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Cow Cuddling: Why You’ll Be Trying It On Your Next Trip To Cairns

Cow Cuddling: Why You’ll Be Trying It On Your Next Trip To Cairns

When you think of therapeutic holiday experiences your mind may conjure up images of a deep tissue massage on a Thai beach or floating in the otherworldly buoyancy of the Dead Sea. You might not picture yourself lying in a paddock south of Cairns, gently snuggling with a retired dairy cow. But, that’s exactly what the two and four legged staff at Cow Cuddling Co want you to do.

“The therapeutic side is the same as equine therapy,” stated Lawrence from Cow Cuddling Co.

“They have amazing personalities, they are really calming. They are basically dogs. They are big 500kg dogs with a rough cat’s tongue.”

Just a 40 minute drive south of Cairns, Goldsborough is full of lush green farmlands wedged between rippling mountains of rainforest. 929 people call it home as do eight cows which Lawrence rescued four years ago before he knew what he was going to do with them. 

TikTok favourite Milkshake enjoying a cuddle.

“When [my friends] announced they were gonna kill one of them, that’s when I decided to buy them. I felt compelled to buy them and come up with a business idea. Turns out I had been using cows for therapy for years unknowingly!”

Having heard about cow therapy farms, which started in the Netherlands before becoming popular in Europe and the USA, Lawrence realised he had found a way to profit from the cows without selling their milk or meat. 

According to Lawrence, all sorts of people participate in cow cuddling including families with small children and small businesses looking for a fun day out. It can also be a very nostalgic thing for participants, up to a third of whom are former dairy and beef farmers.

“I thought it would be a lot of vegans or vegetarians but I found it’s been a lot of ex-beef and cattle industry people. No one loves cows like people whose whole income and lifestyle have been funded by cows.”

“Old men tell me about their old cows that they miss, it can get quite emotional. I thought I’d get a lot of backlash from farmers but if anything they are my biggest supporters.”

The hardworking staff.

Cow cuddling sessions, which start from $59 for a shared hour and $179 for a private session, are literally what they sound like; you and whoever else is in your sessions spend time with one of eight cows (named Amy, Ella, Holly, Nushi, Sally, Sofia, Milkshake, and Babycino), petting, relaxing, and cuddling. It might seem like something out of a Steiner school excursion but Lawrence insists there is real science behind it.

“The slow heartbeat of the cow slows down the human heart rate and we get a big release of oxytocin which is our socialising chemical. It’s a bit like meditating or going for a quiet walk in the morning.” 

Spreading more positive energy, a portion of revenue goes to COUCH, a local organisation that helps people battling cancer. Additionally, Cow Cuddling Co provide worthwhile employment to people with mental illness or intellectual disabilities who make up the majority of the staff. 

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At the time of writing, all cow cuddling sessions take place between 7-10am to allow the cows enough time to chew their morning cud and graze later in the day. Coincidentally, Lawrence reckons this is the best time to do cow cuddling to get your day off to a relaxed and fulfilled start.

Amy laying down for a therapeutic cuddling session.

“Cow Cuddling is very different to the high-speed activities you get in Cairns. If you have a day where you are going to a waterfall or then a local pub, cafe, or restaurant, come out and give cow cuddling a go at 7-9am. You have this release of oxytocin and you will be very social for the rest of the day.”

Nearby activities that pair well with a morning cow cuddling sesh include taking a cruisy raft or kayak down the Babinda river before a bevvie and a bite at the historic Mountain View Hotel. They have live music and top-shelf gin by 3 Wolves, distilled in Cairns.

Find Cow Cuddling Co on AirBnB Experiences and get a daily dose of bovine goodness on their ultra wholesome TikTok account. Unfortunately, CCC are unable to provide wheelchair access across the uneven ground at this point but hope to in the future. 

Images: Cow Cuddling Co.

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