A guide to the Sunshine Coast

Spectacular views, cute craft shops, art galleries, antique shops, boutiques, cafes and energising walks are just some of the diversions on offer in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland.

The Blackall Range and Glass House Mountains provide the backdrop for the commercial centre of Maleny and the mountain village of Montville, both known for the many artists, crafts workers and artisan producers who call this beautiful region home. Fabulous food and wine, much of it using the best local and regional produce, provide more reasons to linger here, while it is only about 35km from the beaches of Mooloolaba and a little further to cosmopolitan Noosa Heads.

Glasshouse Mountains view from Maleny

One Tree Hill, Maleny 


Australia Zoo

Wildlife action is the order of the day at the Irwin family’s Australia Zoo on Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah, less than half an hours’ drive from both Spicers Clovelly and Spicers Tamarind retreats. Fans of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin will relish the chance to see his legacy, now run by his family. Don’t miss the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors show at 12pm daily, an experience that will leave you buzzing. 

Mapleton Falls National Park

Mapleton Falls National Park has several short walks that form part of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. A five-minute walk will take you to the lookout for a fabulous view of the falls plunging 120 metres into the Obi Obi valley. On the 45-minute Wampoo Circuit, where you may hear the call of the Wompoo fruit dove, the Peregrine lookout also provides good views of the falls and valley.

Mapleton Falls

Mapleton Falls

Montville/Maleny Art Trail

If you’ve fallen in love with the landscapes around your Spicers retreat, you can take a virtual piece of it home with you in the form of an image by Maleny landscape photographer Ben Messina whose gallery is on Maple St. This is just one of several galleries that art lovers will find in the hinterland villages. Cathy Lawley’s Fried Mudd Studio in Maleny is open by appointment only, or you can take a workshop to create your own pottery or sculpture. Art on Cairncross, east of Maleny, showcases the work of many local artists, including fine art, ceramics, glass and sculpture. Stroll down Montville’s Main Street for more, including the Montville Art Gallery which hangs the work of more than 40 local artists. Hot glass artist Tina Cooper works her magic at Montville, by appointment only, and at Secrets on the Lake Gallery you can enjoy after stunning views of Lake Baroon while you browse the work of a collection of local artists (and there’s a café if you want to linger longer).

Art Gallery at Montville

Montville Art Gallery 



Walking tracks criss-cross the Blackall Ranges, offering plenty of options for keen bushwalkers. Adventurous walkers may like to tackle the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk, a 58km track with overnight camps, but there are also plenty of day walks, including the gentle rainforest track at Mary Cairncross Reserve or Mapleton Falls National Park. More challenging are Mount Tibrogargan or Mount Ngungun in the Glass House Mountains or the Kondalilla Falls Circuit, accessed from Montville.

Farm to Fork Tours

Go behind the scenes on local farms to meet producers and see where the fantastic produce used in Sunshine Coast restaurants (including the award-winning restaurants at both Spicers Tamarind and Spicers Clovelly) comes from, on this fascinating tour with Creative Tours. You’ll visit a coffee-roaster, Wagyu beef farmer, and Brouhaha Brewery in Maleny, where local produce is matched with beer brewed on the premises. Over lunch, learn how Brouhaha uses local honey, mushrooms, eggs, dairy produce and more in the restaurant. 

Fraser Island heli adventure

See the world’s largest sand island from the comfort of your chartered helicopter on a scenic flight from Spicers Tamarind Retreat. This four-hour heli-adventure comes with a picnic lunch on Fraser Island, prepared especially for you by the on-site chefs at Spicers Tamarind Retreat, and can be booked for up to three passengers. Leaving from Spicers Tamarind, the flight passes the Glass House Mountains, tracks the Bribie Island coastline to Noosa at 500 feet, then continues up the Queensland coast past Double Island Point and Rainbow Beach before flying up the east coast of Fraser Island to land at Orchid Beach on the north coast.  After lunch and two hours on the ground, the return flight crosses to the western coast of Fraser Island, tracks back to Noosa and then to Eumundi and Mapleton, over Lake Baroon and the Kondalilla Falls to land at Spicers Tamarind. For details on prices and bookings, talk to reception at Spicers Tamarind Retreat.

Helicopter flight to Fraser Island from Spicers Tamarind Retreat

The incredible stretch of Fraser Island’s sandy beach

Hinterland heli tours

Take a scenic helicopter flight from Spicers Tamarind for a different perspective on the Sunshine Coast. A Hinterland Highlight Flight will give you a spectacular view of the Glass House Mountains, crossing in front of Mount Tibrogargan, across to the Bribie Island coast, up the beach to Noosa at 500 feet, then on to Eumundi and Mapleton, over Lake Baroon and the Kondalilla Falls before landing back at Spicers Tamarind. The cost for this aerial adventure is $1500 for two. Ask reception for more details.

Maleny Dairies Farm Tour

Learn about the process of milk production – from the cow to the bottle – on a tour of the family-run Maleny Dairies farm and factory. On the morning tour, you’ll see the pregnant cows being fed, and on the afternoon tour the herd will be in the dairy being milked. Kids will love it! Tours end with a tasting, but of course you may have already tasted it during your stay at Spicers Tamarind, where the local milk is used.

Spa Anise

For well-deserved pampering, head to Spa Anise at Spicers Tamarind or Spicers Clovelly Estate. Choose your own fragrant massage oil, then surrender to the hands of your therapist for body, facial or foot massage – or a combination of all three – or other treatments to ensure you leave floating on a cloud. Spa Anise uses gorgeous Queensland-made Waterlily products.

Spa Anise at Spicers Tamarind Retreat

Spicers Tamarind Cooking School

If you’ve dined at The Tamarind and want to recreate some of the superb dishes you’ve tasted, sign up for one of the cooking classes. Every Saturday, the retreat’s purpose-built cooking school runs four-hour classes in Thai, French, Italian or South-East Asian cuisine. Under the expert eye of a Spicers chef, you can whip up a four-course meal – and then sit down to eat it with a glass of wine (and you don’t have to wash up!).

Sunset by sidecar

Take in the sunset from the best vantage point on the mountain, watching the changing colours of the sky and seeing the Glass House Mountains like never before. And how do you find this perfect spot? On a sidecar tour – including a bottle of Perrier Jouet champagne -booked through your Spicers Retreat reception. A one-hour tour costs $250 per person.

Man riding motorbike with man in sidecar around the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Sidecar tour from Spicers Tamarind Retreat


Brouhaha Brewery

“Made in Maleny” is the theme at Brouhaha Brewery. Tucked away in a small shopping strip in Coral Street, this is the place to find terrific craft beers and a quality menu using local produce. You can try out two of Brouhaha’s range of eight beers before you go at Spicers Tamarind Retreat’s complimentary beer tasting every afternoon by the fire pit. Your two beers each might include a strawberry rhubarb sour and New Zealand pale ale (along with a small plate of nibbles). Brouhaha’s friendly crew will offer a quick tour of the brewing process – or you can just admire the “factory” from your table – and there’s also a pleasant deck out the back. Try the Mooloolaba prawn and bug roll or the milk stout and Maleny Wagyu hotdog, both great matches for the beer.

Flame Hill Vineyard

Named for the brilliant Flame trees that are seen all around Montville, Flame Hill is committed to producing ethical and sustainable food and wine. The vineyard’s Montville cellar door on Western Avenue is the place to pick up some of the fine drops – both red and white – that are 100 percent estate grown from its Queensland vineyards. There is also a restaurant where you can dine on Flame Hill’s own grass-fed Angus beef and produce from its kitchen garden.

Flame Tree Hill Winery

Flame Hill Winery, Maleny

Locale Noosa

In the heart of Noosa’s Hastings Street, Locale Noosa sits back from the beach in a quiet spot that’s perfect for savouring some fine Italian cuisine. Open daily for lunch and dinner, Locale is the place to find delectable Queensland seafood – think Mooloolaba king prawns or Noosa scallops – along with imaginative pasta and pizza dishes on its extensive menu.

Maleny Food Co.

Sunshine and gelato go hand-in-hand and the best gelato is at the Maleny Food Co shop on Maple Street. Combining rich Guernsey milk and cream, local fruit and the best Italian ingredients, this award-winning artisan store has a huge range of flavours – for something different, try cinnamon and ginger, or sticky date gelato, or watermelon and mint sorbet. Maleny Food Co is also well known for its hundreds of gourmet cheeses. Pick up something to go or eat in at the deli-style store.

Rickys River Bar Noosa

A Noosa institution, Rickys offers modern European-style cuisine with magnificent views of the Noosa River. It’s a wonderful place for sunset cocktails, a long lunch or elegant dinner. Choose from snacks, a six-course tasting menu, a seafood experience, or a la carte menu. Ricky’s sources produce from its own Maravista Farm in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, which has vegetable gardens, bee hives, cattle, citrus trees, and more than 20,000 macadamia trees.

The Long Apron

Award-winning Head Chef Chris Hagen works his culinary magic for guests at Spicers Clovelly Estate’s The Long Apron restaurant. Promising food that is “refined, innovative, unexpected”, The Long Apron delivers dishes that are as beautiful on the plate as they are on the palate in an elegant, intimate setting. The chef’s tasting menu offers a five-course tasting menu (with vegetarian option), and there’s an a la carte menu too. You can see why they received a Good Food Guide Chef Hat in 2019. Breakfast is served on the terrace, with more locally sourced produce, and Glossy Black coffee from Koko Coffee Roasters with proceeds from sales going towards protecting the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo.

Chef at The Long Apron serving dessert

The Long Apron at Spicers Clovelly Estate

The Tamarind

The Asian influence that gives Spicers Tamarind Retreat its name is nowhere more evident than at The Tamarind restaurant. The menu delivers flavours from Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Korea, and if choosing proves too difficult, a five-course degustation menu offers the easy option. Head Chef Dan Jarrett’s kitchen produces sweet, sour and spicy flavours in delectable dishes that have deservedly seen the restaurant awarded one Chef Hat in the 2019 National Good Food Guide, and countless other awards.

The Tamarind Restaurant Maleny

The Tamarind at Spicers Tamarind Retreat



Browsing in antique shops is a popular pastime for visitors to the Sunshine Coast, and the hinterland villages have plenty to choose from. Some of the best are Maleny Country Antiques and Art Antiques Antlers in Mapleton. Geordie Lane Antiques and Tea Room, in a farm cottage halfway between Maleny and Montville on the corner of Montville and Benecke Rds, also offers Devonshire teas.   

Chocolate Country

Tempt yourself with beautiful artisan chocolates made in Montville exclusively from Belgian chocolate at Chocolate Country. Wonderful for gifts or just a little indulgence. Sit outside on the patio, just off Main Street (next to the Clock Shop), for hot chocolate, coffee, dessert or a chocolate tasting platter.

Clock Shop

Whether you’re buying or browsing, the Clock Shop is one place in Montville you shouldn’t pass without at least a look. Hundreds of ticking clocks include a huge array of German cuckoo clocks, grandfather clocks, and more contemporary timepieces of all sizes and shapes. Too big for your luggage? They’ll even ship it home for you.

Coconut Yoghurt

If you’ve been loving the delicious coconut yoghurt served at breakfast at Spicers Tamarind Retreat, you can buy some to take home. COYO, another of Maleny’s fabulous local products, can be found at Woolworths or the Maple Street Co-op in Maleny, and at the IGA at Maleny and Montville.  COYO is an organic yoghurt that’s vegan, paleo and ketogenic – and it tastes great too! It comes in vanilla, blueberry, strawberry, mango and passionfruit, plum and guava, chocolate, and hemp and blueberry flavours.


Sunshine Coast designers have long been making their mark in the fashion world. Some of our favourite fashion and accessory labels are just down the road (but often have national stockists), so while you’re browsing, these are some of the names to look for. Start with Lilya, from Lisa Chedanne, who produces laidback looks ideal for the Sunshine Coast lifestyle. Find them at Alterior Motif in Cotton Tree or Noosa Heads. For footwear, check out the handcrafted slides and sandals from Noosa’s Woven Palm label; stocked by Alterior Motif at Noosa Heads). Another label to look for is Zoe Kratzmann for clothing and fabulous footwear. Another clever local, Salita Matthews, has a luxe jewellery label that specialises in stunning boho made-to-order pieces. And for men, Station Stripes at Sunrise Beach has the ultimate in tees. 


The townships of the Blackall Range are bristling with markets. Every Sunday morning, head to the Maleny Sunday Market at Maleny RSL Hall on Bunya Street, for handcrafted jewellery, vintage clothes, plants, fresh vegetables and other produce, crazy tea cosies and more. Every first Saturday of the month, the Crystal Waters Eco-Village offers fresh baked bread, organic vegetables, reflexology, handcrafts, plenty of food, live music face-painting and a playground. On the second Saturday of the month, the Montville Growers and Makers Market sets up in and around the historic Village Hall.  The Witta Market, on the third Saturday morning of the month, has a huge range of produce from local growers and producers, including organic meats, vegetables, Obi Obi Valley olive oil, honey, arts and crafts and more.

Markets in Maleny

Montville Growers Markets

No Nasties for Kids

When Sunshine Coast mum Natalia discovered she was allergic to most of the face paints and play makeup her daughter loved, she set about creating her own from all-natural products. No Nasties face paint, play makeup and hair products are now available around Australia. Check the website for stockists; there are several on the Sunshine Coast. 

The Falls Farm

If you’ve been relishing the fresh produce at The Tamarind and The Long Apron restaurants, make sure you stop off at the farm gate at The Falls Farm, on Mapleton Falls Road, Mapleton. Operating on an old-fashioned honesty box system, the farm gate is housed in an old 1930s forestry shed and is open on weekdays from 9am to 3pm. On Saturdays, from 8am to 1pm, there’s a wider range of produce as well as preserves, dips and sauces. And you never know what you might find for sale, including unusual vegetables such as purple carrots. After stocking up, continue down the road to Mapleton Falls and the lookout.

Soak Society

Is there anything better than soaking in a deep bubble bath like the ones at Spicers Tamarind Retreat? Sunshine Coast-based company Soak Society offers a range of beautiful wellness soaks and bubble baths produced without chemicals (and they’re not tested on animals, so another big tick!).


Spicers Clovelly Estate

With just 10 suites for a maximum of 20 guests, Spicers Clovelly Estate offers elegant European-style luxury in a beautiful 22-acre French provincial setting. Suites have supremely comfortable king-size beds with plush brocade cushions and quality linen, marble bathrooms with heated floors and towel rails, sloping ceilings and window seats with views over the gardens. There’s also a separate, self-contained three-bedroom cottage slightly away from the main guesthouse. Looking for a romantic getaway? This is it.

Spicers Clovelly Estate

Spicers Tamarind Retreat

Set on 18 acres just outside the town of Maleny, Spicers Tamarind Retreat has 14 villas, scattered around a central building, where guests dine, drink or just relax to the soothing sounds of the surrounding rainforest and the water features between the timber decks. The villas offer space and privacy, comfortable furnishings and kitchenettes, along with fireplaces for cooler winter days and in some cases – deep baths or private cedar hot tubs on their decks. And nature is never far away, with the Obi Obi Creek and Gardners Falls just a five-minute walk away.

Spicers Tamarind Retreat

Spicers Tamarind Retreat

Words by Lee Mylne

Mapleton Falls, Flame Hill Winery images supplied by Tourism East Queensland.