Follow the pack these school holidays! We’re not talking your typical zoo – get up close and personal with new four-legged, two-legged and no-legged friends when you try one of these immersive animal experiences.

Cedar Glen Farmstay
Lamington National Park’s Cedar Glen Farmstay feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life – despite being just an hour-and-a-bit’s drive inland from the Gold Coast. Steeped in history and family tradition, the cattle property has been in action for over 100 years. While it certainly looks different nowadays – we don’t think sunset 4WD tours were on the agenda back in 1900 – you can still participate in age-old farm activities like whip cracking, horse riding and boomerang throwing.

Happy Pig Farm
What started as four horses and two piglets quickly turned into what is now known as Happy Pig Farm – a family-friendly farm stay experience complete with sheep, cattle, more pigs and horses, chickens, ducks and sprawling market gardens full of fresh, organic produce. Just outside Stanthorpe’s CBD, Happy Pig Farm promises an idyllic winter getaway, complete with great food, fun activities (the nearby Girraween National Park offers bushwalking or mountain climbing and there are also a number of local wineries) and so much more.

Paradise Country
The Gold Coast’s answer to an authentic Aussie farm experience, Paradise Country is packed with animals and activities galore. Catch the sheep shearing presentation and parade, wander about the Farmyard Play Paddock (being greeted by sheep, goats, dogs, chickens, ducks, horses and pigs as you do) then refuel at the Farmhouse Restaurant. You can also see the grounds aboard a tractor, get a happy snap with wild animals, visit the Dingo Den, cuddle with koalas and visit the Farmyard Nursey.

Hosanna Farmstay
Hidden in the hinterland of the beautiful Tweed Valley, this 100-acre farmstay invites your whole family – pups included – to experience good old-fashioned fun on the farm. Meet and play with their farm animals, learn how to milk a cow, make a bush cubby, jump off the diving board or float around the dam, then head back to your campsite to roast marshmallows around the campfire. Or, if adventure calls, explore the 500m glow worm tunnel! If you’re not one to pitch a tent, book one of the on-site cabins or glamping huts. Easy.

Whale watching
The June/July school holiday period may be our coldest, but it signals the search for more temperate waters for migratory whales – making it the perfect time to get out on the ocean on a whale-watching cruise. The Gold Coast abounds with tour groups that will take you out to sea to spot humpback and southern right whales as they head north to breed and birth their calves, most of which guarantee a whale sighting or your money back. You’re also likely to spot dolphins, turtles, sea birds and other marine life, making this a school holiday activity your kids won’t soon forget.



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