Preserved as a non-profit community venture, Collingwood Children’s Farm attracts hundreds of families from across Melbourne who seek to expose their children to a country-living experience. The farm offers free tractor and horse rides on the first Sunday of each month, so we parked nearby and joined in the fun.
There's parking close by, and from the crowd already at the farm, it's a popular place to visit.
A string of metal sculptures lead us over a wooden bridge from which we can see the market gardens down below.
On the second Saturday of each month, Collingwood Children's Farm hosts Farmers' Markets where they sell the produce they grow as well as providing space for other local producers.
We pay a small entrance fee ($16 for a family) and look over the map to work out which parts of the farm are the most interesting to us.
Collingwood Children’s Farm was started in 1838 as a way of encouraging city children to learn the ways of working on the land and with animals. Run as a non-profit organisation and supported with the help of many volunteers, the farm still provides a valuable service — not only to children, but to Melbourne as a whole. Collingwood Children’s Farm follows the principles of permaculture and biodynamic production in its daily operations.
We discover the chooks free-ranging around the picnic area, picking up scraps.
We wait for ten minutes for our turn on the hay-ride.
Sitting in the trailer on bales of hay, we are towed around the farm by the tractor. It's a great way to see the full length of the farm and gives an idea of where we want to go next.
A café is serving a popular barbecue lunch, but I'm intrigued by the tiered fence-garden that separates the tables from the walkway below.
We stop to smell the lemon-scented geraniums growing beside a shed.
We don't see a lot of geese during our travels, so this small flock keeps our attention for a while.
Myrtle and Jacob the pigs greet us with alacrity.
While I join the long queue for pony rides, the girls play around the stables. I find it really interesting to be able to watch the interactions of other families, especially within such an urban setting. I saw parents admonish their children for playing in the dirt, another forbid her daughter to climb a small hill lest she fall and scrape her knee, and many that let their children roam and play freely.
The girls peer into the stables at the horses and donkey that reside here full-time.
Brioni finds some loose bricks and starts to build a little house for her toy.
Delaney is taken aback by the interest shown by this huge boar.
When it's finally her turn, Delaney is delighted to be on top of the horse!
Aisha and Brioni both take their turns, but Calista decides she doesn't want to go for a ride.
Delaney and Calista enjoy patting the horse in a quiet moment.
When it's time to return to the bus, the girls race off across the unformed landscape — free-range play in the middle of the city!
I love having the bus nearby. We broke up our visit to Collingwood Children’s Farm by returning to the bus for some food. I’m also thrilled to discover that Melbourne is not only edgy and artistic, organic and natural, but family-friendly too in many ways, like this!