Why tussle with the havoc of trying to find a park at the beach when there’s a literal wonderland of splendour popping off just a few hours outside of the Sunshine Coast. Hiking, wine-tasting and panoramic views await you just a few hours in any direction from our region.
Load up the wagon with snacks, blast your summer playlist and punch one of these locations into the GPS. Here are just eight country towns near the Sunshine Coast that are well worth the drive.
About 220km south on the Warwick, Stanthorpe is our favourite township on the Granite Belt. The region is lush with fruit farms and vineyards, and even a couple of microbreweries, making it a foodie’s paradise. Being that Stanthorpe is the apple capital of Queensland, a trip to Sutton’s Farm is an absolute must. This family-run gem is a temple of apple-worship boasting jams, juices, ciders, vinegars, and literally everything else you could turn an apple into. Yes, that includes apple pie, and the Sutton’s apple pie is renowned so make sure you get a double serving.
Built in the foothills of the Lamington National Park, Canungra is an ideal pitstop. The township is perfectly situated for a carb-loading sesh ahead of a long bushwalk. Stop by Bean In cafe for a feed and then burn it off on a lush rainforest hike at Lamington National Park. If you’re after a slightly more bacchanalian jaunt, check out O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard. Besides a cracking selection of wines at their cellar door, the vineyards also contain the Mountview Alpaca Farm where you can feed, pat or have a picnic with a whole pack of the fleecy babies.
Mount Nebo And Samford
Moreton Bay Region
In the Moreton Bay Region, a few kilometres northwest of Brisbane, Mt Nebo and Samford are ideally situated for a day exploring the D’Aguilar Range. This national park and mountain range hosts a sprawling subtropical rainforest, furrowed with dozens of walking tracks revealing breathtaking views of the bay. One absolute must-visit for any first time visitor are the Cedar Creek Falls. Shady and cool, the creek makes for an absolutely idyllic summer spot, with plenty of rockpools and falls as you go along. If you’re looking to get back in touch with nature, a day trip to the Nebo/Samford region will give you a maximum dose of tree time with minimal driving.
Another one in the Scenic Rim, Mount Alford is ideal for anyone who likes a tipple. Just an hour south-west of Brisbane, Alford is home to the family-owned Scenic Rim Brewery. Their six varieties of suds are super smashable crowd pleasers and we highly recommend getting a souvenir case to take home. If you’re packing more of a wine palate, Alford has totally got you covered. The Kooroomba Vineyard has not only an absolutely smashing cellar door, they’ve also got a lavender farm that grows up to six types of lavender in their purple fields, and makes for an especially fragrant wander. Round out your visit with a short trip to Bunjurgen Estate’s cellar door and you’re laughing.
Visiting the Witches Chase Cheese Company is such a well-observed ritual that it’s practically illegal not to. Their cheeses, dips and pates have won dozens of industry awards and really showcase the best of the region. All that cheese naturally calls for something to wash it down, which is why we recommend stopping by the Tambourine Distillery. It’s a whole destination in itself, with a vast selection of liqueurs, vodkas and schnapps to titillate and delight. If you’re in the market for a more aquatic experience, the waterfall situation at Mount Tamborine is also a goddamn delight in spades, and perfect for some respite from summer.
Image credit: Scenic Rim Brewery