Children big and small will delight in getting up close and personal with the farm animals of Wayward Jerseys.
For the vast majority of us, the daily schedule revolves around the built world; trains, traffic, highways, footpaths and skyscrapers. Our kids grow up registering this as normal, and learning about farm animals only in books and on TV.
Isn’t wonderful, then, that we have the opportunity to visit somewhere like Wayward Jerseys Farmstay in Uralla, where we can show our kids how country folk live, introduce them to the animals whose products originated somewhere other than the supermarket, and enjoy a healthy dose of fresh country air ourselves.
Wayward Jerseys is located 10 minutes from Uralla, nestled down a no-through country road in the rolling hills that define this part of New England. The home of Deb and Lauri Pulkkinen and their three young daughters, Wayward Jerseys is a working beef cattle farm but has an impressive line-up of hobby farm animals including its namesake jersey dairy cows, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, horses and, if you’re as lucky as we were on our visit, the occasional baby wallaby or kangaroo. Deb, a true animal lover in every sense, is a volunteer for Wires and often takes in orphans.
Accommodation is in the self-contained, three bedroom cottage on the property, within cooee of the main homestead but a separate dwelling with private access. The cottage can sleep up to seven, and is equipped with a full kitchen (stocked with brekky-making goods for guests to enjoy), a TV, an air-conditioner and a laundry. That last part is important, because the kids are likely to get dirty at Wayward Jerseys. That is, after all, the whole point!
Deb is a friendly and accommodating host with a wealth of experience handling farm animals, and her interactive morning farm tour is not to be missed. We commenced by bottle-feeding the gorgeous little orphaned wallaby that was in Deb’s care at the time, then found a bigger bottle to feed the resident lamb, a very friendly fellow who curiously seems to have adopted himself into the cattle herd. We then fed the goat and horses, collected the eggs from the chickens, rode in the trailer behind the four-wheeler to deliver feed to the cattle before finishing by milking the doe-eyed and adorably animated Jersey cow and feeding her two young calves. The farm tour concludes at the outdoor pit fire, where the kids can enjoy toasting marshmallows and the adults have a cuppa and something freshly baked by Deb. If you’re lucky it will be one of her still-warm Portuguese custard tarts – they are still creeping into my dreams.
The property, whose official name is Tipperary, is positioned on Tipperary Creek, a tributary to the Murray-Darling. It has a long history, and was once even the site of a gold rush-era shanty camp. Gold can still be found in the creek on the property, and Deb is happy to provide fossicking equipment if the kids fancy trying their luck. She will also take brave and willing guests on ghost tour after dark if they’d like to hear about some of the darker stories in the property’s rather colourful history.
So much more than just a place to sleep, Wayward Jerserys Farmstay is a unique and interactive experience designed to give city and suburban folk a taste of Australian country life. Located close enough to Armidale and Tamworth to warrant a detour, Wayward Jerseys is also a fabulous destination in its own right.