Moving to the Sunshine Coast hinterland was the best decision my parents ever made for our family. As much as I now love the busyness and culture of Brisbane’s big city, I do have to say that the hinterland will always be home for me. There is just something so comforting about being surrounded by green trees and breathing fresh air. This is one of the many reasons why the hinterland is the perfect location for city slickers seeking a weekend day trip or an easy getaway with the family.
Maleny, Montville and Flaxton are all beautiful towns located along the Blackall Range, each offering something a little unique and special. There are so many hidden treasures in each of these locations, however not all of them are so easily found. Here are just a few of my very favourite places that are a definite must-do when you are next up in ‘my’ local area.
Let’s start things off at the top of the range. Maleny is fairly well known for its green rolling hills, delicious dairy product and the relaxed style of living. One thing that most tourists or day trippers often miss is the beautiful fresh waterfalls that are situated in the rainforests that surround Maleny.
Once you have dried off after your refreshing dip in the falls, my next suggestion is the Maleny Cheese Factory. Marcus, the owner and head cheesemaker, has brought all of his knowledge and love of cheese to this business. Maleny Cheese Factory plays with unique ingredients, such as wasabi and buffalo milk, so you can imagine the end result is something really interesting on the taste buds.
Next on the list is the newly opened M.A.D Art Gallery, located on the main street of Maleny.
M.A.D Art Gallery owner Lindsay Muir is an extremely talented artist who specialises in clay. Lindsay seamlessly captures and creates beautiful scenes of animals in their natural habitat. What really makes his work extraordinary is the way in which the man presents his work via new and innovative platforms. Basically, his art gallery is another must see.
By this stage, refreshments are most certainly in order and I can think of no place more suitable than Colin James Fine Foods. This ice creamery and café is quite simply To. Die. For. and the perfect way to finish off your Maleny experience. If you want a local’s hot tip, if you are stuck on what flavour ice cream to pick, go for the Hazelnut Roche. You won’t regret it!
Moving across the Blackall Range, Montville is the next town on the map. This place is boutique central. If you love to shop for weird, wacky and wonderful little treasures, then you are most certainly in the right place. Montville Alpaca Shop is personally my favourite store in Montville. This store sells the softest products made entirely of alpaca fur. It feels ridiculously comfortable on your skin and it’s a nice alternative to sheep’s wool for the winter.
My next suggestion on your adventure in Montville is just across the street – Candy Addictions. The name is pretty self-explanatory. This little factory- style shop specialises in rock candy. What sets this candy store apart from others is the fact that you actually get to watch the staff make all of the different flavours of candy. It’s honestly like being a real-life Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. The kids will absolutely love it and so will you.
Now I know that I am starting to sound like a real guts here, but my last suggestion for Montvillie is another foodie stop – Wild Rocket @ Misty’s restaurant, located further along the main street. Wild Rocket’s menu is really diverse and incorporates a range of different international cuisines that are bound to get any foodie excited. The restaurant is set up in a cosy cottage-style building that backs onto a really sweet little courtyard so, as you can imagine, the place is just crawling with atmosphere. Just a cheeky little side note here. This place also does wicked cocktails, so you may as well make it an occasion because you are going to want to try more than just one!
Okay, so, last stop on the list is Flaxton. As funny as this may sound, this town does not really have a centre or main street. Regardless, there are still a fair few interesting bits and bobs to see.
My first suggestion is actually a place stumbled upon by my parents and goes out to all of the fellow gardening and home decorating fanatics. If this sounds like you, then Le Jardin Garden Centre will be right up your alley. This beautiful French- inspired centre has a great variety of plants, garden pieces and gift ideas. There is also a café on site, making Le Jardin the perfect stop for a relaxed morning tea.
Rounding out my day trip recommendation is Flaxton Gardens. The Sunshine Coast hinterland happens to have some of the most gorgeous views of the South-East coastline and I could not think of a better place than Flaxton Gardens to just sit and take it all in. If the view alone is not enough of a motive to get you up to Flaxton Gardens, then the amazing food will be. My personal recommendation would be the luxury high tea because, to me, a glass of bubbles, a beautiful view and delectable cakes and pastries are a pretty fabulous combination.
Words // Laura Markwort