The delightful Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Maleny lies in picture-postcard dairy country, interspersed with rainforests.
Located high in the Blackall Range, about 30 kilometres south west of Caloundra, Maleny is renowned for its lush environs and numerous scenic spots. If you need an excuse to get away, check out our hit list of Maleny must-dos and discover a world of spectacular natural wonders, sensational food and produce and charming places to stay.
1. Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World
Meander through some of the most exquisite gardens in Queensland featuring a panorama of waterfalls, ponds and colourful plantings, idyllic rainforest surroundings and views of the spectacular Glass House Mountains at Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World. Bring a picnic to enjoy by one of the many lakes or lounge under a tree with a good book and soak up the peace and serenity. Devonshire cream teas are available to paying garden visitors as well as those who aren’t up to a walk on the day but need a treat in a beautiful setting. Make time to visit the aviary and enjoy a fascinating presentation on the colourful native and exotic birds who are very likely to land on your shoulder.
2. Baroon Pocket Dam
Baroon Pocket Dam is a picturesque lake tucked away between Montville and Maleny. The dam offers a range of fantastic recreational facilities and you could easily spend the whole day exploring the shores and waterways. There are picnic tables, free barbecues and playgrounds for the kids, making it the ideal spot for a get together with family or friends. Take a dip in the calm waters, kayak the lake and its tributaries or simply cast your rod and wait for the Australian Bass to bite. The shoreline with its abundant wildlife, including koalas and kangaroos, is a paradise for bushwalkers and nature lovers. Hike through open forest ridges, cross bridges and boardwalks over tree-lined streams to Baroon Lookout, and take in the stunning views of the Obi Obi Gorge, Baroon Pocket Dam and its catchment.
3. Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is 55 acres of subtropical rainforest overlooking the Glass House Mountains. A remnant of the rainforests that once covered the Blackall Range, the Reserve is a living museum of diverse plant and animal life. There are several tranquil walking tracks, boardwalks and viewing platforms where you can soak up the natural beauty and read information about various species. There's also an education centre and a number of picnic tables that offer breathtaking views of the Glass House Mountains for your picnic or barbecue. Listen to the striking call of the catbird and imagine yourself back in time as you walk through this stunning patch of remnant rainforest. It's a wonderful place to take the kids for an adventure - or the perfect spot for a quiet, romantic stroll.
4. Gardners Falls
Leave your vehicle in the car park on the banks of the Obi Obi Creek and take a short, level walk downstream to Gardners Falls, a hidden gem in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. You’ll pass a number of shallow rock pools which are ideal for smaller children who just want to splash about. Follow the bubbling waters downstream where the pools increase in size and enjoy a freshwater swim in the largest pool underneath the falls. These delightful waters are bounded by a grassy verge and backed by native forest making it the ideal spot for a hinterland picnic or a post-swim snooze under a giant water gum.
5. The cheese circuit
With rich pastures, a warm climate, a perfect balance between sun and rainfall, the Sunshine Coast has been one of the country’s most renowned dairy producers since cattle were first introduced to the region. Proof of the pudding, or perhaps the yoghurt, is Maleny Dairies which has kept the flag flying with its high quality output, and this year won an award for producing Australia's best full cream milk. A visit to Maleny Dairies will not only prove that milk comes from cows (not cartons) but that it tastes so good! The milk, yoghurt and ice cream can be tasted and bought at the farm shop. You can also join a farm tour, ride a tractor and see the cows milked at 3 pm. Once you’ve tasted the raw goods, head to Maleny Cheese, where you'll see the cheesemakers in action and enjoy tastings in the café and shop. You can also purchase outstanding hard and soft cheeses, along with products from the award-winning yoghurt range. Make time to pop into Maleny Food Co and indulge yourself in the fromagerie, featuring more than 200 cheeses from Australia and around the world.
6. Brews and views
Stop in at Maleny Mountain Wines to sample a range of reds, whites, fortified and dessert wines from Australia and around the world. The friendly staff will find the perfect wine for your palate or the best drop for your celebration, picnic or BYO dining. If you prefer beer, make a pit stop at Brouhaha Brewery (closed for renovations until 31 March, 2017) for some boutique brews and views. It's a cracker of a micro-brewery featuring 12 kinds of amber goodness for your beer-drinking pleasure. There's everything from stout (try the coffee milk stout) to pale ale. Food is fresh and locally sourced and the service is super friendly. TIP: graze on a ploughman's platter - made up of delectable local cheeses, smoked meats and pickles. If you'd like someone else to do the driving jump aboard a tour with Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours.
7. Arts and crafts
The Sunshine Coast hintlerland is a creative hub and you’ll discover quality art galleries and studios featuring works from established and emerging artists. Art on Cairncross is a fine art gallery displaying original art by artists from the Sunshine Coast and from around Australia. As well as very collectable paintings, you can purchase glass, porcelain, bronze and ceramics as well as jewellery and unique gifts. Visit the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Art Trail for more information. The local markets held each Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm also have an eclectic range of locally produced arts and crafts, antiques and collectables and handcrafted jewellery.
If you're looking for a premium dining experience in Maleny then look no further than The Tamarind - the fully licensed, in-house restaurant at Spicers Tamarind Retreat specialising in modern Asian cuisine. The Tamarind’s menu effortlessly combines sweet, sour and spicy flavours with fresh local produce to create original and innovative dishes that almost look too good to eat. From the whole cooked barramundi to the signature crispy duck - every meal is a masterpiece. If you'd like to replicate these Thai creations in your own kitchen, then book yourself in at the cooking school. Rory Thorpe hosts intimate classes of up to 12 people with five hours of cooking, lunch, wine, signature apron and full recipes included.
After all that wining, dining and exploring you'll be in need of some down time and probably a little pampering. Book yourself in for some indulgent cosseting in your own private oasis at Spa Anise, Spicers Tamarind. Relax in a luxuriously appointed treatment rooms, soothe those tired feet in the foot therapy session or spend some time in the hydrotherapy room which features a steam room, rain shower and mineralised spa. If you're just too chilled out to leave your accommodation, then give Tower of Power Mobile Massage a call, and they'll bring a mobile aromatherapy and beauty massage treatment to you.
There are no high rises in the hinterland, just a sweet selection of charming bed and breakfasts, friendly farm-stays, eco-lodges, cottages and boutique retreats, for a wonderfully soul-nurturing stay. See the accomodation directory for a complete list.
Need more things to do? Check out the delights of neighbouring Montville.