As I hand back our Diamond Forest Farm Stay Cottage key to our hosts Mark and Kerriann, my son Lewis is presented with a certificate detailing the farm skills he has performed over the past few days. “I think a few more things could have been added to the list, ” I comment with a smile. Mark and Kerriann chuckle and reply, “Yes, he has been one of our more enthusiastic youngsters on the farm stay.”
Getting back in the car with my husband Steve at the steering wheel, it is hard to believe that only five days ago we loaded up the car with a packed suitcase and eski/cooler box filled for a self-catering holiday for a four-night stay at the enjoyable Diamond Forest Farm Stay. This Pemberton farm stay has been a fantastic base to explore the Southern Forests Region and has provided a relaxing getaway for us all.
This is our experience of the Diamond Forest Farm Stay cottages located halfway between Pemberton and Manjimup. Read on to discover if the cottages and all the activities will suit your travel party.
In this Article About Diamond Forest Cottages You Will Learn:
- All about the cottages
- Facilities and activities at Diamond Forest Cottages
- Plan your stay
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Review of the Orchid Cottage at Diamond Forrest Farm Stay
After a four-hour drive south of Perth, following the directions sent in our confirmation email from Diamond Forrest Cottages, we arrive at the farm stay near Pemberton. Our host Kerriann is waiting in reception to greet us and show us to our cottage – the Orchid Cottage.
We pull up on the ochre gravel carpark outside the chocolate timber cottage.
Entering through the front door our eyes are immediately drawn to the wonderful view of the farm and dam from the slate-floored main living areas.
The clean compact modern white kitchen has the best view and is well-equipped. There is a full-size fridge/freezer, four burner gas stove, microwave, all glasses, cutlery, crockery, utensils, saucepans and fry pan. Plus nice additions like an electric frypan, rice cooker, small toaster oven and a coffee plunger. Don’t worry if you forgot to pack some ground coffee as there is a small supply to get you started along with some instant coffee, tea, sugar, salt, and pepper sachets. Diamond Forrest Cottages have even thought to include some extras that many other self-catering cottages don’t like olive oil spray, cling wrap and alfoil.
Located between the kitchen and lounge area is a small wooden dining table with four chairs. The lounge has two teal blue two-seater chairs that face the TV. Being in the country the TV is satellite and therefore you don’t quite get all the stations that are available in the city. If all else fails there is a DVD player and a selection of classic movies that are free of charge to borrow from reception.
Plenty of windows overlook the farm and open up for the cool fresh air. If it does get too hot or cold there is an efficient reverse-cycle air conditioner that blows across the entire living space.
Leading out from the lounge room is a narrow timber balcony that runs the length of the cottage. At one end is a BBQ – perfect to cut down on cleaning up after a meal. It is also the corner of the cottage where I can access the complimentary internet without having to make my way down to the Games Room hot spot.
Midway along the balcony hanging from the roof is a bird feeder, and a bag of seed is provided for each cabin – if you run out you can buy more. The resident cheeky royal blue peacock becomes quite noisy if you don’t provide seed each evening. But try to save some seed for the morning and you may get a glimpse of the exquisite bright blue Splendid Wrens or at the very least the emerald green Twenty-Eight Parrots. At the far end of the timber-railed balcony is a wooden gate – perfect if you have little ones to keep them contained.
There is also another balcony that runs across the front of the cottage, protecting the front door, with an umbrella nearby. At the far end of this balcony is the rubbish bin, recycling bin, broom, mop, dustpan and pegs to hang your washing on the clothesline around the side of the cottage.
Back inside off the small hallway that leads from the front door is the main bedroom. It is quite tight in this room with just a queen size bed, and two bath towels with soaps are laid out. Wooden side tables are located on either side of the walnut brown quilted bed. Two reading light sconces sit just above, which offer great light, perfect as the ceiling fan/light is very muted. There is no storage space and no room to even leave your luggage on the floor.
Across the hall is a very clean bathroom. It has the essentials of a toilet, shower and a narrow vanity basin. Fortunately, there is a little shelving unit in the corner to pop your toiletry kit onto. Just above is a heated towel rail which would be most welcome in winter along with the ceiling heat lamps. Inside the tiny vanity are a hairdryer and spare toilet paper.
Back out off the living area is the second bedroom. There are twin beds made up with the same matching walnut-coloured quilts, and a bath towel is laid at the end of the bed. In our cottage, we also have a trundle bed under one of the singles and an ironing board under the other. Between the two beds is a floor-to-ceiling window providing ample light during the day. At night the ceiling light is muted, a shame there are no reading lights for the kids.
This room is larger than the main bedroom and has a small pine hanging wardrobe. Inside the cupboard are an iron and a pedestal fan which I move to hang our clothes. Meanwhile, at the other end of the room, Lewis has laid out all his shorts and tops across the top of a pine wooden trunk that houses spare pillows and extra blankets.
Top Trip Tip: The wifi is limited so plan your evening TV viewing earlier in the day
Review of the Activities at the Diamond Forest Farm Stay
As begin researching a trip and searching for the right accommodation, not only do I look at the room or cottage, I actually pay more attention to the facilities, activities and amenities an accommodation has to offer. I need to find a place that suits every member of our family; Steve likes to wind down and watch TV, I want the internet and Lewis wants loads of kid-friendly activities. Lewis is now nine years old and has now become a little too old for kids’ clubs but loves swimming pools and games rooms. Finding Pemberton accommodation with a swimming pool is tricky, Pemberton is generally just too cold for swimming. But you can find Pemberton chalets with other activities.
The Diamond Forest Cottages Farm Stay offers plenty of activities to keep us all entertained. The four cottages on the farm stay are spaced nicely apart so that you are not too near any other guests. From the main balcony, all the cottages walk out onto a large expanse of grass. From here you can either make your way through a series of green ticked gates to the dam, walk across the grass to see a large selection of multicoloured Weiro birds and Quails in a large aviary, young kids can climb in the playground and older kids to adults will enjoy the games room.
A timber-lined green shed sits to one corner of the shamrock green grassy lot. Inside the walls offer loads of information about native wildlife. It is also here where you will get the best internet access if you end up like me having to hang off the corner of the balcony and hold your tongue in the right direction to get a signal. But Lewis and I actually came to the games room to play some games. We found air hockey, foosball/soccer table, an old PS1 with a couple of games, some board games to borrow and alarge TV with VHS player with a selction of old VHS movies.
In a small room to the side is a guest laundry.
Outside the games room, life jackets and ores are hanging up for the canoeing on the dam. When Kerriann showed us to our cottage she was very firm that all who went on the dam in the canoes must wear a life jacket and kids must be supervised at all times – although you don’t have to go out in the canoe. There is a lovely shaded area with firepits to sit back and watch over the dam.
Just nearby are the two two-seater orange canoes. The canoes are heavy. We carry one through the black slushy sooty soil that oozes through our toes as we drag one onto the water. But once inside the canoe, we are relatively dry as we push off easily with our ores onto the calm dam waters. It is tranquil gliding about the 3-acre dam with the ducks paddling nearby. The only hiccup is that Lewis and I aren’t very well-matched when it comes to rowing and we do circle a lot. But it is a wonderful calm location to introduce the kids to canoeing.
You can also take the canoes out as well to do some marroning (a small lobster native to Western Australia) out on the dam. Or fish for trout from the dam banks. If you don’t have your own fishing rod you can hire one for the duration of your stay for $10. Mark and Kerriann try to run as a sustainable farm as possible they encourage you to catch and release your fish (this is a free activity). However, should you wish to catch dinner each fish caught is $10.
When joining the hour-and-a-half animal feeding activity at 8 am each morning you will learn more about Mark and Kerriann’s quest to be as sustainable and ethical as possible. Animal feeding begins with the kangaroos. At first, I was saddened to see a kangaroo in captivity. However, Kerriann explained that their kangaroo has been hand-reared by them – its mother was killed by a road train and as a joey this kangaroo was not expected to survive – it had too many injuries. But with nurturing Kerriann saved the young joey, the only consequence is it is now not strong enough to survive in the wild. The bonus is that this is a rare opportunity to get up close to a kangaroo – kangaroos in the wild are too dangerous.
Many of the farm animals are rescue animals, but that is not the only way this Pemberton farm stay tries to do right by the environment. A wheelbarrow filled with scraps from the local Woolworths store is another way Mark and Kerriann try to reduce their fingerprint on the world. Whilst feeding the pigs bread, salad and their favourite potatoes Mark explains. Twice a week he goes to the local Manjimup Woolworths store to collect any fresh foods that are now out of date for sale. This is part of the Oz Harvest program whereby companies are trying to reduce their food waste. This not only saves Mark and Kerriann a substantial amount of money but also reduces landfill.
We continue along the animal feeding tour to the chickens, guinea pigs, and rabbits. We call the ducks down to the dam.
But this is not some basic little farm stay where you just feed ducks and chickens. No, we then make our way around the dam to the donkeys, poneys, goats and alpacas. We move the sheep to another pen, before feeding the horse, bull and steer.
Top Trip Tip: There are loads of things to keep kids entertained but remember it is a working farm, so keep an eye on the little ones
Extra Farm Chores
Whilst we are on this Pemberton farm stay we are fortunate to see the sheep being shorn.
Lewis and another boy staying on the farm stay show some enthusiasm for learning about the farm so Mark takes them on his quad bike to feed the horses hay later in the afternoons. They also join Mark in the tractor to move a fallen tree and check the electric fencing – Mark lets me know he wouldn’t do this with just any kids. The children have to display some interest in farming and also show that they can be a bit responsible.
The kids then help put the animals to bed for the night. Lewis comes in each evening tired yet happy and excited about all that he has achieved.
Upon leaving the Diamond Forest Cottages Farm Stay Lewis declares, “I want to be a farmer!”
Plan Your Stay at Diamond Forrest Farm Stay Cottages
As mentioned Diamond Forest Farm Stay is approximately three and a half to four hours drive from Perth, you may like to check out our road trip travel tips. We broke the drive up with a stop at the Bunbury Farmers Market. A great place to stock up for your BBQ’s with fresh vegetables and fruit along with some great gourmet nibblies.
If you need to hire a car* don’t forget to hire a car seat for the kids as well.
What to Bring
When packing for your Pemberton farm stay you will need to include:
You may also like to add
- Your own pillow – if you’re fussy like me 🙂 But pillows are provided
- A face wash – only bath towels are provided
- Swimming gear and beach towels for the canoeing or other activities in Pemberton
If you are taking the kids:
- Pack these kid’s essentials
- Pack these items for tweens
- Pack these things for a baby or toddler
- Their roads are all gravel so you may like to pack a bike – but scooters won’t be so good.
Places to Eat
Diamond Forest Cottages Farm Stay is located halfway between the towns of Pemberton and Manjimup – each about a 15-minute drive.
The town of Pemberton has about three restaurants of which are only open for dinner for half the week. If you travel further afield there are some wineries that are open daily for lunch. The town of Manjimup is larger and has several more restaurants available. There is also a larger supermarket in Manjimup if you need to stock up for your self-catering Pemberton farm stay.
Just remember you are out in the country of South West Australia, it is not the city with restaurants open all night and it certainly is not as gourmet or upmarket as the Margaret River Region. Yet a road trip down to the Southern Forests region will offer you some stunning scenery, amazing experiences and some wonderful farm stay’s to choose from around Pemberton – like this one at Diamond Forest Cottages.
Things to do in Pemberton and the Southern Forests
Pemberton is located in the Southern Forests region and there is so much awesome natural beauty to see. We discovered these top things to do in Pemberton. We also visited the Valley of the Giants near Walpole.
There are also so some great West Australian tourism websites to get you started with planning a trip down to Pemberton and the Southern Forests region.
Or read one of these great West Australian travel guides*.
Check out all our Western Australia articles including these on the Southern Forests:
- Things to Do in Pemberton
- Southern Forests Attractions
- Valley of the Giants
- Diamond Forest Farm Stay
- RAC Karri Valley Resort: What to expect
One of the cool things about this Pemberton farm stay is that there are pet-friendly accommodation options available as well. But you’ve got to get in early. When I made our booking the pet-friendly cottages were booked out.
But even though we didn’t get to take a furry member of the family we still had a wonderful family stay. Our son loved feeding the animals every morning. We enjoyed the tranquil location and having a go canoeing on the dam plus it is centrally located between Pemberton and Manjimup for lots of exploring.
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