Hinterland Highlights

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Flaxton Gardens

A touch of Royalty comes to the Hinterland Alan Thompson, Owner and Executive Chef at Flaxton Gardens, has had quite an illustrious career in haute cuisine, beginning with his training in New Zealand. Alan decided to pursue a career in London, working as Head Chef for a number of well-known chefs over several years and finally opening his own fine dining restaurant in the early 1990’s known as 755  in Fulham, London, often frequented by English Society and Royalty.  Following several years of making his name in London, he moved to the heart of the Cotswold countryside where he purchased The Royalist Hotel  (now known as  The Porch House) – authenticated in the Guinness book of records as the oldest inn in England, dating as far back as 947AD. Alan purchased the Hotel in the late 1990’s at the beginning of the Gastro-Pub phenomenon, and over the next five years, developed the Royalist into a venue with an esteemed reputation.  “The Royalist has many curious features befitting such an ancient building: ‘witch marks’ above the fireplace to ward off evil spirits, a medieval frieze, and even a leper pit in the oldest part of the cellars. The hotel also features an adjacent pub, The Eagle and Child, where unpleasant pursuits such as bear baiting would have once taken place. The name itself is linked to the English Civil War when the building was used as headquarters of the Royalist army prior to the Battle of Stow in 1646 – a battle they would lose […]

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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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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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