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How to nail the perfect winter escape in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

How to nail the perfect winter escape in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

As the temperature drops, there’s no place more magical than the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

How to nail the perfect winter escape in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
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Brouhaha Brewery

Picture yourself cosying up in a log cabin nestled in the rainforest, unwinding next to a
roaring fireplace - a glass of red wine in hand.

Your days are filled with visits to art galleries, independent boutiques, cheese factories and hikes that offer jaw-dropping views of nature. 

Sound like your kind of heaven? Well you’re in luck because we’ve curated the ultimate four-day itinerary for you to explore the Sunshine Coast Hinterland this winter.  

Day One: Maleny

Kick your winter warmer vacay off in Maleny, the postcard perfect village sitting pretty in the Blackall Ranges. Grab a takeaway coffee and bacon and egg roll from Monica’s Cafe and start your day with a visit to Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World. The gardens are home to beautiful waterfalls, a colourful array of native and tropical plants and birds (who might even sit on your shoulder), plus incredible vistas of the Glass House Mountains. Just eight minutes down the road, soak up crisp fresh mountain air and stretch your legs with a visit to ​​Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve - the sprawling 55 acres of subtropical rainforest boasts a labyrinth
of winding trails for you to stroll along.

Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World
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Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World

Maleny is one of the most renowned dairy producers in the country which means - loads of incredible cheese for you to devour. Check out Maleny Dairies where you can meet the gorgeous stars of the show - the ​​Guernsey cows - and taste their delicious range of milks, yoghurts, custards and creams. If you prefer the savoury stuff, then Maleny Cheese is for you. See how their produce is made before tucking into their cheddar, feta and white mould
cheeses, all handmade with pure ingredients and European craftsmanship. At nearby Maleny Food Co fill your basket with over 200 different styles of cheese from Australia and around the world (plus gelato, olives and pastries). 

Scandi at Maleny
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Scandi at Maleny

Next, make tracks to Brouhaha Brewery for a late lunch (order the: wagyu beef burger) and a tasting paddle of their award winning beers before checking into your accommodation for the  next two nights at Scandi at Maleny. The luxury apartment is perched 450 metres above sea level just outside of Maleny and has a sprawling deck (perfect for catching the sunset over the mountain ranges), cosy couches and a roaring fireplace. While it’s hard to tear yourself away from these incredible digs, dinner at The Tamarind is a must do. The
hatted restaurant will take your tastebuds on a culinary journey as you sit amongst the rainforest.

Shotgun Espresso on Maple Street, Maleny
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Shotgun Espresso on Maple Street, Maleny

Day Two: Montville 

Rise and shine with a visit to Baroon Pocket Dam, a beautiful lake tucked away between Maleny and Montville. Go for a kayak, hike through open forest ridges and stroll along tree-lined boardwalks while keeping your eyes peeled for the koalas and kangaroos that call this slice of heaven home. For more raw, rugged natural beauty, check out Kondalilla National Park and its magnificent 90 metre waterfalls. While it might be a bit too cool for a dip at this time of the year, you can meander around the rock pools and bubbling creeks, and stroll beneath the rainforest canopy. 

Kondalilla Falls in the Kondalilla National Park, Montville
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Kondalilla Falls in the Kondalilla National Park, Montville

Head into the charming township of Montville and explore the region’s burgeoning art scene with a visit to the Montville Art Gallery, housed in a gorgeous 1920s Queenslander showcasing works from more than 30 award winning artists; Secrets on the Lake Gallery; Tina Cooper Gallery and Ben Messina Landscapes Gallery. 

Wine lovers should head to Flame Hill Vineyard for lunch and a tipple (the Kurrajong Merlot is a must). Sitting at the highest point in Montville in the Blackall Ranges, the views from Flame Hill are straight up stunning. Their paddock-to-plate restaurant on the terrace serves up a modern Australian menu with drool-worthy dishes like beetroot risotto and confit duck with a Flame Hill red wine jus. 

Flame Hill Vineyard, Montville, Sunshine Coast Hinterland
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Flame Hill Vineyard, Montville, Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Back in town, it’s time to tick off some iconic Montville spots like the Clock Shop. Housed in a German chalet-inspired building, the shop is home to everything from mechanical cuckoo clocks, chiming grandfather clocks, watches and musical boxes - prepare your ears for a symphony the second you step inside. Get an afternoon pick-me-up at Poet’s Cafe (where the coffee is served with fresh spring water bubbling up from the natural spring below the premises) and satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to Fudgbyboombah’s. There’s 70 different flavours of fudge to try like banana cream pie, berry cheesecake, dark chocolate ginger and even Easter bun. 

The Clock Shop, Montville
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The Clock Shop, Montville

After a big day of adventuring, soothe your muscles with a dreamy treatment at Spicers Clovelly Estate’s Spa Anise. Opt for the Clovelly Indulgence experience which begins with a relaxing tailored massage followed by a facial and foot bath. Post treatment, let the luxury continue with a dinner at The Long Apron. The hatted restaurant offers a taste of France in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland serving incredible dishes like beef tartare and roast pork with fennel, soubise and witlof. 

Day Three: Mapleton

Drive deeper into the heart of the hinterland and you’ll find your destination for day three - Mapleton. Surrounded by rolling green mountains, and soaring coastal views, this sweet hinterland village is the perfect winter spot. Start your day with breakfast at La Botiga where you can fuel up on some of the best coffee in the hinterland, then grab some tasty takeaway treats from Sweet and Flour Bakery for morning tea. 

Jump in the car and travel to Mapleton Falls National Park. The dense rainforest will see you weave between lush piccabeen palm groves, grandiose bunya pines and tall blackbutt forests. Plant yourself at the base of Mapleton Falls, a roaring 120 metre waterfall, looking out for the Australian peregrine falcons soaring high above. Enjoy your bakery treats before checking out more of the ancient area on the Wompoo Circuit. The 1.3km trail will take you to the Peregrine lookout which offers stunning views of Mapleton Falls and the Obi Obi Valley below. And be sure to listen out for the Wompoo fruit-dove calling from its treetop feeding sites with a booming 'wallock-a-woo' and 'book-a-roo'.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite head back into town for lunch at the much-loved Mapleton Tavern. Sitting 400 metres above sea level on the edge of the Blackall Range, grab a table on the deck to enjoy views of Noosa to Maroochydore while you devour a beef and stout potted pie with chunky chips and mushy peas or a zesty prawn and chilli pasta. 

Take your food coma to your luxury accommodation for the night, Mapleton Springs. The ideal romantic getaway, this spot is all about relaxing after a big few days of adventure.
Chill out in the infinity pool or soak in the spa, retreat to the cinema room or curl up by the fire in the lounge room with complimentary marshmallows to melt. It’s pure bliss. 

Day Four: Kenilworth

With a population of just 300 people, Kenilworth is a country town awash with history and charm - and it’s your final destination on your trip. Arrive in the morning and make a beeline for the Kenilworth Country Bakery located on the main street. If you don’t spot it straight away just look for the line of people snaking around the building - all wanting to purchase one of their iconic doughnuts. Grab a coffee and order a mixed box (the classic glaze is a must eat), or if you dare, try their 1kg donut challenge - it’s not for the faint-hearted. Post-sugar rush, take your time strolling the main street of town, stopping to browse the boutique shops filled with locally made arts, crafts and clothing. 

Kenilworth Country Bakery, Kenilworth
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Kenilworth Country Bakery, Kenilworth

If you can swing it - plan to arrive here on Saturday so you can check out the Kenilworth Markets, held weekly from 8am to 1:30pm in Kenilworth Town Park. There you’ll find fresh
produce, food and music. 

Walk off the donuts (no shame if you go back for seconds) with a visit to Conondale National Park. There’s various walking tracks on offer, depending on your fitness level, but stopping by Booloumba Falls is a must. Fringed by moss-covered boulders and towering eucalyptus trees, the bubbling crystal clear springs of the waterfalls is a real pinch me moment. 

Kenilworth Dairies, Kenilworth
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Kenilworth Dairies, Kenilworth

Back in town, stop by Kenilworth Dairies, where you’ll grab lunch at Poppa’s Cafe sampling their tasty, homemade cheeses - the mango and macadamia cheddar is unreal. Load up your chiller bag with fresh milk, yoghurt and grab an ice-cream for the road before it’s time to head home and wrap up your epic hinterland adventure.