Hinterland Highlights

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The art of living well

Google “the art of living well” and you will end up with all manner of unhelpful philosophical quotes from the like of Aristotle and Epicurus. The statues of these antiquarians tell a tale of a life without prunes or basic roughage.   For example “The greatest good is to seek modest pleasures in order to obtain a state of tranquillity” which is fine if you are into “modest” and “tranquillity”.   For those of us seeking a bit of immodesty and self-indulgence the answer does not lie with the philosophers of old. Today’s world is all about pressure.   Let’s assume you have a partner and possibly a ‘noise with dirt’ (a boy) and a ‘sulk with an iPhone’ (girl). You have both done the heavy lifting to build a home and raise the family. Painfully you have come to realise you are not an LBGT, green, indigenous, muslin, minority refugee with a stuffed boat now working for the ABC and thus have little standing in Australia today.  For you discretionary time is at a premium. The weekends are an unpaid Uber blur of children’s sporting activities where you are probably paying for them to aspire to the standards of behaviour of a Nick Kyrgios.   If you plan to survive into dotage you need to schedule some down time. I can hear you saying that the family/job/pets would not survive without you. The reality is of course that the sun will continue to set, the moon will rise and Trump’s comb over will still be the biggest cover-up in the Whitehouse since Watergate.   So if you really want to embark on the discovery of “the art of living well” turn your mind to a calculated escape and discover that there is some sanity […]


Great Walk Flaxton to Mapleton Falls

The Great Walk between Kondalilla Falls at Flaxton and the Mapleton Falls National Park could be described as the most challenging and also the most beautiful of all four sections of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland’s Great Walk.  This section of the Great Walk extends around 10.6 kilometres in total, which includes around 3.5km along mainly bitumen and concrete roadways and footpaths at the Kondalilla Falls carpark, along  Montville-Mapleton Road at Flaxton and 1.7km walking along Flaxton Mill Road until the track goes bush.  It’s also possible to park at the bottom of Flaxton Mill Road so as to skip the first “urban” section of the walk.  The 4.3km section of the walk from Flaxton Mill Road, down into Baxter Creek Valley and then back up toward Obi Obi Road at Mapleton, is perhaps the toughest physically of all sections of the Great Walk.  It includes a gradual-but-relentless zig-zagging descent as the track makes its way down toward Baxter Creek, before walkers cross a suspension bridge across the creek and then begin the journey back out of the valley and towards Mapleton.  It’s not hard to argue with the signage that suggests experienced walkers only should venture along the walk. While the tracks are very good, in some parts they are narrow, they include quite a number of steps, and can be slippery when wet. It’s a great workout for the lungs and thighs.  Walkers of moderate fitness should allocate around 2.5 hours to complete this 4.3km section, one way.    The walk is perhaps less popular that other more-publicised sections of the Great Walk like the section from Baroon Pocket Dam to Kondalilla Falls, as well as the shortest section that encompasses Mapleton […]

The Falls Montville

The Falls Montville is having a stellar year!

The Falls Montville Voted Trivago’s number one 4.5 star hotel in Australia 2018. Awarded TripAdvisor’s ‘Best Small Hotel’ in Australia 2018. Winner TripAdvisor ‘Best Service of all Australian Hotels’ 2018. And currently #1 hotel on TripAdvisor’s live Australia rankings! The property, however, is not resting on its laurels. 10 new reverse cycle air conditioners have gone in. As have rainhead and hand held showers in cottage bathrooms. New tapware graces cottage kitchens, spas and bathrooms. New bathrobes, pillows, linen and towels add to cottage plushness. Free WIFI is now available in all cottages and the manor house. Two new manor house bedrooms and an additional bathroom have been brought online. (The Manor House now offers six beautiful bedrooms – all with private, ensuited bathrooms!) Refinements have also been made to the excellent gourmet breakfast offerings. “But”, said owner Aryna Dryden, “some things don’t change! Refreshments on arrival, personal check-in, spotlessly clean accommodation, quality ironbark firewood, luxurious cottage double spas, free dinner transfers, complimentary port and chocolates, complimentary cappuccinos at reception, fun on the croquet lawn…. and the many ‘personal touches’ on which The Falls has built its reputation.” The 6 secluded and private rainforest cottages are designed for couples. And the manor house now takes groups of up to 12. The overall property accommodates up to 24 guests. “We’re ideal for many traveller profiles”, added Alan Dryden. “We adore romantic couples. We offer corporate retreats from 6 to 12 executives. We’re perfect for groups of couples travelling together. Girls’ weekends are ideal. Bridal groups and wedding guests are welcome. As are family reunions. And international travellers too. “Montville is a […]


A Wonderful Woombye Weekend Walk

Visitors to the hinterland are invited to take a short train trip and walk through the townships of Palmwoods and Woombye, which are located just down the range about 10km drive from Montville.  Walkers are invited to begin the one-hour adventure at the Woombye Railway Station on Barts St, which includes great car parking.   For $5, purchase a single station train trip to Palmwoods, before exiting the station and a short walk to Chevallum Rd and the rainforest walk in Kolora Park (also known colloquially as the Ducks Ponds).  Kolara Park is home to various bird life, a nice rotunda, playground for children and some history boards to read. There’s also a water fountain and toilet blocks.  From here, watch out for traffic to cross over Woombye-Montville Rd to Koorawatha Lane. This is where a well-paved 5km path begins – walkers on this route burn some 500 calories and can get their step count up to about 10,000.  There’s plenty of bird life in the tree canopies, so keen photographers should have their camera handy to capture the colourful array of parrots feasting on the native trees, some more than 100 years old. Check for information plaques mounted on rocks at the foot of some of the huge trees.  Walkers then come to crossings over Holly Green Crescent and Tarong St, as the pathway continues heading up a slight incline. The pathway is ideal for those looking for a brisk walk for fitness, but also for those keen for a quiet leisurely relaxing stroll.   Just on the right is Cittamani Hospice, which provides compassionate palliative care.   Further along the leafy pathway, after crossing Colsak Close, is Brady’s Fruit Stall on the right. It’s a popular spot for buying fruit and vegetables, or a quick drink or a fresh snack.  The next street along the walk is Abbotts Rd, followed by Sir Francis Nicklin Park, a historic park named in honour of a former Queensland Premier. It’s also handy […]


Getaway from it all at Bellthorpe Stays

Nestled in the rolling green hills at the confluence of the Blackall Range and the Conondale Range is Bellthorpe Stays. Being just over an hour from Brisbane, Bellthorpe Stays is quite accessible yet tucked away from the riff raff of busy day to day life. There is absolutely no traffic at Belthorpe Stays.   Immerse yourself in the peace and quiet, with birds and wildlife nearby, you won’t want to pack your bags for the trip home – yes, linger for a little bit longer. You can easily lose yourself in the tranquillity of the surroundings. Bellthorpe Stays is on 400 acre property with tall eucalyptus woodland and rainforest with buttress trees, strangler figs, fern trees and tangled vines. The property shares a two kilometre boundary with the Bellthorpe National Park with its immense vista of protected habitat.   Offering both a simple farm stay as well as a nature based accommodation experience with four private and well equipped cabins.  These are ideal for singles, couples, friends or family.  Cabins are one or two bedrooms with each one fully self-contained with linen and all that you need for a comfortable stay, all you need to bring is your food and personal belongings.  During the winter months, you can get cosy by the log fire – yes, the wood, kindling and fire starters are supplied and well stocked.  Winter months typically are cool at night, frosty mornings and beaming warm sunshine during the day.   All the cabins are setup to take advantage of the local scenery; birds will visit you regularly and many of […]

Kondalilla Falls

Discover natures heavenly oasis at Kondalilla Eco Resort

Kondalilla Eco Resort is a tranquil accommodation resort that offers a relaxing environment for the mind, body and soul. Kondalilla is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘rushing waters’ and gives honour to the stunning Kondalilla Falls nestled within the adjacent Kondalilla National Park. These are the traditional lands of the Gubbi Gubbi tribe and has special spiritual significance for the Aboriginal people, many whom would travel great distances to gather when the bunya nuts were in season. These beautiful Bunya Pines are still nestled throughout the Resort. This eco-friendly resort is dedicated to the preservation of its natural environment. The resort has introduced many initiatives to reduce environmental impact and keep in harmony with its surroundings. The Resort has reduced its energy consumption by introducing led lighting and gas hot systems. It manages rainwater runoff and has introduced a revegetation program to regenerate the natural bushland with local species and removal of noxious weeds. Local businesses are also supported and products and food items are sourced locally, sustainably and ethically which is in line with the Resort’s ethos.  Beautifully situated on 20 acres of bushland, Kondalilla Eco Resort offers secluded and cosy rustic Treehouses and Villas each equip with a stunning log fire and spa bath perfect for that romantic getaway. The Resort also offers Family Rooms, Lodges and Log Cabins for families who wish to come and explore the beauty of the surrounding area. Kondalilla Falls and it’s refreshing rock pools are only a short walk away, but the Resort is just a five minute drive to the quaint township of Montville which offers a variety […]

Secrets on the Lake

The best kept Secret

Secrets on the Lake world class treehouse retreat is designed to offer you the perfect opportunity for romance, relaxation, and the very best in intimate accommodation. Secrets Café on the Deck and ten unique hand carved treehouses all nestle high in the lush rainforest canopy on the shores of magnificent Lake Baroon, each with stunning views overlooking the lake, magical elevated walkways, exquisite carvings and artistic details. Secrets also caters for wedding receptions and has exquisite wedding venues in stunning garden rock pool settings, rustic and rainforest settings, or waterfront, jetty and lake house settings.  From the moment you arrive at Secrets on the Lake, you discover a loving attention to detail everywhere you look – beautiful carved furniture, delicate forged ironwork, handmade pottery, leadlight windows and many other finishing touches handcrafted by local artists. Secrets on the Lake perfectly complements the unspoilt environment and ancient rainforest. This intimate connection with nature is enhanced by the incredible food prepared inhouse by top chef Mat Law and his talented team in the award-winning Secrets Café on the Deck.   Experience truly beautiful accommodation, the Secrets Art Gallery, breathtaking Café, and stunning garden and lake house wedding venues.  Secrets on the Lake has been featured on national television as the perfect romantic escape for couples. Secrets on the Lake have designed competitive packages for all occasions or you can tailor your stay with luxury extras to suit your special needs.  Situated on the shores of Lake Baroon and adjoining Obi Obi Gorge and The Great Walk. You can relax and retreat, canoe, bushwalk, visit other local iconic […]


Glass House Mountains – The Spiritual Heart of the Sunshine Coast

Timeless, haunting, shrouded in history, the spectacular Glass House Mountains stand as silent sentinels in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland.  Some 31 million years ago a massive volcano erupted south west of today’s popular Maleny Township. This volcano was active for an amazing 4 million years. After the final eruptions molten magma intruded underground into fissures and weaknesses in the layers of sandstone to slowly cool and harden becoming Trachyte and Rhyolite.  Over the next 25 million years the sandstone eroded exposing the harder rock that had formed between the layers of softer stone. It is hard to imagine but if you stand at the Glass House Mountains Information Centre you would be 300 to 400 metres underground 25 million years ago! It was through erosion and not eruption that the extraordinary Glass House Mountains emerged.   These mysterious magma monoliths, fire born and ancient, provide visitors with brilliant walks, breath taking views and a unique history to discover. They were named by Lieutenant James Cook on 17th May 1770 as he sailed north through Moreton Bay. They reminded him of the glass making conical brick kilns of his native Yorkshire.  There is a rich narrative that has been passed down from the first people of Australia and may date back some 65,000 years. Visitors are encouraged to learn more of these legends, a spiritual heritage as ancient as dream time.  The first European to explore the Glass House Mountains was Lieutenant Matthew Flinders. In July 1799 his ship, the Norfolk, was in need of urgent repairs so Flinders beached her in Pumicestone Passage. He decided to investigate Cook’s Glass House Mountains and subsequently […]