The hinterland of the Sunshine Coast is known as the calm behind the coast. It features far-reaching mountain ranges, tumbling valleys of emerald green, lush rainforests, paddocks spotted with dairy cows, pineapple farms that cross-hatch the earth and the ancient, monolithic Glass House Mountains.
is a community-driven town where hippies, retirees and young families co-exist harmoniously within an idyllic rural setting. There is a superb selection of boutique, entrepreneurial farms that produce milk, cheeses, ice creams, marinades and exotic vegetables to supply the town’s restaurants and eateries as well as the international and national food circuit. Maleny
has a thriving arts community with a buzzing co-operative owned restaurant that supports original music by local, national and international artists and a film society that hosts art house movies in the community hall.
If you love your Sunday driving, whether its motorbike or car, the Blackall Range
has a plethora of winding mountain drives. Mountain View Road in Maleny offers one of the best vantage points to appreciate the Glass House Mountains
. Local tip: Make sure you stop at Mary Cairncross Reserve to take your happy snaps and wander through the rainforest. Another popular drive is the Blackall Range Tourist Drive that sweeps along the escarpment, drinking in far-reaching coastal views and skipping between mountain villages.
Montville is a quaint mountain village with a blend of Tudor, English, Irish and colonial Queenslander cottages. The hillside town has a flourishing shopping precinct where visitors can purchase a vast array of items from homemade fudge to cuckoo clocks to antiques to craft. Supporting the town is a network of bed and breakfasts and its very own vineyard.
Mapleton is the most northern village along Blackall Range and is the gateway town to the Mapleton Forest Reserve and Mapleton Falls National Park (both are popular amongst walkers) and the lush Obi Valley. Mapleton has a pocketful of businesses including a deli, second-hand bookshop, antique shop and a Queenslander-style pub.
The Blackall Range is home to Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk, a 58km walk through some of the hinterland’s most spectacular natural regions including tropical rainforest, open eucalypt forests and cascading waterfalls.
The Glass House Mountains
is a family of volcanic mountains that are a magnificent, awe-inspiring sight rising out of the earth scattered between pineapple fields, pine forest and cultivation. The five mountains sit within the Glass House Mountains Conservation Park
and offer visitors a variety of activties from walks, picnic areas, rock climbing or abseiling
. The towns that sit in the shadows of the imposing mountains are Glass House Mountains, Beerwah, Beerburrum, Peachester and Landsborough.
SECRETS ONLY A LOCAL WOULD KNOW
- For horse riders Ewen Maddock Dam is one of the most picturesque riding trails on the Sunshine Coast. Unload the horses at the end of Gympie Street North and stick to the well-marked trails. The riding track snakes you in, around and across the dam and there are a couple of sneaky jumps here and there. If you don’t have a horse, these trails are ideal for biking or walking.
salt has been told that bass fishing is the most popular type of fishing on the planet and luckily the Sunshine Coast has two hot spots. One is Ewen Maddock Dam which is well stocked with Australian bass as well as yellowbelly, saratoga and spangled perch. Fishing is restricted to bank angling, paddle canoes, kayaks and boats. The other alternative is Lake Borumba at Borumba Dam, which is a perfect setting to fly fish for bass and we’re told by the experts to try your hand at some diving lures, jigs and spinner baits.
- For all mountain biking enthusiasts, you simply can’t pedal past the Mapleton Forest Reserve.
- Panoramic views of the Sunshine Coast will greet you as you reach the top of Wild Horse Mountain. Sitting high between Caloundra and Bribie Island, Wild Horse Mountain Lookout is the place to breathe in the late afternoon colours as you watch the sun rest its head behind the spectacular Glass House Mountains. Take the Wild Horse Mountain exit off the Bruce Hwy.
- For a picture-perfect shot of the Glass House Mountains and the farmland at their feet that you won’t find on a postcard, take a drive up Old Peachester Road, Beerwah. Enjoy the rural setting and a few hundred metres from the turnoff Peachester Road, look left towards the mountains. Cast your eyes over the pineapples in rows and admire the old, imperfect peaks.
- Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve comprises 55 hectares of pristine subtropical rainforest overlooking the Glass House Mountains. A remnant of the rainforests that once covered the Blackall Range, the reserve is a living museum of diverse plant and animal life, which promises to delight with its tranquillity and beauty. There is a well-signed walking track that weaves visitors through the lush reserve.
- Lake Baroon is the main source of water for Caloundra and Maroochydore and is a lovely freshwater destination positioned between Maleny and Montville. Spend a day in the picnic area with sheltered tables and barbecues while you swim, fish, sail and canoe. For anglers the lake is stocked with a variety of species including bass and golden perch.
- If you have small kids, a dog, or both, the Maleny Showgrounds Boardwalk is a great spot. Starting at the showgrounds and finishing on Coral Street, the 20-minute stroll sticks to a path cocooned by Australian native plants.
- To feel a hint of the Sunshine Coast as it once was, a trip out bush to Mapleton National Park is well worth the time. With top views of Mapleton falls and the perfect Obi Obi Valley, this small but significant remnant of the forest once covered the whole hinterland.
- A beaut little camping spot in the cool Sunny Coast hinterland is at Coochin Creek, east of Beerwah. The shady cool spot has great tent and caravan sites, picnic tables and a terrific swimming hole.
The Maleny Film Society has a following as large as its library of foreign films. Salt can’t decided whether its popularity is because of its delicious gourmet dinner served before screening, the red wine that you can sip while watching the film or the carefully selected art house films that originate from Russia to France to Germany. The society screens films every fortnight in the community centre, in Maple Street. malenfilmsociety.info
or 5494 2882.
The Upfront Club, positioned in the middle of Maple Street in Maleny, is the throbbing heart for live music in the mountain town. On any given Friday or Saturday night there will be live music seeping onto the street and Monday nights are dedicated to the musicians’ blackboard. Budding musicians have centre stage for 15 minutes to peddle their artistic wares. upfrontclub.org
Join fellow local jazz lovers for a Saturday afternoon session of great line-ups, scrumptious food and wine at Le Jazz Club. This toe-tapping event is held weekly at the friendly Woombye Pub from 1pm to 4pm and has been known to feature artists including the Sue Bond Jazz Quintet, Canta La Tumba and Ingrid James. 3-5 Blackall Street, Woombye. thewoombyepub.com.au
Uncooking classes. Sound interesting? That’s because they are! The lovely people behind Kind Living Café in Maleny have created a one-day cooking class where you can learn to make meals from raw foods. For $120, you will be taught step-by-step how to cook a three-course meal with raw alternatives. And the best bit? You get to eat the rewards. 23 Maple Street, Maleny. kindlivingcafe.com
The rambling Old Koala service station in Maleny has changed owners and been reborn as the Maleny Marketplace. The cuddly koala painted on the building’s facade was preserved, whilst everything else was given a substantial and much-needed makeover. Massive bush timber tables and long benches at the entrance invite people to linger over a cuppa. Inside is a spacious gallery, café, workshop area and performance space. Retro bicycles share the floor with local artworks, rustic bush timber furniture, organic bedding, jewellery, home cooked treats and artisan-crafted guitars. It’s the vision of Blessed Earth owner, Raithe Handiman, who has managed to create an earthy, inviting and unique space at the neglected top part of town. It looks set to become an iconic addition to Maleny’s streetscape. 55 Maple Street, Maleny. 5435 3493.
- Remember old-style country hall dances where the outside world melted away and nothing mattered except the organic mix of music, home-style food, friends and a whole lot of dancing? If so, you’ll be thrilled with this discovery and if not, it’s time to lean in. Started 24 years ago, the Full Moon Dance party is going stronger than ever thanks to a line-up of quality touring musicians. You’ll need to keep your eye out for date and line-up announcements around the time of the full moon (follow Full Moon Dance on Facebook) and ticket sales are at the door only. Hats off to the locals for keeping this secret so long. Verrierdale Hall, Verrierdale Road, off Dean Road, Verrierdale.
- The raw food movement is in full swing on the Sunshine Coast and if you haven’t already introduced your tastebuds to the world of live food then It’s Rawesome! Cafe is just the place to do it. The freshly made vegetarian cuisine is “un-cooked” in a way that helps it maintain the maximum amount of nutrients in the food. Food that’s healthy and bursting with flavour? We’re sold. 522 Petrie Creek Road, Rosemount. 5641 1800.
Got a dooverlackie or a thingamabob that needs fixing? Don’t throw it away! Take it along to the Maleny Fixit Café and for a donation of about $5 a local volunteer will fix it, show you how it can be fixed or refer you to someone who can fix it. Modelled on the repair cafes of Europe and the United States, the Maleny Fixit Café began last November and is the first of its kind in Australia. To date they’ve fixed bikes, clothes, clocks, electrical goods and even a rain stick. It’s held every second Thursday from 10am to 2pm at the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre, which also offers a community lunch on the same day. There’s coffee and tea available for a gold coin donation, and a nourishing chat for free. Contact Maleny Fixit Café Facebook page or Maleny Neighbourhood Centre. 5499 9345.
Palmwoods is the place to be on a Friday night, with a trio of like-minded storeowners banding together to create The Lane. The space starts with Homegrown Cafe at the front. The Pantry at the back sells locally-sourced kitchen staples. And The Shed sells vintage and new clothing, books, deli goods and freshly roasted coffee. The focus is on local, with farmers given the opportunity to sell their organic harvest by renting a box. Under cute floral bunting and colourful lights, street food, freshly roasted coffee and delectable desserts are served every Friday evening, offering a cosy spot for shoppers to sit, mingle or stock up on fresh organic local produce. 4 Main Street, Palmwoods.
If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise! An enchanted park smack bang in the middle of Maleny – a little tricky to find but worth the effort. From the back of the Maleny library, simply turn right and follow a meandering path along the trickling Obi Obi Creek for several hundred metres. Get the kids to search for tiny silver geckos along the way. As the path turns left it opens out to a generous English-styled green, complete with quaint gazebo and park benches and surrounded by a circle of towering trees following the creek as it bends. It’s a spot we can imagine sprinkled with fluttering birthday banners, a lunchtime cricket match or romantic lanterns at dusk ... the choice is yours.
Hidden away behind the building that houses Colin James Fine Foods and the Upfront Club in Maleny is a very special place – a beautiful children’s community garden, flourishing on what once was a scrappy, vacant block of land. Local parents bring their children along each week to learn how to grow vegetables and it hasn’t taken long for the garden to become a community hub. The edible garden has been created by a team of community volunteers led by locals Kate and Madhu Kazony, with sponsorship by local businesses and organisations. Visitors can buy seedlings and homegrown produce straight from the ground, and if there’s no one around when you visit, just pop some coins into the honesty box. For more information call Kate 0468 428 190 or Madhu 0468 434 972.
he first Saturday of every month is songwriters open mic at Yandina creative space The Shared. It’s a packed-out family-friendly event where all ages gather to hear local talent impress with their vocal and musical abilities. The listening space attracts novice and seasoned singer/songwriters alike due to the supportive and sympathetic audience where it’s all about supporting the performance – no matter what level they’re at. The Shared also supports a coffee shop, school of photography, exhibitions and free movie screenings, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their website. theshared.com.au 13 Railway Street, Yandina.
Bonjour francophiles! We’ve discovered a delightful, enchanting patch of countryside France in the moss green hills of Maleny. It goes by the name of Le Jardin and salt recommends scheduling a couple of hours soaking up the ambiance of this charming nursery, homewares emporium and eatery. Your taste buds will lead you directly to the French cafe to choose between homemade delights like apple strudel and petite mixed berry brulee paired with a creamy organic coffee. Then it’s time to stroll through the rambling nursery, which has a wide range of magnolias, camellias, old world roses, herbs and many other cottage garden blooms. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. 34 Mountain View Road, Maleny. lejardingarden.com.au
If you have a train enthusiast within your ranks they’re going to go choo-choo over this salt secret. On the fourth Sunday of each month the Sunshine Coast Railway Modeller’s society holds a miniature steam train day from 10am to 3pm. Kids of all ages (and parents too) love sitting astride the miniature steam trains as they cruise along rickety tracks under bridges, alongside the creek and through the trees. Florence Street, Nambour.
Tucked behind the main street of the chocolate-box village of Montville is the charming and sprawling Russel Family Park. It’s not a park that you would necessarily stumble upon when walking the cobbled streets of Montville and it’s recently received a facelift. The pea green lawns, ancient trees, duck ponds and lakes scream spring picnic spot. If you have restless kids who need to stretch their legs they can explore this English-style park with abandon.
Kids and teens
looking for something fun to do on a Friday night can thank their lucky stars for the Laidback Cinema held once a month at Maleny Community Centre. Families and friends sprawl across the floor, getting cosy with cushions, beanbags and their favourite blankies to catch recently released big screen family films. You can pre-book one of 20 loungemats or BYO cushions. Or if vertical viewing is more your style, there are 45 chairs at the back of the cinema. Snacks, hot food and drinks are available and there are always plenty of tickets at the door. The first session is at 5.30pm for the littlies and the second at 7.30pm for older children and teenagers. Tickets from $5. Check the Laidback Cinema Facebook page for more details. 23 Maple Street, Maleny.
Fancy a scavenger hunt
? Nambour is a mecca for nifty thrift stores and funky op shops. Rummage through the racks, shelves and baskets full of pre-loved goodies and you’ll be sure to discover your very own treasures. All the stores are centrally located in or near Nambour’s main street, so why not make a day of it? Not only will you go home with something you love, you will also be helping various charity organisations along the way. Our favourites? Margie’s Place, Hospice Shop, Bloomhill Op Shop, Endeavour Op Shop and Lifeline.
TO MARKET TO MARKET
- Artists on the Green – held every second Saturday – Montville Village Green
- Maleny Handcrafts Market – held every Sunday – Community Hall, Maleny
- Beerwah Market – held on the first Sunday of each month – Woolworths Car Park, Beerwah
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