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Rawnsley Park Station, Flinders Ranges
Ranges Kids can learn about wool classing and shearing on this outback station, which runs 2000 head of Merino and Dohne sheep. Explore the property and neighbouring Flinders Ranges on foot or by mountain bike, four-wheel drive or helicopter. Families can book the 1950s two-bedroom Rawnsley Homestead or luxe Eco Villas with views of Wilpena Pound, while those on a budget can opt for a self-contained unit with a shop, swimming pool and the Woolshed Restaurant nearby.￼
Wooleen Station, Murchison
“The romance of the Australian outback is part of our identity and Wooleen cattle station is all about its conservation,” says host Frances Jones. Kids will love spotting kangaroos, emus and sand goannas and pedalling through the bush on the two mountain-bike trails. A pair of rammed-earth, self-contained two-bedroom guesthouses sit amid the mulga landscape. Families can also set up tents and caravans on the Murchison River.
Brickendon Estate, Longford
“Discovering newly hatched ducks, taking in the perfumes of the old roses, being visited by the descendants of convicts on the trail of their family’s past... our family is so lucky to have called Brickendon home for nearly 200 years,” says owner Louise Archer. Just south of Launceston, the estate’s World Heritage-listed colonial Farm Village – which includes a chapel, blacksmith’s shop and cookhouse – dates back to 1824. Stay in the Farm Cottages or convict-built Historic Cottages.￼
Ratho Farm, Bothwell
You’re in wild trout territory here in Tasmania’s Central Highlands. Even the young or inexperienced can go fly-fishing with a guide in the Clyde River or play a round on the golf course thought to be the Southern Hemisphere’s oldest. Stylish minimalism meets rustic chic in the convict cottages and stables by the river, with camping and homestead rooms available for bigger family gatherings.￼
Stonehurst Cedar Creek Cottages, Wollombi
“Guests can taste the grapes straight from the vine and are welcome to explore the 550 acres of farm, organic vineyards and hillsides,” says Laura Heslop, fifth-generation owner of the eight-hectare Stonehurst Cedar Creek estate in the Hunter Valley. Each self-contained convict-brick, timber-slab or sandstone cottage has a wood fire and spa bath and the rate includes a hamper with breakfast supplies. Half an hour up the road, the interactive Hunter Valley Zoo will delight the kids with keeper talks and the Meerkat Encounter.
Kings Creek Station
Families on the big drive around Australia can discover Kings Canyon, in Watarrka National Park, using this nearby camel and cattle station as their base. Sleep under the stars at the Old Drovers’ Camp or stay in the canvas Safari Cabins with solid floors, share bathrooms and a self-catering kitchen (the rate includes a bushman’s breakfast). At the nightly camp fire, kids can toast damper on a stick. Quad-bike safaris and heli rides are also available.
Mango Hill Farm, Sunshine Coast
The Glass House Mountains are the backdrop to this farm in Peachester, where kitchen gardens and fruit trees offer their harvest to guests and children can interact with the horses, goats, sheep and chooks. Bed down in a 100-year-old Queenslander, a two-bedroom workers’ cottage or a former mango packing shed offering accommodation for six people, a kitchen and a barbecue area.
Myella Farm Stay, Baralaba
Ride a horse, crack a stockwhip or toast a great day at the sunset lookout on this 1052-hectare cattle station, 140 kilometres inland from Rockhampton. Stay in the basic rooms (some with ensuites) or camp out. And be sure to gather in the outdoor dining hut for a homemade meal using fresh farm produce.