I’ve always been a beach girl but there’s something about the rolling green hills of the hinterland that call to me – especially on beautifully sunny winter weekends. There’s no better way to spend a Saturday or Sunday than to pile in the car, point your GPS towards the mountains and drive and eat your way through the day. So, armed with my camera, some friends and a healthy appetite, I hit the road recently and this is what I saw.
Here’s my perfect one-day itinerary
9am: Breakfast (or brunch) at Sweetheart’s Café in Eudlo.
This cosy little café has all the comforts of a hearty home-cooked breakfast with the don’t-have-to-lift-a-finger element that weekends are made of (and a decently priced menu!).
11am: Chai tea and contemplation at Chenrezig Institute.
Even if you’re in no way religious, it’s worth a drive along the dirt road to Chenrezig (totally fine for non-4WDs). Under the prayer flags and willowy trees on this little patch of Buddhist paradise in Eudlo, you can pop in for a chai and cake, wander the gardens or take part in a guided meditation.
Tip: Keep your eye out for fruit and veggie honesty stalls on the side of the road as you drive around this area!
12pm: Pay a visit to Palmwoods
If it’s a Saturday, check out The Lane‘s markets – they do a designer market once a fortnight and a suitcase rummage on alternating weeks. Or just grab a coffee from Homegrown (the beans are ground out the back), browse the Tin Shed Shop for vintage clothes and coffee table books, and Renae’s Pantry for farm-fresh produce and organic pantry essentials.
1pm: Devour a burger at Rick’s.
Get your rockabilly on and order a Rick’s Burger (make sure you bring your appetite) and milkshake from Rick’s Diner. This cute garage-turned ’50s American-style diner and outdoor beer garden is a haven for weekend riders and drivers and often hosts hot rod displays and live bands.
Rest of the afternoon: Exploring time.
Drive up the mountain to Montville and spend a few hours exploring it’s assortment of candy shops and eclectic boutiques. Drive south toward Maleny with a detour down to Secrets on the Lake for one more coffee and slice of cake.
7pm: Dinner at Key Restaurant, Maleny.
I can’t recommend Key Restaurant highly enough. Owners Simone and Luke have created an experience for the taste buds and a super fun night out. Simone is the genius behind the incredible African food and her husband Luke is the most attentive and entertaining host. All of the staff are more than happy to spend time explaining and recommending dishes and if you’re lucky, Luke with have you in stitches with his stories. So so good!
Tip: There are also plenty of wineries, cheese shops, and hidden restaurants scattered over the mountain from Flaxton to Maleny. Plus swimming holes and waterfalls galore!