100% Locally Owned, Independent and Free

100% Locally Owned, Independent and Free

Rural heaven: new farmstay makes ideal base to explore 'best of the Sunshine Coast'

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This is the first look at the Sunshine Coast hinterland’s newest accommodation offering that has so much rural ambience, you may never want to leave.

Andrew and Jo Pitcher welcomed guests to their official opening last weekend at the multimillion-dollar Sixty6 Acres: a former neglected cane farm now totally transformed into a farmstay in the green heart of the region.

As the name suggests, the 66-acre (26.7-hectare) property on Walden Road, Woombye, has plenty of room to stretch out on the full-length veranda of any of the six individual luxe ‘quarters’, as they are known, gaze out over the lake across the lawn and soak up the wide, open spaces as the sun sets.

The Sixty6 Acres farmstay is all about relaxation and exploring the farm experience.

Andrew said last weekend’s soft opening of the property, bordered by Paynters Creek on the northern boundary, was a chance to fine-tune the experience but guests had been “very positive about the location, the amenity and the quality of what we’re offering”.

“When it’s your own baby, you are naturally nervous and wanting to impress,” he said.

The Pitchers have done their homework on the project. With their three children, they have spent years travelling for their own enjoyment and stayed in dozens of similar farmstays around Australia (the south coast of NSW, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia), as well as in Canada and England.

Their dream – about six years in the making – aims to combine the best features of what they have meticulously researched and discovered for themselves in rural accommodation.

The result is Stage 1 of a much grander plan to host a variety of budget camping and caravan/RV areas, as well as to high-end glamping, and expand the on-site amenities including a recreation centre.

Guests are encouraged to pat and feed the animals. Picture: Shirley Sinclair

“We’ve started planning for the subsequent stages but we’re unsure when we’ll kick that off,” Andrew said.

“What we’re trying to provide (at the moment) is high-quality self-contained accommodation, set in a lovely country environment around a lake.

“We want to give people the opportunity to have self-guided farm experiences in a very central location on the Sunshine Coast – 15 minutes to Maroochydore, 30 to Noosa, and right next door to attractions like Thrill Hill, the Big Pineapple/Sunshine & Sons (distillery)/the Treetops, Wildlife HQ and 10 minutes to Aussie World or 15 minutes away to Sunshine Plaza.

Everyone loves The Big Pineapple, just minutes away from Sixty6 Acres. Picture: Warren Lynam

“This is essentially self-contained accommodation where you can spend some time on the farm but you can also sample the best of the Sunshine Coast.

“We’ve just got a perfect position in the middle of the Coast. That’s one of the reasons why we pursued (the dream) because there are a lot of cottages, holiday accommodation and farmstays but they’re much further away.

“To have something like this with the space and the animals, 15 minutes to Maroochydore, is just gold.”

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The Pitcher family has lived in Woombye for four generations and Andrew is the son of Sunshine Coast Sporting Hall of Fame inductees and Woombye soccer legends the late Ken Pitcher and his wife Claire, who still lives in the town.

“Dad’s first farm is just over there,” Andrew said.

“In 1957, his whole family went back to the UK and his father left him there as a 17-year-old boy to run a pineapple farm. He was an incredible person and he was the hardest-working bloke I’ve ever seen.

“My mum and dad are always on my mind when I’m here and their links to Woombye are just so deep and so positive.”

Andrew Pitcher surveys work on Sixty6 Acres. Picture: Shirley Sinclair

Naturally, the venture has been a family affair, strengthened further with Andrew’s brother Steven now coming on board.

“He’s been a printer for 38 years. Because we’re so passionate about this, he’s going to come in and help us maximise what we’ve got,” Andrew said.

“He’s a very practical, hands-on sort of bloke. I’m more of a businessperson.

“That also increases the legacy here.

“Jo has done a huge amount of work – she’s marketing, running the systems, she’s housekeeping, she’s done all the setup with an interior designer from Melbourne.

“It really is a family business.”

Now it’s all systems go towards Easter (April 7 to 10) and the school holidays when the Pitchers have fingers crossed for full bookings.

The open-plan design. Picture: Kelli Jean Black @kjb_photographer

The self-contained, two-bedroom architecturally designed farm quarters boast Wi-Fi and all the usual mod-cons you’d expect in the contemporary open-plan kitchen/lounge – also making an ideal choice for, say, family reunions and wedding party accommodation.

Every room seems to bring the outdoors in – including the master bedroom with a free-standing bath where you can always keep an eye on that view.

The look and decor have been carefully curated by stylist Belle Hemming, from the Belle Bright Project.

Guests can choose to do very little except snuggle up near the wood-burning fireplace with a book, or wander up to the creek at dusk or dawn to scan for platypus.

The master bedroom with THAT view. Picture: Kelli Jean Black @kjb_photographer

For something a little more active, the spring-fed lake could be calling your name to jump off the platform or kayak beside the wild local ducks with the equipment provided.

Perhaps take a stroll up to The Stables to pat and feed a menagerie of friendly farm animals.

There’s chooks scratching around outside their Chicken Caravan; Duke and Daisy the miniature English donkeys; gorgeous Bruce, Barney, Hank and Humphrey (he’s the one on the quirky merchandise) the miniature belted galloway steers; and miniature babydoll southdown sheep: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo and Shaun the Sheep-George (of course!).

Native bees arrive this week in the neighbouring agricultural area along the fenceline, while educational signs explain more about the small-scale crops: grapes in the mini winery, citrus, coffee, macadamias and mangoes.

The Pitchers already have planted 2000 native trees on site and plan to add to the local crops, including pineapples, for which the area was once famous.

Or maybe you can see yourself challenging the family on the pitch and putt golf greens before toasting marshmallows around the firepit by the barbecue.

Book through the website at sixty6acres.com (online at major booking platforms soon).

MAKING FARMSTAY MEMORIES

Pictures: Shirley Sinclair (unless otherwise stated)

Picture: Kelli Jean Black @kjb_photographer
Picture: Kelli Jean Black @kjb_photographer

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