Irene Dairy Farm – ‘where cows milk themselves’

Irene Dairy Farm – a wonderful day out with the family

Gallons and pints - a sign from the a long time ago!
Gallons and pints – a sign from a long time ago! Source: Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse

Irene Dairy Farm, a working dairy farm 45 minutes from Liz at Lancaster, has been in the Van Der Byl family for 5 generations.  In the past people could go to the diary to buy milk but now the farm is opened up as a country destination with 2 restaurants and a shop (where you can still buy milk but not at 45c per gallon!)  It is also now a very popular conference and wedding venue.

Lots of space for children of all ages
Lots of space for children of all ages Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse

The restaurants offer breakfasts and either a buffet lunch at the Barn Restaurant or bistro style food at the Deck. There’s lots of space for children to run around. Parents can relax over their meal while the little ones burn off energy at a fabulous playground which includes climbing equipment, a sandpit, a jumping castle and even some tractors.

Lots to do at the Dairy Farm

Coins into the fountain - small children's idea of heaven
Coins into the fountain – small children’s idea of heaven and it’s all for a good cause Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse
And it's amazing how it all mounts up
And it’s amazing how it all mounts up Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse

They can feed the calves and children love throwing coins in the fountain. It is extraordinary to see just how much these coins amount to monthly.

And best of all, you can go home at the end of the day with a wonderful stash of fresh unpasteurized milk and to-die-for thick yoghurt.  

Cows that milk themselves ….

This is a peaceful rural escape - so close to busy urban life
This is a peaceful rural escape – so close to busy urban life Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse

The ‘upside down’ swans (feeding in the ponds) caused great excitement. And of course the highlight of the day is when they cows come into the diary for milking.

Living naively in some idealized past, I had imagined various milkmen and milkmaids sitting on 3 legged stools squirting steaming foamy milk into buckets. So I was brought back to 21st century mechanized reality when I looked down to see pipes and huge glass containers lined along the walls.

Although the little ones were fascinated by the cows at such close quarters, it didn’t really answer the question ‘Where does milk come from?’.   All we saw were the backs of a whole row of cows that seemed to be swaying slightly in a dazed dreamy slow dance. So I can quite understand why my little grandson assured his parents at the end of the day that the ‘cows milked themselves.’  

Graceful black swans on the pond
Graceful black swans on the pond Source: Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse

After some utterly delectable ice-creams two little boys climbed into the car and fell asleep before we hit the highway. It’s a treat to spend a day at Dairy Farm on Nellmapius Drive in Irene.  The restaurants are open daily and the cows are brought in daily for milking at 2.45. There are loads of other things to do with children these holidays.

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