Cows and Co-ops in Maleny

Maleny is an old-time country town that has been transformed into a hub of herbal-hippy artsy-craftyness, its main street full of organic outlets, upmarket bakeries, fancy cafes and home-made soap shops.

Loose drapey clothes, vintage knee-high boots and dreadlocks are now more common than farmers wearing RM Williams boots and check shirts.

Maleny is still surrounded by lush green farmland. But there’s now more bed and breakfast owners than farmers in the region. It’s one of the main towns in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, high above the sunny surfy saltyness of the bronze-bodied beach towns.

The place is a fantastic daytrip from Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast.

Get your cow fix at Maleny Dairies, a family-run farm that dipped its hoof into the tourism market after Australia’s dairy industry was deregulated in 2000.

Farm tours take a bit over an hour and include a hand-milking demonstration, a peek inside the Hilton Henhouse, a poke around the milk shed, a short video and a taste of the farm’s milk, yoghurt and custard.

For a farm buff like me, it’s pure heaven. Emerald green grass (it’s been a wet summer on the Sunshine Coast, after several years of drought), caramel-brown Gurnsey cows, chooks, barbed wire, fence posts, rusty dingo traps, gum boots and trucks. I’m frustrated with my little camera’s inability to capture it all.

After our farm tour, we motor into town for lunch. We choose a local co-op, The Upfront Club.

A knitting club is having a meeting at one of the tables outside the restaurant.

The tiny glass-fronted front room is also full. Another section beside the kitchen is full. We head further back, down the stairs and stake a claim on a long wooden table beside the veggie patch.

Miss M runs over to the doll’s house. Darling Man is entranced by the garden. My Mum finds her slice of heaven in a speedily-delivered latte.

Lunch arrives. The Tuscan chicken salad seems to be the dish of the day, even though the fritatta looks spectacular.

We head home through the drizzle, our heads full of farmyard images.

Here’s my photographic ode to Malaney’s cows and co-ops.

Maleny Dairies
70 McCarthy’s Road, Maleny
Ph: (07) 5494 2392
Call or check their website for tour times

The Upfront Club
31 Maple St, Maleny
Ph: +61 7 5494 2592
Open from 7.30am to late, with music events most nights.


12 years ago

By: Barbara

A career girl who dropped out, traveled, found love, and never got around to going home again. Now wrangling a cross-cultural relationship and two third culture kids.


  1. Laurel says:

    Sounds like such a fun day! My uncle had a dairy farm, but I’m always surprised at how many people have never been to a real farm, what a great opportunity and love that you talked about food as well 🙂
    Laurel recently posted..Standing Stones of Callanish- Scotland

  2. Oh gosh those cows are sweet! I love cows. Whenever I am in Switzerland or Germany I always come home with many pictures of cows.

    That salad looked scrumptious!
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista recently posted..Montmartre a retreat in Paris

    • The Dropout says:

      Those cows were particularly sweet. And the salad was excellent! Australia does great salads but they’re pretty expensive when compared to food prices in Asia.

  3. how WONDERFUL! i’d be in that knit club any day. what beautiful photos – you make me want to be there!
    wandering educators recently posted..Dog Meets World Foto of the Week- Ibo Beach- Haiti

  4. Grace says:

    I love farms!! I especially miss fresh milk in a glass bottle- they somehow make it taste really good.
    Grace recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday- Mexican String Puppet

  5. Mark Wiens says:

    I’m dreaming about a relaxing day at the farm, munching on that herb and garlic feta cheese! It’s been so long since I’ve had cheese… I enjoyed the pictures!
    Mark Wiens recently posted..Secrets to Surviving a Boring Layover in Taipei TPE

  6. Jillian says:

    Looks like a wonderful way to spend a day. I’ve never spent much time on a dairy farm, but the idea of homemade cheese and dairy products sounds romantic. How did Miss M respond to the animals?
    Jillian recently posted..Photo- Kickin’ Back at the Border

    • The Dropout says:

      Miss M is amazingly brave when it comes to animals. From the other side of the fence, she loved the cows, the horse and the chickens. She wanted to be picked up when we went inside the enclosure though.

  7. ayngelina says:

    The food looks divine, and surprisingly sophisticated for the area.
    ayngelina recently posted..Where have all the hippies gone

  8. robin says:

    I’m old enough to remember milk in glass bottles.

    K would be in her element in this place but she would want to take all the animals home with her…
    robin recently posted..Tapestry

  9. Maleny Dairies says:

    Wow, thankyou for coming to visit us at the Dairy and leaving such lovely comments. We are glad you had a great time here.
    It certainly is a beautiful slice of heaven up here. We are so fortunate to have a farm so close to town and only 1/2 hour from the beach or 1 hour from Brisbane. Thanks again. Kay

  10. What a lovely place, and all the wonderful food. Now in Moldova, I can barely find a head of lettuce or any other fresh greens. It’s the season I suppose. Loved all the photos!
    Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane recently posted..Expat in Moldova- Deceived by First Impressions

    • The Dropout says:

      A lack of fresh food does sound dire.
      I am constantly amazed by the quality of the fresh produce here in Singapore, where everything is imported — apples from the U.S., strawberries from Korea, carrots from Australia. Darling Man says the imported Australian stuff is fresher here than in the supermarkets in Australia. It’s crazy!

  11. Spencer says:

    I live near Maleny and actually got married there so I have a great affiliation to the place. It is really beautiful and a great place to while away a couple of hours. The local cafes are pretty good too.
    Spencer recently posted..Today’s Super Hot Hotel Deals for the Dominican Republic!

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