Maleny is a charming major township on the southern edge of the Blackall Range, affording views over the coast and the Glass House Mountains. The town is populated with many galleries, arts studios and speciality shops.
Location: 90 km north of Brisbane; 436 m above sea-level.
Maleny is situated approximately 450 metres above sea level, among the characteristic rolling green hills of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Prior to European settlement, the area was covered in thick sub-tropical rainforest with huge hardwood trees. Loggers in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries opened up the area seeking valuable timber, which was prized locally and in Europe. Heavy logging led to the almost complete denuding of the rainforest clad hills in the district around Maleny. Only a few pockets of forest remain in steeper terrain and in one large remnant patch (around 40 Hectares or 100 Acres) which now forms Mary Cairncross Reserve.
Maleny has replaced its timber-cutting and dairying past with tourism with a large influx of people who wanted an alternative lifestyle. As well as being on the Hinterland tourist drive, Maleny attracts day trippers from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast who are attracted to the various stores, art galleries and specialty shops.
Maleny is home to a large number of cooperative enterprises. There are art galleries, health food and organic produce stores, cafes, the Maleny Credit Union, thriving business centre, rural settlements, alternative schools, alternative medical treatment, organic farming, intentional communities including the Crystal Waters Permaculture Village in nearby Conondale and the Fountainhead organic retreat and education centre (whose founder received a certificate from Senator Mark Furner for his work in helping those with depression and anxiety).
Natural features: Blackall Range; Glasshouse Mountains; Mary Cairncross Reserve (a 52 hectare remnant of the natural rainforest which once covered Blackall Range); Howells Knob Lookout.
Built features: Maleny Handicrafts Market; Lake Baroon/Baroon Pocket Dam (1989); Maleny Light Horse Museum
A pleasant walk of about 900m one way on a mix of timber boardwalk and concrete and gravel paths. The boardwalk runs between the Mary River and some shops including a cafe and an Italian restaurant. It is wheelchair friendly and mostly flat. You will see plenty of birds including nesting willie wagtails and possibly spangled drongos, azure kingfishers and restless flycatchers. It is a well-known place to spot platypus. The walk is mostly well shaded and cool, even on a warm day. The best part of the walk starts on the main bridge into town, next to the Woolworths supermarket. The track is concreted for the first km as it wanders past thousands of thriving native trees planted by local volunteers. The platypus viewing platform is about 200m after the concrete ends but the gravel and grass track continues for at least an hour's walking though what will become a rainforest beside the creek in a century or two, skirting a picturesque fledgling golf club. Location: Coral Street, opposite Bicentenary Lane, Maleny.
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
There are some excellent vantage points to take in the amazing mountain scenery around Maleny, however Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve at 148 Mountain View Rd, Maleny has the added bonus of a rainforest walk and discovery scentre. A large viewing platform overlooks the classic vista of the Glasshouse Mountains. The Reserve comprises 55 hectares of subtropical rainforest overlooking the Glass House Mountains National Landscape. A remnant of the rainforests that once covered the Blackall Range, the Reserve is a living museum of diverse plant and animal life which will delight with its tranquillity and beauty.
You can take a relaxing walk along its rainforest tracks from 7am to 6pm (Gold Coin donation appreciated). Entry to the new after hours rainforest track is located on the right at the bike racks in front of the Rainforest Discovery Centre.
Situated along the Maleny-Montville road this lookout gives different but equally interesting views of the Sunshine Coast. You can see all the way from north Brisbane past Bribie Island depending on the time of day and amount of mist, past Caloundra, Mooloolooba, the airport where even a good camera will detect planes taking off or landing against the backdrop of the ocean, Mt Coolum, then north up to Noosa and Mt Cooroy with nearer sites such as the Nambour, Dulong and Mooloolah valleys. Always a different view depending on the light.
Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World
Maleny Botanic Gardens currently cover 14 acres and are always expanding. Situated on 110 acres, they are surrounded by magnificent rainforest with spectacular views of the Glasshouse Mountains. The gardens have various tracks to explore lookouts of the surrounding mountains and various little spots with waterfalls and gardens surrounding ponds. You can hire a buggy to explore the gardens or venture out on foot. There are lots of picnic areas and rotundas around for picnics (bring your own as the small kiosk does not have a big range). Everywhere you stop there is a beautiful view. The three large aviary's house hundreds of exotic birds , macaws and cockatoos, pheasants,finches etc etc too many to mention. The larger birds are very friendly and will land on your shoulders or head, making for some great photo opportunities. Open from 9am 4.30pm every Weekend, Queensland School holidays and Queensland Public holidays. Location: 233 Maleny-Stanley River Road, Corner Mountain View Road, Maleny. Ph +61 400 091 731
Maleny Dairies is a family owned business situated in the hinterland town of Maleny on Australia s Sunshine Coast. Visitors to Maleny are invited to have a taste of life on a dairy farm. There is a Dairy Farm Tour, cow milking demonstrations, tractor rides, a petty area when children can meet and hand feed some farmyard animals, and of course a cafe where you can taste the produce. Location: 70 McCarthy Rd, Maleny. Ph (07) 5494 2392.
The Maleny Light Horse Museum was built to house and display items of uniform, weapons, equipment, photographs, military records and memorabilia of the Australian Light Horse and associated mounted units. Military records and some other Light Horse records are available for reading by the public as well as some books from the extensive library. Location: Bunya Street, Maleny/. Open 8.30 - 11.00am Sundays or by appointment. Ph (07) 5494 3089.
The museum is run by volunteers from the 5th Light Horse Regiment Maleny Troop, a group of volunteers from all walks of life who have joined to form the Troop. They Troop member see themselves as a Living museum and a a re-enactment Troop demonstrating Australian Light Horse skills and dress. they are members of the Australian Light Horse Association. The Troop parade and march at public events, and also train and prepare for sporting challenges.
The charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade etched itself in history when, at dusk on 31 October 1917, the brigade fought and broke through Turkish lines to secure the town of Beersheba. It is known as one of the last great cavalry charges. The Beersheba Living Museum keeps alive the memory and sacrifice of the Light Horsemen that went to war, and serves to educate visitors, in particular school children, and preserve history. The 5th Light Horse Regiment Maleny Troop train and go through their exercises here. Location: Parklands Drive (off Porters Lane), North Maleny.
Obi Obi Gorge
Kondalilla National Park on the Western slopes of the Blackall Ranges offers a lovely day of walking on the track through Obi Obi National Park, with great views of the Narrows and Obi Obi Gorge. The Obi Obi Creek flows from headwaters south west of Maleny through the township and into Lake Baroon. Deep in the valley behind the dam wall, it continues its journey over waterfalls and rapids into the Mary River near Kenilworth. The gorge is about 250m long.
Gardner Falls is a very beautiful place for a picnic and in the hot summer for a refreshing dip in the water. Here the clear creek runs through the bush and cascades down some small waterfalls in beautiful surrounds. The falls are close to town and it is only a short walk from the car park to reach them. Despite the creek looking dry, the pool is always deep and has a waterfall constantly trickling into it. Lining the banks is usually families and groups that are all there to enjoy the water and have a bit of fun. Teenagers swing from the two rope swings, whilst younger children jump off the rocks that are closer to the water. The falls has picnic facilities. Location: Gardners Falls, 50 Obi Lane, Maleny.
Baroon Pocket Dam
Baroon Pocket Dam, constructed in 1989, is fed by the Obi Obi Creek, a significant tributary of the upper Mary River, which drains the basalt capped Maleny plateau. Water runoff statistics have been kept in this area since the 1940s showing that the average annual rainfall is 2,037 millimetres and the runoff into Baroon Pocket Dam receives annually about 64,000ML. Since its construction the dam has become an important recreation area for the Sunshine Coast hinterland. The Baroon Pocket Dam holds about 61,000 megalitres of water and the treatment plant supplies about 150 megalitres of treated water to the Sunshine Coast daily.
There is a sailing club, naval cadet unit, boat ramp, fishing club, accommodation, and picnic facilities. Camping is not permitted near the lake. There are picnic areas by the lakeside while viewing platforms and a rainforest walking track through Obi Obi Gorge, are located near the spillway. Fossil fuel motors are not allowed on the lake. A council permit, obtainable on site, is required to use an electric outboard motor for the use on dinghies, but not on canoes. Location: 7 kilometres north of Maleny.
Lake Baroon is stocked with bass, Mary River cod, golden perch and silver perch, while eel-tailed catfish and spangled perch are naturally present. A council permit is required to fish in the dam.
Maleny: Brief History
The area around Maleny was originally populated by the Nalbo and the Dallambara - two aboriginal tribes of the Gubbi Gubbi language group. The area was known for its bunya feasts which happened every third year when the giant bunya tree was in fruit.
The first European to document Maleny was the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt who describes the area in his travel diary in 1844. The first European settlement followed in the wake of the Gympie gold rush of 1867. A track linking Maleny to Landsborough was cut in 1880.
An official proclamation of Maleny as a town occurred in 1891. The Maleny Butter Factory began operation in 1904. Maleny was a timber town until the early 1920s and then was a centre of dairy production and fruit growing. Although a campaign to have a police station in the town was started in the 1920s it wasn't until 1952 that permission to convert a house into the current police station and residence was granted. Maleny Post Office opened by February 1906 (a receiving office had been open from 1889).
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
View from McCarthy's Lookout, 563 Mountain View Road, Maleny