Sep 10, 2012

Quintessential Queensland: The Farmstay (Part 1)

(Daddy recounts)

Our week-long jaunt to the Gold Coast during the September School Holidays began when we bought the Scoot air tickets as it first launched. Along the way, we got linked up with Tourism Queensland and they were extremely helpful in providing such amazing support for our trip.

They recommended a few accommodation ideas to us, and connected us to the various owners of these properties in Queensland. In turn, they gladly put us up at their lodging for the duration of our stay in Queensland.

Our Scoot journey was once again - thank goodness! - pretty uneventful. It was a night flight so the monkies slept through more than three-quarters of the 7.5 hours flight. Compared to other budget airlines, the seats were definitely much more comfortable and legroom was more than adequate. Coming from a person of my size, I guess that is saying a lot.

Our first accommodation of the trip was Lillydale Farmstay, an authentic agri-cattle property nestled in the foothills of South East Queensland that offers fun farm holidays for kids and families alike.

There were plenty of farm animals roaming about alright, but it wasn't the animals that had the wifey and I all mesmerized. Rather, it was the tranquil and picturesque surroundings which truly had us stop in our tracks when we first set foot upon the property.

Lillydale Farmstay is about a 2 hours drive away from Gold Coast, or 90 minutes if you are heading from Brisbane. And being a Farm with a view, rooms are extremely limited - 3 beautiful homestead rooms and 1 Eco-Cabin accommodation. Check out the rooms HERE.

Our host, Bec, had kindly put us up in the Maroon Room which all of us fell in love with immediately.

In addition to ensuite bathroom facilities, the room comes with 1 Queen-sized bed, 1 Single bed and a Sofa bed so there was ample sleeping place for our entire family.

All rooms at Lillydale comes with kitchenette facilities as well. Which is a good thing considering the nearest eating place is a good 40 minute drive away. So do remember to stock up on groceries first if you are heading down to Lillydale! Our kitchenette was located in the entertainment room directly across the hall which came equipped with cooking facilities like an electric frypan, electric hotplate, microwave and toaster and convection oven.

But nothing can beat having a barbeque in the night amid such cool temperatures.

And where a better place to enjoy all our meals than at the outdoor courtyard just outside our room...

Which came complete with a spectacular view!

A pool with a scenic view of Mt Maroon is available as well for those who are looking for the ultimate relaxation. I wasn't feeling that adventurous to be frolicking in water at a 18-degrees temperature, so I passed.

The monkies were getting impatient to kickstart their holiday proper as they had set their sights on the swings and most notably, the ever-fun trampoline outside our room.

One of the highlight of a farm stay at Lillydale is the daily feeding activities that guests can partake in for free. Everyday at 8.30am and 4pm, guests would be able to follow Farmer Doug, a fifth generation farmer in the family, on his animal feeding rounds.

And this, I reckon, was what the monkies looked forward to the most for the entire duration of our stay there.

The kids started off with feeding carrots to the donkeys and bread to the oxen, followed by offering milk to the lambs as well as a newborn calf.

The kids were then sent on a mission to help Farmer Doug collect some eggs from the hens' nests.

The boys couldn't resist nabbing a few chicks in the process. Heh.

The monkies definitely enjoyed interacting with all the farm animals at such close proximity, while I was just soaking in the magnificent landscape from afar.

 Oh, and did I mention the spectacular scenery?

Yes, I could never get sick of the amazing views that the farm had to offer.

There's also a Maze at the tip of the farm compound and naturally, the boys wanted a go at it. Of course we obliged.

That marked a fantastic end to our first day on the farm.

And if the monkies thought that was all to do during our 2-nights stay on the farm, they were utterly wrong. The next day would see us hitching a ride on a tractor as well as a horse, and even cuddling some snakes!

This post is part of our Queensland Holiday series of posts. Do click the label "Queensland" to view all posts related to our vacation. We would like to express our sincere thanks to Tourism Queensland and the respective hospitality operators for their amazing support!

See MORE photos of our Queensland Adventures in our photo album on our Cheekiemonkies' Facebook page here:

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Anonymous said...

We just got back from Gold Coast and here's our review on Lillydale. It's bascially a "Stressful Stay".

Yes, you read it right - Stressful Stay. Of course, it sounds so ironic from what we expected to a stay away from the hassle and bustle of urban life. Shouldn't farmstay be more relaxing than anything else?

Well, we heard many reviews about the Lillydale Farmstay, the good and the bad. So, we decided to give it a try since our main focus was for the kids to experience the close encounter with farm animals. The farm & rooms were indeed nice and clean, the kids had fun feeding the animals. But, having read the reviews, we were naturally very careful and made sure all of us, including the kids kept to the many hidden 'rules & regulations' that came with it. We must have said more 30 times "be careful/do it/clean it/wash it, if you don't want to get scolded (by the owner)" throughout our 1 night stay in Lillydale. 2 rooms, 4 adults and 4 kids, we've been kept busy cleaning/washing/wiping everything throughout the 20 hours stay, just so we won't get reprimanded. We even went to the extend of buying a bottle of liquid detergent so that we can make sure that we keep all the dishes clean! But still, they didn't appreciate it.

Yes, we do respect the owner's pride in keeping their place clean and tidy, but paying more than $400/room/night and was almost being fine an additional A$50 simply didn't impress us much. What happen was, we did our own cooking the previous night and prepared our own breakfast the next morning. As we knw the check out time was strictly at 10am, 2 adults stayed back to wash all the dishes and did one last round of final wiping and cleaning up again. Proud that we kept the room back in it's almost original state, we were confident and commented that the owner wasn't that 'difficult' afterall. So, we kept to the time and checked out the rooms at 10am and took some last group photos at the car pouch area before we left. Just before we set to leave, the owner rushed out and said we should have left their premise at 10am sharp and not loiter around with her not so friendly attitude. And, she started saying that btw, she found some plates that were still a bit wet in the cupboard and reprimanded us for keeping it back. We were disappointed and told her we woke up very early just so we could clean and wash everything for them. We offered to return to the room to clean whatever she's unsatisfied with but was rejected. She said she had spent 30 mins to clean ALL the plates again?! Yes, perhaps the last 3 plates we wiped were not 100% dry, but we explained that it's because we washed everything for them again, the cloth was naturally damped by the time we wiped the last few. But comm'on! We'd wanted to keep the last few on the rack just so to keep them dry but again, we were afraid that they would fault us for not keeping them back. So, what's the right thing to do? She said she had our credit card details and would go ahead to deduct the money! At that point, my husband was angry knowing how hard the 2 mummies worked to keep the place clean and everything in it's original state despite having our 4 kids to handle. He wanted to just let her deduct but i refused to coz we honestly tried our best and if it's still not up to her mark, they should seriously consider get everyone to check in perhaps 2 hours earlier just so they could list down and explain their 1001 rules to follow.

We've seen so many Singaporean families there/planning to go there that's why i thought i should share what we experienced.

Seriously, nobody wants to spend money to invite this kind of stress. Certainly not me.

Cheekiemonkies said...

Hi Anon,

Oh dear, sorry to read that you and your family had a bad experience at Lillydale.

We stayed there twice - the first time we were there at our own expense while the second time was under the invite of Tourism Queensland.

We had a wonderful time during our first time there so when the opportunity came for us to return again, we agreed immediately.

But then again, what worked well for my family might not be necessarily true for you so I am glad that you shared your perspective as well. Hopefully, this will not put you off in experiencing other farms in Australia! :)

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