Exploring the Sunshine Coast hinterland on a long weekend

World-class travel experiences on our doorstep.

Exploring the Sunshine Coast hinterland on a long weekend 
World-class travel experiences on our doorstep.

If you asked me a year ago if the highlight of 2020’s travels plans would be a long weekend on the Sunshine Coast, I probably would have burst out laughing.

But with the coronavirus pandemic putting a halt to international travel, and government-mandated lockdowns restricting domestic travel, a trip to the Sunshine Coast took on otherworldly proportions.

It is sad that it took a global pandemic for me to realise that I have taken Queensland and Australia for granted.

But no longer. 

I have now seen the beauty of the Sunshine State and it’s all thanks to a long-weekend getaway in Montville with my wife.

Day one

As most “Brisbanites” will attest, a drive to the Sunshine Coast is unremarkable aside from the tree-lined corridors which can become almost euphoric at speed. While the initial journey is nothing to write home about, the drive opens once you hit the Blackall Ranges Tourist Drive.

The route itself is 55km and littered with scenic views and winding roads traversing steep gradients.

There is no bigger compliment I can give the route other than to reveal that it is a favourite among RACQ motoring writers when road testing new vehicles.

Once the drive from Brisbane was complete, my wife and I worked up an appetite, and upon arriving in Montville we stopped at The Edge restaurant. 

Montville village

The restaurant is a must for anyone who loves an excellent view while they dine with panoramic views of the hinterland on their deck and a fireplace for cosy winter days. 

The food is served in abundance with the pad Thai able to feed a small army and the fish and chips a delectable treat.

After loosening our belts a few notches, it was time to take in some of the country charms of Montville’s many speciality shops including Almari Leather, Castle Glen Cellars, the Clock Shop and Illume Creations, famous for their handblown glass artwork. 

Even the most closeted of architecture and history buffs will appreciate the shopping, with heritage-style buildings lining the main street.

Having spent most of the afternoon shopping and enticed by local cheeses, meats and wine, we retreated to our accommodation to create a charcuterie board dinner in front of our apartment’s fireplace. 

If you’re looking for accommodation which mixes luxury and rustic country charm, look no further than Altitude on Montville. The rooms are nice enough to make you regret having to venture outside, and include eco-fireplace and a double spa bath in a private courtyard.

Day two

Day two began with an early morning trip to Kenilworth bakery for some of their famous doughnuts. 

The bakery has gained notoriety in recent years due to the coffee-in-a-doughnut combination and doughnut challenges. 

With eyes bigger than our bellies and our diets left unpacked at home, we loaded up and purchased a six-pack of doughnuts, a coffee doughnut and a meat pie.

The doughnuts were delicious, but much more filling than expected and served us for days to come. A trip to Kenilworth bakery is well worth it, but make sure you get there early as they often sell out.

Mapleton Falls

After escaping our self-induced food coma, we drove to the Mapleton Falls National Park where we embarked on a stroll through the dry rainforest on the 1.3km Wompoo Circuit. 

After getting a taste for it, we tackled the longer Kondalilla Falls loop (4.7km) which offers picturesque valley views, waterfalls and a swimming hole for warmer months.

Having finally worked off the doughnuts, we headed back to our accommodation to take full advantage of the spa bath, picturesque mountain views and enjoy another bottle of Castle Glen Cellars wine. 

For dinner, we went to Montville Gourmet Pizzeria which lived up to its name and delivered on the promise of mouth-watering artisan pizzas.

Day three

After packing our bags, we departed for Secrets on the Lake, another ideal spot for accommodation and a popular wedding venue. Here we walked the beautiful gardens and took in the panoramic lakeside views.

On the way back from Secrets on the Lake we stopped at the Flame Hill Vineyard for a wine tasting.

The vineyard offers 100% estate-grown wines, hand-harvested and sourced from plantings up to 80 years old. 

Following the tasting, we were in the mood for cheese and journeyed to Maleny Cheese. Here we sampled a range of cheeses and gourmet yoghurts.

If you like spice, the wasabi cheddar is a must. It’s also a great spot to pick up a few things for back home or gifts for friends and family.

Nearing the end of our journey, we were still keen for one last adventure and headed to Rolin Farms to pick fresh strawberries. 

Popular with families and locals, the strawberry picking was a fun way to cap off our weekend getaway. 

Better yet, I can now attest that near nothing taste as good as strawberries picked straight from the orchid. Well, other than the strawberry ice-cream on sale in the main store.

PHOTOS: TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND