The Sunshine Coast hinterland provides the perfect natural backdrop to the resort towns of the Sunshine Coast. The Glasshouse Mountains and green hills thrive in a subtropical climate, offering cool relief from the coast in summer. The region has lots to offer, including: walking tracks through rainforest, waterfalls, an abundance of nature, wineries and pretty villages with excellent gourmet produce.
Maleny, in the heart of the hinterland, is a magnet for foodies. Colin James Fine Foods is a delicious place to visit. They have a magnificent range of cheeses. There are more than 200 to choose from Australian, Dutch, French, Italian and English in a temperature-controlled cheese room. Customers can taste the cheeses and buy pieces cut to the size they wish.
There are those who say their ice-cream is the best in Queensland if not the world. Made from guernsey milk from the local Coppens dairy, its creaminess is unforgettable, and the hard part is choosing from more than 60 flavours. They stock everything from chillies to chutneys, oils and balsamic vinegars and there is a small cafe where you can enjoy light meals.
Twenty minutes away is Montville, which is as close to an English village as you will find in Queensland. Settled in 1887 by citrus growers, today it is a blend of Tudor, Irish and English cottages of log or stone, Swiss and Bavarian chalets, an old mill water-wheel, colonial and old Queenslander homes and spectacular views over the coastal plain.
It is a creative town with lots of galleries, pottery studios, craft cottages, gift, antique and specialty shops and fashion boutiques. There is a selection of restaurants, cafes and tea rooms, and for something sweet, pop into Candy Addictions.
This family-owned and run business will take you back in time when you could satisfy your sweet tooth for a couple of pennies. They make bullseyes, humbugs, butterscotch, lollypops and rosy red and green apples on the premises. They churn out more than 14,000 pieces of rock candy a day. You can see the confectioners creating the tasty and pretty treats between 10am and 3pm on most days, and they offer free samples.
You must visit Clock Centre Montville in Montville. It all started 21 years ago by a German who wanted to share the traditions of clock making from the Black Forest area of his homeland. It has thousands of cuckoo clocks and hundreds of German grandfather clocks on display. There are wall, mantle and quartz clocks for sale, as well as unusual European gifts.
Shipments from Germany arrive regularly, and they have a true German master clockmaker on the staff to give advice and make repairs. German clocks come with a VDS certificate, stating their authenticity.
It's a scenic drive to Mapleton, the northernmost point of the Blackall Range. Settled in 1888, it was blessed by nature and has a spectacular cascade falling from the western escarpment of the Blackall Range into the Mary Valley. There is a special viewing platform. The village flanks the Mapleton National Park, known for its rainforest picnic glades.
Everyone gathers at the Mapleton Tavern to enjoy the story-tellers' tales. The beautiful old Queenslander has excellent cuisine, served to customers while they sit on wide verandas with magnificent, never-ending views to the coast. They have an extensive range of wine and beer, and there is a special children's menu.
For somewhere wonderful and very different to stay, Boorman Eco is on an escarpment in the centre of a 50 hectare site. Arriving through wooden gates lined with giant ghost gums tells you you're arriving at a special place. Its isolation allowed Philip Boorman to design a house to take advantage of its surroundings.
Built on solid rock, the fully self-sufficient, eco-sustainable luxury holiday house has timber framed bi-fold doors and windows give maximum exposure, and solar panels generate the power supply. Roof water is collected in tanks and filtered.
Boorman Eco is home to rare and endangered wildlife, fauna and more than 166 indigenous species of flora, including the rare macadamia ternifolia. You will be sharing the space with red and white cedars and many palm species, 60 species of birds and the endangered birdwing butterfly. Fruit trees and an organic vegetable garden flourish near the property's dam.
The house comfortably accommodates up to five and a hamper of local produce, coffee, tea and wine awaits lucky visitors. The refrigerator can be stocked with any type of food and drink on request, and meals from local cafes or restaurants can be arranged.
A visit to The Philip Boorman Gallery to see his rare, international award-winning table or coffee table and talk with Philip about his furniture and house designs help you understand just what the Boormans are all about.