The Sunshine Coast region is one of the most diverse in Queensland. From the golden beaches of Caloundra, Mooloolabah and Noosa to the hidden treasures of the Hinterland, there is so much to explore you could spend weeks and still discover more.
The Sunshine Coast is perhaps best known for the seaside town of Noosa to the north, and there’s no doubt that this is the style Mecca of Sunshine Coast living.
Noosa has award-winning restaurants, galleries and retail therapy as well as its natural attractions – beautiful beaches and the Noosa everglades amongst them.
Close on the heels of Noosa is Mooloolaba to the south, with recent developments on the esplanade creating a world-class food and shopping precinct, which is gaining an international reputation.
So where do Noosa and Mooloolaba locals go when they want a break? They head to the Hinterland, of course. We want to share their secrets and suggest a self-drive tour that begins in Brisbane, involves a stay in the Blackall Ranges or the Noosa hinterland and ends with a few days in Noosa, Coolum or Mooloolaba – the perfect balance of art, food and wine, the natural environment and beachside chic.
The message is don’t just head for the beach. Head for the hills as well and discover the unique combination the Sunshine Coast offers.
The Glasshouse Mountains dominate the background as you drive towards the Sunshine Coast. A series of kava plugs that reach as high as 550 metres, one of the best views of these beautiful mountains is from Mary Cairncross Park near Maleny. The park has more than 50 hectares of ancient rainforest and is home to the annual Opera in the Rainforest featuring the stars of the Queensland Opera and held every year in October.
Maleny is a diary town that in recent years has become a centre for artistic pursuits. Galleries, gardens and organic farming are a focus in Maleny. The annual Festivals of Colour attracts keen gardeners and the views across to the Glasshouse Mountains are beautiful.
Picturesque Montville is reminiscent of the Dandenongs in Victoria and Hahndorf South Australia. A gorgeous gallery and café township, many hours can be spent wining, dining and shopping your way up and down the picturesque village main street.
Nested in the centre of the Blackall ranges, Flaxton and Mapleton are delightful villages with an artistic bent and the Mapleton Falls are one of the most beautiful in the region.
There are several great coffee shops in the Mapleton and respected second-hand bookshop. Stop by the Mapleton Lily Ponds, a spectacular sight when the lilies are in flower in spring and summer. The Mapleton Pub serves great counter meals as you savour the view over the coast.
Kenilworth is located in the Mary Valley, surrounded by the Blackall and Conondale ranges. The Kenilworth Cheese Factory is famous and the exploits at the annual rodeo are legendary.
Eumundi is an historic town with shops, a winery, the Glastonbury Estate cellar door, a great country pub, numerous coffee shop and restaurants. Of course, Eumundi is also home to the famous Eumundi Markets that operate Wednesday and Saturdays every week of the year.
Further afield, Gympie is known as the “Golden City” for its role as the homeof Queensland’s first gold rush in 1867, and for the famous Gympie Country Music Muster every August.
Of course the magic of the Hinterland is the beach is never far away.