Hinterland Highlights

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Maleny Botanic Gardens

Experience Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World

Stunning unique gardens, unparalleled valley views and captivating birdlife make Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World a must-see destination that can’t be described adequately in words or represented accurately in simple photographs.  The gardens are unique, and should be high on the “to do” list of any Hinterland visitor, as a truly unmissable attraction that is all-at-once exhilarating and breathtaking, but also relaxing.   To stand on the escarpment, with expansive terraced gardens just below you, and the magnificent Glass House Mountains in the distance, is an experience that just can’t be equalled.   The exquisite Maleny Botanic Gardens is perched on the side of the mountain, overlooking what is one the world’s most fascinating mountain ranges and the surrounding valley. And with that spectacular backdrop, visitors experience around seven hectares (19 acres) of terraced and manicured gardens, countless bright flower beds, waterfalls, rock walls, ponds and bridges, an actual floating fishing trawler, and a variety of plants so diverse that is literally uncountable.  It’s the perfect place to just get away, relax, wander around quietly, and enjoy nature’s wonderful flora offerings.  Along with the gardens, there’s an expansive walk-through aviary that is home to around 400 magnificent birds – including finches, South American Conures, parrots and colourful macaws – who like to curiously inspect the visitors, perching on their arms and the heads, and even play with jewellery if they can get away with it.   Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World is a unique attraction hand-built by owner Frank Shipp, who continues to terrace and beautify more and more land to create what is an ever-growing mountain oasis.  “It’s all about happiness, laughter, that’s what keeps me going,” Frank said.  “People need a little laughter and joy in their lives; it doesn’t have to be stress all the time, and […]

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Lucas Parklands

Concert pianist Anna Fedorova to perform at Lucas Parklands

28/07/2018 2.30pm

One of the world’s most admired young concert pianists has agreed to present two concerts in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland at Lucas Parklands, Montville in July – her only performances during her 2018 Australian visit. The Ukraine born Anna Fedorova is a multi-international piano competition prize winner including the Rubenstein “In Memorian”.   Ms Fedorova has become a loved and respected musician, her performance resume reads like a who’s who list of the world’s most prestigious concert halls, orchestras and conductors. She is admired for her depth and power of musical expression, and described as possessing “sweet modesty and wild expression,” – traits that have resulted in her audience being “completely taken by surprise, compelled and astonished.”  “The idea of bringing a renowned player to perform in our Montville rainforest concert hall began last year when my thoughts turned to the 2018 Lucas Parklands Winter Concerts” said Mr Lucas;   “I wrote to four or five well known and established concert artists asking if they would like to perform at Lucas Parklands.” Mr Lucas continued, “Anna replied instantly. I was flattered by her energetic response, honest enthusiasm and Anna simply stated that she’d love to play in Montville”.  “I was elated and a little surprised by her enthusiasm.”   “In Europe she’s quite a superstar,” Mr Lucas said. “Anna has 15-million-plus views of her performance of the Rachmaninov Second Piano Concerto recorded at The Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam; this exceeds any other performer or performance of a classical work.”  For the Lucas family Ms Fedorova’s visit has extra significance.  Anna will begin the concert with 50 minutes of solo piano, then after interval will be joined by their son Sam, together they will present works for cello and piano.  Sam is a fine cellist who is building an international reputation as a concert performer and currently studies with maestro Pieter Wispelwey at the prestigious Robert Schumann Conservatory in Düsseldorf Germany. Whilst visiting Lucas Parklands Anna and Sam will also record works for cello and piano.   Described as one of the top two or three performance venues of its size in the world the 150 seat acoustically brilliant Lucas Parklands auditorium was designed by Ian. The room is set amongst the beauty and peace of undisturbed […]

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Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

Visit our world class tourist attraction, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and discover rainforest that once covered the entire area By Richard Bruinsma Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve at Maleny has been transformed in recent years to become a high class eco-tourism attraction. It includes a wide array or attractions, from the tranquil and easy walks through the subtropical rainforest that is the centrepiece of the 55-hectare reserve, through to lovely picnic grounds – complete with barbecues, sheltered picnic tables, expansive lawn and play equipment for the children – and the new and modern Discovery Centre and café building. The Discovery Centre includes numerous displays that provide an insight into the world that exists among the thick foliage and towering trees. It features a number of displays, interactive learning activities, and multi-media presentations that all help to reveal more of this wonderful natural attraction. Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve provides a understanding of the rainforest that once covered the entire area, and provides an opportunity to take a relaxing wander among diverse birdlife and native animals, as well as a wide array of plant life, from the towering buttressed trees that stretch to the canopy, through the tiniest of mushrooms that feed on the rotting vegetation in the undergrowth below. The reserve sits on the edge of Maleny’s southern escarpment, and provides a stunning uninterrupted view towards the Glasshouse Mountains on the plain below.     The picnic grounds and barbecues are free at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve; however, entry to the walking track […]

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Take the Great Walk from Lake Baroon to Flaxton

Challenge yourself to take a Great Walk that will take you very up close and personal with nature. By Richard Bruinsma 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 […]

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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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Knitfest – Maleny Yarn and Fibre Arts Festival

30/06/2018 8:30am to 4:00pm

Knitfest 2018 is an exciting weekend Yarn and Fibre Arts Festival held on June 30th – July 1st, 2018, celebrating winter arts and crafts, embracing the whole community of Maleny. We yarn bomb and decorate the main street of Maleny so the town becomes a centre of art, creativity, yarn bombing, workshops, guest speakers, music, trade stalls and craft markets. It is a magical festival for families to discover new skills, talents and creativity with the use of yarns including knitting, crochet, basket weaving, spinning and weaving, felting and lots more. Get involved and join one of the many workshops. Knitfest features competitions for community groups, art associations and skilled artisans to decorate trees in our beautiful streetscapes with handmade art installations made of yarn and fibre. There’s prize money too! There is also several competitions for the Best Beanie, Scarf, Shawls, Tea Cosy etc. Ride the Mystic bus as it travels up and down the Festival Precinct so you can get a window seat to see all the attractions and the best yarnbombing. The bus is yarnbombed of course. We encourage people to bring their knitting needles, crochet hooks and basket weaving for random acts of craft in the street. We want to expose the many Fibre artists, arts and crafts groups, knitting for causes groups, artisan groups and craft suppliers in a fun filled family weekend. The theme for this year is “Outer Space / Sci Fi”. This year, our local Astronomy Club will be hosting a “Come […]

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Indulge your senses at Flame Hill

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

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 confused with Mapleton […]

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Wittacork Dairy Cottages

Experience a working farm with Wittacork Cottages

We visit Wittacork 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 can […]

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