I'm a freelance writer who likes to wax lyrical about hiking, eating, art, gardening, and the joys of living a little like a gypsy.
Published August 1st 2014
Eat and hike your way through the Sunshine Coast hinterland
Pining for lush, green hills, forest air, and the freedom of an open, country road? The Sunshine Coast hinterland, only a 90 minute drive north of Brisbane, is an idyllic place to enjoy a rejuvenating weekend treescape. Dotted with numerous charming, country towns and national parks, there is plenty to see, eat and explore in south-east Queensland's green little pocket.
And, for those who love to move as much as they love to eat, you'll enjoy one of these half-day eat and hike adventures that will very likely have you feeling woozy with happiness - because a weekend well spent brings a week of content, right?
Hike and Eat in Montville
The Kondalilla Falls walk makes for a suitable – albeit challenging – hike for new and rusty hikers alike. Spanning about 5 kms, the walk features waterfall views, lush rainforest and a pretty little swimming hole your party will love cooling down in at the end of your walk. Afterwards, you can head up to Elements at Montville – a quaint little teahouse that overlooks inspiring hinterland scenery. Open for breakfast, lunch and in between, you can also indulge in a delightful high tea, available 10:30am – 2:30pm.
The swimming hole at Kondailla Falls National Park.
Hike and Eat in Mapleton
Begin by fuelling your hike with a bite at La Botiga. They have a great European inspired menu, and don't make too bad of a coffee, either. You probably won't be able to resist their ridiculously decadent offering of brownies and other homemade sweet goods, (you've been warned), and you'll probably order some for take away (highly recommended). Only a few kilometres up the road is Mapleton Falls National Park. Here, you'll enjoy pretty views, rambling tracks, a 120 m high waterfall, and you might be lucky enough to spot an Australian peregrine falcon, which would be super cool, right?
At the beginning of our walk (do make sure to take your rubbish away with you!)
Pre-hike fuel stop at La Botiga, Mapleton.
Hike and Eat in Conondale
Visiting the Conondales, as the locals fondly call it, is highly recommended – you can take a 10km return walk to the Mt Allan fire tower, or Artist's Cascades - but it's probably smarter to pack a picnic basket for this trip; we weren't able to find a restaurant nearby.
The best place to get your picnic basket in order is by passing through Maleny – a town that's well known for its magical scenery, locally grown food and handful of eccentric locals. You absolutely must go to Colin James Fine Foods, on Maple St, whose fromagerie (read: cheese shop!) features a gorgeous array of local and imported cheeses. You can get everything else from the local IGA, as well as the gourmet food shop, which is located across the road from said IGA. Oh, and if you do the Artist's Cascades walk, look out for Strangler Cairn: it's a highly controversial piece of public art that's worth a look.
At Artist's Cascades, which, to get to, is a 10km return walk.
Eat and Hike in Maleny
The Mary Cairncross Reserve, located on Maleny's outer, features a short rainforest walk that's perfect for those with young families, or only have limited time. For nature geeks, there's also an Ecological Education Centre, where you can learn all sorts of things about the reserve. Next door is a café that, alongside featuring generous portion sizes and great country service, offers some of the best views of the infamous Glasshouse Mountains that can be publicly accessed on the hinterland.
Glorious sunset view from Mary Cairncross Reserve.