We’ve been on the farm for less than 10 minutes but we’re already milking cows….by hand! On the other side of the gate, fields stretch as far as the eye can see, turning gold in the late afternoon sun. A kangaroo hops across a red dirt track close by and joins the horses grazing in the shade of a tree. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Myella is everything you would imagine a farm in the Australian outback to be. Set in 2600 acres, cattle and horses roam freely under a cloudless blue sky. The milk I’m uselessly trying to extract from the poor cow beside me will feed the family and guests this evening along with the beef which comes from the family’s 300 strong herd and will be transformed into a delicious home cooked meal.
If you’re looking for a genuine Australian farm experience this is the place for it. Myella is a working cattle farm owned and run by the Eather family – Olive, Peter and daughter Lyn. In 1993 they began inviting guests to stay at the farm to experience life in the outback. Since then the positive reviews have been rolling in and it’s easy to see why.
A typical day on the farm
Life on the farm starts early, so after a 7am breakfast of toast and cereal (doused in fresh milk of course) we saddle up our horses and head out across the sun drenched fields. This is no watered-down tourist funride though, we have a job to do. A gate has been left open and 50 cows have escaped. Our mission is to round them up and return them to the correct paddock. At first it’s chaos. The cows are strewn out across the field, no one knows where the gate is and my horse Mandrake just wants to eat the grass. But with Lyn’s guidance we space ourselves out and in no time the cows are funneling neatly through the gate. John Wayne eat your heart out!
Back at the farm there’s no time to rest as there are two adorable calves in need of feeding. One is particularly weak, having been found abandoned by his mother at just a few days old and was not expected to survive the night. We don’t need to be asked twice, especially when Lyn tells us that the calves thrive on cuddles which makes them want to live. We bottle feed them on a concoction of milk, eggs and electrolytes regularly during the next few days and it’s a joy to see them grow stronger.
That afternoon, farm jobs are put to one side for a motorbike lesson from farm hand Shane. The farm is the perfect place for first timers, with miles of wide traffic-free tracks and tufty grass to soften the inevitable crash landings. Rich is an accomplished biker so entertains himself jumping over hillocks while I try to master changing gear whilst keeping the bike upright and not accelerating uncontrollably into a hedge. I failed on the last count several times and still have the bruises and grazes to prove it! Painful though it was, learning a new skill in such beautiful surroundings was an amazing experience although I think I’ll need a couple more lessons before I’m road worthy!
We return to the farm as the sun begins to set and Peter urges us to take the farm ATV up to ‘Sunset Point’, a vantage point high up on a hill which overlooks the many acres of farmland. We’ve seen some beautiful sunsets on our trip so far but this was something else! Perhaps it was the huge skies, stretching uninterrupted as far as the eye can see, or the abundance of nature, visible in every direction from the endless fields of swaying grass, to the hundreds of cows grazing peacefully grazing on the horizon. Either way, it was a spectacular sunset, mother nature at her finest.
Then it’s back to the farm for egg collecting and chicken feeding before relaxing by the open fire with a glass of red wine, or Peter’s home brew.
Plan a trip
- Myella Farm is about 1hr30 from Rockhampton, and most easily accessed by car
- A 2 night stay in a double ensuite cabin, including horse ride, motorbike lesson and all farm activities costs £330 for 2 people.
- Remember to bring old clothes as they will get covered in dirt, horse hair and cow dribble.
- Bring long sleeved tops and trousers as well as plenty of insect repellent as the mosquitoes are relentless!