Hiking the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Go beyond the beaches of the Sunshine Coast and roam up into the hinterland where you can lose yourself in the natural beauty and serenity of the area.

The breathtaking scenery forms a stunning backdrop to the beaches, where you can discover the ancient volcanic peaks of the Glass House Mountains, walk through the lush rainforests.

Even the drive through the countryside is an experience in itself, and one of the best ways to take in the view. Pack a lunch, strap on those hiking shoes and make a day trip out to discover picturesque waterfalls and scenic lookouts from Flaxton, Mapleton, Maleny and Montville, through to the Glass House Mountains and Kenilworth.

The Sunshine Coast Hinterland is a nature lover’s paradise with its diversity of flora and fauna. Pristine, sub-tropical rainforests, are easily accessible, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy towering trees and sparkling waterfalls, along with an abundance of native plants and wildlife on one of the many well maintained nature trails and walks.

Top hikes in the hinterland

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Maleny, Sunshine Coast Hinterland


6.7km return. An easy walk. Sections are wheelchair friendly.

Park in the Maleny Showgrounds and cross the Obi Obi Creek via the footbridge. Follow the banks along the boardwalk. Early mornings or late afternoons are the best time to spot Platypus. Step out onto the footpath and walk past the library, across the road and to the boardwalk at the back of the Riverside Centre. Follow the well signed trail along the creek, and around the golf course, then down Parklands Drive to retrace your steps. Dogs can be taken but must stay on lead. A delightful walk with over 54,000 trees planted along the trail.


4 km return walk through beautiful forest to a lookout.

Located between Maleny and Montville, the Baroon Pocket Dam is a picturesque lake worth visiting for a picnic or a barbecue. On the northern side there is a nice 4 km return walk through beautiful forest to a lookout. There is also a side track to the Obi Obi Creek.


20 minutes one way, easy walk.
This is the original footpath, through farmland, built by the early settlers from Berganns road to Witta road. It was used by children on foot or on horseback to and from school. It passes in sight of Berganns private cemetery and the first Lutheran Church in the district.


2km, 45 minute return (Wheelchair friendly)

Park on the Maleny side of Little Yabba Creek. Walk across the road bridge to the boardwalk entry. A sealed and boardwalk track provides wheelchair access. Highlights include giant specimens of the Moreton Bay Fig. Avoid touching the heart shaped leaves of the giant Stinging Tree. A great picnic spot beside the Mary River.


1km, 30 minutes return, an easy walk.

Drive to the carpark on the banks of the beautiful Obi Obi Creek. Take the short level walk downstream to the falls. Discover the large pool at the base of the falls. There are toilets in the carpark.

Kondalilla National Park


2.4km to 4.6km. 45 minutes to 2 hours return.

From the car park to the picnic area is a steep concrete path, not suitable for wheelchairs. The walk to the top of the falls, the Picnic Creek circuit, is 2.4km. Allow 45 minutes as the steps on your return are steep. The 4.6km Kondalilla Falls circuit descends to the valley below with natural pools and lush vegetation. Allow 2 hours return as the return track is strenuous.


700m Moderate Grade 20 minutes return.

The walk takes you through wet Eucalypt forest and palm groves with a boardwalk section next to Gheerulla Creek. Car parking available on Delicia Road.


1.3km, 45 minutes return. Moderate grade. Wheelchair friendly to lookout off carpark.

Excellent lookout next to carpark with wheelchair access. Includes picnic area and 1.3km circuit. Spectacular views of rainforest 90m below and across to the waterfall. Listen for the Wompoo Fruit Dove high in the canopy. Check for Peregrine Falcons at the lookout along the path.


1.2 to 1.75 km. An easy walk, discovery centre, great views, cafe and toilet facilities. Walk through one of the best remnant sub-tropical rainforests in Australia. The reserve is home to many rare tree species. Glimpse the rich variety of birds, the rainforest Wallabies (Pademelons) and perhaps the endangered Richmond Birdwing Butterfly.  Learn the secrets of this extraordinary reserve in the outstanding Discovery Centre. Soak up the haunting Glasshouse Mountains views.

The Rainforest Discovery Centre is-

  • No entry fee however a gold coin donation is appreciated.
  • Open daily from 9am to 4:30pm (and the forest walking track from 7am to 6pm)
  • Open Anzac Day from 12pm to 4:30pm
  • Closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day
  • The other park facilities are open every day.
  • More information can be found here Mary Cairncross Reserve.


This is the start of the 55km Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. The walk crosses the Maleny/Mapleton Plateau and the Blackall Range. Bunya Pines, creeks, waterfalls and rugged landscapes are some of the natural wonders. The walk can be broken into a number of shorter walks from 1 hour to 7 hours. Some sections are not circuits so drop off and pick up will need to be arranged. There are designated camping areas but permits are essential.

Contact www.nprsr.qld.gov.au or call 13 74 68. The walk has limited mobile coverage, go prepared. 

Stay a little longer

Kondalilla Eco-resort

A day trip is not enough to see the beauty of this area, so why not extend your visit and stay a few nights. There is plenty of accommodation choices, ranging from luxury to eco-lodge and even a few unique stays.

Spicers Tamarind Retreat

Nestled in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland town of Maleny is Spicers Tamarind Retreat. Here you can enjoy the very best of winter in the Hinterland, escaping the chill by the fireplace in your luxury villa as you look out over the rainforest, enjoy a day of pampering at their Spa Anise or indulge at their hatted in-house restaurant – The Tamarind. Spicers Tamarind is welcoming visitors back with a number of special deals, including their ‘Birthversary’ special, inviting visitors to celebrate life’s momentous occasions with them, or simply rejoice at the end of isolation. Prices start from $1198 for two nights and includes luxury accommodation in a forest villa, daily a la carte breakfast and a three-course dinner at The Tamarind or in-house barbecue pack.

Glass House Mountains Eco Lodge

Glass House Mountains Eco Lodge offers a truly unique experience. Their accommodation offerings include a resorted 125-year-old Queensland timber church, a Victorian Train Carriage built between 1882 and 1886 and resorted 60-year-old Queensland train carriage. Offering spectacular views over the Glasshouse Mountains, it’s the perfect place to reconnect with nature. For those who book direct, you can use the code GHMECO to receive complimentary tropical style breakfasts mid-week.

Secrets by the Lake

Stay in your own secluded treehouse at Secrets on the Lake in Montville! Located in the rainforest on tranquil Lake Baroon, there is limited one-night stays from $450 or you can book-in for a special dining experience. Secrets Dining on the Deck offer patrons panoramic views of the water, mountains and rainforest, has a fully licensed bar and is open 6 days a week serving breakfast from 8:30am, delicious lunches from 11am, and until 4pm for an indulgent champers, coffee or cake. They also offer a range of takeaway picnics for you to book and then collect to enjoy on the shores of magnificent Lake Baroon in the northern recreation area.


Set in amongst 20 acres of magnificent Sunshine Coast Hinterland rainforest, only 1.5 hours drive north of Brisbane city and right next to Kondalilla National Park, a large natural rainforest reserve hosting the famous Kondalilla Falls, this authentic retreat away from city life allows you time to experience nature in a setting abundant with natural bush lands and wildlife.


Narrows Escape is a boutique 5-star luxury rainforest retreat designed for relaxation and romance, nestled in pristine rainforest on the edge of Kondalilla National Park. The six fully self-contained pavilions feature contemporary luxury, including fully appointed kitchens, deep double whirlpool spa baths, a log fireplace, luxurious furnishings, exquisite rainforest views as well as all conveniences such as free Wi-Fi, flat screen TV and Nespresso coffee machine.

For more on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, visit https://visitsunshinecoasthinterland.com.au/

Kate Webster is a world traveller, ocean lover and conservation warrior who is determined to make every moment count for not only herself but the world around her. This has inspired Kate to translate those moments and share them through her storytelling. A dedicated David Attenborough and Jane Goodall fan, Kate has delved into the world of wildlife and conservation travel to bring awareness.