I’m always raving about how important it is to take time out and do things you love and things that make you happy. Last week I practised what I preach and spent three perfect days on a rural escape to beautiful Maleny, staying at Spicers Tamarind Retreat with two of my best friends, Ellie and Claire. It was one of the best getaways I’ve had because I was in a beautiful place, with people I love and not a care in the world. After all, a beautiful destination is only as good as the people you go with.

The time away was about more than just going somewhere, it was about the three of us being together to relax, laugh and unwind. Sometimes life gets busy and it can be easy to miss opportunities to catch up. Maleny was the perfect escape for us to enjoy each other’s company and really connect without the worry of time. The beauty of Spicers Tamarind and the excitement and freedom of the whip took the experience to the next level and we spent the entire three days laughing, smiling and buzzing with happiness.

Where to stay

Arriving at Spicers Tamarind Retreat is like arriving at a beautiful treehouse hideaway. The staff are like old friends you haven’t seen in a while and are so welcoming, friendly and kind. We walked through the sliding glass doors of our 2 bedroom luxury forest villa and our jaws dropped, it was bigger than mine and Claire’s apartments combined!

The villa is a self-contained retreat, tucked among lush greenery. It’s the kind of place that ignites a deep love of Australia and how beautiful our country is. The living room was comfortable and cosy, with a big L-shape sofa set in front of a coffee table and wood-burning fireplace. The villa is dotted with interesting books and soft throw rugs just dying for you to cuddle up in them.

The master bedroom has a huge comfy bed with pillows you melt into and big windows to let in the dappled natural light. Impressively, the bathroom is the stuff of dreams! Imagine a beautiful big bathtub set atop under-floor heating, a separate open-plan shower with a rainforest shower head and his and hers (or in this case, hers and hers) basins and mirrors. We had arrived at a place of pure relaxation and luxury. Book Spicers Tamarind Retreat here.

Things to do

Visit Spa Anise

Naturally, the first thing we did was strip off our civilian attire and get into the appropriate girls’ getaway attire of big fluffy robes and slippers. We visited the award-winning Spa Anise for a much-needed afternoon of relaxation and pampering. I’ve visited a few day spas, but Spa Anise is one of the best I’ve experienced.

We were treated to a divine massage, petite facial and petite foot scrub. Everything our beauty therapists did was purposeful, considerate and professional, it was the attention to detail that set Spa Anise above other day spas. We were each transported to a nirvana-like state of relaxation, relishing in the all-natural Australian products used. Afterwards, we drank herbal tea and talked about how relaxed we were.


Get dolled up

Once we’d come out of our comatose state the beauty therapists popped some champagne and set about dolling us up with my favourite brand of beauty products, Issada Cosmetics. We emerged from Spa Anise as new women: relaxed and looking pretty dang hot.

Have dinner to remember

The Tamarind is the scene of one of the best dining experiences I’ve had. Not surprisingly, the incredible Modern Asian food has seen the restaurant awarded two Chef Hats. Each dish is beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. Each of the three courses we ate was amazing, but the dish that brought silence to our chatty little table was definitely the dessert. A velvety valhrona chocolate torte with salted caramel, chilli chocolate ice cream, lychee and raspberry chilli jam. Holy guacamole. Like I said, one of the best meals of my life.

Visit the Eumundi Markets

The Eumundi Markets are a sunshine coast institution and an easy 50-minute drive from Maleny. We stocked up on freshly baked bread, fresh fruit, delicious cronuts and other tasty sweets as well as clothes, crystals, jewellery and friendship bracelets. We made friends with stall owners, patted friendly dogs and lost track of time smelling incense and natural oils. The markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Buy lots of fudge

Head into the main street of Maleny and wander up and down the street, stopping in at quirky bookshops and organic cafes. Most importantly, pay a visit to Sweets On Maple. This old-school lolly shop is stocked to the hilt with every kind of confectionary you can think of. The friendly staff will slice off pieces of fudge to try and, trust me, you’re going to want to buy a lot of it because it’s delicious.

Enjoy a cheese tasting

Stop in at the lovely Maleny Cheese and sample their delicious range of cheddars, fetas, soft cheeses and an assortment of other tasty cheese treats including Camel Curd and Buffalo dips. Don’t knock it till you try it! If you’re like us, you’ll walk out with armfuls of cheese.

Just drive

Some of the most fun we had was driving through the beautiful scenery of the Maleny hinterland. We stopped at fruit stalls, sang along to bad ’90s songs, pointed out the houses we wanted to retire to and pulled over at lookouts.


Curl up with a good book, toast marshmallows on the fire or sit outside with a cup of tea and listen to the birds or go for a walk to a bubbling waterfall. Whatever it is you like to do to relax, just do it. Enjoy the time in this beautiful place to settle back into nature and reconnect with yourself.

So, why visit Maleny? What makes a stay in Maleny so amazing? It’s the feeling of being away from the hustle and bustle of city life and settling into a slower, relaxed pace. It’s also the feeling of time being unending and the excitement for each little part of the day: delicious breakfast, daytime outing, a tasty lunch followed by a relaxing afternoon, amazing dinner and a good night’s rest. It’s the joy and warmth of locals and how proud they are of their beautiful little town and its fresh produce. Most of all, it’s the big smile you get on your face from being in a beautiful place with your best friends.

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