare and many of them do a good marketing to attract visitors and don’t care so much about the animals.

          As you said you liked my thoughts, I take it as an opportunity to make you think a little bit more about all this. I invite you to have a look at this report about the Tiger Entertainment Industry in Thailand from the World Animal Protection: https://www.worldanimalprotection.org/sites/default/files/int_files/tiger_selfies_exposed_a_portrait_of_thailands_tiger_entertainment_industry.pdf
          If it’s a bit too long, jump to the chart on page 8 that shows the rating of the conditions in which the tigers are kept. It’s a quick way to see that animal welfare isn’t a priority there, although they may provide an amazing experience for tourists who aren’t aware of what’s behind the scenes.

          And this is another interesting read from a tourist who visited one of these places; I really like her thoughts at the end (the last two paragraphs): https://www.huffingtonpost.com/preethi-chandrasekhar/my-experience-at-the-tige_b_10806588.html

          I was 100% okay with feeding a baby wallabie who, unfortunately, lost its mother and wouldn’t survive without human’s help. This little one will be released and free to go when ready. When I was offered to do it (at no cost), I did ask if it would bother the animal to be interrupted and moved (it clearly didn’t care at all ahah). But to be honest, I’d feel weird feeding a tiger in a place that is making business out of it and I would ask many questions before joining the activity, the first one being: what happened to its mother and why does it need us to feed?
          Of course, getting close to these beautiful and cute animals is fantastic. But if they suffer from it, I don’t think it is fantastic anymore. Some people choose to ignore that part, but I don’t think they are animal lovers. Others, once they realise the risks for the animals (because I’m also aware that many people have no idea of what’s going on in this industry – which was my case when I was younger and that’s why I like to raise awareness on these topics), do research before joining an activity that involves animals ;)

          1. Oh my god! Lots of stuff to read. But read it completely. Truly speaking, I think I was living in confusion and miss-guidance. Even in Kerala, India, elephants are chained and are used by mahout for business purpose.
            The girl’s experience and photographs did actually shock me. Thai zoo entertainment is nothing but a cruelty to animals especially tigers. Even I think they were drugged for entertainment purpose. According to the stats not even a single tiger is healthy. We tourists should raise voice against such things on a regular basis. From today, no to zoo. Thanks for sharing these posts with me.

    1. I know what you mean… I went crazy! ;)
      We were super lucky because I found the place only a couple of days before, and it felt like a miracle that it was still available :)

    1. Thank you for your comment, Sarmistha. I’d definitely never forget that I could feed this little one. I never expected I’d ever get this opportunity!

      If you love animals, please make some research before making your tiger cub dream comes true. I personally choose to only visit and give my money to places that rescue or help animals. There are places that exploit animals for entertaining visitors and making profits without considering the well being and the needs of the animals. That’s even more true for big animals kept in captivity, including tigers. So research is important to make the “right” decisions for the animals ;)

  4. I grew up on a farm in Iowa and have such happy memories of all of our animals too. While we didn’t have a cute kangaroo like Molly, we did have wolly sheep like Bella. We also had horses, a big lazy dog named Barney, lot of cats, and a couple of horses. Such a great life! x

    1. Oh! That must have been so fun to grow up on a farm! I live in an apartment most of my life. I’m not complaining about it, it wasn’t bad but… I had no farm experience like that and now as an adult, I go super crazy when I see animals – even sheep or pigs who aren’t that exciting at all from farmers’ points of view lol

  5. Oh, this looks like such a peaceful place. I can imagine what a wonderful time you had. I would love to hold a little kangaroo in my arms.:-)

    1. I had never imagined holding a baby wallaby in my arms before. I don’t have a lot of experience holding babies at all, so I felt a bit stressed at the start. But then I saw it was comfortable and kept drinking (that’s the only thing it was interested in, to be honest lol), so I relaxed and enjoyed the experience!

    1. It’s true that the animals all had their personalities and they could make good characters in a story book! I’m sure they have great adventures out there. Like the time when this person visited and……… OMG, do we have a concept here? ;)

  6. h my goodness, that was so much of love and adorable images. were you feeding baby kangaroo? You looked so calm and happy. Wonderful experience when we visit such farms more so when kids are along with us.

    1. Yes, it’s me feeding the baby wallaby. I wasn’t a bit tense at the beginning (I’m not a natural with babies in general). But as it didn’t care at all and was happily drinking, I could relax and enjoy :D

    1. Freya, if you ever come to Australia, just head out of the cities. You should quickly spot wild kangaroos. There are many of them around! (more than human inhabitants ;)

  7. I grew up on a farm and really miss it. You feel so much more connected when you wake up and walk outside to an amazing collection of animals in a beautiful landscape as opposed to noise and nonstop hustle of the city. Great post.

    1. I’m sure living on a farm is not always easy but it does sound better than a crazy life in the city! It makes more sense to be close to nature and dealing with it.

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