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“Will not revisit”
Review of Lillydale Farmstay

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Lillydale Farmstay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed July 11, 2013

The reason why I chose Lillydale was the good reviews from other tripadvisor contributors. However, it was not as good as what I thought it would. Firstly, the trail ride is boring. It was just a ride around the farm. Not worth the money as it was not cheap.
Feeding was fun with Bec but when with Farmer Doug, it was a stressful time. My son was so worried if the next feeding would be Farmer Doug again! Farmer Doug was really like what other contributors described...grumpy, fierce and unfriendly! Horse riding with Farmer Doug was worst! He was screaming and swearing at us when the horse stop and despite us trying to make the horse move, it doesn't want to! It was indeed a stressful one hour horse trail ride.
Room was really clean and nice. But all those rules made us too stress to enjoy. Frankly, I was happy to leave the next day. I actually felt worried for the another family who came in to stay after we check out.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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7  Thank december21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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146 - 152 of 268 reviews

Reviewed July 2, 2013

We had a terrible time. We are a pretty cheerful, normal family with 3 kids, twin 8 year old boys and a 2 year old girl. After the first feeding time session our kids didn't want to do any more feeding with Doug the farmer. He was grumpy and curt with the kids. We persevered a few times thinking maybe he had a gruff exterior with a heart of gold and that politeness and friendliness would win him over but this was not so. We gave up after he told the kids they could collect the eggs but not touch the hay (the eggs were on top of the hay), made one little girl cry because she accidentally dropped an egg in her nervousness, told my kids that they could not touch the chickens and when we started collecting a few pecan nuts that were literally rotting all over the ground he admonished us for "taking them all". Even though we were paying $400 per night we felt like we were resented. In the end we stayed in our room because we didnt feel welcome anywhere else.

There are cheerfully threatening signs everywhere telling us what was expected of us, including a list of exactly what was to be placed in each drawer of the kitchen and checklists to be completed otherwise you get charged extra. Lastly, be aware that the room rate covers the two animal feeding sessions and the room only. Everything else mention on the website is extra, including $50 to have a fire in the fire pit, extra to brush the horses etc.

in summary, for our $1200 + for 3 nights we could have had a stress free holiday for a week at the
Sheraton Mirage !

Its a beautiful place but not enjoyable. Go to Lillydale at your own risk !!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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9  Thank PMJ2S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LillydaleFarm, Owner at Lillydale Farmstay, responded to this reviewResponded July 3, 2013

Dear PMJ,

I was disappointed to read your review on Trip Advisor, as it is always our intention to offer our guests a memorable holiday experience on a working farm.

Doug is certainly not deliberately rude or curt to anybody. He has a large number of grandchildren who admire him and enjoy spending time with him and if you read the reviews the overwhelming response from the children who visit our farm is the same. Farmer Doug has been, and continues to be, one of the greatest attractions for our farm stay. Having said that, I understand that country mannerisms and his sense of humour do not often translate well across different cultures or backgrounds and we may need to take more time explaining these quirks of Farmer Doug's personality to some of our guests.

Unfortunately, from a risk and public liability perspective and also as small business operators in an industry which is heavily regulated, particularly with respect to eco-tourism accreditation and health issues, we have many "rules and regulations" which govern a number of things. We try hard not to make these too prescriptive but understand that it can seem a little at odds with the level of relaxation you expect from such a picturesque setting. These rules and regulations are for our guests' health and safety – both our current guests and our future guests. Our cheerful signs that remind you not to walk behind a horse and to close gates may seem like we are being threatening however having had one of my own children suffer through a massive injury from doing just this I would be devastated if someone else was terribly injured.

We also try to make our website quite clear in relation to what is included in our pricing and there are many free activities to enjoy if you tell us you are interested in trying them. If you consider that this is not as clear as we believe, we are more than happy to accept constructive feedback from you on this and the issue of signage and lists as we strive to continually improve our services and the experience we are able to offer our guests.

Our farm is a working farm and we are a small business. If we do not maintain some level of regulation in our guests' activities and have our guests shoulder some responsibility for cleaning their own rooms of which we ask you to wash, dry and put dishes away plus check to make sure you have left none of your belongings and remove food from the refrigerator and adhering to the arrival and departure times, we are not able to spend the time we need to with our animals and the necessary tasks associated with running a farm. This may not be apparent but it is always our primary concern. Also, being a working farm, we have occupational health and safety issues and health issues which are not experienced by large hotels. If this transcribes into curtness or over-regulation on our part, we can only apologise in hindsight and be mindful that this is the perception we may be giving to our guests.

We thank you for taking the time to write your review but would have preferred that you raised these issues with us first to provide us with the opportunity to explain our perspective. We take great pride in our farm and the experience we offer our guests. We understand that it is not possible to please everyone but we certainly try. Please feel free to raise any other issues with us and we look forwarding to having you stay with us again sometime so we can work collaboratively together to make your stay a pleasurable and enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Pamela Hardgrave

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 29, 2013

I feel compelled to write a review for the first time ever as I feel the need to give a balanced view.
Yes the farm, surrounds, animals, fruit trees, gardens were all beautiful. We and our three kids had a great weekend.
BUT....
very expensive -$400 a night, no breakfast, kids slept on a very uncomfortable fold out, we were charged $10 for a broken wine glass, $150 for a trail ride for 5 of us.
Farmer Doug is a cantankerous grouch, I would say outright hostile and rude. Treated us like nuisances. All questions met with terse single word answers. Told kids to hurry up with the animal feeding and shouted at them. Our son was delighted to find pecans on the ground and spent a long time collecting them. At no time were we told we could not eat the ones on the ground. When we had gathered a handful and put them in a bowl, Doug walked past me and scowled "who said you can have them, I sell them". Fair enough but he had plenty of chances to tell us nicely instead of treating us like thieves when we simply did I not know. I stopped trying to be civil to him after that. A bit uncomfortable when you can feel his anger and hostility.
I did not see Pam at all despite her welcoming emails prior to our arrival.
Bec appears to be trying to do her best to smooth everything over but she was quite perfunctory, probably due to being overworked.

It would be an idyllic family holiday spot IF....
People were friendlier,
There weren't so many rules
They did I not charge you so much for everything

The best things were:
The scenery
The gorgeous animals
The beautiful gardens, trampoline and swings
The maze
The dinosaur cave
The little lake with canoes

I would certainly try a different farm stay first. Not sure what has happened to this place as the older reviews were all fantastic but the more recent ones not so.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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9  Thank Nga T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2013

Two nights at Lilydale for family of 8 with 3 kids. Maroon & Blue Rooms were very clean and cosy. Cooking facilities were complete and great bonding sessions too. We celebrated my son's 11 yo Birthday and had a BBQ. Animals feeding were great. Kids enjoyed and loved it so much. Even us adults got pretty excited.
Bec is very warm and cheerful. Farmer Dough is strict and serious with the kids when it comes to feeding time. But he is overall quite nice. He showed me a huge pumpkin in his plantation, rare looking birds sitting on a tree and even reward the kids with a tray of eggs.
I would say the pricing for rooms are abit expensive, but with the awesome scenary, fresh air, being so close to nature, animals greeting you every morning is really amazing for a city person. To get away with the hust & buzz is what i really appreciate.
The meat at the supermarket is to die for. Sooo tender and fresh. Be it, pork, chicken or beef. Really taste great.
Overall its a good and enjoyable experience.

Room Tip: Maroon room can actually fit up to 6 - 7 pax comfortably. 1 Queen size bed, 1 sofa bed that can acco...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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Thank ggpopcorn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2013

Yes, you read it right - Stressful Stay. Of course, it sounds so ironic from what we expected to a stay away from the hassle and bustle of urban life. Shouldn't farmstay be more relaxing than anything else?

Well, we heard many reviews about the Lillydale Farmstay, the good and the bad. So, we decided to give it a try since our main focus was for the kids to experience the close encounter with farm animals. The farm & rooms were indeed nice and clean, the kids had fun feeding the animals. But, having read the reviews, we were naturally very careful and made sure all of us, including the kids kept to the many hidden 'rules & regulations' that came with it. We must have said more 30 times "be careful/do it/clean it/wash it, if you don't want to get scolded (by the owner)" throughout our 1 night stay in Lillydale. 2 rooms, 4 adults and 4 kids, we've been kept busy cleaning/washing/wiping everything throughout the 20 hours stay, just so we won't get reprimanded. We even went to the extend of buying a bottle of liquid detergent so that we can make sure that we keep all the dishes clean! But still, they didn't appreciate it.

Yes, we do respect the owner's pride in keeping their place clean and tidy, but paying more than $400/room/night and was almost being fine an additional A$50 simply didn't impress us much. What happen was, we did our own cooking the previous night and prepared our own breakfast the next morning. As we knw the check out time was strictly at 10am, 2 adults stayed back to wash all the dishes and did one last round of final wiping and cleaning up again. Proud that we kept the room back in it's almost original state, we were confident and commented that the owner wasn't that 'difficult' afterall. So, we kept to the time and checked out the rooms at 10am and took some last group photos at the car pouch area before we left. Just before we set to leave, the owner rushed out and said we should have left their premise at 10am sharp and not loiter around with her not so friendly attitude. And, she started saying that btw, she found some plates that were still a bit wet in the cupboard and reprimanded us for keeping it back. We were disappointed and told her we woke up very early just so we could clean and wash everything for them. We offered to return to the room to clean whatever she's unsatisfied with but was rejected. She said she had spent 30 mins to clean ALL the plates again?! Yes, perhaps the last 3 plates we wiped were not 100% dry, but we explained that it's because we washed everything for them again, the cloth was naturally damped by the time we wiped the last few. But comm'on! We'd wanted to keep the last few on the rack just so to keep them dry but again, we were afraid that they would fault us for not keeping them back. So, what's the right thing to do? She said she had our credit card details and would go ahead to deduct the money! At that point, my husband was angry knowing how hard the 2 mummies worked to keep the place clean and everything in it's original state despite having our 4 kids to handle. He wanted to just let her deduct but i refused to coz we honestly tried our best and if it's still not up to her mark, they should seriously consider get everyone to check in perhaps 2 hours earlier just so they could list down and explain their 1001 rules to follow.

Seriously, nobody wants to spend money to invite this kind of stress. Certainly not me.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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22  Thank Cactusnah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 7, 2013

The farm stay accomodation is on the ground floor of the homestead and the owners live up stairs. Our room was spotlessly clean and was furnished like a home rather than a hotel ( which was nice). There were facilities to cook food both indoors and outdoors. No meals are included or available. The coffee at the cafe was great as were the free range eggs available for sale which we enjoyed for our breakfast.

The highlight of our weekend was the morning and afternoon animal feeding with farmer Doug. Our son absolutely loved this hands on experience. There are plenty of activities to enjoy. Our son enjoyed trekking up to the cave to see the "dinosaur bones", walking through the maze and vege gardens and taking the boat out on the dam. We didn't try any of the activities which cost extra. The tractor ride looked fun but worked out at quite a lot for two adults and a child. The horse ride was too long for our toddler.

We stayed on a half price deal for $400 for the weekend. At that rate I'd take this trip again but I simply couldn't afford nor justify $800 for the weekend. While I understand where the owners are coming from, I found some of the signage a little abrasive - such as being warned we would be charged a cleaning fee if we didn't dispose of any rubbish we had accumulated in our room in the outdoor bins before departure and having to find your own way out of the dam if you forget to put the bung in the boat etc.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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Thank LXE3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Two nights at Lillydale, horse riding, animal feeding, relaxing time. Kids loved the maze, and farmer Dougs feeding time. Loved the campfire with the other family that stayed

Would be a great spot for 3 to 4 family's to hire out the entire place.

Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
Thank Brent K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lillydale Farmstay

Address: 821 Upper Logan Rd | Mt Barney, Rathdowney, Queensland 4287, Australia
Location: Australia > Queensland > Brisbane Region > Scenic Rim > Rathdowney
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Rathdowney
Price Range: $269 - $472 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Lillydale Farmstay 4.5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Don your boots and Akubra for a rural getaway with fourth generation beef cattle farmers Doug and Pam Hardgrave at their ecotourism cattle farm - nestled in the foothills of Mount Barney National Park. Lillydale is environmentally responsible and holds advanced ecotourism status. Get amongst the daily farm activities like getting lost in the hedge maze, collecting the fresh eggs and feeding the many resident animals. You must also try your hand milking the cows, kayaking on the dam and simply kicking back with an in-room massage or good book. Kids Club available in conjunction with massages. Fantastic 4.5 star AAA rated award winning rooms with air conditioning and heating. All rooms contain kitchenette and bathroom facilities. Invite the extended family and select all three award winning self-contained eco suites for a spacious and private getaway or the two bedroom stand alone eco-cabin. Order ahead and make use of the cook your own hampers of organic veggies and Angus beef straight from the farm, and best cooked under the stars. Or enjoy the premade snap frozen meals of salmon linguine or beef casserole delivered to your door. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lillydale Farmstay Australia/Rathdowney

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