After exploring dairy farmstays in this post about where milk comes from, today I thought we’d move onto fish fingers in our search for holidays with a bit of education thrown in. So we’re exploring farmstays with fishing either on-site or nearby.
Fish fingers are a kid-friendly staple at my house. I know that Miss 7 and Master 5 will eat them and will do so without any whinging! These little golden bundles of joy are typically made from hake or hoki (blue grenadier), which are caught by trawling and longlining in the Southern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. While it’s not possible (as far as I can tell) to take the kids out on a commercial fishing boat, there are all sorts of aquaculture farms around the country, which would be fascinating to explore.
New South Wales
Tailor Made Fish Farm, Port Stephens
Tailor Made Fish Farm is a barramundi farm, which produces over a thousand kilograms of barramundi per week, with most going to Sydney restaurants. You can do a tour, feed the fish and have a meal at their restaurant. Not far away is the Australian Shark & Ray Centre, where you can hand feed sharks and rays. There’s no accommodation on-site, so stay at Kookaburra Cottages, a peaceful family-friendly farmstay (pictured above).
41° South Tasmania, Deloraine
Only a 45 minute drive from Launceston or Devonport brings you to this heavenly part of the world on the edge of Tasmania’s World Heritage Area. Surrounded by dense native Tasmanian bushland, the man-made wetlands make for a peaceful setting for a walk to see the working salmon and ginseng farm, as well as the impressive Montana Falls Cascades, followed by lunch at the cafe (pictured above). The wetlands naturally filter the water, creating such pristine water quality that you can find platypus and a large range of birdlife living there. There’s a filleting facility, smoke house and tasting room. For a truly memorable experience you could stay at Forest Walks Eco Lodge. Family-friendly accommodation in the midst of forests and mountains with spectacular walks, fly fishing and gourmet food on offer.
The Oyster Shed, Coffin Bay
Coffin Bay is remote, but with that comes such heart-stopping beauty. Plus my local pub serves Coffin Bay oysters, so how cool is it to see where they come from! This is where you can get up close and personal – see how they’re grown (pictured above), all the equipment, chat with the farmers and have a taste. The cabins at Coffin Bay Caravan Park look ideal for a laid back break. How’s the serenity?
Rhyll Trout Farm, Phillip Island
I do love a trout farm. All the fun of fishing without the boring waiting part. At less than 2 hours from central Melbourne, Phillip Island is easily accessed, with the penguins and koala park nearby to round out a wildlife-focussed short trip. No experience needed. The instructors will show you the way and they will clean, prepare or cook your catch for you (pictured above). Stay in the adorable 2 bedroom cottage at Otira Homestead farmstay, a working sheep farm.
Kirup Kabins, Kirup
This one’s a bit special, because it was the only aquaculture location I found with accommodation on-site. It is a marron farm about 2.5 hours south of Perth. But not just marron, there’s sheep, cows, chickens and an emu, so you can enjoy the full farmstay experience and get a blast of that fresh country air. With 2- and 3-bedroom cabins and cottages, it’s ideal for a family getaway. More information here.
Catch A Crab, Tweed Heads
You can make your own way to this one or take a tour. Either way it’s only about half an hour from Surfers Paradise. There’s certainly plenty to do from trapping live crabs, fishing, pumping for yabbies to visiting an oyster farm and cafe. For that peaceful farmstay-style accommodation, there’s breath-taking locations like Possum Manor, about 45 min away in the Tweed Valley (pictured above). The two-bedroom Barnhouse Cottage looks absolutely ideal for a rural family getaway.
• This NZ website gives an excellent kid-focussed explanation of the different methods of commercial fishing.
• For some messy fun with the kids, make your own fish fingers using this recipe from The Organised Housewife.
• Next time you’re at your local fish & chip shop, try to stick to fish like barramundi, blue-eye cod, hoki, bream, mullet or snapper, which are not overfished like shark (flake) is.