MEET YOUR HOSTS
When a shared dream becomes achievable and a reality.
That’s when the magic begins.
We are Louise and David, your hosts and passionate advocates for sustainable farming and environmental conservation. Please let us share a bit about ourselves and our journey to becoming the custodians of this beautiful property – Highfield Farm & Woodland.
David and I are nature enthusiasts at heart. From the very beginning of our relationship, we bonded over our love for bushwalking. Weekends and holidays were dedicated to exploring the breathtaking National Parks near Sydney. We would venture into the mountains during longer breaks, especially the magnificent Kosciuszko National Park. The areas around Adelong and Tumut always captivated us, and we felt a deep connection to the serene landscapes they offered. During these walks, David’s keen eye for birdwatching and my fascination with botany thrived, keeping us attuned to the wonders of the natural world.
YEARNING FOR MORE
As life progressed, we yearned for more than our city jobs could offer. When an opportunity for voluntary redundancy coincided with the chance to acquire a property with conservation-worthy land, we knew it was time for a change. And so, we bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of Sydney and sought refuge in the embrace of the Snowy Mountains we had grown to love.
Though we may have started as ‘foodies’ with an unwavering appreciation for great-tasting and ethically raised food, we unexpectedly evolved into farmers. Our commitment to the welfare of our animals led us to adopt slow food practices, allowing our livestock to grow at their natural pace and be raised in harmony with their environment. Our low-stress stock handling techniques ensure that the well-being of our animals remains a top priority.
GREENIES AT HEART
Beyond our passion for farming, we secretly consider ourselves ‘greenies’ too. We firmly believe that small-scale farming and environmental conservation can coexist harmoniously. As custodians of of the Woodlands here on Highfield Farm, we are proud to provide a safe haven for rare and endangered bird species, knowing that our efforts contribute to preserving biodiversity.
Our journey here has been quite a transition from our city lives. While I grew up in the southern suburbs of Sydney, exploring the nearby Royal National Park, David was born in the serene bush capital, Canberra. Our academic pursuits took us to different corners of the world, including Melbourne and Cambridge in the UK and various locations in China. Yet, our love for nature and the outdoors remained steadfast throughout our travels.
OUR LABOUR OF LOVE
Highfield Farm & Woodland has been our labour of love since we took over in November 2012. The property’s history was challenging, as it was initially acquired by the NCT to offset vegetation lost due to the Tarcutta bypass construction. The restoration process was significant, with an old fibro house and shearing shed needing care and attention. We faced eroded landscapes, sparse tree coverage, and remnants of an old cattleman’s hut that had been pulled down long ago. But with dedication and perseverance, we’ve turned this once neglected space into a thriving oasis we proudly call home.
We are thrilled to welcome you to Highfield Farm & Woodland, where you can savour the fruits of our sustainable farming practices, immerse yourself in the beauty of the Snowy Mountains, and find solace in the serenity of nature. Come join us in this enchanting journey as we grow, nurture, and protect the land we adore. We can’t wait to share the wonders of Highfield with you!
Louise & David
MAREMMA DOGS – THE GUARDIANS OF HIGHFIELD FARM & WOODLAND
We are Luca & Belle – The two farm dogs at Highfield Farm & Woodland.
Don’t be fooled, though. We are much more than farm dogs; we are Maremmas – faithful guardians with roots tracing back to Italy’s Abruzzese and Maremmano regions. With a heritage deeply ingrained in livestock protection, we are an integral part of our farm’s ecosystem.
Traditionally, our forebears in Italy were entrusted with a vital task – safeguarding livestock from predators as graziers moved their herds to the mountains during summer. Their role went beyond herding; instead, our ancestors fearlessly defended their charges against bears, wild cats, and other potential threats, ensuring the flock’s safety and preventing losses due to predation and theft.
Fortunately, our life on Highfield Farm is more straightforward as we don’t have to defend against bears. However, our Dexter Cattle, Dorper Sheep and Chicken farm charges still need protection, and we take our job seriously.
When it’s lambing season, we care for newborn lambs, standing guard over lost ones and nurturing those abandoned by their mothers. Additionally, this may sound a little yucky, but we play a crucial role in the ecosystem by consuming afterbirths that birthing ewes often leave behind, reducing the attraction of predators such as foxes to vulnerable young lambs.
Our human parents, Louise and David, came across our breed when they had to replace two guardian alpacas that proved ineffective in protecting our livestock. They found a reputable breeder, Scintilli Maremma-Abruzzese Sheepdogs, near Dubbo (our breeder) through intensive research.
Sadly, we are grieving as our head dog Sylvie recently passed away from a short illness. We all loved Sylvie – she was my mentor and guardian when I was a pup and taught me everything. Now, as the head dog, I’m stepping up to train Belle. I hope Sylvie will be proud.
Whether you are just visiting us at Highfield Farm & Woodland or staying in our fabulous little off-grid accommodation – Kestrel Nest EchoHut we look forward to welcoming you.
Luca & Belle
OUR SUSTAINABILITY PROMISE
Highfield Farm & Woodland is a special place where we combine small-scale, ethical, and sustainable farming with the conservation of one of Australia’s critically endangered habitats.
We believe we can farm and enhance the habitat for native birds, animals and plants.
Farming can’t survive without biodiversity. It’s time to tip the balance back towards the environment.
It’s the right thing to do.
Find Us Here
Highfield Farm & Woodland is situated near Tumut, in the Riverina Highlands Region, an easy one-hour drive from Wagga Wagga.