World tourism award for Derwent Valley farmstay

THE Derwent Valley’s Curringa Farm has been congratulated by premier Jeremy Rockliff after receiving a World Agritourism Award last week. Located between Hamilton and Ouse, Curringa is a 300 hectares sheep and cropping farm where owners Tim and Jane Parsons also operate a farm accommodation tourism business.

“Sixth generation Tasmanian farmers, Tim and Jane have transformed Curringa’s humble farm accommodation into nine luxurious cottages,” Mr Rockliff said after the pair was awarded at the World Agri-Tourism Awards in Italy last week.

Mr Parsons was there in person to accept the award which acknowledged their achievements in sustainable entrepreneurship opportunities through agri-tourism. “This global recognition for Tim and Jane again proves Tasmania has what the world wants,” Mr Rockliff said.

The 2024 World Agritourism Awards were held in Bolzano, Italy, from May 16-18, coinciding with World Agritourism Day on May 17. Acknowledging the award, Destination Southern Tasmania chief executive Alex Heroys said agritourism was one of Tasmania’s great strengths. “The opportunity to meet the maker and producer is becoming more difficult in our modern world, and connecting visitors to the land and the food and produce that comes from it, creates an amazing experience.” Mr Heroys said.

“It also supports regional communities and spreads the yield into these important communities. Curringa Farm is a 750 acre working sheep and cropping farm, where Tim Parsons’ parents began farmstay accommodation in 1984 and farm tours in 1989,” he said.

“Tim and Jane have led this agritourism push for over 40 years and now have nine luxurious cottages spaced around the 300-hectare farm that are fully self-contained with private views of the farm, lake and nearby mountains. Guests travel from around the world – many have returned two or three times since and some have revisited five times over a 12-year period.”

Mr Heroys said Mr Parsons had also attended the World Agritourism Congress as a presenter to discuss the Curringa Farm story and in his role as co-chair of the Australia and New Zealand regional committee to the Global Agritourism Network.

Tourism Tasmania chief executive Sarah Clark said travellers were increasingly seeking authentic experiences where they can connect with producers and learn about the heritage of the local products. “We’re so lucky in Tasmania that many of our agritourism offerings are boutique experiences, with multigenerational family-run businesses like Curringa Farm creating unique opportunities for visitors to engage with and learn about the history of their produce and land,” Ms Clark said.

“Curringa Farm tours are suitable for adults and children with a focus on modern day best practice farming and conservation activities. The tour includes a sheep shearing demonstration and watching the farm dogs rounding up several hundred sheep. Overnight guests, who book a tour, travel around on the farm bus to see niche seed crops that are exported to European countries, Japan and North America. Animal feeding of highland cows, alpacas and chickens are also enjoyed by young and old.”

Mr Heroys said Curringa Farm had won Tasmanian’s Best Tourism Attraction in 2018 and national awards in 2014-16 for hosted accommodation. “Currently, there is a lot of focus on the final product or the ‘plate’ end of ‘paddock to plate’,” he said. “Tim and Jane’s aim is to celebrate and honour the ‘paddock’ end of this journey by farmers who have grown food and fibre for generations and are often unrecognised for these efforts by the urban community who depend on these staples for survival.”

Picture: Tim Parsons receiving Curringa Farm’s world tourism award in Italy last week.

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