Blackall Range Tourist Drive

Blackall Range Tourist Drive

Download the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Blackall Range Drive touring map here

Arguably the most scenic of Sunshine Coast drives is the Blackall Range Hinterland drive. The road takes you through a number of quiet little townships nestled up in the mountains, enjoying phenomenal views of the valleys below and the coast off in the distance. On a clear day you can even see as far as Bribie and Moreton Islands just off the coast.

Rising up over 500 metres above sea level the hinterland air is cooler, the grass is greener and the local produce is fresh and tasty. There are plenty of places to visit including art galleries, boutique wineries, cafes & restaurants, rainforest walks, markets and you’ll even find a traditional cheese factory where you can taste flavoursome cheeses made right in front of you.

The Blackall Ranges was named over 150 years ago as European colonialists from the southern states made their way north in search of gold. Cobb & Co, started services in 1868, which helped open up the region, with Yandina as the staging post. In fact, Yandina first released land parcels in 1868 and the Yandina Post Office was the first to be opened between Brisbane and Gympie.

While initially, the region was largely a thoroughfare for travellers heading to the Gympie gold mines, the rich volcanic soils, sub-tropical climate, and vast agricultural potential saw small villages established, which maintain their rustic charm today.

With its views, natural environment and laid-back lifestyle, the Hinterland has become a popular tourist destination providing accommodation, restaurants, art galleries and specialty shops. It is one of Australia’s premier wedding destinations.

Nature is at the heart of the region’s attractions. The Blackall and Bunya Mountains ranges are the only two locations where the bunya pine species of tree is found naturally.

Activities by community groups with the support of the Queensland Government succeeded in recognising the Blackall Range with iconic status, meaning the area is given greater environmental protection. In mid-2008, iconic status was confirmed, making the Blackall Range the third such declaration in Queensland after Noosa and Port Douglas.

One of Queensland’s most spectacular drives – the Blackall Range Drive
 

The Blackall Range dominates the hinterland area of the Sunshine Coast, west of Nambour. Maleny, Mapleton, Montville and Flaxton are the main settlements located on the range. The Stanley River rises from the southern slopes. Baroon Pocket Dam is a reservoir on Obi Obi Creek which drains the north west slopes of the range.

The route is 55km in length, but with plenty of side diversions along the way.

Start your journey by taking the turn off to LANDSBOROUGH. Take Maleny Street, which turns into Landsborough Maleny Road.

You’re going to explore the “Three Ms” – Maleny, Montville and Mapleton.

But along the way, stop off for some of the most scenic views from the Range to the Coast.

Take the drive up to the Hinterland’s largest town, Maleny.

Maleny

https://www.visitsunshinecoast.com/things-to-do-in-Maleny

Located high in the Blackall Range, about 30 kilometres south west of Caloundra, Maleny is renowned for its lush environs and numerous scenic spotsIf you need an excuse to get away, check out our hit list of Maleny must-dos and discover a world of spectacular natural wonders, sensational food and produce and charming places to stay. Get your copy of the Maleny Trail map here. (Thanks to Trip Tick Tourism for the use of this map.)

Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World

Meander through some of the most exquisite gardens in Queensland featuring a panorama of waterfalls, ponds and colourful plantings, idyllic rainforest surroundings and views of the spectacular Glass House Mountains at Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World. Bring a picnic to enjoy by one of the many lakes or lounge under a tree with a good book and soak up the peace and serenity. Devonshire cream teas are available to paying garden visitors as well as those who aren’t up to a walk on the day but need a treat in a beautiful setting. Make time to visit the aviary and enjoy a fascinating presentation on the colourful native and exotic birds who are very likely to land on your shoulder.
 

Baroon Pocket Dam

Baroon Pocket Dam is a picturesque lake tucked away between Montville and Maleny. The dam offers a range of fantastic recreational facilities and you could easily spend the whole day exploring the shores and waterways. There are picnic tables, free barbecues and playgrounds for the kids, making it the ideal spot for a get together with family or friends. Take a dip in the calm waters, kayak the lake and its tributaries or simply cast your rod and wait for the Australian Bass to bite. The shoreline with its abundant wildlife, including koalas and kangaroos, is a paradise for bushwalkers and nature lovers. Hike through open forest ridges, cross bridges and boardwalks over tree-lined streams to Baroon Lookout, and take in the stunning views of the Obi Obi Gorge, Baroon Pocket Dam and its catchment.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is 55 acres of 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. There are several tranquil walking tracks, boardwalks and viewing platforms where you can soak up the natural beauty and read information about various species. There's also an education centre and a number of picnic tables that offer breathtaking views of the Glass House Mountains for your picnic or barbecue. Listen to the striking call of the catbird and imagine yourself back in time as you walk through this stunning patch of remnant rainforest. It's a wonderful place to take the kids for an adventure - or the perfect spot for a quiet, romantic stroll. 
 

Gardners Falls

Leave your vehicle in the car park on the banks of the Obi Obi Creek and take a short, level walk downstream to Gardners Falls, a hidden gem in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. You’ll pass a number of shallow rock pools which are ideal for smaller children who just want to splash about. Follow the bubbling waters downstream where the pools increase in size and enjoy a freshwater swim in the largest pool underneath the falls. These delightful waters are bounded by a grassy verge and backed by native forest making it the ideal spot for a hinterland picnic or a post-swim snooze under a giant water gum.

The cheese circuit

With rich pastures, a warm climate, a perfect balance between sun and rainfall, the Sunshine Coast has been one of the country’s most renowned dairy producers since cattle were first introduced to the region. Proof of the pudding, or perhaps the yoghurt, is Maleny Dairies which has kept the flag flying with its high quality output, and this year won an award for producing Australia's best full cream milk. A visit to Maleny Dairies will not only prove that milk comes from cows (not cartons) but that it tastes so good! The milk, yoghurt and ice cream can be tasted and bought at the farm shop. You can also join a farm tour, ride a tractor and see the cows milked at 3 pm.  Once you’ve tasted the raw goods, head to Maleny Cheese, where you'll see the cheesemakers in action and enjoy tastings in the café and shop. You can also purchase outstanding hard and soft cheeses, along with products from the award-winning yoghurt range. Make time to pop into Maleny Food Co and indulge yourself in the fromagerie, featuring more than 200 cheeses from Australia and around the world.

Brews and views

Stop in at Maleny Mountain Wines to sample a range of reds, whites, fortified and dessert wines from Australia and around the world. The friendly staff will find the perfect wine for your palate or the best drop for your celebration, picnic or BYO dining. If you prefer beer, make a pit stop at Brouhaha Brewery for some boutique brews and views. It's a cracker of a micro-brewery featuring 12 kinds of amber goodness for your beer-drinking pleasure. There's everything from stout (try the coffee milk stout) to pale ale. Food is fresh and locally sourced and the service is super friendly. TIP: graze on a ploughman's platter - made up of delectable local cheeses, smoked meats and pickles. If you'd like someone else to do the driving jump aboard a tour with Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours.

Arts and crafts

The Sunshine Coast Hintlerland is a creative hub and you’ll discover quality art galleries and studios featuring works from established and emerging artists. Art on Cairncross is a fine art gallery displaying original art by artists from the Sunshine Coast and from around Australia. As well as very collectable paintings, you can purchase glass, porcelain, bronze and ceramics as well as jewellery and unique gifts. Visit the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Art Trail for more information. The local markets held each Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm also have an eclectic range of locally produced arts and crafts, antiques and collectables and handcrafted jewellery. 

Dining 

If you're looking for a premium dining experience in Maleny then look no further than The Tamarind - the fully licensed, in-house restaurant at Spicers Tamarind Retreat specialising in modern Asian cuisine. The Tamarind’s menu effortlessly combines sweet, sour and spicy flavours with fresh local produce to create original and innovative dishes that almost look too good to eat. From the whole cooked barramundi to the signature crispy duck - every meal is a masterpiece. If you'd like to replicate these Thai creations in your own kitchen, then book yourself in at the cooking school. Rory Thorpe hosts intimate classes of up to 12 people with five hours of cooking, lunch, wine, signature apron and full recipes included. 

Relax

After all that wining, dining and exploring you'll be in need of some down time and probably a little pampering. Book yourself in for some indulgent cosseting in your own private oasis at Spa Anise, Spicers Tamarind.  Relax in a luxuriously appointed treatment rooms, soothe those tired feet in the foot therapy session or spend some time in the hydrotherapy room which features a steam room, rain shower and mineralised spa. If you're just too chilled out to leave your accommodation, then give Tower of Power Mobile Massage a call, and they'll bring a mobile aromatherapy and beauty massage treatment to you. 

Accommodation

There are no high rises in the hinterland, just a sweet selection of charming bed and breakfasts, friendly farm-stays, eco-lodges, cottages and boutique retreats, for a wonderfully soul-nurturing stay. See the accomodation directory for a complete list
 

Montville

Head to Montville and on the way stop at the Balmoral Lookout - 634 Maleny - Montville Rd, Balmoral Ridge or Gerrards Lookout (Maleny-Montville Rd) which provides great panoramic views of the Mooloolah River Catchment; surveying the Nambour, Mooloolaba, Mudjimba Island and Maroochydore areas, and even out as far as the Mt Tinbeerwah and Noosa Heads areas. 

Drive into Montville where you have a great village atmosphere full of excellent restaurants, cafes, boutiques and heritage buildings.

A Montville holiday is a hinterland experience imbued with complete quality, fusing wonderful cultural pursuits, breath-taking natural wonders and award winning dining experiences. This hinterland gem also has an impressive range of accommodation options and was recently ranked by Trivago as the number one Australian destination for accommodation. If you need an excuse to get out of town, check out our hit list of Montville must-dos and point your GPS towards the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Kondalilla National Park

With a magnificent 90 metre waterfall, rock pools and bubbling creeks - is it any surprise this natural wonderland gets its name from an Aboriginal word meaning 'rushing waters'? The cool climes of Kondalilla National Park, just 90 minutes north of Brisbane, make it a popular retreat for those who enjoy crisp mountain air and connecting with nature. Take a stroll under the rainforest canopy and eucalypt forests on the numerous walking tracks, enjoy the spectacular views of the valley, cool off with a swim in the rock pools and be soothed by the quiet of the forest.

Art galleries

Often called the creative heart of the hinterland, you’ll find that Montville is a hub of quality art galleries and studios featuring works from established and emerging artists. Visit  Illume Creations to view stunning glass sculptures and vases frrom local hot glass artist, Tina Cooper; or Montville Art Gallery, housed in a gorgeous 1920s Queenslander showcasing works from more than 30 award winning artists; and don’t miss Secrets on the Lake Gallery – beautifully designed gallery with magical views of Lake Baroon. Visit The Sunshine Coast Hinterland Gallery Trail for more information.

Flame Hill Vineyard

A visit to Flame Hill Vineyard would have to be one of Australia’s ultimate paddock to plate experiences. The 300 acre estate houses a vineyard, market garden orchard and a herd of beef cattle. Renowned for its commitment to sustainable food production, gastronomes are definitely spoilt for choice. Book in for a Sunday brunch on the terrace or dine in the award winning restaurant and enjoy the best of fresh, seasonal and local produce matched with award winning wines. You can also take a picnic of farm cured meats, marinated vegetables and artisan breads to one of the property’s many scenic nooks and enjoy the views of the Obi Obi Valley and Mount Coolum. Sit back, soak up the rural ambiance and be entertained by the Guinea Fowls as they wander among the trellises.

The Long Apron

The Long Apron restaurant has made Spicers Clovelly Estate a destination for foodies from around Australia. From a croissant on the sun drenched terrace, to a seven course degustation in the dining room, The Long Apron offers a unique taste of modern Europe in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. The restaurant serves contemporary and classic European cuisine in an understated and elegant dining room or garden terrace area. The food is meticulously prepared and only the freshest seasonal produce is used, sourced from on the property and the surrounding local area. The Long Apron offers five and seven course degustation menu as well as 'Table d'hote'.

Baroon Pocket Dam (Lake Baroon)

Baroon Pocket Dam is a picturesque lake tucked away between Montville and Maleny. The dam offers a range of fantastic recreational facilities and you could easily spend the whole day exploring the shores and waterways. There are picnic tables, free BBQs and playgrounds for the kids making it the ideal spot for a get together with family or friends. What to do? Take a dip in the calm waters, kayak the lake and its tributaries or simply cast your rod and wait for the Australian Bass to bite. The shoreline with its abundant wildlife, including koalas and kangaroos, is a paradise for bushwalkers and nature lovers. Hike through open forest ridges, cross bridges and boardwalks over tree-lined streams to Baroon Lookout and take in the stunning views of the Obi Obi Gorge, Baroon Pocket Dam and its catchment.

Baroon Pocket Dam (Lake Baroon) - image courtesy of SEQ Water

The Chapel

Even if you’re not about to tie the knot, you’ll be captivated by the romantic charm of Montville’s chapel. Designed and built especially for wedding ceremonies, The Chapel is flanked by the Montville escarpment affording spectacular views of verdant farmland, forests and plantations all the way to the coast. Crafted using time-honoured techniques, each piece of Helion sandstone was shaped by a master stone mason, and the magnificent Australian red cedar features were carved by local wood artist, Jack Wilms, of Obi Valley Woodworks. The result is a lovely building with an abundance of old world ambiance set against a backdrop of some of the Hinterland’s most sensational outlooks. View by appointment only.

Fudgyboombahs

Montville's Main Street confectioner will hit your sweet spot! Fudgbyboombahs’ sweet treats are handmade and gorgeously packaged. You'll find an ultra-delicious range of flavours instore including: butter candy macadamias; butterscotch vanilla fudge; and rocky road fudge. Try stopping at just one when there are over 70 delectable flavours to choose from!

Fudgyboombahs

Coffee and café culture

You don't have to be a coffee connoisseur to know that Montville is a coffee destination in its own right. Award winning, local roaster, Montville Coffee, sets a high standard being Queensland's first certified fairtrade and organic coffee roaster. Coffee enthusiasts can visit the factory with Mystic Mountain Tours or take a class in milk texturing or latte-art on site. Local cafés and restaurants don't disappoint, serving a range of blends made from local and imported fair trade beans. Have your coffee with a side of spectacular hinterland vistas at The Edge Café on Main Street; or a cup at The Poet's Café where the coffee's water is sourced from the property's natural bubbling spring. If you're after a traditional pub food, head to Montville Café Bar and Grill for a hearty meal and a cuppa in the beautifully landscaped garden.

Come for the brew, stay for the view!

FLAXTON

Head towards the final of the ‘three Ms’, Mapleton, and along the way you’ll find the leafy village of Flaxton.

Its eastern side is blessed with spectacular sweeping views that take the eye soaring off the Blackall Range and down to the ocean’s horizon — early risers, prepare yourselves for a stunning sunrise. Flaxton’s western side is blanketed with the verdant subtropical rainforest of Kondalilla Falls National Park, where you can enjoy hikes of varying intensities and spend hours swimming in the refreshingly deep, cold waterhole. 

With a minimum of distractions, Flaxton is a quiet place that offers you a beautiful escape from the world.
If you’re looking for things to see and do in Flaxton, an unhurried walk to spectacular Kondalilla Falls is a must. Hike along beautiful forest paths thick with tropical palms and ferns, followed by a dip in the cold, deep waterhole. Take a picnic and do some birdwatching, followed by lunch or dinner at one of the lovely local restaurants with spectacular views of the coast. 

The area is excellent for exploring antique stores, art and craft galleries.


If you’re looking for a spectacular base to stay, have a wedding or just enjoy a leisurely lunch or afternoon tea, Flaxton Gardens (313 Flaxton Drive, Flaxton) is the perfect venue.

While the property began its life as a dairy, from the 1980s it transformed into a pottery, then a crafts centre, and even a winery, before becoming one of Queensland’s premier function and restaurant centres.

Perfectly positioned with coastal views stretching from Noosa to Moreton Island, Flaxton Gardens perfectly captures the essence and richness of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland landscape.

MAPLETON

In the early 1900s, Mapleton was considered the gateway to the so-called ‘Queensland’s Blue Mountains’ because of its renowned forests, walks, views and waterfalls.

Mapleton itself is a small and sweet hinterland village with soaring views stretching across the coastal plains and down to the ocean on one side, and dense subtropical rainforest blanketing the other.

The biggest attraction of the region is Mapleton Falls National Park, where you’ll feel lost inside a land before time, as you walk among lush piccabeen palm groves, grandiose bunya pines and tall blackbutt forests. This is a true paradise for hikers, mountain bikers and birdwatchers.

The Park marks the point just west of Mapleton where Pencil Creek cascades 120 metres over an escarpment. This small, day-use-only park, shelters many bird species, including the peregrine falconeastern whipbird and wompoo fruit-dove.

From the carpark there is a short walk to Mapleton Falls lookout with wheelchair access to toilet and lookout. The panoramic view takes in the waterfall and Obi Obi Valley. From the open, grassy picnic area, the Wompoo circuit winds through eucalypts and rainfores where visitors may hear the fruit-dove’s booming calls, wallock-a-woo and book-a-roo. Near the causeway pool frogs may be heard and distinctive hexagonal volcanic rocks seen.

At The Lilyponds Park there are free BBQ's, children's play park and covered seating areas.

Delicia Road Conservation Park is a small park protecting remnant forest communities. It is a refuge for wildlife and a place where visitors can enjoy the native forest. There is a 2.2-kilometre walk called the Linda Garrett circuit which passes through rainforest, a palm grove and tall eucalypt forest. It’s a great place to discover exotic birdlife and other fauna.