Australia has more than 20,000 km of coastline but there is just
200km of that vast coastline on escarpments that combine panoramic
views of mountains and the sea. 20kms of that special escarpment is in
the Blackall Range, in the hinterland of Queensland’s Sunshine
This is a most spectacular scenic drive and a 'must do' day-trip if you
are holidaying on the Sunshine Coast. The twisting and often
awe-inspiring road is full of surprises, not the least are the views to
the coast and the Glasshouse Mountains. No matter what your interest -
art galleries, food, wine, coffe, shopping, rainforest walks,
waterfalls, views - you'll find it all here. The Blackall Range Tourist
Drive starts from the historical township of Landsborough and ends in
the foothills near Nambour. The Blackall Range is just over an hour's
drive north of Brisbane.
The Range, as it is locally known, was created by 200 million years
of constant interaction by volcanoes and water which left behind a mass
of hills, valleys and waterfalls. In summer the rainy season fills the
rivers and creeks making strong powerful waterfalls. A trip through the
Blackall Range along the most scenic drive on the Sunshine Coast is a
great day out. As the Blackall Range is just over an hour's drive from
Brisbane, it's just as easy a destination to reach if you are based in
Brisbane as on the Sunshne Coast.
Length: 110 km (from Caloundra)
Features/attractions: The villages of Maleny, Montville, Flaxton and
Mapleton; natural attractions of the Blackall Range. The best known
falls are Kondalilla and Mapleton, both of which are in their own
Minimum duration: 2 1/2 hours
BlackallRange1Travelling North up the Bruce Highway, follow 'Sunshine
Coast' signs. Take the 'Glasshouse Mountains Tourist Drive' exit
('Steve Irwin Way'). Travelling from Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast,
take the Landsborough-Maleny Road to Maleny. Mary Cairncross Reserve is
a 52 hectare remnant of the natural rainforest which once covered
Blackall Range. It has a spectacular view of the mountains, plus a
short 1.7km walk through ancient subtropical rainforest.
Follow the signs to Kenilworth via Maleny-Kenilworth Road (31km). The
town hosts the Kenilworth Scarecrow and Limerick Festival held every
year in September or October.
Take the Obi Obi Road to Mapleton (22km). Mapleton is the second
highest town on the Blackall Ranges. Throughout this beautiful
district, art and craft galleries abound, along with potteries, antique
shops and museums. The village flanks Mapleton National Park which is
renowned for its rainforest picnic glades. The waterfall viewing
platform in Mapleton Falls National Park gives an unbelievable view
into the Mary River Valley plus a straight 120m drop down to the Pencil
Creek waterfall. Mapleton Forest Reserve protects rainforest remnants
with bunya pines, piccabeen palm groves, tall open blackbutt forests
and picturesque mountain scenery. See the forest along the Mapleton
Forest Drive starting from just down Delicia Road.
Continue on Flaxton Drive to Flaxton (5km), a tiny village where you
will find lovely arts and crafts and excellent devonshire teas and
lunches. Surrounding the many avocado orchards is a town of
restaurants, guesthouses, art and craft galleries and private
dwellings. Montville (3km), known as the creative heart of the Sunshine
Coast, is home to a range of quality art galleries that exhibit, and
sometimes produce, works of great interest to all art lovers.
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Shoppers also love the many craft shops, fashion boutiques and gift
shops that exhibit a staggering range of affordable, locally made
items. It has been developed on the lines of an European mountain
village complete with Swiss and Bavarian chalets, mills and Tudor
cottages. Kondalilla National Park incorporates 327 hectares of lush
subtropical rainforest (Kondalilla Falls, 90 metres high).
From Montville you have two options;
1. continue on Flaxton Drive, turning left towards Palmwoods on the
Palmwoods-Momntville Road. follow Woombye-Palmwoods Road and Nambour
Connection Road to Nambour (19km).
2. Return to Flaxton, turn right after the township into Dulong Road to
Nambour (17km). This route takes you past Dulong Lookout, with view
over Bli Bli Valley towards Nambour.
From Nambour, return via Bruce Highway to Caloundra (30km).