Downpour turns Farmstay paddocks green for Easter
IN THE past two weeks, Alkoomi Adventure Farm at Marmor has had more rain than it has had in the previous two and a half years.
On Friday afternoon a black cloud which was only about 2km wide opened up and poured down 143mm down in just two hours.
"At 4.30pm I picked up the kids from the school bus and it had just started, by 6.30pm the dams were full," owner Dave Farrell said.
Neighbours three kilometres to the south only got 18mm.
"Just one little cloud sat right on top of us and just dumped a bucket load," Mr Farrell said.
They were also lucky to get 80mm the week before - but prior to that in the past couple of years their biggest rainfall was 11mm. It was so dry, Mr Farell and his wife Becc sold off all their cattle in October.
"We'd missed it before that, everyone else was getting rain and we were missing it and missing it," Mr Farrell said.
"You're gambling against mother nature and she always wins."
Luckily, they have underground water and Mr Farrell has since put in two bores.
"The bores are fulltime to keep the house area green, I wouldn't have bought it if there wasn't guaranteed water underground," he said.
"We had 90,000 litres of rainwater and it got down to the last rim.
"If that rainwater ran out and we didn't have bores, we'd be gone, you'd have to go to town, there'd be no water."
The Farrells bought the Old Coach Rd property about five years ago, a goal they had always aspired to after managing other properties and working in the mines.
Two years in, they decided to diversify. At first they offered a five day course for backpackers to get them used to working out west.
Then they went into the adventure tourism side of things - and it's taken off.
"We always had a dream to buy a little cattle farm for ourselves, we knew we had to diversify one day, just a crazy idea to do a tourism venture one day," Mr Farrell said.
"There wasn't enough money, this size block with the cattle you can do, not enough money to make a living, with the cattle and tourism it will make enough."
Alkoomi offers camping sites and cabins.
Guests are able to take part in all the farm activities and there is also horse riding and motorbike/quad riding.
The rain has filled up the fresh water dam in time for the Easter guests to go fishing, as Mr Farrell plans to stock it, along with swimming and kayaking. The latest addition and a favourite with guests is the sunset tour in the old school chuckwagon.
"I don't know if we will ever stop, we just keep adding little things into the tourism for them to see and do," Mr Farrell said.
Most of the guests come off the highway and call in on their way through, along with some from Rockhampton, Gladstone and Yeppoon. About 70 per cent of guests are German and Mr Farrell said they were always absolutely amazed at the place.
The farm is well known, with guests describing it as "one of the best campgrounds on the east coast".
"A lot of people are used to free camps on the side of a road, out the back of the pub…. There is not a lot of these sort of camping areas along the coast at all, none that offer what we do. 90 per cent of people say they feel relaxed and calm straight away when they get here," Mr Farrell said.