Beyond the beaches of the Sunshine Coast you’ll find a rich array of charming hinterland villages, country towns and breathtaking scenery.
Friendly locals welcome visitors with a smile, and the pristine landscape is home to pockets of sub-tropical rainforest, cooling waterfalls and sweeping views just waiting to be explored.
This autumn take the roads less travelled in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, including the foothills of the Blackall Range where towns like Nambour, Woombye and Palmwoods are making their mark with good food, craft beer and boutique distilleries.
Up the Range the gourmet adventure continues, but there are plenty of reasons besides good food to visit the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
Sleep under the stars at a luxury glamping retreat, enjoy a romantic escape in the hills, sample some of the best cheese in the country and relax over a glass of locally brewed craft beer.
Once known for being the sugar mill capital of the Sunshine Coast, Nambour has a rich history in local produce.
Signs of the town’s sugar-mill past are still evident today, but of late sugar has been swapped for hops with a new alehouse and brewery opening its doors in the heritage listed Club Hotel on Nambour’s Currie Street.
Stalwart Brewing Co was opened by Adam Tomlinson in 2020, his core range of beers paying homage to his Navajo Indian and Kabi Kabi heritage.
As well as great beer they also serve up delicious food, making it a must-visit next time you’re in town.
While the Sunshine Coast has earned a reputation as a leader in craft brewing, distillers are also finding inspiration from the region’s local produce.
In Nambour’s neighbouring town of Woombye, the iconic Big Pineapple precinct has welcomed their latest edition with the opening of CAVU Distilling; the proud makers of Sunshine & Sons Original Dry Gin and Original Vodka or ‘The Coast Spirit’.
Their Original Dry Gin is infused with native botanicals while the pure, clear vodka is filtered through Sunshine Coast sourced volcanic rock to add extra depth, texture, and uniqueness.
To top it off, they are currently barrel-ageing organic molasses rum for release in 2022.
If you’re after a drink with a view, head up the range to the Barrel at Clouds Vineyard in Maleny.
The iconic venue, which is shaped like a giant wine barrel, offers sweeping views of the Glass House Mountains; their jagged peaks juxtaposed to the delicate vines that twist through the surrounding vineyard.
Here you can sample a selections of wines from across South East Queensland, as well as local craft beer and ciders.
Stop in for a tasting, or stay for lunch in their picturesque garden while soaking in the views.
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland is known for its fresh local produce and award-winning dairy.
By the roadside you’ll spot a number of produce stalls laden with fresh fruit and vegetables, from pineapples to avocados and macadamia nuts.
While the region’s rich volcanic soil can grow just about anything, the region is also home to a number of dairy farmers - making Maleny Food Co a must-visit.
Here they use rich Guernsey milk and cream from a local farm to make more than 100 different flavours of award-winning gelato.
They are also known for their onsite fromagerie, which stocks a selection of more than 250 gourmet cheeses from around the world.
Enjoy dining in-house at their café, or pre-book a cheese or picnic hamper to takeaway and enjoy at one of the scenic spots along the Range.
If you’re after a hearty meal – you can’t go past Rick’s Garage.
Located in Palmwoods, this rockabilly-style restaurant is just as much a feast for the eyes.
On any given day you’ll find a number of vintage cars or motorbikes out the front (they still operate a mechanic workshop on site) and inside the walls are plastered with vintage posters.
You also can’t miss the food.
As well as their more conventional menu, Rick’s Garage is known for their famous ‘Big One’ burger, which at 1.1kg is a site to behold.
In an era when nature based holidays are in high-demand, a new luxe glamping retreat has opened in the foothills of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
Starry Nights Luxury Camping has been three years in gestation, and very much a family effort of Shane and Nicole Nelson, who wanted to ensure the perfect location and environment for their eco-retreat.
Set on 17 hectares, Starry Nights is about immersing in serenity and nature, while enjoying the retreat’s distinctive style and character.
Centre-stage of the property are the glamping safari-style suites. Vast in size (75 square metres) and totally designed to showcase the natural setting, features include a king-size bed (with USB chargers), lounge area, kitchenette, a fireplace for cool winter nights, ensuite rain head shower and toilet, and an imposing, freestanding bathtub that makes the most of the views, while still ensuring total privacy.
Further up the hill, in the Hinterland town of Montville, you’ll find another property that has recently undergone a transformation.
As the name suggests Lovestone Cottages is bringing a touch of romance to 2021, their newly renovated Maple Cottage beautifully designed with a fireplace, private balcony, daily breakfast hamper and spa bath with expansive views over the tranquil Lake Baroon.
The owners have a strong focus on sustainability; recycling and composting where possible as well as being part of the Land For Wildlife program which supports the regeneration of native rainforests and animal habitats around their property.
Further along the range you’ll find Clouds Montville; a restful sanctuary that overlooks the range to offer views of the sea.
Here you’ll find a selection of apartments or secluded cottages, making it the perfect place to enjoy a romantic weekend escape.
Enjoy breakfast and lunch - or dinner on weekends - at their on-site restaurant, take a garden walk on the property’s five acres or cool off at the end of the day in their mineral swimming pool.
It will be the perfect way to finish a charming hinterland escape.