Sometimes I just need to get out of town, out of routine.
I find myself craving an open road with the windows down; bird calls echoing into silence; hypnotic ocean blue. So, with very few plans in place, I recruited the enthusiasm of my man, threw a bag in the car, cranked the tunes and drove north in search of such delights.
First stop on our weekend mini-break was a highway exit about 50 kilometres north of the Brisbane suburbs ….to consult a map.
The second was the winter-quiet King’s Beach at Caboolture, where the fish is fish-like, the chips are crispy (just how I like them) and the locals show impressive resilience in wet-skin, cold-wind situations .
A short drive up a ‘very steep incline’ (as the drama-red road signs announced), past frost-bitten paddocks and through the buzzing hinterland town of Maleny, found us at stop number three: a little spa retreat in Witta. Stocked with local culinary delights – olives marinated in dill, smoked cheese, garlic pepperoni, vine-dried grapes and organic hummus – we settled into what can only be described as stereotypical romantic decadence – bubbly spa, sinking golden sun behind mountains, a pale-black sky of stars.
The morning brought a cooked breakfast to our door, three donkeys outside our window, and a howling wind to brave as we set out to explore.
Maleny is a place you go to do all the fun urban things you can’t seem to make time for at home…. like spending two hours in a book store, eating ice-cream mid morning, people-watching, and picnicking. Eclectic charm jumps from every shop-window, with wallet-tingling niche retail and hospitality, such as:
- Kind Living Cafefor those who enjoy raw and vegan food
- The Soap Barfor anyone needing a freshen up
- Colin James Fine Foodswhere they have a dedicated room for cheese (it’s heavenly)
- Maleny Bookshop, a wonderland of rare, odd, and out-of-print books packed wall to wall
- Doggie Cutz in case your brought your best friend.
Out of town there is a lot to enjoy, such as:
- Lake Baroon, where we were delighted to see lots of ducks but not another human soul
- McCarthy’s Lookout on Mountain View Road, where you can have an afternoon picnic in the sun while looking over the intriguing volcanic formations that are the Glass House Mountains
- Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, where you can walk and picnic and pee in cleanest park toilets I’ve ever seen.
By the end of the weekend I was feeling thoroughly relaxed and quite impressed with the range of adventures we had encountered in such a short drive from Brisbane. I think I will have to go back…
For more travel info about Maleny, the Sunshine Coast and Hinterland, also check out http://www.hinterlandtourism.com.au/ .