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Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Limited Reopening and Updates

Home > Sunshine Coast > Day Trips | Escape the City | Picnic Spots | 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 June 10th 2020
The reopening of one of SE QLD's best daytrips
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and Discovery Centre is a popular national park that overlooks the Glasshouse Mountains in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. The reserve has walking trails, a large picnic area, playground, elevated boardwalk through the rainforest canopy, a tea room, and a discovery centre. As a result of Covid19, however, there have been some changes to the reserve's operation and what is available. There have also been some fabulous minor upgrades.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve overlooks the Glasshouse Mountains
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve overlooks the Glasshouse Mountains


What is still open?

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and walking trails have reopened in line with the Queensland roadmap to reopening. This means that the carpark is once again open, as well as the roadside viewing area of the Glasshouse Mountains.

The 2Km Rainforest Trail remains open
The carpark, playground, picnic area, and 2Km Rainforest Trail have all reopened


The 2Km Rainforest Walking Trail has also reopened, although the entrance is no longer through the Discovery Centre. Visitors can follow signage that leads around to the back of the Discovery Centre to their after-hours gate onto the Rainforest Trail.

Visitors can follow the signs to the after hours entrance to the Rainforest Trail
Visitors can follow the signs to the after hours entrance to the Rainforest Trail


Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve has two public amenities blocks, one that is integrated into the Discovery Centre, and one beneath the picnic area near to the playground. These are both open, and drinking water is available from the water fountains. These areas are all excellent for spotting rainforest wildlife, especially earlier in the mornings and towards evening.

Pademelons can be seen around the rainforest, playground, and picnic areas at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
Pademelons can be seen around the rainforest, playground, and picnic areas at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve


The Mountain View Cafe with its delicious range of food and drinks has reopened with limited seating. We choose to take our meal outside to one of the picnic tables with a scenic view. There are also electric BBQs available for those who would prefer to bring their own lunch.

The Mountain View Cafe has reopened for limited table service and take aways
The Mountain View Cafe has reopened for limited table service and take aways


What upgrades are there?

The Rainforest Trail regularly receives upgrades and maintenance. A new upgrade we were excited to find was the installation of a spotting scope and new signage at a platform that overlooks a section of Picabeen Palm that many flying foxes choose to roost in.

A new spotting scope has been installed near a flying fox viewing platform
A new spotting scope has been installed near a flying fox viewing platform


What restrictions are in place?

Although Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and its walking trails have reopened, the Discovery Centre remains closed. Visitors can still walk up along the elevated rainforest canopy boardwalk, but can't cross through the top of the Discovery Centre to the Glasshouse Mountains Viewing Platform.

There are some restrictions still in place due to Covid19, including the ongoing closure of the Discovery Centre
There are some restrictions still in place due to Covid19, including the ongoing closure of the Discovery Centre


With Queenslanders being encouraged to support Queensland tourism, the 55 hectare Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, set in a pristine rainforest, is an ideal day trip for families within South East Queensland.

Beautiful Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is an ideal daytrip within South East Queensland
Beautiful Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is an ideal daytrip within South East Queensland

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Why? Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve offers visitors a 2Km rainforest walk, picnic area, and views across the Glasshouse Mountains
When: 7.00am - 6.00pm daily
Phone: 07 5494 3023
Where: 148 Mountain View Rd, Maleny, QLD, 4552
Cost: Free (gold coin donation welcomed)
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