Where do tourists go to prepare to visit the mysterious Strangler Cairn? Or to organise a camping trip in Conondale National Park or in Charlie Moreland forestry? Or to find a rugged but beautiful bushwalk?
The answer is the Kenilworth Tourism Information Centre.
The busy centre, in the town’s main street, answered to around 17,000 requests for help in2014about all sorts of hinterland tourism issues.
It is stocked with scores of brochures, local maps, information about local accommodation, bushwalks (from an hour long through to four days) and, of course, the general corporate knowledge of its dedicated volunteers.
“This building has been open for 10 years now and it’s all 100% community operated,” said centre coordinator Pat Yates.
“We also have a craft centre and gift shop attached to it.
“The number of volunteers we have is 12 and the craft centre has seven.”
Kenilworth itself is located in the beautiful upper Mary Valley, near both the Blackall and Conondale ranges.
The town, which has a population of not quite 300, is only about 40 km from Maleny, 25 km from Mapleton via Obi Obi Road, and one and a half hours drive north of Brisbane.
It maintains a comfortable 1930s charm, and has various attractions including a museum, art gallery, cheese factory, a well-appointed playground and picnic area, and a good range of shops.
The surrounding area includes state forest that hosts camping, horse riding and bushwalking.
The KIC is an important factor in the area’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland Come On Up tourism. It has no paid staff, meaning the centre is answerable to the community and its managers Kenilworth and District Chamber of Commerce and Citizens.
The outlet is quite key to local tourism promotion as it is the only information centre between Maleny and the Kandanga Visitor Information Centre, about 30 km to the north, although there is a centre to the east at Mapleton.
“We’re in the middle and that’s why we do very well,” Ms Yates said.
The Kenilworth Tourism Information and Community Access Centre is among a Sunshine Coast network of information centres, although independent they have a working relationship with Sunshine Coast Destination, the Regional Tourism Board and are supported by Sunshine Coast Regional Council through its partnership grant program.