Story and pictures by Alistair Gray
Mum and daughter enjoy getting close to the hungry goats
Picture taken with permission
Wow! It’s all go at White Ridge Farm. I had heard stories, from others on the editorial staff and later my grandkids, about how fantastic White Ridge Farm was, so it was good to finally go and experience it for myself.
Katrina White, along with her husband David, have slowly built this incredible local family tourist attraction from humble beginnings, running mobile farms, and taking animals out to kids’ birthday parties, school fetes and alike, to what it is today.
The farm has been on the site on Hamilton Road, Elimbah for about nine years, gradually expanding as cash flow and resources allowed. Of course, the biggest attraction is the animals and the ability of kids to get up close, to touch and feed them.
As Katrina showed me around she shoved a bucket of feed into my hand and very quickly, heads were popping out through fences as the animals were looking to make a new friend.
I visited just after lunch one Friday, which appears to be a quiet time of the day after the groups of school kids and others had departed. We passed goats, lots of goats, llamas, alpacas, cows, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, dogs, geese, lots of colourful birds, sheep, pigs, piglets, Addy, the miniature horse and Pete, the donkey. Not to forget Gypsy, the camel who snatched the whole bucket of feed out of my hand.
Yes, there is something for everyone, all in a safe, kid-friendly environment, with lots of staff nearby to ensure the kids have a great time. There are many interactive areas where kids can get close to the animals and ask questions of the staff.
Besides the animals, White Ridge Farm offer putt-putt golf and tractor rides. For the more adventurous, there are horse and pony rides along a small bush trail.
“I still get a great thrill when I see the great smile on a small child’s face who sits on a horse for the first time, and it makes all our hard work so worthwhile”, said Katrina.
With so many animals, an extraordinary amount of work goes into their care and welfare to ensure the farm animals are kept healthy, well fed, and stress-free, with David collecting surplus fruit and vegetables from four nearby Woolworths stores to supplement the animals’ diet.
An essential part of the White Ridge Farm operation is a large workforce of both paid and volunteer staff. Volunteers come from many backgrounds, including those with special needs and their carers, high schools students seeking work experience and mature age workers who want to give back and enjoy working with the animals and children.
With the school holidays fast approaching, this is a great place to visit with the family. Today, a comment from my dental receptionist summed it up nicely. “White Ridge Farm is absolutely fantastic. The kids loved it, and it was a great family-priced experience”. Need I say more!