I decided that I needed to go on a Sunshine Coast Road Trip and squeeze as much into one day as I possibly could! Just about anywhere on the Sunshine Coast is a perfect starting point for a day experiencing the many things to see and do in the area.
First stop, as always, was a visit to the local Information centre. The staff really do have a wealth of knowledge about all there is to see and do in the local and surrounding areas. Just tell them how long you’ve got or what type of experience you’re after, and they’ll help you find things that suit.
I headed out from Noosa to Eumundi and the iconic Eumundi markets, south to Yandina and The Ginger Factory, through Landsborough and Maleny, stopping at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Maleny Mountain Wines and Café de Fudge, then onto Montville for sunset shots, and finally back to Noosa.
No Sunshine Coast road trip would be complete without visiting the iconic Eumundi markets which attract a whopping 1.6 million visitors each year, selling everything from local produce, hand-crafted furniture and jewellery, to clothing, arts and crafts, bric-a-brac, and much more!
The markets are open Wednesdays 8am-1.30pm and Saturdays 7am-2pm, but many local shops are open for the remainder of the week – stop in and show them some love! There’s even a fuel bowser on the footpath in the main street!
The Ginger Factory
I made a snap decision to take the Yandina turnoff and check out The Ginger Factory (even though I don’t like ginger). I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but suffice it to say, was amazed at the experience Bonnie from Marketing gave me on a guided tour of this year-round attraction!
I followed the gingerbread man around the world on ‘Overboard,’ a meandering water adventure ride; I met ‘Moreton,’ an historic ginger train, who took me on a leisurely tour through the beautiful gardens; I saw how the ginger is processed; watched the busy honeybees at work; spent way too much time in The Ginger Shop checking out more ways than I could ever have imagined ginger being used!
The iconic Ginger Factory is open daily (FREE admission*), and is one of the Sunshine Coast’s most popular attractions offering visitors the largest range of the world's finest ginger products, educational tours, tranquil gardens, fun rides, gift shop, kids playground, not to mention the cafe featuring modern Australian cuisine. A great family day out all round!
* tour and ride charges apply
And you will love the inspiring story of the puppets’ creator, David Poulton, who is also responsible for the world-renowned David Jones annual Christmas display windows!
PS I never did tell Bonnie that I don’t like ginger! We’ll keep that to ourselves, okay? ;)
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
The Reserve, 55 acres of subtropical rainforest overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains, was gifted to the local community in 1941 and is committed to conserving and enhancing the natural habitat of the area.
When I visited, a new interactive Education Centre and kiosk was under construction. It looks like it’s going to be amazing! If you’re interested in visiting the Reserve, check the website for construction and access updates.
Although entry is free, gold coin donations are much appreciated. There are a number of paths visitors can meander along, some wheelchair and stroller friendly.
This little fella was difficult to capture!
I could have spent a whole day here, but after a couple of hours of wandering throughout the reserve observing and trying to photograph the flora and fauna, it was time to get back on the road.
I continued on through Maleny, a rural community on the Blackall Range, which overlooks the amazing Glasshouse Mountains.
I stopped in at Maleny Mountain Wines, a family owned winery housed in a unique 8m high wine barrel showroom – you cannot miss it, believe me!
When I was there, they were setting up the equipment for a boutique brewery they were launching. No wine tastings for me today, just tourist photos for my blog!
Right next door is Café de Fudge where Julie makes all the fudge on the premises, offers coffee, Devonshire teas, home made scones, light lunches, choice of indoor or outdoor dining and has a play area for the littlies.
After my all-day adventures, I drove into town right on closing time, so no exploring Montville for me today!
Located on the Blackall Range overlooking the Sunshine Coast and the Pacific Ocean, it’s history lay in logging and then farming. It's been a popular tourist destination since the early 1900’s, and I can understand why - it has a small village charm and is characterised by many different architectural styles (Tudor, Irish, English, Bavarian, and Swiss). Weekends and holiday periods Montville really comes alive and is abuzz with activity as the tourists throng to this eclectic town.
Some say Montville is the ‘creative soul’ of the region, housing art galleries, pottery studios, craft cottages, gift and antique shops, specialty shops and more.
I visited Montville primarily to get some (reverse) sunset shots looking across the valley to the coast. All that was left for me was to find a place to take them. Although you wouldn’t know it from this shot, I was actually in a carpark!
That concludes my Sunshine Coast experience. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more blogs.