Looking for things to do in Maleny in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland? As one of the most popular day trips from Brisbane, Maleny in QLD is the main town many people escape the city in search of fresh country air in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
It’s a town we just adore and we can’t wait to show you why to give you some travel inspiration. If you’re looking for things to do in Sunshine Coast and unsure where to go, Maleny is a fantastic place to visit in the Hinterland.
Table of Contents
What Makes Maleny in Sunshine Coast Hinterland Special?
While the Sunshine Coast is made up of so many small towns, Maleny is the hub of the hinterland. It’s full of creative locals, including poets, artists, musicians and writers. We have considered moving here because we love the community feel of the town, plus it’s cooler being 550m above sea level along the breathtaking views of the Blackall Range. Wear warmer clothes, even if you’re coming from Noosa, because it’s not the same temperature, no matter what time of year you visit.
With over 200 groups to join, you’d be forgiven to think Maleny is just a small town, but it’s much more than that.
When visiting on a day trip from Brisbane, expect to find beautiful swimming spots, hikes, incredible country views, local art galleries and so many Maleny hinterland attractions, you might want to spend a weekend away from Brisbane here. We also love the thriving music scene and delicious food here.
While it can get busy in Maleny on the weekends, the weekdays make it feel like a completely different town with friendly locals and a more chilled out vibe. Shops and restaurants close early unless you visit on a Friday or Monday night for the fantastic Maleny Lane music night.
With that in mind, let us introduce you to some of the best things to do in Maleny in Sunshine Coast.
Best Things To Do In Maleny
1. Maleny Botanic Gardens And Bird World
We absolutely love Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World! It’s an incredible place built by one man’s passion to share epic views of the stunning Glass House Mountains. I must say, Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World has one of the best views of the Glass House Mountains, it’s no wonder it’s a popular place to get married.
These Maleny gardens are absolutely stunning as you could easily spend the day here wandering around them. Bring a picnic with you to make a beautiful day trip here. And let’s not forget about Bird World which is also located within the Maleny Botanic Gardens! It’s home to the world’s most talkative parrot – we met him and we were gobsmacked! This parrot sang Old Macdonald to us and opera, it was nuts!
Head inside Bird World, an enclosed space that is home to so many rescue and exotic birds. I have never seen anywhere like this in the world, that this place made me feel like we could have been in a Disney film. Kids will love Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World and so will adults. It’s a massive thumbs up from us and our number 1 Maleny attraction!
Although we visited Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve just after the information centre had closed for the day, we had the entire rainforest walk to ourselves just before it closed 5pm. With over 55 hectares of subtropical rainforest overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains, nature lovers will love one of the best rainforest walks you can do with the whole family.
I think I spent about 40 minutes to 1 hour walking along the stunning walking paths in there. You might spot wallabies and other wildlife in this park, which is free to go into.
Just to note, I visited Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve as it was raining and I wore shorts. When I got back to the car, I had a few leeches stuck to me! Just make sure you wear appropriate clothing if visiting in the rain! I do love visiting rainforests in the rain as it makes them really come alive.
3. Maleny Lane
I just love Maleny Lane as it’s a place that brings everyone together. With local businesses serving up delicious local produce from cuisines all over the world, this is the place to come and get some local Maleny food when you’re in town. Expect everything from authentic Indian food by the Hare Krishnas, Korean food, Balinese food and so much more. We’ve tried most of the local food here and it’s all delicious!
Come to Maleny Lane on Friday or Monday nights for the local music nights. This a fab way to meet some of the locals who come down and support local musicians and have a catch-up.
4. Maleny Dairies
Visit the award-winning and family-owned Maleny Dairies to pick up milk, yoghurt, custard and cream. As one of the most popular Maleny attractions to visit, they offer the famous Maleny Dairies tours so you can learn all about how they make their products. We didn’t do the tour but we visited the shop here and would head back to do the tour next time we’re in the Sunshine Coast.
5. Maleny Chocolate Factory
If you’re looking for things to do in Maleny, make sure you visit the Maleny Chocolate Company! Serving up some of the best chocolate we’ve ever eaten, make sure you pay them a visit and support local produce. They even use the milk from Maleny Dairies to make their outstanding chocolate!
6. Maleny Cheese
Finish your Maleny dairy tour by visiting the Maleny Cheese. The boutique cheese range is made up of cheddar, white mould and feta style cheeses. Make sure you stock up here before you head back home.
7. Gardners Falls
Gardners Falls is a popular swimming spot and rock pool in Maleny, as it’s easy to get to. Simply park up at the small car park (it gets really busy here), then walk down the path for about five minutes before you come to the natural beauty of the swimming hole at the end. There’s a rope swing here too, but just be careful.
When we visited Gardners Falls, it was really busy so we just walked a little bit back up towards the car park and sat in the water away from everyone. It’s a gorgeous spot and well worth visiting if you’re looking for things to do in Maleny on a hot day.
If you’re looking for a quieter wild swimming spot, head over to Kondalilla Falls, which is a 20-minute hike to the tops of the falls near Montville. It’s absolutely gorgeous there and not as busy. But both Gardners Falls and Kondalilla Falls are beautiful though.
8. Maleny Sunday Market
You can’t visit Maleny and not go to the famous Maleny Sunday Market! Located At the RSL Hall every Sunday from 8am – 2pm, support local businesses selling arts and crafts, antiques, collectables, books, plants and so much more!
9. Obi Obi Boardwalk
Looking for more walking tracks in Maleny? Discover the Obi Obi Boardwalk which can be found at Coral Street. The 900m Maleny walk will take you along the Obi Obi Creek which flows over to Gardners Falls and Kondalilla Falls.
Because the track is short, it finishes the Maleny Showgrounds. We thought it continued around the town but it doesn’t. You can loop back up into town from the main road if you like. The walk took us about 30 minutes to loop around but it is beautiful and worth the stroll if you’re staying in Maleny.
10. Brouhaha Brewery
With so many awesome Sunshine Coast breweries to discover, make sure you pop over the famous Brouhaha Brewery in Maleny for a craft beer and a pub menu with fresh local produce. When we visited the incredible Mill Street Kitchen in Nambour, the owner and chef used to work at Brouhaha Brewery, so if his cooking skills are anything to entice you, I don’t know what would!
While there are a few antique shops in Sunshine Coast Hinterland to discover, if theres’ one thing you need to put on your list for things to do in Maleny, make sure you visit the Antiques & Vintage Treasures in the heart of Maleny. Located in an old shed, you could easily pick up some hidden gems at this fantastic shop.
12. Check Out The Spectacular Views & Lookouts In Maleny
When visiting Maleny, you have to check out the stunning views of the Hinterland and Glass House Mountains! One of our favourite Maleny lookouts is McCarthy’s Lookout on Mountain View Road. You’ll find expansive views of the Glass House Mountains here.
There’s something so magical about the mountains, make sure you drive all the way along the road and you’ll come to the famous One Tree Hill. You can’t take photos next to the famous tree as it’s private property, but the views are still as impressive in Maleny QLD.
We also love the road between Montville and Maleny as the countryside views are so beautiful here. Another fantastic Hinterland drive is out to Witta which is 10 minutes from Maleny. The views are absolutely stunning!
13. Where To Get High Tea In Maleny
Looking for the best high tea in Maleny? We have a couple of options for you! We have only been to Flaxton Gardens just outside of Maleny so far, but we’ll let you know what else is available too.
When we visited Flaxton Gardens, they were offering a different type of High Tea. We went for the Christmas In July high tea as we thought it would be a bit of a novelty. We were served turkey and cranberry burgers, and a lot of savoury and sweet treats. While I kinda wished I had a traditional Devonshire tea instead, the gardens and view is stunning here. It’s not terribly expensive either.
Other options I will consider next time include Afternoon Tea at Pattemore House, The Orangery, Tiffany’s High Tea and of course the famous Spicers Tamarind Retreat.
14. Spend The Day At Spa Anise Day Spa In Maleny
If you’re looking for romantic getaways from Brisbane, spend the weekend at the beautiful Spicers Tamarind Retreat. If you’re not staying at Spicers in Maleny, you can still book in for the Anise Day Spa and enjoy the lush green rainforest as a backdrop to a relaxing day you could spend together.
With a mineralised spa, hydrotherapy treatments, a steam room and a tailored spa menu to choose from, your weekend will feel totally complete after a visit to this gorgeous luxury day out.
15. Maleny Mountain Wines
Maleny Mountain Wines is an award-winning winery and vineyard located in Maleny! Situated in a big barrel, it’s hard to miss on the outskirts of town! Pick up local wines and learn all about their extensive range of wines on offer. There’s also a selection of local artworks and products you can purchase as well.
16. David Linton Furniture & Timber Works
When strolling around Maleny town, make sure you pop into the David Linton Furniture & Timber Works shop. It’s an incredible selling custom made pieces of timber, that it doesn’t matter if you’re looking for something, it’s a stunning shop to check out anyway.
17. Maple Street Co-op
We love the Maple Street Co-Op in Maleny. The health shop is somewhere we always pop into when visiting Maleny. They serve loads of local produce and they’ve even started selling the Feel Good Bananas made in Mission Beach. If you’ve not heard of them, it’s the most delicious chocolate-coated frozen bananas! Stock up on Maleny chocolate here too!
18. Ice Cream At Maleny Food Co
Looking for more things to do in Maleny? Make sure you head over to the popular Maleny Food Co for their award-winning ice cream. It gets really popular here, but it’s for good reason!
19. Where To Eat In Maleny
Although we’ve mentioned where to get your local dairy produce in Maleny, high tea and of course the famous Maleny Lane, there are a couple of cafes worth mentioning to eat at.
Looking for more things to do in Maleny or nearby? There are so many hidden gems you need to know about, so we’re going to highlight a few of them for you!
Although Chenrezig looks like it’s right next to Maleny, you have to drive the whole way around and through the gorgeous little town of Eudlo to get there. It takes around 40 minutes on a few unsealed roads to get there but it’s totally worth it.
Chenrezig is a beautiful Buddhist centre in the heart of the Hinterland. There’s something so special about this place, we make sure we visit every time we’re in the area. When you drive down the path to Chenrezig, it makes us feel like we’re back in India with the prayer flags hanging between the trees. Come here to walk around the grounds, visit the stunning gompa and the magical gardens.
If visiting on the weekends, pop by the cafe too. They hold talks throughout the week and retreats (subject to Covid).
21. Crystal Waters Markets
Held on the first Saturday of every month is the Crystal Waters Markets. We saw a flyer for it when we were in Maleny and just made a beeline to it, not realising what it was about. To be honest, we didn’t even realise the market was on once a month, and even though it had just finished before we got there, we just loved this place.
When you drive to Crystal Waters, you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, until you turn off down a small road and come to what feels like a little village. The communal vibe at this eco village is really cool here, with events and activities going on daily. When we visited, we picked up a coffee from the shop and chatted to the locals setting up for a pizza and movie night. It’s somewhere we’ll be back to visit next time!
22. Witta Markets
When we recently visited Maleny, everyone was telling us about the Witta Markets which is held on the third Saturday of every month. We didn’t really know what to expect but we just adored Witta.
Located 10 minutes from Maleny, the landscape is stunning on the drive to there. With the markets located at what feels like at the end of the town, we loved chatting to the locals selling fresh produce. It felt cooler here than in Maleny and although there’s just a general store & cafe in town, there’s something really beautiful about this part of the hinterland.
From Witta, head another 30 minutes north and it will bring you to the gorgeous town of Kenilworth. We actually came here to find out what the fuss is about with the famous 1kg doughnuts at the Kenilworth Country Bakery but there’s much more to this town than you think! The doughnuts are really good by the way, even our pup loved the dog doughnuts too.
Go to Kenilworth Dairies and make sure you pick up the famous Kenilworth chocolate mousse. It’s famous for a reason and hands down the best chocolate mousse we’ve ever had. The yoghurts are also exceptional! Check out the beautiful Fig Tree Walk and swim at Yabba Creek or Booloumba Falls in the gorgeous Conondale National Park. Make sure you check out our guide for the Best Things To Do In Kenilworth below!
Montville is one of the biggest attractions in the hinterland! When we first saw it, we were so surprised because there is a lot going on in this tourist town. There’s a tudor-style pub, Engish looking cottages, a German clock shop, gift shops and much more. Take it with a pinch of salt as it is very touristy and busy here.
25. Lake Baroon
We absolutely love Lake Baroon pocket dam. It’s so beautiful perched in the middle of the hinterland. Drive down here and check out Secrets On The Lake restaurant. With epic views of the lake, this restaurant and accommodation is impressive just to come and look at. Made by a local wood maker, the wood alone which makes this building is absolutely impressive. It’s definitely on our list to stay at next time!
26. Kondalilla Falls
As we mentioned before, check out the beautiful Kondailla Falls in Kondalilla National Park near Montville if you’re looking for hiking trails in Maleny. It took me about 20 minutes to walk down to the rock pools in Obi Creek which is a gorgeous swimming spot at the top of the falls. It’s safe for families as the swimming hole is blocked off from the edge.
You can do the Kondalilla Falls Circuit which takes you right down to the bottom of the falls and back up again. It took me about 2 hours in total to do the whole walk with swimming time as well. The walk down to the bottom and back up isn’t hard, but worth it to go for a swim at the end. When I did it, I didn’t see another person in sight!
27. Australia Zoo
You can’t miss Australia Zoo which is conveniently located just a 20-minute drive from Maleny. If you’re stuck on time like we were, you can check out our article about what to see at Australia Zoo within 2 hours.