Freelance writer living on Brisbane's north side. Studied creative industries - currently studying library and information services.
Published August 19th 2013
It's all about Taste
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 who pride themselves on their superior milk products. Maleny Dairies promotes 'genuine milk nothing added, nothing taken away'. Their milk is quality milk produced right there on the farm from cow to bottle with no additions or subtractions; including the controversial Permeate.
The company Maleny Dairies is run by the Hopper family who have been on the farm since 1948, and are now into their third generation of family farmers. Started by Harold Hopper and his wife Dorothy, who set-up shop (so to speak) within the picturesque hills of Maleny, Maleny Dairies has passed to their three children; Ross, Keith and Kay; and even their children's children. On the Maleny Dairies website, Kay Hopper writes that although the Hoppers are such a close-knit family, their staff and friends at Maleny Dairies are family to them, too.
Maleny Dairies produce a range of different milks and milk-based products; full cream, low fat, skim and flavoured milks some pasteurised only, some homogenised and pasteurised Acidophilus Yoghurt (plain, strawberry and apricot), custard and cream. Maleny Dairies used to bottle goat's milk, milking Harold Hopper's large herd of goats, but have since stopped production choosing to focus instead on the production of their renowned creamy Guernsey cow's milk.
The Farmers Choice Gold Top Milk manufactured by Maleny Dairies has won many awards at the Brisbane Exhibition and Sydney Royal Easter Shows. High in A2 beta-casein protein, this milk is pasteurised only and is as close to raw milk as is legally possible to trade. The Gold Top Milk is a rich golden colour due to its high levels of protein, and contains four percent cream.
From Monday to Saturday year-round, Maleny Dairies operates full Farm & Factory Tours. These tours are offered twice daily, at 10:30am and 2:30pm, and are led by one of Maleny Dairies' own friendly and informative tour guides. For $9 per person with children under two years of age gaining free admission it's a great experience for the whole family.
Maleny Dairies' Farm & Factory Tours are guided tours through both the dairy farm and factory; where you can see cows being milked, pat baby farm animals, participate in hand-milking one of the sociable 'tour cows' (Millie, Sweatpea or FairyBell) and learn about both pasteurisation and homogenisation (big words and concepts for children). Children delight in patting and hand-feeding the calves and kids, and those that are keen enjoy hand-milking the 'tour cow'.
During the tour a short (approximately ten minutes) film is shown, depicting the full process of producing milk from the cow to the bottle and everything in between. This film also introduces the Hopper family, delivers information on Guernsey cows (Maleny Dairies' cows of choice) and sheds light on Maleny Dairies' aims and purpose. The tour ends with a taste-testing session of flavoured milks, custard and yoghurts and you'll definitely be wanting to purchase some from the kiosk when the tour is finished. Tours last for approximately 1.5 hours.
If you arrive a little early, or want to stay a little late after your tour is complete, a kiosk is available offering morning teas, lunches and of course, Maleny Dairies' products or you can bring a packed lunch and sit down to a picnic on the green hills. There's even BBQ facilities available. Dining areas can be located in front of the kiosk, as well as a small children's play zone complete with an oversized chess board, just for fun.
As these tours are occasionally booked out with bus or school groups, Maleny Dairies requests that all enquiries and tour bookings be made by phoning their direct line: (07) 5494 3746.
Bonus: Maleny Dairies offers 12 litres of white milk to each family who take the Farm & Factory Tour, free of charge.
Maleny Dairies is located on McCarthy Road, Maleny, just over an hour's drive from Brisbane. If you're planning your next family day trip or you find yourself within the Sunshine Coast or Sunshine Coast Hinterland regions, check out Maleny Dairies and experience the family fun of the Farm & Factory Tour and bring home 12 litres of milky-goodness for everyone to enjoy.