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.
For more travel info about Maleny, the Sunshine Coast and Hinterland, also check out http://www.hinterlandtourism.com.au/ .