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An easy day-trip to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

05 Jan 2018

Enjoy the beauty of undulating green hills that roll into quirky and eclectic villages that are abuzz with award-winning cafés, restaurants and bars. Follow bushwalks through ancient rainforests, enjoy phenomenal views of the Glass House Mountains, explore family owned farms and vineyards, and get lost in the magic of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland for a day.



Duration: 1 Day | Mode of Transport: Car and foot  | Degree of Difficulty: 1/5


  • Culture
  • Markets
  • Bushwalk
  • Scenic views
  • Food and drinks



Maleny is about 90 minutes north of Brisbane and renowned for its green, undulating countryside. The landscape is dotted with cows, mingled with pockets of remnant rainforest, and offset by breathtaking bird's-eye views of the Glass House Mountains, creating an exceptionally pretty holiday destination. 

Life revolves around the vibrant Maple Street, with its organic cafés, eclectic fashion boutiques, brilliant bookstores, and historic hotel. There’s a thriving art scene with contemporary art galleries, local artist’s co-operatives and bodyworkers offering a range of delicious healing therapies. Maleny even has its own craft brewery, Brouhaha, whose retaurants and beers have been celebrated by Sunshine Coast locals and visitors to the region. 

If you are heading to Maleny on a Sunday stop off at the Maleny Sunday Markets at the RSL Hall on Bunya Street from 8am to 2pm. Delight your senses with a variety of stalls offering hand-made arts and crafts as well as delicious food stalls, antiques, jewellery, massages and so much more. Then stop off in Maleny for a delicious breakfast and enjoy people watching as you sip on a premium coffee.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

The view from Mountain View Road opposite Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.

After breakfast, take the short drive from Maleny to Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and immerse yourself in the ancient rainforest. Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve comprises of 55 hectares of  subtropical rainforest overlooking the Glass House Mountains. The reserve is a remnant of the rainforests that once covered the Blackall Range and functions as a living museum of diverse plant and animal life which delight you with its tranquillity and beauty. Step back in time in the 'Rainforests Through Time' display at the Discovery Centre, have a picnic or barbecue, or relax at the café.

On your way to Montville take the short drive back to Maleny and visit Maleny Food Co. for an award-winning gelati or sorbet. There is a huge selection to choose from and the staff are happy to recommend some of the best-selling flavours. If you'd prefer a more savoury option then spend some extra time explore the amazing fromagerie featuring more than 250 types of cheese. You're guaranteed to enjoy a true cheese experience and walk out with a few quality Australian or international cheeses.



Your next village to visit is Montville. First settled in 1887 the village has grown into a thriving shopping village with an array of quality art galleries, stylish cafes and restaurants, gift shops and fashion stores. A Montville day-trip is a hinterland experience imbued with complete quality, fusing wonderful cultural pursuits with spectacular natural wonders. Many of the cafes along the tree-lined main street have views right to the coast making it the ideal spot for lunch and a few photos. 

From Montville village, make the short drive to Flame Hill Vineyard for a wine tasting at the cellar door, or enjoy a paddock-to-plate and wine tasting at the on-site restaurant. Flame Hill Vineyard is the place to experience estate-grown and hand-picked wines, locally-sourced and seasonal menu, and wonderful views of exquisite hinterland countryside.

Flame Hill vineyard
Flame Hill vineyard

There is so much to see and do in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, with farm tours and visit to the Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World, this is just a sample of some amazing adventures you can experience however sometimes you need a weekend getaway to enjoy it all.

Natural wonders 

The Sunshine Coast Hinterland has a number of look outs that will take your breath away. From scenic drives through the Blackall Range to offshoot parking spots that offer a spectacular view of where the hills meet the city and then the sea. If you have the time to spot and do a little exploring, here are some of the best spots to do some hiking that'll lead you to spectacular natural wonders: