Let your ‘green thumbs’ grow with a Sunshine Coast mini-break

byGemma Westacott-13 May 2019

Escape the winter chill and grow your horticultural skills with a warming weekend escape on the Sunshine Coast during the acclaimed Queensland Garden Expo.

Queensland Garden Expo attracts over 40,000 green thumbs and novice gardeners from across Queensland and interstate. Held at Nambour on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, it is ideally situated to showcase all the best of subtropical gardening.

We’ve put together a three-day itinerary for a mini-break that will allow you to experience the best of the Queensland Garden Expo, on from 12-14 July, 2019, along with the region's relaxed coastal culture and the charms of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Just a short 90-minute drive from Brisbane or a direct flight from Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Auckland, the Sunshine Coast is easily accessible and offers the perfect escape from the winter chill. If flying, hire a car from the Avis Car Hire desk at the Sunshine Coast Airport to ensure you have the ultimate in freedom and ease in getting around during your stay.

Day 1: Mooloolaba & Spirit House

The Wharf Mooloolaba
The Wharf Mooloolaba

Once you arrive on the Sunshine Coast, make a bee-line for the white sandy beach of Mooloolaba. The area is an ideal base for your stay, with luxury apartments, family-friendly resorts and beachfront apartments to choose from.

Just a stone’s throw away from many of the Sunshine Coast's major attractions and a short walk to the burgeoning food precinct at The Wharf, Oceans Mooloolaba is the perfect location to relax and unwind.

After spending the day relaxing, wandering along Mooloolaba Beach and perusing the boutiques and cafes that line Mooloolaba Esplanade, make your way to the Spirit House Cooking School and Restaurant in Yandina for a culinary experience that's sure to spice up your stay.

Set in lush tropical gardens nestled around a tranquil pond and bubbling waterfalls, the Spirit House offers an amazing range of cooking classes that are a delight for all your senses.

Evening classes are held every Friday and Saturday from 4.30pm and are the perfect opportunity to develop your culinary skills before feasting on the rewards of your labour. TIP: Classes fill up quickly, so book in advance.

Spirit House
Spirit House

Day 2: Queensland Garden Expo

After enjoying a leisurely beachside breakfast along the Mooloolaba Esplanade, make the short drive to Nambour to explore the Queensland Garden Expo.

You can easily fill an entire day exploring the displays and exhibits and watching the celebrity presentations. Rub shoulders with gardening gurus like Costa Georgiadis, Sophie Thomson and Annette McFarlane, or polish up your garden kitchen skills at the Gourmet Garden stage where you can learn tips on growing and cooking with your own home-grown produce.

Queensland Garden Expo
Queensland Garden Expo

Over 100 lectures and demonstrations will be held on eight ‘live’ stages during the three-day event from 12-14 July, 2019. There will also be over 55 nurseries displaying plants, as well as over 360 exhibitors, making the Expo the perfect opportunity to ask any questions you have about your own garden.

In the evening, return to Mooloolaba to enjoy dining at one of the area's top restaurants (discover the 12 Best eats and drinks in Mooloolaba and surrounds) or enjoy a takeaway meal while soaking up the view from your balcony at Oceans Mooloolaba which overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

Day 3: Maleny Botanic Gardens, Flaxton Gardens & Flame Hill Vineyard

After a morning dip in the ocean or stroll along the beach at Mooloolaba, put the knowledge you learned at the Queensland Garden Expo to the test as you tour of some of the Sunshine Coast's best gardens and horticultural sights.

Spend the morning wandering around the expansive grounds of the Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World, which is just a short drive from Mooloolaba. Walk along the tracks or hire a buggy to tour the gardens, which includes waterfalls, ponds and colourful plantings over three hectares of magnificent, privately-owned gardens. Just before lunch, drive further north through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland to Flaxton Gardens, where you can indulge in a high-tea or lunch on the veranda or in the picturesque gardens. This iconic Sunshine Coast Hinterland venue offers a luxuriously romantic setting, with impressive coastal views that stretch from Noosa to Moreton Island.

Flame Hill vineyard
Flame Hill vineyard

After wandering through the gardens, make your way to Flame Hill Vineyard near Montville to rest your feet and enjoy a wine-tasting in front of the fire or on the veranda overlooking the vineyard and out towards the coastline.

It's the perfect spot to toast your perfect Sunshine Coast mini-break as you watch the sunset and enjoy a sumptuous dinner from the paddock-to-plate menu.

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