My family live in an amazing place. For starters it is in the greatest country in the world, in a fabulous suburb in a capital city and within 100m of the ocean. The climate is great and there is much to be thankful for.
My kids are growing up with an outdoor lifestyle but still in a built up suburb with everything they need close by. They see animals but only dogs and cats and even then on a lead haha. They have no real concept of where their meals come from that involves any more challenge than finding a spot in the underground carpark. The meat, bread and sometimes the fruit are delivered in plastic wrappers.
These school holidays we broke the beach holiday pattern with a trip west to the Granite Belt of Queensland to give the whole family a reality check about the breadth of life in Australia. I know we didn’t get that adventurous or go that far, but it was far enough to get the result we wanted … and it worked!
We packed light with just a small suitcase per person and loaded that and a bag of snacks, a camera and some board games into the back of our car and hit the road. We played the classic car games that I remember from my childhood like spot the windmill, counting car makes and colours and eye-spy.
First stop was about 2.5 hours away to an older country resort which offered a family deal including all meals and accommodation. Cherrabah was in its hey-day in the 80’s I guess and had a championship golf course, horse riding school, rodeo facilities and even its own airstrip for business visitors. These days its a shadow of its former self and obviously dated but its still popular for local weddings and functions, school groups and the like. We were literally the only family on-site for the first day and then 1 more joined us. We got to know the small staff and essentially had a private cook.
The highlights here were going on trail rides which weren’t super cheap but the kids absolutely loved them (12,10,4 years) and also seeing the other farm animals like goats, cattle, sheep, ducks etc … we had some frank discussions about their treatment and how they lived. We played tennis, putt putt and pool. The place wasn’t 4 star and apart from the super-hard beds, we really enjoyed the freedom and outdoors.
The next stop was to Queen Mary Falls outside Killarney which is only about 30 mins further down the road. The falls themselves are great and only a short walk but my family really enjoyed feeding the parrots that hang around the small cafe too.
We then drove to Stanthorpe, grabbed some more supplies in town and ventured 10 mins down the highway to Ballandeen which is a wine growing centre. We hired a farmhouse that slept 12 via the Stays website and met another family of friends there.
This place was awesome … an old traditional farmhouse but big open areas to mingle and a great fireplace. It was opposite a vineyard and only 200m to the local tavern for some meals each night.
We hit the national park for a great walk the next morning and then onto some wine tasting at some of the local vineyards in the afternoon. The kids were ho-hum at first about these activities but really enjoyed the walk and the scenery as well as learning about the farming (of grapes) etc. They enjoyed roasting marshmallows, kicking the footy in the huge yard and playing games with their friends.
On the way home we chatted about all sorts of things and we all discussed how living here would be very different to in our city suburb. The kids (and adults) experienced so many new things and learnt heaps. I would really encourage any city slickers to plan some sort of trip to the country to broaden your families experiences and conversations on a holiday in the near future.
You can plan your own itinerary or just visit 1 farm stay which can be quite in-expensive if you search around.