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Three of the best restaurants in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland!

By Angus Richard Long gone are the days in Australia where John Galsworthy noted that: “The French cook, we open tins.” One of the key attractions today for local and overseas visitors to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is the freshness, creativity and diversity of our food culture which manifests itself in brilliant restaurants. Here for your enjoyment are just three that you must experience when next immersed in a well-earned break in this rich and iconic region. The legendary Terrace Seafood Restaurant at Cairncross Corner has consistently delighted diners for over twenty years. Signature dishes include their amazing Seafood Platter with a highlight of gravity defying prawns. Their Seafood Chowder is a must. This is where you get to eat the crockery (it is served in a freshly baked cob loaf!). Finish with their Brandy Basket which looks and tastes so good you could probably enter it in an art prize and take home the trophy.     Pomodoras sits on the banks of the Obi Obi Creek where you can literally dip a toe in the water and be relieved that the Platypus are friendly. The relaxing contemporary restaurant is famous for its Beef Carpaccio and locally sourced Buffalo Burgers. It is a wonderful, tree shrouded, creek kissed place to dine.       In picturesque Montville seek out Lisa and Gypsy’s Table. A homely low set timber building at the top of the main street that recalls the country’s early settlement. The warmth of wood, soft furnishings, comfortable furniture, […]

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Indulge your senses in the Hinterland

Flame Hill Vineyard – impressive wines and beautiful fresh produce Flame Hill Vineyard and Restaurant, positioned on a plateau on the highest point in lush green Montville, is notable not only for its stunning views, but also for the unique wines produced from its two vineyards, and the sustainable production of the ingredients used in its delicious meals. Under the guidance of passionate owner Tony Thompson, the vineyard not only grows the grapes for its impressive wines, it also farms its own beef, venison, poultry and eggs, and grows its own fresh vegetables and herbs – it’s no wonder the dining and experiences are truly unique. The vineyard is proud of its over-arching focus on producing good food and wine in an ethical and sustainable manner. Flame Hill also breeds its own high-quality Angus beef, which is grass fed on site at the Montville property; the cattle graze in the pastures around what is lovingly known as the “Chook Hilton”, the home of the poultry and eggs that are also produced on the lush property; and it has a market garden on site for the fresh vegetables and herbs that are served in the restaurant. To accompany the meals, or to be savoured nicely on their own, are two beautiful wines produced from the local grapes – Montville Shiraz and Flamehill Verdehlo – and wines produced from their southern vineyard, Kurrajong Lyra, at Ballandean in the Granite Belt of southern Queensland. Perhaps the secret of these estate-grown, hand harvested wines stems from the deep emotional […]

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Horse Riding through Hinterland Rainforest

By Richard Bruinsma There are numerous beautiful, relaxing and sometimes-challenging bushwalks through various national parks in the Sunshine Coast, and a small number of them are also available for horse riding. Among the trails open to horses are the trails around Mapleton National Park. The park offers three longer trails – the Turpentine Trail at 7.8km return, Piccabeen Circuit (6.7km) and the Kureelpa Falls Circuit (8.5km) – which are shared between walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders. There is a hierarchy of who gives way to whom – all users give way to horses. Local residents Chloe Hutton and Matt Norman are among those who regularly ride their horses through trails. One of their favourites is the Piccabeen Circuit, which has a full distance of 6.7km return. The Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing website reports that the trail makes its way through tall blackbutt forest and rainforest and includes “several crossings of Gheerulla Creek”. “It’s a beautiful track, it’s nice and even for the horses,” Chloe explained. “There’s a few creek crossings that are also beautiful, and even better when they are running as they are now after the rain.” Her partner Matt added: “The track is really well looked after, it’s just a nice peaceful ride. “It’s a great place to bring young horses too, there’s not a lot out there to scare them so they are able to get used to riding in different areas, easily.” To get to the Mapleton national Park (not to be […]

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Wittacork Dairy Cottages

Experience a working farm

We visit Wittacork Dairy Cottages in Maleny to experience a modern working dairy farm stay and so much more. By Kerry Brown Just getting to Wittacork Cottages is an unforgettable drive; the road to the dairy is narrow and winds the entire way along a ridge with lush green paddocks rolling gently as far as the eye can see. You can almost sense you are about to experience something very special, and you are. This modern working dairy farm is located just outside of Maleny. The 500-acre property includes pristine rainforest overlooking Lake Baroon and adjoins the Kondalilla and Obi Obi Gorge National Parks. A hearty helping of country hospitality awaits when hosts Rob and Anne Cork meet you on arrival. When they first moved to the dairy in 1992, it was fairly run down so they worked incredibly hard to revive and modernise the farm. When the dairy industry was deregulated in 2000, they were determined to find a way forward. Rob said the couple knew they had to diversify to keep the farm working. “We researched and visited other farm stays before we devised our own way of doing it here,” he explained. “We talked to people and knew that there was an interest in what we do here at the farm. “People love seeing the dairy and feeding the animals, especially the family groups, then they can walk through the rainforest tracks or even walk to Lake Baroon; it’s a fair way but worth the effort.” Guests […]

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Maleny Food Co

Gelato, sorbet and cheese … oh my!

Fresh gelato and sorbet hand made every day in Maleny The team at Maleny Food Co. are passionate about what they do, simply put by owner Norman Scott. “We make the best gelato and sorbet in Australia right here in Maleny; combining the rich Guernsey milk and cream from a local farm, with the finest Queensland and Italian flavour ingredients”. These delicious award winning products are made every day at the purpose built facility in Maleny, it’s a handcrafted process using traditional artisan techniques. “We start the day by collecting fresh Guernsey milk and cream from a local family farm that we know produces the best quality milk in an environmentally sustainable way.” Norman explains. Made in small batches the base mixture is churned rather than whipped to produce the perfect rich and creamy texture. The flavours are then hand stirred through to create delicious combinations such as cherry ripe, lychee chocolate and ginger and the popular crème caramel. “It’s our commitment to quality that makes the difference, we know where our ingredients come from and the story behind the producers”, Norman says. It’s well worth the scenic drive up to Maleny in the Hinterland to discover the Maleny Food Co café where you will be greeted with a warm welcome and can enjoy a great coffee and the deli-style dining. You will be surprised by the well-stocked walk in fromagerie with more than 200 Australian and International cheese. A “foodie” experience for any cheese lover, especially those that who […]

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Kondalilla Falls

Lots to see, so Come On Up!

20/01/2018

Visitors to the Sunshine Coast hinterland are warned to not make the mistake of leaving the area before they’ve experienced everything The Hinterland and the surrounding communities have to offer. The list of attractions is not as straight forward as many may think – it’s very diverse in deed. The region encompasses the well-known headline towns of Montville, Maleny and Mapleton, but then also boasts the unique attractions that come with the farming and alternate communities of Conondale, the colonial town of Kenilworth with its national parks, bushwalks, and camping grounds, and outlying communities like Kenilworth, Landsborough, Mooloolah, and Palmwoods. The hinterland has well and truly developed a great reputation for its unique and quaint boutique shops, its beautiful coffee shops and restaurants, and the views to the coast that are so readily accessible in Montville itself and along the hinterland’s mountain ridge road. But the lesser-known attractions include the region’s produce and food attractions – visitors are able to visit working farms, organic vegetable and fruit producers, coffee roasters, and spend time cooking with unique locally-made marinades and sauces. There are also speciality breweries manufacturing world quality beers, a boutique liqueur-maker using native bush foods to create unique flavours, cheese producers, and dairy farms that produce the freshest dairy products that need to be experienced to believe, as well as providing accommodation that allows visitors to experience working farms. The natural attractions include countless bushwalks, starting with the 58km Great Walk that meanders from Lake Baroon through the range […]

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The Strangler Cairn, Conondale National Park

In the rugged Conondale Range, this park features luxuriant rainforests, tall eucalypt forests, waterfalls, boulder-strewn creeks and spectacular scenery.  The diverse forests provide homes for a wonderful variety of wildlife including more than 120 species of birds and many mammals. The threatened but seldom-seen yellow-bellied glider lives in the open forest. Some rare and threatened species are found in the Conondale and Blackall ranges, including the cascade tree-frog and plumed frog-mouth. The 56 km Conondale Range Great Walk showcases the very best of Conondale National Park’s natural features. A sculpture by internationally renowned artist Andy Goldsworthy is within a half day walk on this track and compliments the stunning beauty of its environment.  The walking track to Artists cascades goes past the sculpture. For more information – check out the National Parks website …  

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The Perfect Time to Take a Great Walk

The cool weather makes it the perfect time to take a Great Walk worthy of the bucket list! The very term Great Walk in itself is almost enough to wave away the idea completing that challenging hike aside and think instead about coffee shops and quaint boutiques. But there comes a time when these alternate but beautiful attractions in the Sunshine Coast hinterland should also be added to the bucket list and given true deserved consideration. One part of the Great Walk is the walking track between the Montville side of Lake Baroon and Flaxton – a 15km walk that conveniently includes the popular Kondalilla Falls day walk and picnic area. The section of the track from Lake Baroon to Kondalilla Falls is around 10km, and a convenient finishing point for those not wanting to complete the full walk. Or, of course, a good start point for those wishing to head the opposite direction. The walk is graded a Level 2 difficulty by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, which also suggests allocating between five and seven hours to complete the one-way journey. However, as a male of moderate fitness, I was able to complete the walk comfortably, including various stops to take photo graphs, in an easy three hours. In total, the Great Walk stretches 58km, from Lake Baroon to Kondalilla Falls at Flaxton and, then, from Flaxton to Mapleton Falls National Park, and the national park itself as the fourth piece of the puzzle. Thankfully, that considerable bucket list […]

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unique restaurant

Falls Farm helping create unique restaurant menus

IMAGINE an organic vegetable, fruit and herb farm that hosts visits from south east Queensland’s best chefs, who then return to their restaurants and create menus based on what they have tasted and seen. The Falls Farm at Mapleton, not far from the Mapleton Falls National Park, is doing just that. In the process it’s becoming a key player in a wave that’s sweeping through the blue ribbon restaurant sector – the variety, quality and flavours of the produce and herbs available is dictating the meals that are created. “I think that’s where these sorts of restaurants are going; they want to make that move to be able to grow with the grower, and we also want to learn from them,” Christine Ballinger, of The Falls Farm, said. The list of recent visitors is a sort of who’s who of the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane restaurant scene: Spicers Clovelly Estate’s Executive Chef Cameron Matthews, 2013 Queensland Good Food Guide Chef of the Year Alejandro Cancino  of Brisbane’s Urbane restaurant, Gerard’s Bistro head chef Ben Williamson, 2012 Master-chef winner Andy Allen and more. They have each taken a taste tour of the farm and some have even cooked at its outdoor wood-fired oven. “I ask them, ‘What are you looking for? What would you like us to grow in our climactic conditions?’ – that’s the way I like to work with the restaurants,” Ms Ballinger said. The 24-acre Falls Farm is a mini-miracle itself. It was purchased in 2013, after some 20 years of little care, and was overgrown with various weeds and vines, including lantana six metres high. Over time, the land was cleared, new garden “rooms” were created, orchards, crops and herbs planted and fertilized with home-made organic fertilizer, and greenhouses established. Parts of the farm are also being regenerated to its natural native form. The farm today produces a wide array of […]

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