The Sunshine Coast hinterland is equal parts quaint, gourmet and breathtaking. With its fresh mountain air and European village-like feel, it ticks all the boxes for a weekend escape in the ‘country’.
DO Follow winding roads to explore lookouts and admire the nearby Glasshouse Mountains. Stop off for a tipple at the local pub, Hotel Maleny, then pick up some picnic supplies, namely cheese, from Colin James Fine Foods. Take an afternoon bushwalk to explore the Blackall Range walking tracks with hikes from one to ten kilometres; Kondalilla Falls (4.7km return) is a popular trail between Maleny and Mapleton, if the weather’s right and the waters are flowing then take a dip in the natural pool. If an afternoon of jam and scones with tea is more your thing, head yonder to Montville, where charming cafes and artisan boutiques line the main street. Swing by Flame Hill Vineyard cellar door in Montville and sample the local family-grown drop.
EAT AND DRINK With two hatted restaurants within 11 kilometres of each other in the hinterland, you’d be remiss not to try them both. Located in Spicers luxury properties – at the French provincial inspired Clovelly Estate at Montville, settle into The Long Apron (1300 252 380 in Australia) for the creative tasting menu. Over at Spicers Tamarind Retreat at Maleny, The Tamarind (1300 311 429 in Australia) is known for its fresh modern Asian approach. Keep the Asian love affair going by booking a cooking class at Spirit House (+61 7 5446 8977). Tucked away in lush tropical garden surrounds at Yandina, a 45-minute drive from Maleny, Spirit House is a Sunshine Coast foodie institution. The contemporary Thai restaurant has four best-selling cookbooks and a well-deserved string of awards.
STAY While spoilt for choice for romantic retreats and treetop cabins in this neck of the woods, the stand out is Spicers Tamarind. The retreat offers secluded luxury villas, private outdoor cedar hot tubs and wood-burning fireplaces. The breakfast menu here far exceeds the imagination, as does Spa Anise, where you can unwind with a remedial massage after taking the retreat’s bicycles out to tackle the rolling hills of Maleny. 88 Obi Lane South, Maleny.
GET THERE 1 hour 20 minutes by car from Brisbane City to Maleny.