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I enjoy visiting the Sunshine Coast, not only because it’s where my daughter lives, but because of the variety of things to do and see on the Sunshine Coast. There really is just so much on offer and if you’re willing to jump in your car for the day there are bountiful Sunshine Coast day trips to be devoured.
Here’s where I consider to be the best Sunshine Coast Day Trips:
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland towns of Maleny, Montville and Mapleton are all a breath of fresh air and are only around 37 kms from the coast. For an escape from the hot sand and sun, it’s always a cooler change in the hinterland, and the scenery is so lush and green.
The small village of Maleny has an abundance of restaurants, cafes and dining options available, both in the town and on its outskirts. But there is also the Maleny Dairies with their farm tours and factory rides. Then there’s Maleny Cheese Boutique Cheeses which is a popular place to buy all sorts of different cheeses and yoghurt products.
You can’t miss the Big Barrel, home to Maleny Mountain Wines and MacLeod Brewing Company. The 8 metre high wine barrel show room offers wine and beer tasting as well as an all day bistro menu filled with local produce from the hinterland region. They also have a lovely garden setting that offers wonderful views of the Glass House Mountains.
Montville is Maleny’s sister town, and the more shopping orientated of the two, with its main street lined with all sorts of different shops. Its location on the range overlooking the Sunshine Coast, makes it a popular place to stop and take photos or have a picnic lunch.
During your day’s driving stop at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, a remnant of the rainforests that once covered the Blackall Range, just outside of Maleny in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. The forest is home to a wide array of Australian flora and fauna and is perfect for bushwalking.
You’ll find the lesser-known green hinterland behind the resort town of Noosa, brimming with delightful villages of its own. Quaint country villages like Pomona, Cooroy and Kenilworth all feature new cafes, quirky local sights, and natural trails that will take your breath away. It’s one of the many things to do in Noosa and is only 22kms away.
Start the day with a climb up Mt Tinbeerwah, in the Tewantin National Park just 2km west of Tewantin and 10km from Noosa along Cooroy-Noosa Rd. This easy climb offers panoramic 360 degree views of the northern end of the Sunshine Coast over Noosa Heads and the hinterland. The walk to the summit is a 1km return trip from the car park over rocky sediment up to a small sheltered lookout. On the day I was there a small group of abseilers were harnessing up to descend down the rocky cliff face of the western side of the mountain.
A little historic town, that once housed Noosa’s local council, Pomona is set under the watchful eye of the imposing Mt Cooroora. Characterised by its maintained historic buildings such as the Pomona Hotel, the old railway station that now houses an art gallery and the unique Majestic Theatre, that shows silent movies of another era. Pomona is 31kms from Noosa Heads via the country town of Cooroy.
Discover the scenically abundant Glass House Mountains 37 kms south of the Sunshine Coast. The scenery will unfold before your eyes as you drive into a series of 14 mountains, including Mt Tibrogargan, Mt Beerwah Mt Coonowrin and Wild Horse Mountain.
There are a series of walking trails with scenic lookouts such as the Glass House Mountains Lookout Circuit, Trachyte Circuit and Wild Horse Mountains Track. Or if you’re an adrenalin junky there are rock climbing adventures at Mt Tibrogargan and Mt Ngungun.
Otherwise just enjoy the drive as the roads take you through strawberry, pineapple and macadamia nut farms and little townships dotted throughout the region with majestic views of the mountains through your windscreen. Make sure you stop at the Outlook Cafe on the way to the Glass House Mountain Lookout. The cafe has wonderful views of the mango orchard and Mount Coonowrin, and is the perfect spot for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack and a coffee.
Drive to the scenic Blackall Range and the Kondalilla National Park, 25 kms from the Sunshine Coast, via Maleny. The park is named after the spectacular Kondalilla Falls, where Skene Creek drops 90 metres into a rainforest valley.
Kondalilla, an Aboriginal word meaning ‘rushing waters’, describes this park’s waterfall during the summer wet season. More than 107 species of birds have been seen in the park, and 70 species of reptiles and 32 species of frogs have been recorded from the Blackall Range. There are several short walking tracks provided in Kondalilla National Park that are worth a stroll.
Take a walk amongst nature in nearby Buderim, only 6 km inland. Described as the hidden jewell of Buderim Mountain, the Forest Park provides a nature lover’s boardwalk with viewing platforms through the subtropical rainforest.
This 45 hectare secluded oasis is less than a kilometre from the Buderim Village. Buderim Forest Park is a rainforest world of tall trees, ferns, babbling waterfalls, cascades and bird calls. Take the time to wander along the elevated path as it follows the meandering brook through subtropical rainforest and marvel at the dramatic Strangler Figs.
When the boardwalk ends, keep following the trail and the reward is a sensational wander through serene bushland along the creek, past babbling cascades and ultimately to the Buderim Falls.
The walking trail has been developed from two entry points. The lower entry is off Lindsay Road via Harry’s Lane, while the second entry point is via Quorn Close, which runs off Lindsay Road at the top of Buderim. To download a map visit Buderim
Cooloola Recreation Park, or Great Sandy National Park, is located north of Noosa and covers the region up to Rainbow Beach. It’s known as the “Great Beach Drive” and is a distance of 102 kms.
However if the beach highway gets a little busy, you can always head inland to a series of four-wheel drive tracks across 61,750ha of variety—beaches, sandblows, rivers, open heath plains and forests.
Catch the ferry across the Noosa River and four-wheel drive through the park past towering coastal sand cliffs and coloured sands. Fish straight from the ocean, canoe on tranquil waterways, hike through rainforest remnants and across vast sandmass and camp among blooming wildflowers, if you feel inclined.
The Great Beach Drive continues north along Rainbow Beach to Inskip Point, where you can catch the barge across to Fraser Island. But exploring Fraser Island is probably best to be left to another day, or maybe several days.
Next time you visit the Sunshine Coast you may look at the region a little differently, as there is so much more to it than the stunning coastline and beaches. You only have to venture a half hour inland to find some of these treasures.
This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset.
The Lovin’ Life Team includes:
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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