Weekend in Wallaroo, including stay at Tarnasey Farm – Review
From farm tours to historic mines and beach fun, you won’t be short of things to do in this Yorke Peninsula town.
by Carla Caruso
I’d only ever bypassed the holiday town of Wallaroo before, never stayed. So, when a mum friend invited us along on a farm stay (with another pal and her boy), we were quick to say ‘YAS!’
Who doesn’t love a local getaway? Especially when it doesn’t require too much time behind the wheel, with impatient kids.
For the uninitiated (like me), Wallaroo is a port town in Yorke Peninsula, 160km northwest of Adelaide – or roughly two hours’ drive away. (A fuel-up at Kipling’s Bakery in Port Wakefield along the way is, of course, essential.)
Wallaroo is one of three Copper Triangle towns, famed for their copper mining history and known collectively as “Little Cornwall”. The other two spots are Kadina and Moonta. While mining ceased in the area in the 1920s, the historic landmarks remain tourist attractions. (Interesting side-note: the name, Wallaroo, comes from the Aboriginal word, wadlu waru, meaning “wallaby urine”!)
Included with the accommodation is a farm tour and animal-feeding experience. The tours run from 10am daily and they’re also open to the public – bookings essential. The usual cost is $15 per child, including all animal food.
What’s great about the farm’s animals is they all have their own names and stories. Often they’ve been rescued, so they aren’t just chosen for being young and cute, and they see out their retirement there. My boys loved meeting them all, from Rambo the ram to Coco the alpaca (who’d lost her mum as a baby), former racehorse Sam (who goes into pacer mode when he hears voices on the PA system), Charlie the introverted pony (who’d had hoof problems), and a bevy of free-range chooks. It felt a bit like being on the movie set of Babe. Read more about the animals here.
In between the daily tours, my boys enjoyed running through the field, from our cabin, and hanging out by the fence with the animals.
After we’d checked out the farm on our first afternoon, we headed down for a wander along the Wallaroo Jetty. The jetty’s said to be one of the best fishing jetties in SA, extending out 869m. Scuba divers also enjoy swimming through its pylons. An added attraction is the chance to see the large grain ships visiting, which mainly occurs during summer post-harvest.
Nearby, there’s also a huge floating pontoon area with shark-proof netting.
Later, the kids expended energy at the Wallaroo Adventure Playground, which is close by.
Then, we headed back to the farm for a home-cooked dinner, using our cabin’s barbecue and fire pit. It was great fun, dining al fresco and gazing up at all the stars pricking the sky without the city’s light pollution.
The next morning, the kids lapped up the farm tour. Then we headed into town, lunching at the Coopers Alehouse Wallaroo, overlooking the marina.
Fully sated, we journeyed to nearby Moonta for more adventuring. First, we stocked up at the Moonta Mines Sweet Shop, which sells old-fashioned lollies and soft drinks.
Then we jumped into a train carriage for a guided tour along the Moonta Mines Tourist Railway. The railway’s proudly maintained and operated by National Trust volunteers. The tours take you past former mining operations, including a reservoir, ore-sorting floors, and through a tunnel in Ryan’s Tailings Heap.
Afterwards, we checked out Moonta Bay’s foreshore, playing about in the dramatic sea mist that’d rolled in. Then we returned to the farm for another barbecue dinner under the stars.
The next day, it was time to hit the road again. But we’ve vowed to return soon, with so much yet to explore in Wallaroo!
What we like about Wallaroo
- It’s only two hours’ drive from the city, making for an easy weekend getaway.
- The rescue animals at the farm stay had my heart.
- The holiday town offers so many activities and so much to explore. History buffs would also enjoy checking out the Wallaroo Heritage and Nautical Museum, and the Wallaroo Town Walking Trail – pick up a brochure from the visitor information centre.
- The seaside setting, from the beach to the marina, is pretty specky – gotta love the town’s laidback SeaChange vibe
Things to consider
- Make sure to pack farm-appropriate clothing and shoes if you’re doing a farm stay – and warmer garments for the cooler nights (plus, swimwear in the sunnier months).
- Get into relaxed Wallaroo mode and don’t overpack your schedule. This is the place to enjoy slowing down your pace.
Coffee and food options nearby
As previously mentioned, we enjoyed lunching at the Coopers Alehouse Wallaroo and getting a sugar fix at Moonta Mines Sweet Shop nearby. Next time in Wallaroo, we also hope to check out new microbrewery/distillery/eatery Bond Store, North Beach Kitchen (where you can watch the sun set over the water), and The Smelter Cafe. In Moonta, we’ve also heard great things about The Coffee Barn & Gelateria, and Taste the Yorke.
For more information on Wallaroo, please visit the tourism website here.
What: Weekend in Wallaroo (including stay at Tarnasey Farm) review
Where: Wallaroo, South Australia
Who: All ages
All photos by James Elsby for Play & Go Adelaide.
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
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