Set under tall, shady gums by the Stevenson River (which flows all the way from Stevenson Falls and helps maintain the fresh water in the ponds), Buxton Trout Farm offers as much or as little excitement as you wish. Sit back on the lush green lawn and watch the kids try their lack or strap in for some more fun in the larger ponds. If you’re feeling patient, or just want to test your skills, the challenge pond is where you want to be!
ABOUT THE FARM
Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm is Australia’s first trout farm, and they have been bred here for over 50 years. The gravity-fed water supply originates from the snowfields of Lake Mountain before cascading down Stevensons Falls and through its streams. For those concerned about chemicals and processed products being fed to the fish, there are absolutely none used on this farm.
The farm’s current owner, Mitch MacRae, and his wife Deb have been here since 1988, and take great pride in overseeing all aspects of the operation. It is a fully self sufficient farm, from breeding, hatching, growing, processing and value adding, and they distribute through wholesale fish markets throughout the country, as well as to many local restaurants and wineries, some of which we have visited already. Mountain Ash Smoked Trout and Hand-Milked Caviar are their two specialty products, and it’s not hard to see why. While Susie couldn’t stomach a visit to the smoking room, having been full vegetarian up until only 18 months ago, their smoked trout are cooked over a mountain ash fire in a traditional method, and Mitch proudly advises that they are considered by many chefs to be the best in Australia. They can smoke up to 200kg or 600 fish in around 5 hours.
[quote]It’s a great experience to see kids catching their first fish here and now they’re coming back 30 years later with their kids so it’s nice to see the trend continue.
– Mitch MacRae, Owner[/quote]
Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for kids (under 5 years are free). This includes all rods, bait and bucket.
The pricing for their fish is also very reasonable, though keep in mind, if you catch a big one, it’s pay per kilo!
Rainbow Trout – $15.90/kg
Atlantic Salmon – $24.00/kg
The staff are more than happy to gut and gill your fish, as well as pack it on ice at no extra charge, or if you bring your own utensils you are more than welcome to use the free BBQ facilities onsite. You really can’t get much fresher than that!
The variety of different ponds and sizes includes:
- large trout (500g -3kg)
- medium trout (300g-500g)
- salmon pond (1kg-4kg)
- challenge lake (lightly stocked).
All fish caught must be paid for as they do not allow ‘Catch and Release’ for the sake of the fish. It not only harms the fish but leaves someone else with the chance of a damaged fish, and we personally applaud the farm for this.
The farm’s range of products includes:
- Rainbow Trout
- Atlantic Salmon
- Mountain Ash Smoked Trout
- Hand-Milked Caviar
- Smoked Trout Pate
- Live Trout Fingerlings.
The Farm offers a unique feature in that you can take your catch to the Buxton Hotel (only 500m down the road) and they will cook your catch and serve it with a side of chips & salad or vegies! Available during lunch (12pm – 2pm) and dinner (6pm-8pm). There is wheel-chair access, and if you have your four-legged friend with you, they are also welcome as long as you chain them up and clean up after them. You are also welcome to bring your own rods if you wish.
We thoroughly enjoyed our behind-the-scenes look at how the farm is run, and were quite impressed at all the thought and detail that has gone into it, as well as the daily work required. When strolling past the ponds, it’s hard to imagine just how many fish there are beneath the waterline – but throw in a handful of the pellets provided by our guide, and the water just explodes! Every fish competes for a bite of food and it’s quite an experience to watch! We spent a good few hours here and it’s the sort of place where you could spend a very lazy day out on a picnic with the family.