Family Magazine

Farmstay Fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part I

By A Happy Mum @A_Happy_Mum
I've always wanted to let Angel stay on a farm knowing how much she loves animals. While those years of living in Sweden allowed us to get up close with swans, ducks and seagulls every day, here in Singapore, our neighbourhood consists more of high-rise flats, carparks and man-made playgrounds. Thus, when we were planning for our trip to Gold Coast, the first priority I had on my list was to look for a farmstay.
When I first read about Lillydale Farmstay, it sounded like the perfect choice and I could already imagine the look of euphoria on my girl. To have the chance to feed baby farm animals, milk cows, collect eggs, lake fishing, roast marshmallows, dance around a bonfire, ride a donkey, enjoy stunning views of nature, well, it already sounded like a dream come true.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part I******
About Lillydale
An authentic agri-cattle property nestled in the foothills of South East Queensland, Lillydale is one of the only two working farms located in the Scenic Rim region. It is a 90-minute drive from the Gold Coast airport and is nestled among beautiful natural scenery including Mount Barney, one of Queensland’s highest peaks.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IWe had decided to rent a car for the trip and although we drove here in the early morning after an 8-hour flight, the drive was unexpectedly smooth and pleasant. Seeing lush greenery, exotic flowers and spotting animals like horses and cows never failed to delight my girl and it reminded me of the days when we would go on road trips around Europe.What greeted us at Lillydale was a cosy outlook, beautiful flowers, friendly hosts and with luck on our side, an abundance of sunshine.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IFor accommodation, Lillydale offers three beautiful homestead rooms and one cabin meant for bigger groups, or couples and families who wish to have privacy and solitude. We stayed in the Harper Room, which is the most spacious of the three rooms, and it comes complete with a queen bed, double sofa, bunk beds, kitchenette facilities, dining area, air conditioning, bathroom, television and DVD player.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part ISince the nearest town was a good 40-minute drive away, we had made a stop at the supermarket on our way here and bought all the necessary groceries. All cooking equipment could be found in the kitchenette, including electric cooker, pots, pans and even a rice cooker. The hubby was so sweet to take up the role of the chef and he whipped up delicious meals for us for the entire two days. Yay!
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IThe owners of Lillydale are Doug and Pam and our host during our stay was Bec, their youngest daughter, who was attentive, helpful and friendly. The first things that grabbed Angel's attention on the farm were the hopscotch board and play area that included swings and see-saws.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part INonetheless, the one thing that she had loved since she was a kid and was most delighted to see again was - the trampoline. Not just any trampoline, but a huge backyard trampoline with enclosure where she could feel free to jump as much and as high as she liked. Look, even the baby sister wanted to join in the action too!

Meet the farm animals
The biggest highlights of our stay had to be the animal feeding sessions which took place at 8am and 4pm daily. Even if that meant that Angel had to wake up earlier than usual or that she would have to cut her nap short, you would be amazed by her sheer determination to get up every day just so she would not let her newfound friends go hungry.
In fact, Bec said that Angel was so lucky to be able to execute all the feedings alone since there were no other guests, so much so that on the second day, she had become a pro and would even remember the animals' names and the sequence of the feedings.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IFirst up, we had to feed the chickens. Angel took charge of pouring in the grains and Ariel stroked the soft feathers while for me, it was the first time I held a chicken in my arms.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part INext, we moved on to feed the majestic highland cattle with sliced bread.  Their horns could be a little intimidating but after a while, we got used to it and you realised all they wanted was the food. After that came Lucy's and Pedro's turn to chomp the carrots. Yeap, hee haw, the donkeys!
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IWe moved on to another part of the farm where we got to feed milk, using glass bottles, to baby animals who were simply tame and adorable. Here is Rainbow, the friendly fawn.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IThis is Mickey, the lovely lamb. So make a guess, can he finish drinking one whole bottle of milk? Well, he can do it in under a minute and in fact, we had to feed each of them on average 2-3 bottles!
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part I
Meet Hoppy, the jovial joey. Not a kangaroo, but a wallaby. He became good friends with Angel and would surprise us by jumping out from behind trees. 
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part I
Quack quack! Yes, that's a duck and I was surprised that my girl wanted to try carrying it. She did it quite well, didn't she?
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part ITime for a milk drinking contest! Together with Bec, we would all arm ourselves with a bottle of milk and on the count of three, pick an animal and see whose drank the fastest. Fun, isn't it?
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part I
Oh, guess what was Angel's favorite animal on the farm? Well, it was Raxi, one of the cutest dogs we have ever seen. He would laze with us under a tree, run in the fields with the girl and she absolutely adored him. In fact, from time to time now, she still looks at me and says "Mummy, I miss Raxi, you know?" Awww.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IOink oink! Meet Stinky and Oinky, the pigs who feasted on our dinner leftovers.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IThe most memorable animal on the farm was Foxy, a three-week-old fox who was found abandoned. He was extremely shy but would obediently rest in our arms when we carried him. Well, this must be a rare sight and perhaps once in a lifetime when my girl hugged a fox cub!
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IBesides feeding the animals, another highlight for Angel was collecting the eggs from all the different nests. We learnt that we should always leave an egg, or a golf ball for that matter, to encourage the hens to lay their eggs in the same spot. Now talk about fresh eggs, these were still warm to touch!
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IWe also tried milking cows for the first time. It wasn't as easy as it sounded and took a little practice. Like Bec said, it was something like squeezing toothpaste from a tube and you had to do it all the way before the milk squirted out. The dairy cow, named Chulip, was heavily pregnant when we tried to milk her but didn't seem to twitch at all.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part ILast but not least, meet Bandit, a fantastic cattle dog who followed us everywhere we went. You see, with all the animal friends we made on the farm, how could my girl be sad or bored for even a moment?

Exploring the area
When we were not with the animals, we also found an array of activities to keep us occupied.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IFirstly, we borrowed a rod and went fishing by the lake - the hubby's favorite leisure activity!
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IWe were not really hoping for a catch in the first place, it was more to try our luck, get a kick out of it and pass time. What I loved about this spot was the beautiful view of Mount Barney. Can you see? From far, it looks like a pregnant woman lying down and facing towards the sky. Hint: Her face is on the right while the belly is on the left. 
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part ILo and behold, within a few casts of the rod, Angel felt something moving and with help from the daddy, they managed to catch a trout! The kind little girl said that we should release the fish back into the water and let it live, and so we did.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IMoving on, located right beside the farm was a hedge maze which was planted in 2009. Despite the scorching sun, we were determined to trek our way to the middle of the maze and find the pavilion.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IWell, the journey did take a little longer than expected because ahem, we got a little lost and we also played a bit of hide and seek. If you are wondering what we were doing with all those sticks, well, we used them to brush away all the cobwebs.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IWe did reach our goal within half an hour and decided to have a mini picnic there so that we could enjoy the serenity and awe-inspiring mountainous views a little longer.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IAfter that short break, we decided to further challenge ourselves and made our way to Dinosaur Cave. It was a rather treacherous walk to get there and in our attempt to take a short cut, we had to climb over rocks, soft grounds and up a slope. Along the way, Angel was delighted to blow the seeds of dandelions and we also spotted a beautiful green grasshopper.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IDinosaur Cave was a small little cave with make-believe dinosaur bones. We suspected the bones to be from the cattle but nonetheless told Angel that we had found a cave in a place where dinosaurs used to roam. With her recent fascination about this extinct creature and Jurassic Park, I guess she was pretty blown away by the whole experience.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part II'm the queen of the world! If I could climb up glaciers when I was pregnant, I could jolly well climb up a cave with a baby on my chest.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IOk, if even Angel could climb up by herself, you can guess that it was not as difficult to reach the top. Anyway, this whole afternoon of exploration, trekking and discovery left us with sweaty shirts but happy hearts.
Giddyup! Let's ride!
Once again, Angel had the chance to go on a pony ride. Although she had already done this umpteen times, each one never failed to light up her face and make her feel like the happiest child in the world.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IHer pony was named BJ and was one beautiful, tame animal.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IBec led the pony and took us for a good 15 minute walk as we took in the sights and enjoyed the tranquility of the surroundings.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IWe were told that sometimes we could spot koalas on the trees but alas we did not that day.  Still, it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride for the girl and we couldn't have asked for a more perfect weather.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IAs for myself, yes, I finally got the chance to ride a horse! I had been wanting to do it for the longest time since when the hubby did it previously in Karlsrkona, I was a pregnant woman and could only watch on, green with envy. This is Big Red, the charming brown horse who took me for a ride.
For some reason, Angel bawled like a baby when I went for the horse ride even though we had told her earlier. To the extent that the owners were afraid she was going to scare the horses and I would risk falling off Big Red. Well, I guess perhaps she was thinking that Mummy was galloping away and not coming back?
The perfect ending
On our last night, we had a bonfire and roasted marshmallows. By the way, the hubby can roast really delicious marshmallows, caramelized and golden on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside. Yummy! I braved the leaping flames to try too but ended up burning my marshmallows.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IAlthough I wished we had other guests to join us too, it was nonetheless a great night and wonderful experience for just the four of us. Good food, cosy fire, silly dancing, pure joy.
Farmstay fun at Lillydale - Gold Coast Part IDid we enjoy the farmstay? Yes, every bit of it. Will we miss the place, people and animals? Yes, we are missing them already. Will we come back again some day? I definitely hope so.
Big thanks to Lillydale and our hosts for the awesome experience and memories!
This is Part I of our holiday in Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. More write-ups and pictures to come, stay tuned!
Disclosure: We were kindly sponsored two nights accommodation by Lillydale Farmstay. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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