One of our most popular programs, farm and ranch stays, are an excellent way to experience the great outdoors while learning about farm life, and for those traveling, the culture of a foreign country. Our farm and ranch programs put you right in the middle of the action. You’ll help out with the daily tasks on a farm, get to know the land and animals and grow to be a part of the family you’re staying with. Typical placements are made on farms with horses, livestock animals and dairy farms.
Horse farms and ranches
Interested in horses? Good news! We have hundreds of horse farm hosts in New Zealand, Australia and Canada, so we’re sure to find the perfect placement for you. Farms and ranches tend to differ between the countries in a few key ways.
In Canada, the ranches tend to be larger and more remote, with horses used on the land for mustering and other farm duties, Western riding, rodeo, and equestrian riding. In Australia, horses are used for Western, English, and equestrian riding, as well as on the land. In New Zealand, farms are primarily focused on equestrian and English riding, as well as polo, polo X, horse racing and breeding. Some of our host farms have horses that have been to the Olympics for their country; other hosts have older ponies they ride in their spare time for fun.
On a horse farm/ranch program, you’ll be expected to help out with the horses, contribute to the housework, and participate in family social events. The amount of horse riding you’re able to do – and the kind of farm you’re placed with – will depend on your experience. We ask you to provide a video of you riding so we can place you with an appropriate host.
Please note that if you’re interested in equestrian, host farms will generally require you to come for the full equestrian season and be available to travel to horse shows on the weekends. In Australia and New Zealand, the season runs from September-March. However, placements outside these dates are always possible, as there are always horses in work.
Cattle and dairy farms
If you like the idea of working with animals, a livestock or dairy farm may be perfect for you. We offer livestock and dairy farm/ranch stays across Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The majority of these placements are on dairy and beef farms. We also work with farmers producing sheep, pigs, and chickens.
On a cattle or dairy farm you’ll be expected to help out around the house and on the farm. You may need to get up early (like most farmers) to help with tasks such as milking cows – but the sense of community and authentic experience you’ll have, will more than make up for any early mornings!
Please note, most cattle and dairy farming families include meat as a key part of their diet, so this may not be a suitable placement option for vegetarians.
Farm Au Pair
Farm Au Pair is an ideal option for travellers looking to live with a farming family and work with children. Farm Au Pairs tend to help with general farm jobs like feeding animals and maintaining the veggie patch, but a main focus on helping with the children and assisting with running the household. We have thousands of family farms across Canada, Australia, and New Zealand who work with horses, cows, sheep, vineyards, alpacas… you name it – and a farm Au Pair can be needed on any type of family farm. If you have a particular interest such as sheep or horses then we can certainly help you find your dream placement farm Au Pair experience.
“Hi, I am back in Denmark and I am still blown away by this amazing adventure. I am writing because I really wanted to say thank you, thank you for everything!!! I had the most amazing trip ever – the journey of my life. And I have, among other things, you guys to thank for that. I ended up with two wonderful families. One in Australia and one in New Zealand, and it has been absolutely perfect. I know that you guys are “just” doing your job, but for me it has meant everything, so thank you with all my heart. I know for a fact that I will never forget a single thing about this trip and I am already looking forward to come back and see even more of Australia and New Zealand, and of course visiting my host families again. I think of them as family! So once again thank you!!”
Pernille, Denmark – Farmstay Australia & New Zealand, September 2013