There’s always something fascinating about old buildings that have gained a new lease of life. So, when I read about Wyong Milk Factory in our local newspaper, I knew we had to pay it a visit. Although, if truth be told, the focus of the article was actually about the opening of an artisan chocolate shop on the premises. Now, who can resist such temptation on their doorstep?
As you zoom down the Pacific Motorway towards Sydney, you can see the factory tucked away below the security barriers. But the actual access route takes you along country roads, past rural properties and through the bushland. For someone with such a poor sense of direction as myself, and proudly GPS-less, this is slightly alarming; however, we got to our destination without a single wrong turn. Result.
The Milk Factory is home to a variety of small businesses including a bakery, café, cheese shop and, of course, the aforementioned chocolate shop. It’s a funny place, with its sprawling old industrial buildings that hark back to its past as a buttery and milk-bottling plant. And its semi-rural setting is interesting too. The factory is set on the banks of the Wyong River, but in the background there is the ever-present buzz of traffic roaring along the motorway.
We started our visit at Luka. The chocolate shop was set up by a Russian couple who only moved to Australia a few years ago, and who completely retrained as chocolate makers on arrival. The premises incorporates a rather austere space-age café, but the treats on hand add the luxury edge: waffles, ice-cream, real hot chocolate…mmm. A viewing window allows visitors to peek into the preparation zone, although, alas, no chocolates were being made while we were there. But there are dozens of beautiful hand-crafted gems on display for purchase. We escaped rather lightly with a strawberries-and-cream pink heart that Ickle had fallen in love with.
After a little break in the picnic area overlooking the river, we headed for the playground, located just by the main car park entrance. I hadn’t even realised it was there; only a chance meeting with another mum on the day prompted us to check it out. It’s not a huge site, but it is beautifully thought-out and original too, especially the colourful little cubby house wrapped around a tree; the giant pencils also proved a great hit. And we had the whole place to ourselves. Mind you, it was a particularly chilly day.
Our visit ended with a retreat to the Milk Factory café, where we defrosted over a very nice impromptu lunch.