Have you ever explored Maleny? It's one of those charming little rustic towns, positioned up high in the Blackall Mountain Range and nestled within picture-postcard-perfect dairy country landscapes. Maleny is famous for its array of panoramic scenic spots; fresher than fresh local produce and an arts and culture scene, that might just produce the next Michelangelo or Beethoven.
Maleny is a picturesque hinterland town that has something to offer everybody. The fact that it's only about thirty kilometres south-west of Caloundra and ninety kilometres north of Brisbane, gives readers the perfect excuse to put Maleny on their 'to-do' list of weekend escapes and discover a world of spectacular natural wonders and fabulous food.
Maleny is picture-postcard-perfect dairy country - Image: Landscape Australia
From walks to tractor rides, to nature reserves to restaurants, these are my highlights of Maleny and I hope will soon become yours. If I have inadvertently missed out on your best location to visit, please add it to the 'comments' below the article, thereby giving me another reason to visit magical Maleny.
✵ Gardners Falls Obi Lane, Maleny
On the banks of the Obi Obi Creek in the Maleny area, a short eight hundred metre level walk from the car park downstream, you will find the Gardners Falls oasis - a spectacular pool surrounded by rock ledges. With the natural Australian bush all around the waterhole, one could be forgiven for thinking you've discovered a little slice of heaven, smack bang in the middle of the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Feeling dare-devilish or keen to give Tarzan a run for his money? Then the rope swing is sure to give you an adrenaline rush of note. If you're not into swimming in the rock pools, Gardner's Falls is still perfect to spend a lazy day - walking, picnicking or immersing yourself in the sounds of nature.
✵ Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World 233 Maleny-Stanley River Road, corner Mountain View Road, Maleny
Known as the 'jewel' of Maleny, Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World offers the visitor a truly unique experience. Positioned high on the escarpment with spectacular waterfalls, ponds and exotically-coloured plants on three hectares of privately owned gardens, Maleny Botanic Gardens has the bragging rights to a backdrop of the spectacular Glasshouse Mountains.
The 'jewel' of Maleny - Image: Maleny Botanic Gardens FB
The Bird World section of Maleny Botanic Gardens offers a rich diversity of gorgeously plumed birds from all around the world. Visitors can enjoy daily guided tours through the bird aviaries, with very up close and personal interactions with our winged friends. Keep a watchful eye on personal colourful baubles i.e. sunglasses or beaded shoes, as visitors can expect extra special attention from the squawking macaws.
Gorgeously plumed birds at Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World - Image: Maleny Botanic Gardens FB
Enjoy a scrumptious Devonshire tea at Maleny Botanic Gardens, served throughout the day or bring a picnic to enjoy in the tranquil gardens, whilst enjoying stunning views and listening to cascading water. Our leashed furry pals are also welcomed at Maleny Botanic Gardens.
Maleny has been home to dairy farming for more than one hundred and fifteen years and Maleny Cheese is the food destination go-to spot, showcasing and selling gourmet delicacies, all created on site. Visiting Maleny Cheese is an educational food tourism experience, allowing visitors the opportunity to taste-test before purchasing. Visit Maleny Cheese on a weekday for the opportunity to view first hand how Maleny Cheese products are created. Look out for the iconic giant milk can in the entrance to Maleny Cheese and you will know that you have arrived.
Iconic giant milk can
Sadly, Maleny Cheese was recently in the news, due to a fire and the cafe is temporarily closed until the renovations are completed. Don't allow this setback to stop you visiting. I just know that it will come back bigger and better and still be a fabulous tourist location to visit, even if you are a local yokel … like me!
The Hopper family have been on this farm since 1948 and are now in their fourth generation of farmers. Maleny Dairies offer tours of the farm where visitors learn the process of where milk comes from and how it ends up in a bottle. The Farm Tour is an excellent educational tour for children, who then get to feed the animals and watch the tour cow being milked. After the Farm Tour, visitors will enjoy complimentary taste-testing and discover firsthand why Maleny Dairies have won so many awards.
Get a different perspective of farm life on the tractor rides
Some tips before you book your tour
If you are keen to see the springers (pregnant cows) being fed, the 10.00am tour is the one to book;
Book the 2.30pm tour to see the herd being milked in the dairy.
The farmers at Maleny Dairies are now also offering tractor rides and this is the one we opted for. My grandson was in absolute awe, enjoying the animals in the paddocks and experiencing the spectacular Maleny landscape. The tractor rides are approximately thirty minutes long and classified for all ages, allowing visitors to get a different perspective of farm life. The tractor rides are subject to weather conditions. Please call Maleny Dairies in advance to confirm that they are running.
Spectacular Maleny landscape
Tractor Ride Times: 11.30am and 1.00pm. During QLD school holidays an extra time slot at 2.30pm is added to the tractor times.
The cost for tractor rides is $10 per person and FREE for children under two years of age.
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve's fifty-five hectares is a remnant of the subtropical rainforest that used to envelop the Blackall Range and today is a National Estate listed, living museum of diverse plant and animal life.
For a gold coin donation, there are some fantastic walks at Mary Cairncross
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is one of the Sunshine Coast Region's natural wonders. This scenic jewel offers visitors - for a gold coin donation - fascinating nature walks along boardwalks, interspersed with viewing platforms and seating, allowing nature lovers to relax and bask in the myriad of bird calls. Look out for the Red-Legged Pademelons, gingerly peeking out through the bushes in the early morning sunlight.
Overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, overlooking the stunning Glasshouse Mountains, is a fabulous location to head to on a weekend for a nature walk, a picnic or barbecue or to relax in the newly refurbished cafe.
Our leashed furry family members are also welcome on this walk
The Obi Obi Boardwalk is an easy, level 1800 metre return walk, offering a variety of timber boardwalks, concrete and gravel paths. The evenness of this very pleasant walk makes it perfect for wheelchair and pram/stroller users and is absolutely ideal for toddlers too, with handrails in most areas. Outdoor benches have been placed in locations of beauty, encouraging walkers to take time out to relax and enjoy their surrounds. Take a breath and listen to the sounds of the gurgling creek, or the splash-splash of the cascading miniature waterfall or just to enjoy a bit of tranquillity away from the busy-ness of everyday life.
Take a breath to enjoy the tranquillity
I would think that the main attraction of the Obi Obi Boardwalk are the platypus - plural: platypuses or platypi (my preference). In order to view these elusive monotremes - the platypus lays eggs, making them different to other mammals - walkers need to be at the Obi Obi Boardwalk, either early in the morning or at dusk to catch them frolicking in the creek.
Our furry family members, on a leash, are very welcome too! Bonus!
✵ The Orangery Maleny
10 Mountain View Road, Corner of Cairncross, Maleny
If Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is on your radar for a day out, why not begin your day with the meal intended for 'kings and queens' - a fabulous breakfast - at The Orangery Maleny.
The Orangery Maleny is open for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea (including High Teas) six days a week, with breakfasts being served over weekends. The Orangery specialises in totally decadent gluten-free cakes and wholesome home-made meals. The fluffy mini cakes and savouries used on The Orangery's High Tea menus are all made in-house by an excellent team of chefs.
Preparation for a High Tea celebration
Built in the traditional Queenslander style, with breezy verandahs and spectacular views towards the distant ocean, The Orangery Maleny is the perfect venue for birthday parties; book launches; social club get-togethers, hen's celebrations and weddings, with ample room to cater for any special event.
Spring, summer, autumn or winter, no matter the season, The Orangery Maleny is a hinterland gem for all occasions.
✵ The Terrace Seafood Restaurant
Corner of Landsborough-Maleny Road and Mountain View Road, Maleny
The Terrace Seafood Restaurant definitely does not disappoint! From the minute you enter this elegant restaurant with its welcoming ambience and unparalleled views over the green valleys of Maleny, guests immediately feel at home. The exquisite seafood menu, excellent wines and fabulous attention to detail by the restaurant's staff only add to the unrivalled dining experience.
From the crisp white table linen to the very attentive wait staff, this award-winning restaurant is absolutely worth a visit. If you're planning a special birthday, an anniversary, a hen's, or even a baby shower, let the vigilant staff at The Terrace Seafood know at the time of booking, and they will very happily decorate your table/s with ribbons, sprinkles and even a card, worthy of your special 'date'.
Fine dining The Terrace Seafood Restaurant
The Terrace Seafood Restaurant are open for lunch and dinner six days a week from Tuesday to Sunday.
My experience and verdict: you are guaranteed a first-rate experience with ambience, exceptional food, fine wine and superior customer service. And don't forget the views!
Exceptional views to the ocean
Locals talk about 'the rolling green hills, deep pockets of rain forest and spectacular views in all directions, casting a spell over Maleny.' But that's only part of the story. Come and unravel the mystery for yourself and experience the magic that is Maleny.