For a Sunshine Coast holiday of a different kind – where time passes more slowly, crowds are diffused and green is the new blue – head to the Hinterland. Here, rolling hills of green are dotted with perfectly worn Queenslanders, vistas stretch in every direction, quaint towns ooze country charm and pockets of rainforest stand tall, ready to be explored.
Dishing out cruisy vibes and to-be-raved-about dining experiences, if you’ve got 24 hours in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, this is how you should spend it.
7am: You are what you eat
Ask any Hinterland local where to find the best breakfast and they’ll direct you to the unassuming town of Mapleton. This tiny village is home to La Botiga, a family-run cafe that hums with a steady flow of regulars and welcomed day-trippers.
The menu is small but satisfying – think granola with fruit and yoghurt, breakfast stacks with salmon, or fruit toast served quite literally on a silver platter. Wash it all down with a pot of local tea from the Obi Obi Essentials range (the green tea infused with ginger is divine) and indulge in the no-rush vibe that will become the new normal over the next 24 hours.
8am: Get honest
Keep the change from breakfast handy and, with the windows down, cruise along Flaxton Drive spotting and stopping at the colourful roadside stall.
Perched at the tips of driveways, these unmanned stands showcase a bounty of local fruit, vegetables and plants, and work on an honesty box system, adding to the country charm. Fresh and oh-so-tasty, this is the chance to grab a healthy snack (or three) to munch on later.
9am: Falling for Kondalilla
No Hinterland visit would be complete without a bushwalk, and the Kondalilla Falls circuit track is a subtropical wonderland that beckons to be tramped. Wander under a towering forest of eucalypt and lush palm trees before floating in a stunning rock pool.
After drying off in the sun, it’s time to venture to the base of the waterfall. Named after the Aboriginal word for ‘rushing waters’, Kondalilla Falls cascades 80 metres down a sheer rock face. With over 100 stairs to climb during this trail, be sure to wear good walking shoes and carry water.
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12pm: Let's lunch
Montville is the perfect halfway point for a pit stop during a day of Hinterland exploration. Positioned in the middle of Mapleton and the more populated Maleny, the European-style architecture gives Montville its own unique feel.
Like any tourist town there are restaurants aplenty to try, but a firm favourite worth visiting is the newly opened Little May Espresso. Charming in all the right ways, this cool cafe serves up smooth coffee and delicious dishes that look straight from the pages of a gourmet food magazine.
1.30pm: Spa o'clock
It’s time to sit back, relax and rejuvenate. Up there with the best destination spas in Australia, Spa Anise is a hidden retreat on the outskirts of Maleny.
Part of the impressive Spicers Group, the luxury spa offers tailored treatments (try the heavenly His and Hers Signature Treatments) to nourish the mind, body and soul. Attentive staff, personalised music playlists and fluffy white robes make this an indulgent experience you’ll never forget.
3pm: Shop like a local in Maleny
Bohemian, arty, hippie: welcome to the eclectic town of Maleny. Stroll down Maple Street and you’ll find fashion boutiques, galleries showcasing local artworks, gourmet food stores (Maleny Co-op and Colin James Fine Foods are must-visits) and quaint bookstores.
To get the most out of this town, go slow, remain open-minded, and take time to chat to the friendly locals.
5pm: Sunset drinks & mountain views
There’s no sight quite like the Glass House Mountains, and what better way to see them then with a drink in hand at sunset?
Grab a bottle of wine from town and pull up to a patch of green on Mountain View Road or head to the modest Irish Pub at Tranquil Park. Watch as the sky turns to soft shades of sherbet and the infamous volcanic plugs become draped in a purple shadow.
If you’re after a postcard-worthy photo, this is your chance!
7pm: Wine & dine
Wine and dine at one of the Hinterland’s best-kept secrets. Mouthwateringly good, Reserve Restaurant rivals any city establishment with its innovative food and classic setting. Order the five, seven or nine-course degustation menu with wines to match, and you’ll be served the tastiest highlights of what’s on offer. Too good to miss!
6am: Easy like a Sunday morning
Hit the snooze button. Whilst there’s plenty more you could do, you are on holiday. So grab a book, jump back in bed, snuggle up and don’t move until checkout!