All I had to do was mention the magic words ‘pick our own mandarins/ oranges’ plus ‘ferry’ in the same sentence and my boys were at the door! And our destination…Anderson Farm.
Anderson Farm is on the banks of the Hawkesbury River and is split across Sackville Ferry Road. They have both mandarins and oranges to pick and are the only farm close to Parramatta that do. The others just have one or the other. And in my house when one child loves mandarins and the other oranges, Anderson Farm is just perfect! Mandarins (Imperial, Emperor and Hickson) and oranges (Naval) are available for picking from 9th June until October. And they are open 6 days a week from 10am to 4pm – just CLOSED Fridays! NOTE: As of 15th August, Anderson Farm will ONLY be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday. And they only now have oranges.
My boys and I have visited two years running now and really enjoy picking fruit, chatting to Farmers Ken and Percy and just hanging out on the farm. There is lots of easy to reach fruit for little ones. The challenge is limiting how much they pick!
There were three separate areas of the farm. Which one is open for picking depends on fruit, how many people are out picking and how many helpers the farmers have. There is signage out on the road indicating which area is open.
The area on the right hand side, once you come off the car ferry, had tables and chairs for a picnic. It is also on a little hill so provides a nice view out over the river. The farm area on the right hand side has toilets and access points to the river.
And the last spot, further along on the left hand side has toilets and a large picnic area with tables and chairs.
Plus this is where herd of friendly cows usually are. We loved feeding them spoiled mandarins. Just ask Farmer Ken and he will have a bucket or two handy for the kids to throw/ feed to the cows.
Entry Fee and Prices
There is an entry fee of $5 per adult, kids are free. This fee is mostly charged to cover the cost of wastage. And you can eat all the fruit you want while picking. It is definitely great to try before picking so you only grab the types you like and are ripe.
It is then $10 per bucket, which hold a LOT of oranges and mandarins. Our buckets have generally weighed about 5-7kg. We usually get two buckets. Seems a waste to go all that way for just one. And then have lots of oranges and mandarins to enjoy!
It is best to chat with the farmers before entering the orchards to pick out which fruit is where and what is ripe and how best to pick the fruit.
The farm is open 6 days a week (closed Friday) from 10am till 4pm while the fruit lasts. But it is best to check their website before heading out just to make sure there is still fruit and the farmers aren’t taking a little break.
Sackville Car Ferry
A highlight of the trip is going across the Hawkesbury River on the Sackville car ferry. But you will need to make sure your GPS takes you that way as it likes to avoid it. You just need to travel through Wilberforce, via Sackville Road to catch the car ferry. It may take a little longer (depending on where the ferry is when you arrive) but it is a great added adventure. And my boys loved watching the car ferry going back and forth from within the farm.
Getting to Anderson Farm
Anderson farm is about 45km north of Parramatta. While not the quickest way to get there, we definitely recommend catching the free Sackville car ferry across the Hawkesbury River. To reach it, travel through Wilberforce and then along Sackville Road.
Depending on when you arrive, and how many cars are waiting, you may have to wait about 10mins. Just make sure you choose the route through Wilberforce on your GPS. Mine kept wanting to take me another way and I wouldn’t have heard the end of it if we didn’t go across on the ferry! And we got there a lot quicker than the GPS predicted.
Places of Interest Nearby
On your way to Anderson Farm (if going via the car ferry), you will come through Windsor and Wilberforce. Both are nice spots to stop with kids. In Windsor, there is Macquarie Park with a great playground plus a host of cafes and markets on Sundays. And in Wilberforce, there is the Australiana Pioneer Village, open on Sundays as well as Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the school holidays, that is definitely worth a visit!
Other Pick Your Own Farms
Like fruit picking with your family? Well there is at least one farm open every month to pick your own fruit at. Check out our monthly calendar, or visit some of our other favourites
- Watkins Family Farm – mandarins from May til October in Wisemans Ferry.
- Berrylicious Strawberries – pick your own strawberries usually in spring through to autumn.
- Canoelands Orchard – while best known for its stone fruit (nectarines, peaches and plus), you can also pick tomatoes and eggplants. Plus in a few years, there will be apples, lemons, oranges and mandarins to pick.
- Fords Family Farm – mandarins from May til end June and cumquats through til last weekend of July in Wisemans Ferry.
- Schofields Orange Orchard – oranges from May to October in North Richmond (NOT opening in 2018 for pick your own, just farm gate sales).