Dust off the sand and prepare to frolic through the rolling hills of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
Escaping the suntanned crowds on the Sunshine Coast is something locals have been doing for decades. And these days, the options for those who want to stay and play in the hinterland are endless. From super-cool boutique breweries to the retreats and restaurants that were formulated with those viridescent views in mind, here is our hot list of new and noteworthy reasons to hightail it to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
Where to stay in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
SCANDI AT MALENY
Shhhh. Slow down. You’re going too fast. Put the brakes on and embrace a more mindful way of life at Scandi at Maleny, which is a Pinterest-worthy cabin that will delight and inspire. The architecturally designed adults-only modular eco-minded two-bedroom cabin overlooks Blackall Range, which presents like a beautiful stretched canvas. Light the fireplace on a cool hinterland night and snuggle under a Brogo blanket by Bemboka (one of many thoughtful touches) and you will never want to leave.
Located in the heart of the Blackall Range, on the crest of the famous Montville escarpment is where you will find Lovestone Cottages, just five minutes from Montville. In addition to the original 1906-built Lovestone House, occupied by owners Tamara and Jonathan Large, there are just three cottages – Maple, Rosewood and Quandong – and they are configured with spas, fires, decks, comfy sofas for couples to sit, lie down and relax while enjoying lake and rainforest views.
SPICERS TAMARIND RETREAT
This rainforest retreat exemplifies the hidden side of the hinterland, which feels a million miles away from the sun-blasted Sunshine Coast. Although the hinterland is now heaving with places to stay, Spicers Tamarind Retreat is like a temple to how it’s done. Sit around the fire pit, curl up in a hammock swing over the mint-green lawns, enjoy a candlelit feast at The Tamarind or simply drink in the serenity from the comfort of your spa studio.
GLASS HOUSE MOUNTAINS ECOLODGE
The accommodation on offer at Glass House Mountains Ecolodge may have had many lives, but each dwelling looks very settled in this location at the base of Mt Tibrogargan. Stay in a restored church, former train carriage, or treetop bungalow at the lodge, which have all been faithfully upcycled in accordance with the owner’s environmental values. Families will love the art walk, bush tucker walk and children’s ‘seek and find’ trail.
Where to eat in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
If ever there was a time we needed to embrace a #1kgdonutchallenge, that time is now. Earn those calories with a 6.5-kilometre run along the Fig Tree walk before embarking on your lip-smacking endeavour at the Kenilworth Country Bakery. Kenilworth is pretty casual so you can stay in your tracky dacks while you try and devour the enormous fried donut. The country bakery is also home to Australia’s first coffee in a donut.
If anybody can package up local provenance and present it in on a plate it’s chef Andrew Birse (ex-Arc Dining) who supports small-scale farmers, cheesemakers and artisan growers at The Long Apron, a French Provincial-inspired restaurant in the heart of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Book a night at the luxurious Clovelly Estate to better enjoy the tasting menu, which has been expertly paired with prestige French and Australian wines.
Unfurl your best red-checked blanket beside the fire pit at Kenilworth Homestead for a picnic that is like a beautiful riff on Escape to the Country Argentina. The feast is inspired by the traditional South American asado barbecue: think fire-roasted meats with seasonal vegetables, and homemade smoky ketchup followed by fresh coffee. Arrive early and make a day of it by communing with the farm animals and enjoying the live music at the Terra Firma Dining experience.
Hopping around the hinterland is exhilarating when you stumble across gems like the Maleny Food Co., which is a must. The quotient of man buns and nose rings is definitely higher here than in other parts of the hinterland, but the crowd of hipster foodies is onto something. Head here in your going-out overalls to enjoy Hinterland Feijoas, Maleny Cheese, Ugly Duck Preserves, Essential Grain Bakery sourdough, and a scoop of Maleny Food Co gelato.
What to do in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
The name Yandina means ‘to go on foot’ in the language of our First Nations people who had tribal grounds near Yandina Creek. The town backed by the craggy Blackall Range is one of the region’s oldest and these days is a draw for visitors to the Yandina Markets, the iconic Spirit House Restaurant & Cooking School, and The Ginger Factory. Those who vibe on vintage finds will also appreciate the Collective Haus.
ENJOY A TOUR OF TOP PLACES FOR A TIPPLE
Bounce between breweries such as Brouhaha Brewery, which is known for its food as well as its beer, and Terella Brewing, known for its sustainability bent, on a Hinterland ExBeerience with Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours where you can go behind the scenes and see how the beer is brewed. Eumundi Distillers at The Imperial Eumundi and Cavu Distilling (the makers of Sunshine & Sons gin) are also worthy pit-stops as is Diablo Co (‘a devishly good alcoholic ginger beer’).
GET UP CLOSE TO NATURE IN MALENY
The Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World is a beautiful serene expanse of Sunshine Coast Hinterland sitting high on an escarpment overlooking the iconic Glass House Mountains. The privately-owned garden is home to thousands of different plants, including some of the rarest cycads in the world. The gardens are also home to ‘Bird World’ which features more than 700 native and exotic birds in walk-through aviaries. Factor in a tour to the property’s stunning waterfall (find more waterfalls on the Sunshine Coast here).
GO TO THE GLASS HOUSE MOUNTAINS
The Glass House Mountains area is part of Jinibara and Kabi Kabi country and it’s a place of great cultural significance for both groups who ask visitors not to climb the mountains out of respect for their values. Join charismatic TribalLink director Kerry Neil in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland town of Mapleton instead to hear Dreamtime stories about the mountains and enjoy an immersive walk through the rainforest to learn about native flora and fauna.