All I have to do is mention the magic words ‘pick our own oranges/ mandarins’ plus ‘car ferry’ in the same sentence and my boys are 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 until recently were the only farm close to Parramatta that did (Canoelands orchard now grows both as well). 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 6th June 2020 until about September. At the moment, they’re only open Saturday to Monday until 20th September 2020. You MUST pre-book via their NEW Facebook page.
My boys and I have visited four years running now and really enjoy picking fruit, chatting to Farmers Ken and Percy and just hanging out on the farm. There’s lots of easy to reach fruit for little ones. The challenge is limiting how much they pick…. don’t be surprised of you have to get another bucket!!
There are 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’s signage out on the road indicating which area is open.
The area on the right hand side, once you come off the car ferry, has tables and chairs for a picnic (though all picnic areas are CLOSED this year due to covid19). It’s also on a little hill so provides a nice view out over the river. The farm area on the left hand side (after getting off the car ferry) 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 (though the picnic area is closed due to covid19). Plus this is where a herd of friendly cows usually are. We love 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. NOTE: sadly we can’t feed the cows in 2020 due to covid19.
There is onsite parking at each picking area. And you can take prams in with you – though it may be a bit bumpy! Also, PLEASE TAKE YOUR RUBBISH WITH YOU! I was so sad to see the mess people were making of the orchard by dropping hand wipes and drink containers all over the ground. Put your rubbish in the bin provided!
Entry Fee and Prices
There’s an entry fee of $5 per adult and kids are free. This fee is mostly charged to cover the cost of wastage, sadly. And you can eat all the fruit you want while picking. It’s definitely great to try before picking so you only grab the types you like and are ripe.
It’s then $10 per bucket for what you pick, which hold a LOT of oranges and mandarins. Our buckets have generally weighed about 5kg. 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’s best to chat with the farmers before entering the orchards to find out which fruit is where and what is ripe and how best to pick the fruit.
The farm re-opened on 6th June and will close on 20th September for the 2020 season. They are open Saturday to Monday and you need to pre-book via their Facebook page.
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’s Governor Phillip Park, a great fenced inclusive playground for young children. Plus Macquarie Park with a small fun playground and ‘beach’ as well as 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!
On the way home, we usually stop for a bite to eat at the quaint Tractor 828 cafe. It’s just after the car ferry heading south and has a cubby house and a few toys for kids to play with. Plus a good amount of outdoor seating which is lovely on a sunny winters day.
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 [closed now for 2020 season] – mandarins on weekends in Wisemans Ferry.
- Berrylicious Strawberries – pick your own strawberries usually in spring through to autumn.
- Canoelands Orchard [closed now for 2020 season] – while best known for its stone fruit (nectarines, peaches and plus), you can also now pick tomatoes, eggplants, mandarins, oranges, lemons and peas.
- Fords Family Farm [closed now for 2020 season] – mandarins on weekends in Wisemans Ferry.