Discovering Australia’s Sunshine Coast: Into The Hinterland

A big, big place that’s far, far away, Australia, the land aptly known as “Down Under,“ is divided into six states: New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland, where Orna O´Reilly –– my significant other and fellow travel writer –– and I escaped winter back home to enjoy a short second summer basking in the warmth of this state’s picturesque Sunshine Coast, along with documenting our sojourn with footnotes and photos.

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On several occasions, we left our home base in Maroochydore, where the Maroochy River empties into the Coral Sea, and ventured up into the Blackall Range of the Hinterland on arguably the most scenic of the Sunshine Coast drives, where the air is cooler and the grass is greener, to see what we could see. Our self-drive adventures provided us with stunning views of lush valleys and magnificent mountain peaks along with stops at two of the Hinterland’s most tourist-friendly towns: Montville and Maleny.

Montville

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A botanical garden-like postcard, Montville, sitting at 1,300 ft. above sea level, is a lovely artisan enclave with a population of 886 friendly folks all asking “Ow ya goin´“ on just about every street corner and shop.

Montville just radiates true village charm with a pleasant array of Alpine chalets, English, Irish and Tudor log and stone cottages, Queenslanders, with their signature wrap-around verandas, and a camera-ready old mill water wheel.

After a leisurely stroll up and down Main Street take a load off at Poets Cafe, a beautifully renovated Queenslander house that backs onto the lush vegetation leading to the valley below, for a coffee, a beer, a glass of wine, one of its signature baguette sandwiches or a full-on dinnies.

Maleny and The Glasshouse Mountains

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High above the sandy beaches of the sparkling Sunshine Coast lies Maleny, a 1950’s-looking, arts-and-crafts town.

After a light repast at Sarah’s Unplugged –– try a smoked salmon panino or a bush tucker salad of locally-grown stoned fruit and baby greens, homemade feta cheese and topped with edible flowers, along with a glass or two of wine –– have a pooch around all the interesting shops up and down Maple Street, Maleny’s main drag.

Just a few kilometers outside of town is the Mary Carincross Scenic Reserve, with its walking trails that wind through 55 hectares of subtropical rainforest. And, just across Mountain View Road are the landmark Glasshouse Mountains, named by Captain John Cook, the famed British explorer, back in 1770. These 11 distinct peaks, formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago, remain to this day sacred sites of Aboriginal Australians.

Heading back down towards the coast, be sure and make a quick stop at Gerrard’s Lookout to admire some great views of the Mooloolah River Catchment out to Nambour, Mooloolaba, the Mudjimba Islands and Maroochydore.

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Care to hop aboard a “rattler” and traverse the Mary Valley with Orna and me? I’ll give you a tingle this arvo to let you know the date and time we pull out from Gympie Station. Until then, toodle-oo!

©ThePalladianTraveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along the travertine and cobblestone that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches via TravelingBoy.com and Anthology Magazine Ireland.

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