Maleny to Gympie drive tour

byCatherine Milne -27 Sep 2016

Take a drive from Maleny to Gympie and discover a feast of gourmet delights and spectacular natural wonders.

This drive tour starts at Maleny’s Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve before heading to Kenilworth Dairies where you can sample local cheese and yoghurt. Stroll beneath the towering trees of Amamoor State Forest and watch for platypus, then take a scenic tour to Gympie - a classic Australian heritage town. 

Journey Details

Duration: one to two days | Itinerary type: one way | Mode of travel: car | Degree of difficulty: 2/5


  • Walking
  • Food and wine
  • National parks
  • Botanic garden walks and birdlife


Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
The tranquility of Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.

Drive to 41 Mountain View Road, Maleny where you’ll discover Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve. This 55 ha National Estate-listed subtropical rainforest overlooks the Glass House Mountains and offers some of the best views of the mountains that are steeped in indigenous myth and legend. The reserve is a living museum of diverse plant and animal life, which promises to delight with its tranquility and beauty.

Continue along Mary Cairncross Road to Maleny Botanical Gardens and Birdworld which has one of the best views of the mysterious Glass House Mountains.   Meander through some of the most exquisite gardens in Queensland and enjoy a picnic or simply relax with a Devonshire tea at the café. Make time to visit the Birdworld aviary and enjoy a fascinating presentation on the colourful native and exotic birds who are very likely to land on your shoulder.

Continue on your journey or check into your luxury accommodation at Spicers Tamarind (Maleny) and enjoy an afternoon of pampering in Spa Anise. Book a table at the The Tamarind restaurant for dinner and spoil yourself with modern Asian cuisine that tips its well-deserved Chef Hat awards to presentation and palates.

Overnight accommodation

Spicers Tamarind Retreat
Blue Summit Cottages
The Spotted Chook
More Sunshine Cost Hinterland accommodation >

Maleny to Kenilworth
Sample the award-winning, locally-made cheese at Kenilworth Country Foods.
Sample the award-winning, locally-made cheese at Kenilworth Country Foods.

After breakfast at your accommodation, head west on Mountain View Road and onto the Maleny-Kenilworth Road. Enjoy  picturesque outlooks as you drive through the undulating countryside of Conondale towards Cambroon. There are plenty of places to pull over and take in the panoramic views so set a relaxing pace and take time to enjoy some fresh mountain air!

Kenilworth is prime dairy country and one of the best ways to experience the gourmet delights of this region's local produce is at Kenilworth Country Foods. This outlet boasts a delectable range of award winning cheeses, including the Red Malling Vintage -  which has been made in the factory using the same recipe since the 1920s. You won't be able to resist the deliciously creamy, probiotic yoghurts and indulgent desserts such as passionfruit panna cotta and Belgian chocolate mousse. 

Kenilworth to Amamoor State Forest
Amamoor State Forest
Stroll under the magnificent trees in Amamoor State Forest.

Take the Gympie-Brooloo Road towards Amamoor, a region renowned for producing some of Queensland's finest hoop pine. Arriving at Amamoor State Forest, you'll see why this area is known as a birdlover's paradise as more than 120 bird species call this forest home. Head down Amamoor Creek Road which will take you on an enjoyable journey through the forested valley and give you the chance to stretch your legs on one of the many forest walking trails. The 300 m Platypus Walk is a must-do. Stroll to the viewing platform overlooking Amamoor Creek, and if you're lucky you may just see one of these elusive monotremes in the pristine waters below. The Rainforest Walk from Cedar Grove camping area is also worth a look. Enjoy a picturesque, 30 minute wander through the sub-tropical rainforest beneath a canopy of large red cedars, figs and a piccabeen palm groves. Cool off in the large swimming hole at the end and marvel at the majestic forest oaks lining the banks of this tranquil creek.

TIP: If you're after a peaceful, get-back-to-nature experience then visit outside of Gympie Music Muster season (late August) as the park is generally full of campers.

Amamoor State Forest to Gympie
Lake Alford Gympie
Relax, stretch your legs and see the native ducks at Lake Alford, Gympie.

Take the Mary Valley Road/State Route 51 towards Gympie, a classic Australian heritage town, affectionately monikered as "The town that saved Queensland". Gympie’s proud heritage began in 1867 as “Nashville” with the discovery of gold by prospector James Nash at the site now occupied by the Town Hall. At the time, Queensland was on the brink of bankruptcy due to drought and a fall in wool prices. Nash’s discovery of 75 ounces of gold in six days sparked the Gympie Gold Rush which not only boosted the Queensland economy, but enabled the colony to survive.

Gympie offers a relaxed lifestyle and many attractions. Stroll Mary Street and and admire the charming historical buildings, visit the many boutique stores and have a coffee at one of the gourmet cafés. The town also has a number of beautifully presented gardens complete with duck ponds, playgrounds and picnic areas. Or, delve into the region's past at the Gold Mining and Historical Museum which houses a vast collection of vintage mining equipment, photographs and artefacts.

Stay overnight and enjoy true country hospitality at Amamoor Park Lodge, and continue on your journey.

TIP: Before you leave: Check for roadwork closuresView itineray in google maps.

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