Heading to the Sunshine Coast and wandering what are the best things to do in Glass House Mountains National Park in Queensland?
Whilst most people head to Mooloolaba or Noosa, we recommend spending a couple of days in Glass House Mountains because this is where the beauty really lies in the Sunshine Coast. You’ll spend your entire time gob-smacked at the beauty of it.
Located just a 30 minute drive from Mooloolaba, you will arrive in one of the most amazing parts of Australia; the Glass House Mountains National Park.
But, what is there to see and do in Glass House Mountains? Here we explain everything there is to do including Glass House Mountains walks, lookouts, tours and things to do in Maleny.
Table of Contents
1. Visit Maleny Botanic Gardens
As we drove around the Glass House Mountains central town of Maleny, we kept missing small pockets of being able to see the mountains up close. That was until we went to Maleny Botanic Gardens.
The botanic gardens must be some of the best we’ve come across anywhere in the world. The view out to the mountains is absolutely cracking and you’ll get 6km of walking tracks to take your time to walk around. If you don’t fancy walking that far, you can hire a golf buggy to drive around the gardens.
You absolutely must visit the aviary at Maleny Botanic Gardens as well. Owner Frank has rescued over 700 exotic birds and you’re allowed to go into the aviary to meet them all. Honestly, we doubt you’ll be able to do this anywhere else in the world. You’ll come away seeing birds in a totally different light, in a really good way.
If you’re looking for Sunshine Coast attractions, you must absolutely visit the Maleny Botanic Gardens.
You could spend days going on multiple Glass House Mountains walks so we’re going to share with you some of the most popular hikes below. If you’re looking to climb some of the mountains, check out this post for how you could potentially climb seven summits in just one day.
It’s a 3km circuit and known as one of the best walks in Glass House Mountains to really experience the energy and beauty of the area. It takes about an hour to walk all the way around.
3. Mt Ngungun
Glass House Mountains
Mt Ngungun walk is the most popular walk in Glass House Mountains National Park because it’s also known as the best as well. The 2.4km walk has an elevation of 163m and takes around two hours return. Just make sure you wear suitable shoes as it can be quite slippery.
Here you’ll be able to get the ultimate Sunshine Coast Instagram photo as Mount Coonowrin and Mount Beerwah line up perfectly.
Mt Ngungun is THE spot to get your sunset photo. Check to see if it’s open because at the time we visited, it was closed for maintenance work.
4. Mt Coolum
We found Mt Coolum to be quite a remarkable sight. It’s quite amazing to see all of the homes right at the bottom of this incredible mountain.
To climb to the top is just 1.8km and should take around 1h30m return.
5. Glass House Mountains Lookout
Glass House Mountains
If you’re looking for a good Glass House Mountains lookout point and don’t want to do any walking, you can drive right up to the top of the Glass House Mountains Lookout. Here you’ll get a 360 degree view of the Glass House Mountains so you can really take it all in.
6. Find the Glass House Mountains Instagram road
Glass House Mountains
We originally scoped out this spot on Instagram and just loved the long road leading up to Mount Tibrogargan.
After driving around a bit, we realised it’s actually on the way to Glass House Mountains Eco Lodge where we stayed! We had arrived at night time so we didn’t see it originally.
You can find this Insta spot on Barrs Road. Just be careful with any traffic coming your way (obvs).
7. Visit an antique shop in Maleny
Maleny is a gorgeous little town filled with lots of tea rooms and antique shops which is my kind of place. Make sure you check out Antiques and Vintage in Maleny located on Fig Street and Maleny Country Antiques on the main street, Maple Street.
Just down the road from Glass House Mountains Eco Lodge is the world famous Australia Zoo, located on Steve Irwin Way. Yep, it’s an actual street in Sunshine Coast.
You could literally spend the entire day at Australia Zoo but if you’ve got a limited amount of time, a recommend heading over to the Crocoseum for the 12pm show. Here you’ll witness a croc show, bird show and loads more which will give you a great insight into the zoo.
We must admit, as people who aren’t really into zoos, we were blown away by Australia Zoo. The show really is quite remarkable and you can see how everyone who works there is incredibly passionate about the conservation of animals.
We also loved how Steve Irwin’s legacy is truely alive at this park as we watched videos from the massive screen before and during the show.
There’s also a fruit barn nearby – make sure you stop and buy some fruit because to us, it was the BEST bananas and avocados we’ve tasted anywhere in the world. Sunshine Coast fruit is utterly amazing!
If you’ve never seen how a dairy factory is run, here’s your chance at the Maleny Dairies. You’ll learn about the process about how milk is made from a cow to bottle.
At the end of the 1.5hr tour, you’ll be able to sample some of their products too! Their tip is to go on the 10am tour if you want to see the pregnant cows being fed. Or if you want to see a herd being milked, then you need to go on a 2.30pm tour.
There’s a small shop and cafe on site, but only expect to see milk in the shop. In our heads, we thought they would be selling cheese as well but this is a milk factory, not dairy as a whole.
10. Go for a swim at Gardners Falls
If you’re staying in Glass House Mountains National Park and looking to cool down without having to go to the beach, we recommend driving over to the beautiful swimming spot of Gardners Falls. It’s just a five minute drive east of Maleny so it’s in the perfect location!
How to get to Gardners Falls: Park at Obi Spice Lane car park and walk just 300m to the falls. Here you’ll find a perfect swimming hole to cool down in the summer heat.
11. Chenrezig Institute
Chenrezig Institute is one of the largest Western Buddhist centres not only in Australia but in the world, which is situated in Eudlo, north of Maleny.
Here you’ll be able to find a large range of courses, meditation retreats, art classes and more to help you combat everyday life.
If you just want to visit for the day, you can get lunch at the onsite veggie cafe and wonder around the beautiful gardens. It’s only open to the public from Thursdays – Sundays, something we wish we had researched properly before. This is on our list for our next visit to Sunshine Coast.
Our teacher called Venerable Namgyel from the course we did at Tushita in India has moved back to Australia and will be holding retreats here. Originally from Liverpool, England, he’s an amazing teacher that everyone needs to learn from. We’ll be visiting him loads at Chenrezig Institute! Read about when we met him in India here.
It seems that craft breweries are popping up more and more these days and Maleny is no exception, home to it’s very own brewery and restaurant called Brouhaha Brewhouse.
Here you’ll find all local produce and an excellent restaurant in Maleny you need to check out. You can find the menu here.
Brouhaha Brewhouse is open Wednesday – Sunday, from 11am to late.
Check out the Bourhaha Brewhouse video below!
13. Visit the world’s largest ginger factory for free
The Ginger Factory is a great day out if you’re looking for free activities for kids in Sunshine Coast. You’ll be able to find tours, rides, gardens, a train ride, tasting sessions and a cafe on site which makes for a great day out for the family in Glass House Mountains.
We really liked Buderim a lot and were surprised how tropical it feels yet it’s so close to Mooloolaba beach. This small town is a great place to base your Sunshine Coast getaway.
Buderim Falls is a gorgeous waterfall complete with a bridge so you can get some great photos from different perspectives.
How to get to Buderim Falls: There’s two paths to get to Buderim Falls, either take the 300m short walk from Quorn Close or take the 600m track from Harry’s Lane. Either way, you’ll be able to get to the falls in just a few minutes. The bridge over the top of the falls makes it extra special and a great photography moment.
15. Get a hug with a camel
Glass House Mountains
Glass House Mountains isn’t only home to a cows milk factory but also home to a camel milk factory too called Q Camel.
You heard it right, I know, I know. Camel milk? Really?
As random as it sounds, you can book a tour to learn all about the process of how camel milk is made for just $25 pp.
Best of all, at the end of the tour, you’ll get a cuddle with a camel with a backdrop of the Glass House Mountains. Insta selfie anyone?
Most people seem to stay just one night in Glass House Mountains National Park like it’s a stopover. There’s so much more to the Glass House Mountains that this is the real gem of the Sunshine Coast. Make sure you plan to stay at least two or three nights as you can see there’s not only a lot to do but you’ll want to stay longer because it’s such an amazing place.
Stay in a church
If you’re looking for Sunshine Coast hinterland accommodation, we recommend staying in an awesome church at Glass House Mountains Eco Lodge like we did above. We had the whole church to ourselves and it honestly doesn’t get much better than this.
Why not stay in a beautiful train carriage at Glass House Mountains Eco Lodge?
If a church isn’t your thing, then you can stay in one of their pristine train carriages which are absolutely beautiful. Or you can stay in a stunning bungalow, the type of place you’d actually want to live in yourself.
What we LOVED about Glass House Mountains Eco Lodge is that it’s not only an amazing unique Sunshine Coast accommodation option, it’s run by passionate owners who even make their own coffee, beer and jam purely for their guests. Now tell us where you’ve seen anywhere else do this for their guests?
Located right next to Mt Tibrogargan, the location honestly doesn’t get any better.
Expect to pay from $100 for a room, and $260 for the church.