The sign outside had promised good food, good coffee and the exhortation to "Think Barn, think Gifts" so how could we possibly pass by after sighting the collection of charming wire birdcages hanging on a wall?
An imposing statue of a friendly looking dog guarded the entrance to The Barn ...
... and the doormat made the owners' sentiments clear ...
Unfortunately, Molly couldn't accompany us for tea, as strict Australian rules forbid animals on premises where food is served, rightly so I believe, as not every canine visitor is as gentle and ladylike as Miss Molly. The day was cool and we parked under a large tree, so with partly rolled down windows and the promise of a walk afterwards, she agreed to wait in the car.
Inside the cool, rambling barn was a treasure trove of covetable objects from yesteryear and I promised myself a browse after tea.
The food was everything the sign promised and I was introduced to delectable orange and almond cake, something I was happily able to find at many other eateries wherever we visited; obviously a treat as popular as the ubiquitous raisin toast, which we had enjoyed on our previous trip. A glass bottle of icy-cold water and fridge-cool glasses were brought to our table, a practice we particularly welcomed in the warmer, more humid areas we visited. Kieran used the time between the ordering and arrival of food to update his holiday journal, a task he persevered with throughout the journey and which helped to joy my memory when jotting down notes for my blog.
The friendly owners gave permission to take photographs so I wandered around happily while the boys spent some of their pocket money on the first of an extensive, keenly anticipated souvenir collection.
One of the grandsons was interested to hear that cellphones didn't exist during the grandparents' long ago, shrouded-in-dark-mist, childhoods.
As we left the barn, a good luck omen, in the shape of a friendly black cat, strolled up for a cuddle and some admiration.
Molly got her eagerly anticipated walk and a few doggy treats and on we pushed.
The road leads through numerous charming villages with plenty of art and craft galleries, cafes, restaurants, and antique shops, not to mention numerous signs for intriguing guesthouses and B & Bs.
A detour led us to the Baroon Pocket Dam, a place of surpassing peace, with green lawns, picnic places and safe footpaths twisting off into the jungly green depths of the forest. The echoing calls of exotic birds made me wish I hadn't forgotten to bring the bird guidebook Particularly intriguing was the sound of a long, whiplike note which I only identified that evening at our cottage.
A signboard for The Tree Frog Gallery had us making a sudden turn off the road.
The gallery was unfortunately closed but a good photo session made up for this disappointment.
A tree frog made up of Volkswagen parts.
Stained glass offered a fractured collage of inside and out.
This is dairy and wine country so a visit to Maleny Cheese and Yoghurt Factory was imperative.
A colourful cottage garden leading up to the entrance of the cheese factory. Our last visit to Brisbane had been during a particularly bad drought so I'd come to think of the outlying areas as being rather dry and dusty, so it was a revelation to see beautiful gardens everywhere we went.
Inside the deliciously cool building we tasted and purchased unusual speciality cheeses for cocktail hour. I have to say that if you've never tasted Maleny Wasabi Cheese you're missing out on one of the all time cheesy bests!