Freelance writer living on Brisbane's north side. Studied creative industries - currently studying library and information services.
Published August 23rd 2013
Good Family Fun
One of the unique rural towns nestled on the Blackall Range, Maleny is known as the heart of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, in South East Queensland. Located approximately 100kms from Brisbane, Maleny and its fellow neighbours on the Blackall Range; Mapleton, Montville and Flaxton; attract a large influx of tourists and visitors with spectacular views, lush rainforest, national parks, nature walks and reserves, art galleries, exclusive shopping experiences, local and exotic gourmet and homemade foods and, of course, the dairy farms.
Maleny is renowned for dairy farming; I guess that it comes as no surprise that Maleny is home to none other than Maleny Dairies, the family owned and operated dairy company making a stand in the industry. Maleny Dairies is proud of their superior milk products; promoting 'genuine milk' – nothing added or taken away. Maleny Dairies produces quality cow's milk right there on their Maleny farm – from cow to bottle – with no additions or subtractions; making a stand against the controversial milk-waste Permeate.
Maleny Dairies produce a range of different milks and milk-based products – some pasteurised only, some homogenised and pasteurised. You can find full cream, low fat, skim and flavoured milks in Maleny Dairies packaging – plus the award-winning Gold Top Farmer's Choice Guernsey Milk. The Farmer's Choice Gold Top Milk manufactured by Maleny Dairies has won multiple awards at both the Brisbane Exhibition and Sydney Royal Easter Shows. The Gold Top Milk is a rich golden colour high in A2 beta-casein protein; it is pasteurised only and is as close to raw milk as is legally possible to sell. This milk contains four percent cream.
Other Maleny Dairies' products include: Acidophilus Yoghurt (available in natural, strawberry and apricot flavour), custard and cream. Maleny Dairies also used to bottle goat's milk, but have since stopped production – choosing to focus instead on the production of their renowned creamy Guernsey cow's milk.
Recently my partner and I spent some time amongst the country-style towns on the Blackall Range. Whilst we were in the beautiful region, we thought we'd take the opportunity to check out the well-known dairy farm, Maleny Dairies. Doing a little research, we found that Maleny Dairies operates full Farm & Factory Tours all year round. As my partner and I were both pretty keen on the idea, we booked ourselves two spots in the next available tour.
Maleny Dairies conducts full Farm & Factory Tours from Monday to Saturday year round. Offered twice daily, 10:30am and 2:30pm, these tours are led by one of Maleny Dairies' own friendly and informative tour guides and generally last 1.5 hours. Admission costs $9 per person, but young ones under two years of age gain free access. The tour shows the inner workings of Maleny Dairies' farm and factory, and is a great experience for the whole family.
Patting and feeding baby goats (kids) at Maleny Dairies.
1. The tour starts off with a visit to the baby animal pen to pat young calves and kids (of the goat kind, not the human kind) – or 'baby moo moos and baa baas' as one young child eloquently put it. You just have to look at children's faces to know how much they enjoy this; I mean hey, I like patting baby animals too, and I certainly enjoyed patting the calves and kids, but probably not as much as the children that were amongst us on our guided tour. If you're lucky, the guide will also bring out some bottles and allow everyone to take turns in feeding the excitable animals.
2. The guide gives a brief history of the farm, and discusses reasons behind the formation of Maleny Dairies.
3. One of three 'tour cows' (Millie, Sweatpea and Fairybell) is brought over to demonstrate hand-milking. Now, when I said before that children enjoy patting the baby animals, it's nothing compared to this. The children on my tour definitely got a hoot out of hand-milking Millie (our tour cow). They giggled incessantly when warm milk squirted from Millie's teats, taking turns to have a go at it themselves – well, most of them did. Some of the children were happy just standing back to watch.
4. The tour moves down into the heart of the dairy to see where the cows are milked. If you're taking the 2:30pm session (like we did), you'll get to see the actual process. The cows wander through in a line, are milked, and move out in a line – all whilst eating calmly.
5. The tour moves from the dairy into the factory to view the milk and yoghurt processing and packaging/bottling rooms. Learn about why gumboots, hair nets and hats are worn, why gum boots are not to be removed from the premises and why each room is sectioned off from others.
6. View the cold room and dry store.
7. Watch a ten minute film depicting the full process of producing milk – from the cow to the bottle and everything in between. This film also introduces the Hopper family (owners/operators of Maleny Dairies), delivers information on Guernsey cows (Maleny Dairies' cows of choice); including the prize-winning Belladonna; and sheds light on Maleny Dairies' aims and purpose.
8. Taste testing time. The tour ends with a lovely taste testing session. You'll get to try delicious flavoured milks, custard and yoghurts – and you'll definitely be wanting to purchase some from the Maleny Dairies front kiosk when the tour is finished.
1. Bring a camera – you might want to take some cute snaps.
2. Bring an esky – Maleny Dairies offers 12 litres of white milk to each family who take the Farm & Factory Tour.
3. Bring some loose coins – to buy some Maleny Dairies goodies from the kiosk.
4. Pack a picnic or buy lunch from the kiosk then sit down at the tables provided, or lay down a blanket, and have a family feast – enjoying the beautiful views. There's even some play equipment available for the children.
Tours do not operate on:
• Good Friday
• Anzac Day
• Christmas Day
• Boxing Day
• New Years Day
Maleny is approximately an hour and fifteen minutes leisurely drive from Brisbane. Gather up the children (any children will do – yours, your nieces and nephews, the kids from down the street that you baby-sit) and take the trip to experience Maleny Dairies' Farm & Factory Tour. It is great fun for all of the family (yes, adults enjoy themselves too), and educational too. Your kids may even pick up words like 'homogenisation' and 'pasteurisation' – well, maybe.
Maleny Dairies requests that all enquiries and tour bookings be made by phoning their direct line: (07) 5494 3746.