Only ninety minutes drive north of Brisbane and a fifty minute drive from the Sunshine Coast, visitors will find the quaint and charming town of Kenilworth. Life in Kenilworth very much revolves around Kenilworth's main street, with a variety of cafes, galleries, quirky shops and the grand old pub, the Kenilworth Hotel, which opened in 1939.
The commercial centre of Kenilworth started with the opening of the General Store - now Kenilworth Country Bakery - way back in 1924 - that's nearly 100 years ago! Today, the World Heritage listed building, with its old wood fired bread oven and quaint character, provides locals and tourists with everything from sourdough, to artesian pies, to their now-famous 1kg donuts. Take up the 1kg Donut Challenge and win a 'Timed Plate' on the wall.
Kenilworth Country Bakery's famous graffiti wall ... and hubby's choice of donut, not quite a contender for the Donut Challenge ...
The Conondale National Park, adjacent to the town, offers visitors a choice of horse riding, walking and fishing. Imbil State Forest and Maleny National Park - both in close proximity of Kenilworth - provide day trippers and holiday makers the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature, with magnificent forests, deep gorges and spectacular views. Walking trails, tranquil camping spots and swimming in crystal clear waterholes are added perks when visiting these national treasures.
The Mary River flows north from Maleny through Conondale, Kenilworth, Gympie, Tiaro, Maryborough and then into the ocean opposite Fraser Island.
The aftermath of the floods, trees still blanketed in silt, mud and debris
As recently as early March 2022, the Mary River peaked in Gympie at its highest level since the 1890's, flooding towns and coating everything with mud. The devastation caused by the onslaught of wild, rapidly rising waters was sadly apparent en route to Kenilworth. The bridges were unceremoniously draped with mud and debris, testament to how high the swirling waters rose. Numerous trees along the banks of the Mary River, flattened, sad and forlorn and still blanketed in silt, mud and debris.
Wander up and down the quirky main street of this charming country town
The locals banded together and in true Aussie spirit waited for the waters to subside and started the mammoth clean-up. The day of our visit, the small country town of Kenilworth was up and running and much to our delight, happily receiving visitors.
Wander up and down Kenilworth's quirky main street and sample the many varied food outlets. Browse the fascinating gift shops in the picturesque country town that has managed to retain much of its 1920's charm. Or, pack a picnic and spend some time in the inviting family park, Kenilworth Town Park, complete with a playground and Story Seat that will appeal to every little adventurer in the family.
Bookmark the Kenilworth Markets, on every Saturday - Image: Kenilworth Markets QLD FB
Every Saturday from 8.00am to 1.30pm the Kenilworth Markets showcase a range of local market stalls, with everything from handmade, artisan, locally grown, repurposed and vintage. Bookmark your calendars, it's wheelchair and doggy friendly and is held in Charles Street, opposite the dairy factory.
You can spend as many blissful days as you like in Kenilworth and surrounds, whether it be harmonising with nature in the untouched bushland, enjoying the company of loved ones around an open fire or bushwalking and swimming in pristine waterholes.
Kenilworth is a country gem worth discovering!
Images courtesy of Elaine de Wet, author, unless otherwise indicated