Noosa and Sunshine Coast Hinterland

The Sunshine Coast is blessed with world-class beaches such as Noosa Heads, but it also offers many good reasons to head for the hills. The hinterland is filled with foodie delights, hidden surprises and glorious views. Noosa and Sunshine Coast Hinterland
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Noosa and Sunshine Coast Hinterland

The Sunshine Coast is blessed with world-class beaches such as Noosa Heads, but it also offers many good reasons to head for the hills. The hinterland is filled with foodie delights, hidden surprises and glorious views. 


By Katrina Lobley

Eat your way through Maleny, Montville and Mapleton – towns that dot the crest of the area's mountain range – or time your visit so you can enjoy the arty Eumundi Markets. At Australia Zoo, there’s a rare chance to cuddle a cute koala.

HOW TO GET THERE

The Sunshine Coast hinterland is an hour drive north of Brisbane; driving time is less from Sunshine Coast Airport, located between Mooloolaba and Noosa.
 

DON’T MISS

  • Cuddle a koala at Terri Irwin's Australia Zoo
  • Picnic on award-winning cheese and yoghurt
  • Find a handmade souvenir at Eumundi Markets

Noosa's Hinterland highlights

TOP THINGS TO DO IN THE SUNSHINE COAST HINTERLAND

Visit the Crocodile Hunter’s zoo
The late Steve Irwin, who found fame as TV’s The Crocodile Hunter, left a lasting legacy: Australia Zoo. The attraction, located at the town of Beerwah, allows guests to cuddle a koala (this is permitted in Queensland but not in some other Australian states). Visit the Crocoseum, the African Savannah and Tiger Temple, with the Southern Hemisphere’s only underwater viewing of tigers.

Visit a garden, get a view
Clinging to the steep hillside of the Blackall Range, Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World is one of Australia’s most magical gardens. The 44 hectare (108 acre) property, surrounded by rainforest, offers an unbeatable view of the volcanic plugs that comprise the Glass House Mountains. The walk-through aviary includes macaws and the Australian ring-necked parakeet.

Say cheese
The lush Maleny district is famous for dairy cows. Taste the goodness by dropping in to award-winning Maleny Cheese to buy picnic provisions – choose from cheddar, feta or soft cheeses such as brie, and tubs of yoghurt with flavours such as ginger, mango and chocolate. The café’s menu highlights cheese with dishes including raclette, deep-fried camembert with cranberry sauce and open grill sandwiches with unusual combos such as ham, banana and cheddar. See cheese and yoghurt being made from Monday to Thursday.

Buy a souvenir with a difference
Find a handmade souvenir at the Eumundi Markets, which have been running since 1979 in the historic town of Eumundi, 20 kilometres (12 miles) west of Noosa Heads. With an ethos of “we make it, bake it, grow it, sew it”, the markets attract those who like something a little different. Arrive early to get the best items on sale at the twice-weekly markets that run every Wednesday and Saturday.  

Sugar and spice, all things nice
On the outskirts of Maleny (the Blackall Range town that exudes an alternative vibe) is Spicers Tamarind Retreat. The romantic Asian-influenced resort, with 14 pavilions surrounded by rainforest, makes much of the local produce, with a cooking school and an acclaimed restaurant. Spa treatments include a body scrub with ginger and organic cane sugar.

See the ocean from a hinterland pub
When this timber pub opened in 1910, it was known as the Ocean View Hotel – so named because its location 400 metres (1300 feet) above sea level granted glorious views over the distant Pacific Ocean. These days, patrons at the Mapleton Tavern still flock for that glorious view, as well as meals such as roast lamb rolls and seafood platters.

Hit the shops in Montville
Day-trippers head to pretty Montville to cruise up and down its main street, exploring the many shops under the towering camphor laurels. The arty, alternative town is home to everything from woodwork and glass galleries to antique and clock shops and holes in the wall where you can pop in for a psychic reading. 

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