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Published January 15th 2012
Please note Rathdowney Alpaca Farm was recently sold and is no longer open to the public.
Take a weekend drive out to the Scenic Rim region and come and visit Sheila and her Alpaca Farm approx 1.5 hours from Brisbane. Alpacas, with their beautiful quiet friendly nature are such a delight to visit. Turn up here at "Triple Peaks' (the property name), and Sheila will take you to meet her 16 x Alpaca herd. You will find her introduction to 'all things alpaca" interesting and informative.
Alpacas have been in Australia 22 years and Sheila was one of the 'first' to bring them into her life 18 years ago to her 41 acre property. With an old fashioned approach Sheila will encourage you to touch, feel and talk to the animals which is fun for both children and adults.
One of them is listening to Sheila lifeinphotos.com.au
We stumbled across Sheila's place while on a road trip towards Mt Barney. We saw the 'Triple Peaks' sign and a neat little shack, thinking it was actually an accommodation place. We drove in to enquire and Sheila came out to greet us,"no accommodation" she said, but let me introduce you to "my alpaca friends". They are so gorgeous and almost dainty.
Sheila also has her 'Alpaca Shack' for Australian made and locally handcrafted garments made from the super fine alpaca fleece. She also hand makes some of the garments herself and will show you bags of Alpaca fleece - it is clean and non greasy. Alpacas are shorn once a year and their fleece is sent to Victoria, where it is turned into yarn.
Alpaca Fleece lifeinphotos.com.au
Shop at the Alpaca Shack lifeinphotos.com.au
While buses and groups turn up as part of a routine tour of the region, Sheila doesn't mind greeting people who drop by and drift in. However, to be sure not to miss out and ensure Sheila is home, you could call before hand on 5544 3272.
In June 2012 after reading this website, we attempted to telephone Rathdowney Alpacas but after getting an answering machine decided to take a gamble and got in our car to drive the 1 1/2 hours. What a wasted effort, although the sign on the gate indicated they were open, we were greeted by a very brusque, off hand owner who said she'd sold her alpacas, leased the property and was going to Italy for a year as she'd been hard at it running the place on her own for the last 20 years. She permitted us to see 4 remaining alpacas which were staying on the property, but we weren't permitted to touch them or get anywhere near them - never received such a "chilly" welcome from any person on the land before. Needless to say we were very disappointed having made the effort to drive so far, offered to pay (declined) and being made to feel thoroughly unwelcome. I'm making this comment to save anyone else wasting their time trying to visit. I'm sure there are far more welcoming and pleasant Alpaca farmers happy to share their knowledge of these beautiful animals with people like us who think they are unique and lovely - Rathdowney Alpacas was VERY bad PR for alpaca farmers.