How a Calen cane farm became a tourist hotspot
NESTLED among the cane paddocks at Calen is a two-storey house surrounded by up to 20 caravans a night.
The working property is Oh Deere Farm Stay, a place tourists go to experience farm life and country tranquillity.
Owner Karinda Anderson said she started the venture with her partner Dale about 18 months ago, inspired by more than 20 years of travel around Australia with their children.
"We used to live in Tasmania, we were intensive crop farmers," Ms Anderson said.
"We only worked … to take our kids on holiday every year for four to six weeks."
Ms Anderson now aims to recreate that experience for their visitors while teaching them about agriculture and supplying food for the nation.
"We're getting 18 to 20 vans a week, sometimes a night" she said.
"They can be in a caravan, a car, tent, camper, fifth-wheeler, big rig - we take the whole lot.
"Or some people just come in their swags."
She said her latest visitors had only anticipated staying two nights but ended up extending their stay to three weeks.
"Their kids cried because they had to leave this morning," she said.
Activities on offer for farmstay visitors include farm tours, cane juicing, the occasional crop burn and feeding the friendly cattle.
There is also an undercover kitchen space, a toilet and shower onsite.
Andrea and Dave Dallinger, in just one of many rave reviews left about the farm stay, said the experience was "highly recommended".
"Karinda and Dale are the best hosts and are keen to offer their home, knowledge and hospitality," they said, adding the homemade scones were "awesome".
To find out more about Oh Deere Farm Stay or to book your visit, phone Karinda on 0419 873 909.
This story was thanks to the My Town series - a Daily Mercury and Mackay Regional Council initiative.
Next up, a Daily Mercury reporter will visit Marian on Tuesday, November 3 alongside a Mackay councillor.
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In the meantime, check out some of the MyTown stories so far:
Calen and Kuttabul: