“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” —John Muir
Welcome to our beautiful property, Barkala Farm.
We feel honoured and proud to share with you our knowledge of sustainable practices, nature conservation and land management. We are an organic farm, a provider of unique eco-friendly accommodation and host to many different wildlife species and animals. We carry out these activities, plus more, in the most sustainable ways possible while continuing to improve our relationship with the land. We are excited to share our dreams and passions with you, and hope that by offering a unique farmstay we too can inspire people to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
The development of the property and business began when the Rickert family moved to the outback from Germany. Falling in love with the landscape, Maria and her family wanted to “live here, love here and to try to live in partnership with the natural environment”.
Over the past 30 years we have strived to incorporate innovative and sustainable practices in the different areas of our business and lives. We believe in working with the environment and having a healthy reciprocal relationship with the land on which we live and work. We strive to continuously develop sustainable buildings, power supplies, waste management solutions and fun, interactive activities for our guests.
Our water is mainly from rainfall – clean, pure and chemical-free. We collect it on our rooftops, store it in our tanks (450,000 Litre capacity) and use it for drinking and laundry. It taste beautiful and requires little energy to store and transport. The grey water produced from our laundry is collected and used to water our native gardens. We have a well, a bore and a dozen dams that we use to provide the water for our toilets. Our ‘compostable ’ toilet system is available for our campers and wwoofers and uses the sawdust from our building projects. We provide information and offer our guests the opportunity to partake in our sustainable lifestyle. We invite them to look around our property, guesthouses and greenhouse and encourage feeding of animals with food scraps.
Our electricity is produced by solar power and we have one of the largest privately owned solar systems in Australia. It is clean, green, silent and with the continued improvement in solar technologies, surprisingly powerful and user friendly. For those that are interested in numbers the solar array puts out 27 kilowatts of energy. It is quite marvellous what we can run with this sustainable technology – a cool room, an air conditioner, our pool pump, all of the pottery related machinery, a coffee machine, two laundries, six guesthouses, and a machine workshop.
We grow as much organic food as we can in our greenhouse and gardens. Our chooks and ducks provide us with yummy eggs and our beautiful cow Jemma supplies us with milk that we drink and make into cheese and yoghurt. We bake our own bread using biodynamic products, make our own jams and pickles, and source as much local products as possible. Our licensed restaurant serves local, organic wines and our dinner speciality – wood fired pizza – is fuelled from the scrap timber from our building projects.
All of our buildings are hand built using a variety of local materials including local timber, mud bricks, rammed earth, straw bale, sawdust bricks, stone, and recycled materials. Each building has been designed to include sustainability and unique features. Mud brick keeps the rooms cool in summer and warm in winter. We have also built multiple walking tracks on the property and focus on showcasing the natural beauty of the land and wildlife. Our tracks range from an easy walk to a half day round trip, although some people are more interested in roaming around our various architectural masterpieces than looking at our pottery or bird species! And no wonder – if you tour the “old countries” you will find the same individual feel in the buildings, made by hand using the materials available. We have both an old, yet classic look and feel.
The gardens at Pilliga Pottery are a treat whether it is the lush green summer or the bare boughs of the tortured willows in winter. Of course the Blue Wren Cafe is incorporated into the complex so you can enjoy a snack or full meal (all served on beautiful pieces made onsite). Visiting the pottery is an amazing experience and one you must do every time you visit Coonabarabran.
We have a very practical and user-friendly recycling station. Everything that can be recycled or used for fuel is. Our kitchen scraps are feed to our pigs and the sawdust produced from building projects is used in our compostable toilet systems.