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Walks at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve in Jinibara Country, Maleny

Home > Sunshine Coast > Animals and Wildlife | Nature | Picnic Spots | Playgrounds | Walks | Lists
by Elaine (subscribe)
Impromptu adventuring, exploring our backyard and then putting pen to paper, hoping to entice you to try one, if not all, of our escapades, is my true reward!
Published October 5th 2020
Listen deeply, watch attentively and tread lightly
Walks at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Jinibara country, Maleny, must-do, remnant rainforest, oasis, tranquillity, walking tracks, boardwalks, viewing platforms, family visit, Rainforest Walk, Discovery Centre, Pademelon Loop, Piccabeen Loop, ecological island, get quiet with our trees, get high with our birds, endangered amphibians, lizards, pademelons, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Path, Interpretive Boardwalk, prams, wheelchairs, Glass House Mountains, picnic grounds, BBQ's, drinking water, toilets, playground, Cafe, souvenir kiosk, special place
One of the Sunshine Coast's must-do destinations


Boasting fifty-five hectares of some of Australia's best sub-tropical rainforest, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is one of the Sunshine Coast's must-do destinations. This gem of remnant rainforest in the heart of Jinibara Country is a living, breathing menagerie of plants and animal life, an oasis of tranquillity and serenity.

With more than two kilometres of different walking tracks, boardwalks and viewing platforms, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is an absolute delight for the whole family to visit.



Rainforest Walk | 1.7kms | Gold coin donation

The Rainforest Loop is accessed via the Discovery Centre at the Scenic Reserve. The Forest Walk starts with a common section, allowing walkers to do a short there-and-back walk or for the more adventurous, to add on a larger outer loop, which will take walkers the 1.7kms.

Walks at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Jinibara country, Maleny, must-do, remnant rainforest, oasis, tranquillity, walking tracks, boardwalks, viewing platforms, family visit, Rainforest Walk, Discovery Centre, Pademelon Loop, Piccabeen Loop, ecological island, get quiet with our trees, get high with our birds, endangered amphibians, lizards, pademelons, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Path, Interpretive Boardwalk, prams, wheelchairs, Glass House Mountains, picnic grounds, BBQ's, drinking water, toilets, playground, Cafe, souvenir kiosk, special place
Entry to the Rainforest Walk is via the Discovery Centre


Halfway along the loop, walkers will discover a path, leading off from the main walk, which creates two smaller loops - the Pademelon Loop (dark green on the map) and the Piccabeen Loop (brown on the map) - both smaller loops measure about 1.3km each.

Walkers on the Rainforest Walk will be immersed in a world apart, a world all on its own an ecological island, growing in a prime environment with high rainfall statistics.

Walks at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Jinibara country, Maleny, must-do, remnant rainforest, oasis, tranquillity, walking tracks, boardwalks, viewing platforms, family visit, Rainforest Walk, Discovery Centre, Pademelon Loop, Piccabeen Loop, ecological island, get quiet with our trees, get high with our birds, endangered amphibians, lizards, pademelons, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Path, Interpretive Boardwalk, prams, wheelchairs, Glass House Mountains, picnic grounds, BBQ's, drinking water, toilets, playground, Cafe, souvenir kiosk, special place
'the forest is far from silent' ...


Stop and take a moment to listen!
What always delights me on entering this rainforest, is the sensation of being enveloped in nature's chorus of birdsong. There are at least one hundred and forty-one different species of birds that call Mary Cairncross home, all of them playing essential roles in the delicate ecosystem, whether its eating insects, spreading plant seeds, turning the soil or raising their young. Listen for the whipbird's unmistakable cracking of a whip or to the eerie sounds of a cat meowing in the distance, courtesy of the green catbird. Riflebirds, bowerbirds, Wompoo fruit doves and not forgetting the ever-present bush turkeys, all contribute to the sounds of nature at this Scenic Reserve jewel.

Walks at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Jinibara country, Maleny, must-do, remnant rainforest, oasis, tranquillity, walking tracks, boardwalks, viewing platforms, family visit, Rainforest Walk, Discovery Centre, Pademelon Loop, Piccabeen Loop, ecological island, get quiet with our trees, get high with our birds, endangered amphibians, lizards, pademelons, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Path, Interpretive Boardwalk, prams, wheelchairs, Glass House Mountains, picnic grounds, BBQ's, drinking water, toilets, playground, Cafe, souvenir kiosk, special place
Sit quietly on a bench ...


Sit quietly on a bench along the Rainforest Walk and take advantage of Mother Nature's treasures around you. Discover little birds on the forest floor and along the pathways, darting this way and that, totally oblivious to the intrusion of humans. Take your time to browse the interesting signage all along the walkways, giving interesting details on the majestic trees in this region, some having even reached the enviable ripe old age of one thousand years! In the Discovery Centre, I loved seeing this quote 'get quiet with our trees, get high with our birds'. Perfectly apt!

Walks at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Jinibara country, Maleny, must-do, remnant rainforest, oasis, tranquillity, walking tracks, boardwalks, viewing platforms, family visit, Rainforest Walk, Discovery Centre, Pademelon Loop, Piccabeen Loop, ecological island, get quiet with our trees, get high with our birds, endangered amphibians, lizards, pademelons, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Path, Interpretive Boardwalk, prams, wheelchairs, Glass House Mountains, picnic grounds, BBQ's, drinking water, toilets, playground, Cafe, souvenir kiosk, special place
Nature's own artwork


The cool dense forest offers a sanctuary to a variety of unusual wildlife, including endangered amphibians and lizards. See if you can spot a cute pademelon or two, well-camouflaged in the undergrowth.

Walks at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Jinibara country, Maleny, must-do, remnant rainforest, oasis, tranquillity, walking tracks, boardwalks, viewing platforms, family visit, Rainforest Walk, Discovery Centre, Pademelon Loop, Piccabeen Loop, ecological island, get quiet with our trees, get high with our birds, endangered amphibians, lizards, pademelons, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Path, Interpretive Boardwalk, prams, wheelchairs, Glass House Mountains, picnic grounds, BBQ's, drinking water, toilets, playground, Cafe, souvenir kiosk, special place
An easy, short walk


Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Path | 0.4km | Easy Grade

To the side of the Mary Cairncross picnic grounds, walkers will find the short, easy Birdwing Butterfly Path. There is no need to go through the Discovery Centre to access this walk. Along this path is the birdwing butterfly vine, an important food source for developing caterpillars and attracting the Richmond Birdwing butterfly, which is one of Australia's largest and rarest butterflies, with a wingspan of up to 16cm in females.

Walks at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Jinibara country, Maleny, must-do, remnant rainforest, oasis, tranquillity, walking tracks, boardwalks, viewing platforms, family visit, Rainforest Walk, Discovery Centre, Pademelon Loop, Piccabeen Loop, ecological island, get quiet with our trees, get high with our birds, endangered amphibians, lizards, pademelons, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Path, Interpretive Boardwalk, prams, wheelchairs, Glass House Mountains, picnic grounds, BBQ's, drinking water, toilets, playground, Cafe, souvenir kiosk, special place
A walk suitable for prams and wheelchairs too


The walk starts near the toilets and leads behind the children's playground and to the bottom end of the field with information panels, describing the lifecycle of this fascinating butterfly. The Birdwing Butterfly Path leads to a viewing deck in the forest. This walk is ideal for walkers, prams and wheelchairs.

Interpretive Boardwalk | 0.2km | Suitable for prams and wheelchairs

The main attraction of Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is naturally the spectacular rainforest and the views of the Glass House Mountains, which are deftly explored via the discovery experience at the recently re-opened Rainforest Discovery Centre.

Walks at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Jinibara country, Maleny, must-do, remnant rainforest, oasis, tranquillity, walking tracks, boardwalks, viewing platforms, family visit, Rainforest Walk, Discovery Centre, Pademelon Loop, Piccabeen Loop, ecological island, get quiet with our trees, get high with our birds, endangered amphibians, lizards, pademelons, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Path, Interpretive Boardwalk, prams, wheelchairs, Glass House Mountains, picnic grounds, BBQ's, drinking water, toilets, playground, Cafe, souvenir kiosk, special place
Be at one with the treetops on the Interpretive Boardwalk


The Discovery Centre is the main access point into the rainforest and the rainforest walks, providing visitors with a vivid natural history and educational experience of the park's environment. Visitors are encouraged to go through the Discovery Centre to a rising boardwalk that gently meanders through the magnificent trees of the forest, before heading back to level 2 of the Discovery Centre and out again onto a viewing platform for the Glasshouse Mountains.

On the day of our visit, a public holiday, visitor numbers to the viewing platform were restricted, due to COVID.

Walks at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Jinibara country, Maleny, must-do, remnant rainforest, oasis, tranquillity, walking tracks, boardwalks, viewing platforms, family visit, Rainforest Walk, Discovery Centre, Pademelon Loop, Piccabeen Loop, ecological island, get quiet with our trees, get high with our birds, endangered amphibians, lizards, pademelons, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Path, Interpretive Boardwalk, prams, wheelchairs, Glass House Mountains, picnic grounds, BBQ's, drinking water, toilets, playground, Cafe, souvenir kiosk, special place
'A very special place!'


Walks, wildlife, picnic grounds, BBQ's on-site, drinking water, toilets, a children's playground, the inviting Mountain View Cafe and a souvenir kiosk, plus spectacular views of the Glass House Mountains - the quintessential mix for an awesome family day out, to a very special place, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.

'Listen deeply, watch attentively and tread lightly'

All images courtesy of author unless otherwise indicated
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Why? To be at one with a living, breathing menagerie of plants and animals
When: COVID Opening Times: 7 days a week | Rainforest Discovery Centre and Viewing deck 9.30am - 3.30pm | Rainforest Walk 7.00am to 6.00pm
Phone: Office: (07) 5494-3023; Rainforest Discovery Centre (07) 5429-6122
Where: Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, 148 Mountain View Road, Maleny, QLD 4552
Cost: Gold coin donation for Rainforest Walk
Your Comment
Bird sounds are the best!
by Barry (score: 3|1866) 18 days ago
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