Somehow, fruit tastes all the sweeter when you eat it fresh from the orchard – the dirt rubbed off on the back of your jeans, the warm juice running down your arm. When it comes to soaking up the sunshine on a Sunday morning, going out to an orchard or berry farm for fruit-picking is a delightful activity to enjoy as a family.
Check out our list of top foraging and harvesting experiences within driving distance from Sydney. The trick is to always check their websites or call before you visit to confirm their spoils are ripe and ready. Some spots will close in the off-season.
Watkins Family Farm, Wiseman’s Ferry
Harvest your own Imperial and Hickson mandarins straight from the tree, then buy them by the bucket. There are also fresh eggs and honey straight from the beehives.
Anderson Orchard, Sackville
Brimming with Navel and Seville oranges, and several varieties of Mandarin, this orchard is open on weekends and Mondays only. Be sure to book ahead and bring cash, as card is not accepted.
When: June to November
Fords Farm, Wiseman’s Ferry
Right on the Hawkesbury River, this citrus orchard offers ‘Pick Your Own’ mandarin sessions. They also grow lemons, oranges and limes ready for purchase, as well as homemade jams. While you’re on the property, stop by to feed the sheep. Entry is $6 per car and picked produce is $15 per bucket.
Ricardoes, Port Macquarie
One of our fruit-picking favourites, you’ll be seeing red at Ricardoes. There are rows and rows of hydroponically-grown tomatoes and strawberries to pick from, which you then purchase by weight. Farm tours are held at 11am on weekdays and there is a café onsite.
Huntley Berry Farm, Mount Canobolas
A bit further afield, past Orange, Huntley Berry Farm is worth the trip. Grab a bucket and sort through eleven types of berries. You can also meet the resident goats, rabbits, chooks and farm dog.
When: mid-November to May
Clyde River Berry Farm, Ulladulla
On the south coast of NSW, it is all about the blueberries. You’ll get a bucket on arrival so you can pick your own.
When: December and January
Canoelands Orchard, Glenorie
Pick your own peaches, nectarines and plums, then take some home for $6 per kilo. Entry to the orchard is $16 per family (2 adults and 2 kids). When you finish your fruit-picking, you can also ride on a Tractor, take a guided farm walk or a guided bee tour. The tours are available from January to October.
When: November/December open daily – check for tomato, citrus and berry harvests occurring through the rest of the year
Allambie Orchard, Wombat
Just south of Young and about 3.5 hours from Sydney, add this orchard to your itinerary on a weekend away. The family-operated farm specialises in cherries, which you can pick yourself for $7.50 per kilo, 7 days a week.
National Cherry Festival, Young
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any sweeter, there is actually an entire celebration dedicated to cherries! The National Cherry Festival is held in Young in December, worth the weekend away.
Pecan Lady, Somersby
Go nuts at Pecan Lady, and stock up for a warm, wintry pecan pie. The team shake the pecans from their trees, gather them up with the harvester and process them by hand. You can be part of the journey at a ‘pick your own pecan’ session during the Harvest Festival, or you can stick around for the weekend with a farm stay onsite.
Kookootonga, Mount Irvine
You’ve probably heard the famous carol about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. There is something equally cosy and idyllic about gathering your own chestnuts and walnuts at Kookootonga. Wear sturdy shoes and bring some gloves so you can go foraging for fallen nuts by the bucketful. All nuts are $10 per kilo.
When: open 7 days a week in the short mid-March to mid-April season
Still haven’t had your fill of chestnuts and walnuts? Waltz on to the aptly named Nutwood Farm, where you can pick your own organic walnuts and chestnuts.
Pinecrest Orchard, Bilpin
Is there a more iconic fruit for fruit-picking than the apple? Bilpin is famous for its apples – which includes juices and ciders. They were hit hard by the 2019 bushfires, so tagging along with an empty esky is a great idea. The apple season starts with Akane and Gala in January and February, through to Granny Smith and Pink Lady in autumn. There is no entry fee, just pay for what you pick!
When: January to March for apples. Around the same time, from December to February, you can harvest peaches and plums and even pears.
Bilpin Fruit Bowl, Bilpin
As the name suggests, apples aren’t the only thing on the fruit-picking menu at this farm. They are definitely the show-stoppers, but you can also pick yellow-fleshed nectarines and peaches.
When: November to May, weekends only
Darkes Glenberie Orchard, Darkes Forest
In the same hands for generations, this family farm has seasonal fruit picking and fgarm tour experiences. Grown ups can taste the apple ciders and honey mead at the Darkes AppleShack.
When: Pick your Own by prior booking