Do guinea pigs make your kids squeal with delight? Do they love things that go ‘moo’, ‘baa’ and ‘quack’? The Collingwood Children’s Farm is a little more easterly than our usual destinations, but, with animals great and small, plus a cafe, we think it’s well worth the trip across the river. In fact, one of my strongest memories of childhood was visiting this farm and watching a chicken lay an egg. It was truly magical to see. 20-odd years later I still had such a great time at the Farm feeding the pigs and horses that I can’t wait to return – child or no!
We visited on a quiet Monday, and found that one of the nicest things about the Farm is the feeling that you’ve left the city, and in fact, the modern world, far behind. All you hear are the clucks of chickens, the moos of cows, and the excited chattering of children meeting all the farmyard animals. Entry is very affordable ($16 for families, or $8 for adults and $4 for children), especially when you can spend all day in the fresh air getting to know the animals or playing in the open fields – sure beats sitting in a cinema for two hours!
You can meet the beautiful Anglo Nubian goats, with their long, soft ears and funny eyes, and give the donkey Mickie a scratch on the neck. We listened out for the donkey’s ‘hee-haw’, which delights my daughter during our renditions of ‘Old MacDonald’. It was great to see that old farmer’s animals in the flesh!
Perhaps one of the best experiences on offer at the Farm is milking Heather the Ayrshire cow. She is a member of an old Scottish breed renowned for their gentle and quiet behaviour, so even inexperienced adults and children can have a go. On our visit we were lucky enough to see the brand new piglets and cuddle a guinea pig or two.
My daughter loved the ducks, as they stood just about as tall as her, and weren’t afraid to go about their daily business while she watched on. There are also chickens, ponies, sheep, geese, cats, bees and pigs.
Don’t forget to take the kids to the ‘look-out’ points along the boardwalk near the entry, where they can gaze out over the farm and see where the crops are grown. You can also take them through the vegetable garden, bottle-feed lambs (seasonal), help with farm chores, go into the paddocks with the sheep and goats, feed the chickens, look for eggs or just sit and unwind under a shady tree or on the banks of the Yarra River.
Lentil As Anything, the amazing vegetarian ‘pay as you feel’ restaurant, is right next door in the Abbotsford Convent, so you’ll leave with a full belly as well as happy kids!
And guess what? The Collingwood Children’s Farm also hosts kids’ parties! While you can invite your group to meet informally at the farm for a birthday, there is also a hosted party options at $150 for the first 8 children, and $6 per additional child (adult carers are free, and all other adults are $6 per head). Kids will be able to have a pony or tractor hay ride and milk the cow: hosted by your own friendly farmer. Visit www.farm.org.au for more details and to book.
The Collingwood Children’s Farm is open every day from 9:15am to 4:45pm.
18 St Heliers Street,
Abbotsford, VIC, 3067
Keep in mind the following activities:
Family Day (first Sunday of each month)
Pony Rides (10:30am – 2:00pm, not on school holidays or during Term 3)
Tractor rides (10:30am – 2:30pm)
Guinea pig cuddles (11:45am – 12:15pm, 1:30pm – 2:15pm and 3:15pm – 3:45pm)
Help milk the cow at 10:00am and 4:00pm.
Affordable BBQ lunch starts at 11:30am until sold out.
Farmers’ Market (second Saturday of each month)
On the Second Saturday of each month, visit the farmers’ market, recently voted Australia’s favourite!