First a bit of background on Maleny Dairies. Maleny Dairies is a family owned premium milk company in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast hinterland. The Hopper family have been on the farm since 1948 and are now in their fourth generation of farmers. I'm sure you've all seen the Maleny Dairies array of products when out and about in various retail outlets, click here to find your local stockist - you're able to get everything from Full Cream Milk to yoghurt to flavoured milk to custard to cream.
Maleny Dairies offer tours of their farm where you will learn the process of milk from the cow to the bottle; feed the animals and watch the tour cow being milked. After this farm tour, you will enjoy complimentary taste testing and discover firsthand why Maleny Dairies have won so many awards. To book a Farm Tour please click here.
On the day we visited though, our aim wasn't the Farm Tour, we had the Tractor Ride in our sights. Yep, this is the other Tour that is on offer at Maleny Dairies. We were taking our three-year-old grandson for a fun ride on a tractor to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Maleny farming area and hopefully get up close and personal with some farm animals.
Luckily, this was our tractor ride - Image: Elaine de Wet
Tractor Rides are available every day of the week except on Sundays and, of course, are subject to weather conditions. There are three ride times every day - 11.30am, 1.00pm and 2.30pm - it's a good idea to call ahead to confirm that the rides are going ahead and perhaps to pre-book (pre-booking is not essential), but it does help the farmers with numbers.
Pay at the Milkbar and get stamped for your Tour - Image: Elaine de Wet
On arrival, there is plenty of parking available on site, we headed to the Maleny Dairies Milkbar to pay for our thirty minute Tractor Ride. The cost for this jaunty ride is $10 per person and FREE for children under two years of age. Visitors then get 'stamped' to ensure there are no gate crashers and we were ready to rollercoast up and down hills, on the bumpy farm roads.
Large chess set to keep the littlies entertained - Image: Elaine de Wet
Whilst waiting for our Tour to begin, there is plenty available for the littlies to keep themselves amused on a large grassed area, with a giant sized Chess set and bouncy toys. Mum and Dad can grab a coffee or munchies at the Milkbar, sit back at one of the many picnic tables set out and enjoy the spectacular lush green surrounds whilst still keeping a beady eye on the antics of the little ones.
I was thrilled to discover that we were only one of two families doing the tractor ride at this time of the day - more room on the tractor for me to move around and attempt to take photos as we bobbed along the farm roads. Once settled on the tractor, off we went.
The tranquillity of Mother Nature - Image: Elaine de Wet
The tractor ride is reminiscent of my childhood days spent wanting to ride every conceivable vehicle on the farm and is really a pleasurable outdoor adventure to participate in. Look out for the ducks on the ponds, the cockatoos flying overhead and the cattle grazing in the lush green fields. What's a dairy farm without cattle?
The mob of Emus rushing to meet us - Image: Elaine de Wet
The farmer/driver was taking us to visit the Emus, who were all eagerly awaiting our arrival - they obviously appreciate being hand-fed by visitors to the farm. We loved watching them squabble between themselves, like teenagers, asserting their position within the hierarchy in their mob. Did you know that a group of Emus is called a mob? Nope, I didn't either, I had to google that one!
Up close and personal with the Emus and cattle - Images: Elaine de Wet
The tractor ride through Maleny Dairies farms is truly a memorable adventure to experience, one to be enjoyed by both the young and the old - and definitely one worthy of a bookmark. Grab yourself a cowbell as a keepsake of a wonderful outdoor outing - the children loved running around and ringing their bells!
Maleny hinterland is truly stunning - Image: Elaine de Wet
If the idea of a Farm or Tractor Ride is not your cup of tea, Maleny Dairies have ample picnic spots and barbecue facilities, so pack a picnic basket and bring the family, it's a great excuse to get out into the wide blue yonder and celebrate the tranquility of Mother Nature at her most serene.
Take a cow bell home as a keepsake of a memorable tractor ride - Image: Elaine de Wet