Feeling the need for a weekend escape out of Brisbane? It could be time to start planning a trip to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Whether you’re a Brisbane local, interstate or overseas visitor, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is a must-visit destination. It offers beautiful views of our gorgeous Queensland landscape, amazing fresh produce, cool shops and farmers markets and an escape from everyday life.
If you’re planning a trip, but need some inspiration on how to spend your time while you’re there, I’ve got you covered with this guide. If you’ve got some tips of your own, I’d love to hear them, so please share in the comments below.
Breakfast at Shotgun Espresso
Start your day off with a great cup of coffee and yummy breakfast at Shotgun Espresso in Maleny. This place serves up amazing Campos coffee and breakfasts that are fresh and delicious. They have great options for gluten-free and vegetarian folk, too! Yummy breakfast options include things like Petite French Toast with a nectarine, berry, honey and cinnamon fruit compote and mascarpone and one heck of a ‘Free range’ big breakfast. It’s a sweet little space that’s low-key and welcoming, perfect for starting off your day of adventures. Find Shotgun Espresso here.
Take a walk along Maleny’s main street and explore the boutique shops, op-shops and art galleries lining either side of the road. There are plenty of places to pop in, including Sweets on Maple, my favourite lolly shop that just so happens to sell some pretty wonderful fudge.
Hit the Markets
There are quite a few great markets that happen on a Saturday, giving you a great chance to pick up some local arts and crafts, fresh produce, flowers and more. This is also the spot to grab lunch!
You can take a drive and explore the famous Eumundi Markets, held each Wednesday and Saturday. You can discover the Artist On The Green markets, held on the Village Green in Montville on the second Saturday of each month. You can also visit the Blackall Range Growers Market, held at the Old Witta School on the third Saturday of each month. If you need some more Sunshine Coast market inspiration, this guide is great.
Visit the Kondalilla Falls
It’s time to immerse yourself in the beautiful natural scenery on offer in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Jump in the car and drive yourself to the Kondalilla National Park, then take a bush walk to the insanely gorgeous Kondalilla Falls. If you’re up for it, you can do the 4.7km Kondalilla Falls Circuit, which should take around 2 1/2 hours or so. The trail takes you from the top of the falls, past rock pools and offers up stunning views of the area. Find out more about the Kondalilla Falls here.
Dinner at The Tamarind
One of my favourite places to eat in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is the amazing restaurant at Spicers Tamarind Retreat. This place specialises in Modern Asian cuisine, but don’t let the fancy words get to you. They serve up really, really delicious food, which makes sense seeing as they’ve won a tonne of awards. Looking at the menu, it’s hard to choose what to have because it all looks so delicious! Dinner here is really memorable and the service is fantastic, just be sure to book ahead so you don’t miss out. Find The Tamarind here.
Catch the Sunrise
If you can drag yourself out of bed, I recommend driving up to Gerrards Lookout to watch the sunrise. Get there before first light and watch the Sunshine Coast come alive in an explosion of bright colours. This spot offers views out to the water, too, so it’s the perfect place for photography and nature lovers. Find Gerrards Lookout here.
Recharge at the Day Spa
Feeling exhausted? In need of a bit of ‘you’ time? I feel you. My favourite place to unwind and reconnect is Spa Anise. This place is one of the most enjoyable Day Spas I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. It has a really inviting vibe that puts you immediately at ease. Everything is modern and beautiful, but it isn’t cold or too modern and awkward. The staff here are incredibly professional too, making you feel relaxed and perfectly pampered. Find Spa Anise here.
Lunch at Misty’s Microbrewery
Stop in for lunch at Wild Rocket, the on-site restaurant at Misty’s Microbrewery. Yep, that’s right, this sweet little spot brews their own beers in-house, so it’s sort of your duty to try them all. The food here is top-notch too, really yummy hearty meals that cover everything from burgers and wraps to fancy stuff like crispy duck leg and seared salmon. Find Misty’s Microbrewery here.
Coffee and Cake at Little May
If you feel the need for an afternoon coffee and sweet treat, stop in at Little May in Montville. They serve up really beautiful cakes here, like decadent brownies, lemon myrtle cheesecake and citrus brûlée tart. They’ve got options for gluten-free and vegans too! Find Little May Espresso here.
Buy Lots of Cheese!
Stop in at the Maleny Cheese factory and drool all over the glass window as you watch the people below making it! Once you’ve collected yourself, ask the lovely staff for some tasters and eat as many of them as possible. My favourite is the Maleny Smoked Cheddar! They also do an amazing range of buffalo cheese, which is a must-try. Ask them to package up your supplies and have yourself a picnic in the hinterland or save it for wine and cheese night when you get back home. Find Maleny Cheese here.
Dinner at The Long Apron
For a really special dinner that you won’t soon forget, book yourself in at The Long Apron. On the menu is an out-of-this-world degustation, which can also be modified to suit vegetarians. The food here is really special, it’s presented beautifully and uses the very best local, seasonal ingredients. You’ll try things you’ve never tried before and savour each and every course. Like I said, it’s a dining experience that’s incredibly special and memorable. Find The Long Apron here.
Where to Stay
There are quite a few great options on where to stay in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. You’ll find loads of charming Bed & Breakfasts offering cosy lodgings, but my two favourites are Spicers Tamarind Retreat and Spicers Clovelly Estate. I’ve been lucky enough to stay at both and review each too.
What I love about both of these spots is how special you feel when you stay there. You’re spoilt with amazing food and really, really good breakfasts. The staff are always so polite, welcoming and friendly, taking care of absolutely anything and everything you need.
Both retreats offer top-notch accommodation that’s complete luxury, but so very comfy and cosy. You feel like you’ve escaped your normal world and arrived into a special little pocket of indulgence and wonder, that leaves you feeling refreshed and recharged and desperate to come back again. If you’re really looking to treat yourself, I can’t recommend both spots enough. Read my review of Spicers Tamarind Retreat here // Read my review of Spicers Clovelly Estate here.
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.