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Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and Discovery Centre

Home > Sunshine Coast > Animals and Wildlife | Day Trips | Parks | Playgrounds | Walks
by Meg Forbes (subscribe)
Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane. https://www.instagram.com/megforbesphotography/
Published March 8th 2020
Come and enjoy beautiful views and a rainforest walk
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and Discovery Centre in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland has a range of attractions for people of all ages and abilities.

The Discovery Centre at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
The Discovery Centre at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve


The Discovery Centre, which opened in 2017, has a cafe, a viewing platform for scenic views across the Glass House Mountains, a gently sloping boardwalk for a glimpse of life in the rainforest canopy, and educational displays within the centre.

View across the Glasshouse Mountains from the Discovery Centre
View across the Glasshouse Mountains from the Discovery Centre


The entire Discovery Centre is child friendly with innovative and interactive displays. Guided walks can be pre-booked with one of the volunteer guides at the centre.

Frog piano at the Discovery Centre
Frog piano at the Discovery Centre


A door from the Discovery Centre leads to a walking track through the rainforest. This walk is a 2Km, Grade 2 return loop over well-maintained tracks and boardwalks.

Rainforest walk at Mary Cairncross
Rainforest walk at Mary Cairncross


The track takes you past giant strangler figs, and interesting wildlife such as trapdoor spiders. If you go early in the morning there is a good chance you will see pademelons, and it isn't unusual to come across carpet pythons as they make their way across the track.

A pademelon joey out of the pouch but being a bit coy
A pademelon joey out of the pouch but being a bit shy


Other snakes such as red bellied black snakes and rough scaled snakes are often seen around the reserve. Staff and volunteers at the Discovery Centre are often aware of where they are soaking up the sun, and are happy to show visitors if they ask about them.

Flying foxes often roost at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve during the day
Flying foxes often roost at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve during the day


Other wildlife you may encounter includes flying foxes, many rainforest birds such as eastern yellow robins and white browed scrub wrens, and on very lucky occasions, echidnas.

A gorgeous echidna at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
A gorgeous echidna at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve


Adjacent to the Discovery Centre and Rainforest Walk is an area of parkland that includes an adventure playground with a range of equipment for kids of various ages. There are also a number of picnic tables and a water bubbler. The Discovery Centre has ample, clean amenities.

Part of the adventure playground at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
Part of the adventure playground at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve


Useful things to bring for this day out include:

Sunscreen and insect repellant
A hat
Walking shoes
Drinking water
Snacks or money for the cafe
A camera for memories and wildlife

A view of the Glasshouse Mountains from Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
A view of the Glasshouse Mountains from Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

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Why? Beautiful views, a rainforest walk, and a well-designed Discovery Centre
When: Rainforest Walk hours: 7.00 am - 6.00 pm daily. Rainforest Discovery Centre hours: 9.00 am - 4.30 pm daily. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day
Phone: 07 5429 6122
Where: Maleny in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Cost: Free (gold coin donation welcomed)
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