There are many reasons why we love living on the Sunshine Coast. Not only does it have some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia (if not the world), but it’s also full of little hinterland towns worth exploring. Our favourite such destination is Maleny.
Maleny has been voted the most welcoming town in Australia for two years running. This quaint little town is also one of the most picturesque places in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Only a half hour drive from the beaches, it’s worth the detour and we highly recommend spending some time there when visiting the Sunshine Coast. In fact, we take all our visitors to Maleny!
There is plenty to do in Maleny, many views to admire, many walks to do and so many good restaurants and local produce to try.
Here are the 15 best things we recommend doing there; enjoy!
1. Take a walk in the Maleny Botanical Gardens
It won’t take long to fall in love with Maleny if you make your first stop at the Botanical Gardens. Not only does the Maleny Botanical Gardens have one of the best views of the Glass House Mountains but the gardens are absolutely stunning too.
You can walk around for ages, or you can hire a buggy (the gardens are on a steep hill, so walking back up can be difficult for some). Bring a picnic and enjoy it in one of their gazebos, while taking in the incredible views.
The gardens are a very popular place to get married and when you visit, you’ll realise why!
Botanical Gardens only:
Child (3-14 years): $5
Botanical Gardens and Bird World Aviary (recommended):
Child (3-14 years): $20
2. Visit Bird World
Located within the Maleny Botanic Gardens, you can’t miss Bird World, especially if you are a bird lover like me!
Take a tour inside Bird World, an enclosed space, home to so many rescued exotic birds. It’s the best bird park we’ve visited anywhere in the world so far. It’s popular with kids and adults alike. I personally was like a child in Disneyland, especially because so many of the birds are friendly and enjoy sitting on visitors’ shoulders. It makes for great photos!
Last time we were there, we saw the world’s most talkative parrot singing Old Macdonald. It was incredible!
3. High Tea at Tiffanys
Indulge in a truly exquisite High Tea experience at Tiffanys. The delicious hand-made sweet and savoury delights can be enjoyed in their French courtyard or on the wrap-around veranda of their iconic Queenslander. There, you’ll enjoy the most amazing views of the Glasshouse Mountains. If you love High Tea, you can’t beat Tiffanys.
4. Take a dip in the Gardner’s Falls
On a hot and steamy Queensland day, Gardners Falls is a popular spot to cool down at. This swimming spot and rock pool is easy to get to. However, with its small carpark, it can be hard to get a park on a summer day. The walk from the car park to the falls is about 5 minutes. It’s a gorgeous spot and well worth visiting. There’s even a rope swing there, which always seem to be popular.
5. Browse the quaint shops in the Maleny town centre
Maleny’s Town Centre is home to many interesting little shops. Whether you are looking for clothes, gifts, art, books, or chocolate, you’ll find it there.
If you are looking for fabulous wood pieces or furniture, make sure you pop into the David Linton Furniture & Timber Works shop. They have incredible timber works in there and even if you’re not buying, it’s worth checking out anyway.
6. Look out for Platypus in the Obi Obi Creek
In the centre of town is a section of boardwalk that turns into a gravel path. This path follows the Obi Obi Creek. About 750 m from the start of this path is the Platypus viewing platform.
If you are lucky, you might spot one of these rare Australian icons. But you will need to be patient and accept that you will likely see nothing. We have never seen a platypus in the wild ourselves and we try every time. We are obviously not patient enough; so good luck with that!
7. Enjoy lunch or dinner at Tamarind
The award-winning Tamarind restaurant in the Spicers Resort is set in a lush rainforest near Maleny and offers stylish dining, infused with contemporary Asian twists. The setting is just as amazing as the food and whether you go for lunch or for dinner (when they have the fire pit and fairy lights lit), you can’t go wrong. Keep an eye out for visiting wildlife.
8. Take a tour at Maleny Dairies
Maleny Dairies is an award-winning family-owned business that produces some of the best dairy products on the coast. I love their milk!
While in Maleny, you can visit the farm and take one of their daily tours that showcases their dairy production process. You’ll follow the production, all the way from the cow to the processing plant and onto the final output, their delicious range of milks, yoghurts, custard, and cream, which you can taste at the end.
Young children will enjoy cuddling up to some farmyard friends, bottle-feeding calves and taking a selfie with the friendly cows. If you take the 2.30pm tour, you will see the cows being milked. There is also a little shop where you can buy produce to take home.
The tour costs $14 per person and is free for anyone under 2 years old.
9. Visit the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
For nature lovers, one of the most popular attractions in Maleny is the stunning Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.
This 55-hectare reserve of sub-tropical rainforest is home to many indigenous species of flora and fauna. You can take a relaxing walk along the rainforest track from 7am to 6pm. Be sure to bring your camera and search for reptiles, pademelons, birds, amphibians, snails, colourful bugs, and other insects.
10. Go Beer tasting at Brouhaha Brewery
If you are into craft beers, then head to the Brouhaha Brewery. Brouhaha Brewery is just off Coral Street and is a craft beer institution in Maleny. It’s a great spot to share a few cold ones, paired with lovely food with friends for a weekend session.
11. Check out the spectacular lookouts
You can’t visit Maleny and not check out the stunning views of the Hinterland and the Glass House Mountains! One of the best lookouts in Maleny is McCarthy’s Lookout on Mountain View Road. It has expansive views of the Glass House Mountains.
The view from the famous One Tree Hill is another great spot, although you can’t take photos next to the famous tree which is on private land.
If you have time to drive across to Montville, the road between the two towns also offers spectacular views.
There are literally no bad views around Maleny!
12. Go wine tasting
For some local wine tasting, head to The Barrel @Clouds Vineyard, right on the outskirts of Maleny. This award-winning winery is inside a big barrel next to the road. You won’t miss it when driving up to Maleny!
Pick up a bottle of their wine to take home. They also have a selection of local artwork and other products for sale.
13. Have an ice cream at Maleny Food Co
For a special treat, stop at the popular Maleny Food Co for their award-winning ice cream. It gets very busy there, especially on a hot day.
But my favourite thing about the Maleny Food Co is the cheese monger attached to the Café. I am in cheese heaven every time I visit. With so many yummy cheeses, it’s hard not to spend a fortune!
14. Check out Maleny Lane
In this magical Alleyway in the heart of town, local businesses serve up gourmet street food from around the world, paired with live entertainment. Expect everything from authentic Indian food by the Hare Krishnas, Korean food, Thai, Balinese and so much more. It’s a great place to eat take-out food (you can BYO) and listen to music.
15. Splurge on Seafood at The Terrace Seafood Restaurant
For the best seafood in town, head to the award winning The Terrace and enjoy a seafood platter overlooking the stunning countryside views. It’s not cheap, but the seafood is great and so are the views.
Where to stay in Maleny?
Spicers Tamarind Retreat & Spa
The Spicers Tamarind Retreat & Spa is set on 18 acres of lush rainforest, where guests can enjoy a swimming pool with heated spa, a restaurant, and a day spa. Spicers Tamarind Retreat is 5 minutes’ drive from Maleny. Find their current prices here.
Top of the Hill
Situated in Maleny, 8 km from Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World, Top Of The Hill features accommodation with free WiFi, air conditioning, a shared lounge and a garden. Find their current prices here.
The Old Church Maleny
The Old Church Maleny offers accommodation on Maleny’s main street, either in the historic building boasting 5-metre-high curved ceilings and stained-glass windows, or in the Old Church’s extension which includes two modern apartments and two queen rooms. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. Find their current prices here.
Tranquil Park is located on the southern escarpment of Queensland’s beautiful Blackall Range, with stunning views of the magnificent Glass House Mountains. It offers a bar, restaurant, free on-site parking, and free Wi-Fi access. Find their current prices here.
If none of those are suitable, use the searchbox below to search across all the main accommodation websites: