Your small town tour of the Sunshine Coast

Ricks Garage, Palmwoods

Well, the search is over because the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is packed full of them.

Peppered along charming country lanes, fringed by lush rainforest and rolling green farms, you'll find dreamy hamlets like Mapleton, Maleny and Eumundi.

There’s so much to see and do in these special pockets of the coast. Think: natural rugged beauty, artisanal offerings, scrumptious culinary delights and friendly locals who are all too keen to help show you around.

So what are you waiting for? Jump in the car, roll the windows down and crank the playlist, we’ve curated a list of our favourite Sunshine Coast small towns guaranteed to make a big impression - and steal your heart - during your next getaway. You’re welcome!

Explore Eudlo 

Nestled in the lush hinterland, surrounded by sub-tropical rainforest and fringed by the Blackall Range, it’s hard to believe that Eudlo is only a 20-minute drive from the coast. 

Food, glorious food, is the reason so many of us travel here and your belly will definitely thank you after a visit to the revamped Eudlo General Store.

Restaurateur and chef Tony Kelly - the man behind the epic Rice Boi in Mooloolaba and Piggyback at Palmwoods - has recently reimagined this much-loved Eudlo icon. Originally the town’s General Store and meeting place for locals for the past 97 years, this historic building has been transformed with a focus on dishing up the Sunshine Coast’s best house made pies. Think creamy cauliflower cheese and steaming chicken and vegetable.

If you’re after a more spiritual experience than pie eating, get your zen on at Chenrezig Institute; a Buddhist study, retreat and meditation centre surrounded by rainforest just 7kms from the town centre. Here you can join a guided tour, bliss out with a mindful meditation or take part in a yoga class.

Pop into Palmwoods

Yes, this photogenic little town has mountain and valley views, a bustling pub and quirky local events like the Time Warp Festival, but it’s also become a foodie hot spot.

Cars, coffee and head-turning burgers are on the menu at Rick’s Garage while Piggyback - the Indonesian and Malaysian street food-inspired eatery by chef and restaurateur Tony Kelly - is reason enough to hit the highway and head out to the hinterland faster than you can say barbecue chili sambal prawns.

Before you leave, make sure to pop into Rick’s Bakehouse where you’ll find a delicious selection of sweet treats – think croissants oozing with Nutella and house-made Brownies.

Pretty Pomona

You’ve surfed Noosa Point, splashed around at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast and lived out your bucket-list dreams riding a horse along Rainbow Beach.

Now it’s time to get off the beaten track and take an Instagrammable day trip to the Noosa Hinterland, more specifically, the pretty as a picture town of Pomona.

Nestled at the foot of Mount Cooroora, Pomona is home to the famous Majestic Cinema - the longest-running silent movie theatre in the world.

Pomona Distillery, Pomona

Pomona Distillery, Pomona

After exploring the town and its boutiques, relax with lunch at the very cool Pomona Distilling Co where you can sample a cheeky gin - or two - crafted from native botanicals in the lush outdoor garden setting.

It’s a yes from us.

Magical Maleny

Trust us when we say you’ll want to linger a little longer in the township of Maleny.

Breathtaking views of the Glass House Mountains aside, you’ll quickly find life here revolves around the vibrant Maple Street where you’ll find organic cafes, local boutiques and bookstores bursting with epic novels.

However, it’s the thriving art scene that has put Maleny on the map with plenty of galleries and artists co-operatives to explore.

Enjoy a local craft beer at Brouhaha Brewery before tasting some of the best cheese you’ll try at Maleny Cheese (the Hinterland is known for its award-winning dairy).

Brouhaha brewery, Maleny

Brouhaha brewery, Maleny

At the end of the day, rest your head at Maleny Lodge; a beautifully restored county-style retreat in the heart of town featuring a curated collection of vintage furniture alongside luxury finishes.

Sweeten up at Kenilworth

To be fair, they had us at the very mention of a 1kg donut, but there’s a bunch of other delicious reasons to visit Kenilworth.

Home of the gastro-tourism icon Kenilworth Bakery – that as well as their larger-than-life donuts slings lip-smacking baked goods, sourdough straight from the wood fired oven and bucketloads of small-town charm - it’s hard to believe this sweet-filled village is just 45 minutes from the Sunshine Coast’s beaches.

Kenilworth Country Bakery, Kenilworth

Kenilworth Country Bakery, Kenilworth

Swing by Kenilworth Dairies for a cheese fix and then work off your sweet treats on the local hiking trails and waterholes before resting your head at Kookaburra Park, a boutique camping and caravan park set on 600 acres of bushland.

Energise in Eumundi

Sure, you’ve heard of the famous Eumundi Markets but this historic hinterland hamlet has some seriously stylish new residents you need to meet.

HOLA, Eumundi

HOLA, Eumundi

For a lush sleepover, check into the art-inspired boutique hotel, HOLA Eumundi.

You would be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped into a gallery when you head inside this 15-room design-led escape, which pays homage to the laidback creative Eumundi spirit, with each room acting as a showcase of local art for sale.

The local dining scene is just as impressive, with hot new restaurants Bask, the Bungalow and Popina making all your foodie and cocktail dreams come true.

If you can swing it, plan your visit around Wednesday or Saturday morning so you can visit the Eumundi markets – the biggest artisan markets in Australia - and make sure to explore the local boutiques filled with artisanal treasures and local street art trail.

Mosey on to Mapleton

This sweet town is proof that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.

With smile-inducing views stretching across the coastal plains and down to the ocean on one side and dense sub-tropical rainforest blanketing the other, Mapleton is seriously beautiful.

And Mother nature is showing off at Mapleton Falls National Park, where you’ll be dwarfed by towering blackbutt trees, bunya pines and the 120-metre falls tumbling into Obi Obi Valley below, the viewing platform an easy walk from the carpark.

After hitting the hiking trails you’ll have worked up an appetite, and no visit to Mapleton is complete without a meal at Mapleton Public House. Using produce sourced from the nearby Falls Farm, this restored 112-year-old pub is dishing up a true paddock-to-plate experience.

For sweet dreams, make your way to Round Hill, an inspiring architectural cabin for two.