The Cafe at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve lays claim to "the best view on the Sunshine Coast" on their website. After visiting last weekend, I have to agree. The view over the Glasshouse Mountains is absolutely stunning. Just ninety minutes drive from Brisbane, near Montville, it is my new favourite place to bring visitors to for a day trip.
The Cafe is located next to the Information Centre and start of the rainforest walk. It's a casual place, with a kiosk and tables under a shade roof. The open-air setting allows you to enjoy the view properly whilst listening to the sounds of the rainforest.
The cafe has a relaxed atmosphere and great rainforest setting
There is a table full of magazines, so you could easily spend an hour relaxing there before or after a walk. My only improvement area is that the furniture and the table cloths looked somewhat tired and weathered and I think the cafe would benefit from some new smart table linen without compromising the relaxed eco ambiance.
The Cafe serves Breakfast (from 8.30 until 11.30), Lunch (until 4.30pm/ 4.00pm in Winter) and light refreshments. The lunch menu has a good range of homemade burgers, however we were tempted by the filled sandwiches in the display counter.
Delicious pumpkin, zucchini and feta in Turkish bread
My roasted pumpkin, zucchini and feta grilled Turkish bread sandwich ($11.90) was excellent. The vegetables were thick cut and lightly roasted so that the sandwich was robust and not at all soggy. My daughter chose a toasted sandwich ($6.50) which was cooked to order which meant that she could pick her own fillings. She went for cheese and ham and enjoyed the thick cut ham off the bone.
Lovely thick ham off the bone in the toasted sandwich
If you're just after coffee and cake, there is an excellent selection of homemade cakes, some gluten-free. I liked the look of the Wicked Chocolate Cake and the Macadamia Bites. They serve Puro Coffee which is an organic Fairtrade Coffee, made by a company working towards protecting South American Rainforest - this is very fitting given the Cafe's rainforest setting.
You could easily come to the Cafe just for the view and the delicious food. However, you'd be missing our if you didn't experience the rainforest walk. The circuit is less than 2 Km and wheelchair accessible. It's a stunning walk through a section of hinterland rainforest where you can marvel at the amazing trees, creepers and epiphytes and spot some unusual wildlife. We saw Red-legged pademelons and a Red-bellied black snake. There are also incredible rare Spiny Crayfish which live in burrows in the Piccabeen Boardwalk section of the walk.
All in all, it's a fantastic day trip from Brisbane with great views, great food and an incredible walk. The drive through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is also very scenic and you could combine with a trip on to Montville, Lake Baroon or even Australia Zoo (which you pass on your way from Brisbane).