TL;DR – Today I explore the winding roads and mountain towns of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
During 2017 I received some bad news and the best way to deal with bad news is always to run away from your problems … ok no that is a bad idea, but if you are going to run away from your problems you can do worse than running away to the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland. So let’s hop on the Bruce Highway and head north from Brisbane and have a look at a little slice of heaven here on Earth. Also, if you are on mobile, now if the time to check that you are on wifi.
Now as you turn onto the Steve Irwin Way at Beerburrum, you instantly enter into a different world, a world of forests as the Glass House Mountains look down at your passage. Now it is here that we make our first stop on our trip, and a sort of pilgrimage for those heading into the Hinterlands and that is Australia Zoo #NotASponsor at Beerwah. Now one of my greatest memories was heading to Australia Zoo one Easter Holidays when I was young and discovering to my immense joy that Steve ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ Irwin was there and was doing the crocodile demonstrations live. You saw him on TV but nothing prepared you for how amazing he was in person. Well, a lot of things have changed since then and one of them is the size of the Zoo, expanding in all direction with tigers and giraffes, and kangaroos, oh my. It was such a rush to see the crocodile shows, see the birds of prey soar, the otters swim, and the Tasmanian devils run like their house was on fire. You will need to give yourself some time to explore all the parts of the zoo, but trust me it is a lot of fun.
After a long day walking around the Australia Zoo I hung a left at Landsborough and made my way up the ridgeline to the sleepy town of Maleny, my base of operations for this short trip into the Hinterland. Maleny is at the heart of the dairy industry in the Sunshine Coast and as such is about 90% cheese … beautiful, beautiful cheese, ok maybe not 90% but at least 70%. The first job was to check in to the cabin I was staying in Pomodoras on Obi #NotASponsor which as the name suggests is along the banks of the Obi Obi Creek. I picked Pomodoras because it was close enough to the town centre that you could walk in yet the trees made it feel secluded, away from the world, the fact it had a spa bath was just a happy bonus, though that bath did have deceptively small plugs. When I got there I ended up crashing on the bed and getting some sleep to prepare for the big day in the morning.
Now one of the best things about Maleny is that you do not have to travel far to see spectacular views. So in the morning I walked up into the town centre and had a beautiful café breakfast, of course, full of smashed avocados as is tradition, and then spent the morning meandering around the town and driving north to Witta stopping at the little cafes and fruit stands that you see along the road.
After a beautiful lunch at the cabin, I decided to drive out to Gardners Falls a swimming hole just outside of town. The falls are just a short walk from the carpark and even though it tends to be cooler up in the Hinterland it is nice to dive in and have a swim.
After the falls I made my way to the Maleny Dairies #NotASponsor, which is both a working farm and dairy processing plant (which you can tour if you want) but also a great place to pick up some fresh milk and have a cup of tea. Now after a chill session, I took the short drive to one of the gems of the Sunshine Coast – Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve. Now the park itself is nice, you may even see some adorable wallabies if you are lucky but the real draw is the lookout where you can see The Glass House Mountains. While the name of the mountains comes from James Cook as he surveyed the area in the 1770s the mountains have deep cultural and religious significance for the local Jinibara and Gubbi Gubbi people. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Brisbane, and I spent a lot of time just watching the clouds and the setting sun play across the landscape.
After another wonderful night in which I ate snacks from the local IGA and watched Arrival (see review) which of course meant I cried a lot (damn Amy Adams you should have totally got an Oscars nomination for your work here) I went to bed, for it was an early morning for me. Unfortunately, I had to leave the next day which is a shame because there are so many other places I just didn’t get time to visit like Kenilworth and its mounds of cheeses, there is so much cheese, or Mapleton and its beautiful national parks. However, I did have a little time to sneak in one more visit and this was too the stunning town of Montville. Montville has a long history as a place to escape the pressures of city life and it still retains that charm. I only had a chance to grab a quick breakfast before I had to return home to work, but with views that stretch all the way to Mooloolaba and Maroochydore on the coast and out into the Pacific Ocean it was an amazing breakfast. Alas, as soon as it started it had to end and my trip to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland was over, but it wasn’t the last time I’ll visit, I mean I have to go stock up on cheese at some point, did I mention how good the cheese was, if I didn’t goodness the cheese is choice as.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images are by the author