The breathtaking jewels in the crown of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, the Glass House Mountains poke above fertile farmlands and quaint village townships. There are 11 mountains in all, named by Captain Cook as they reminded him of glass factory smoke stacks from his home in Yorkshire, but are actually stunning vertical remnants of volcanic activity that occurred around 25 million years ago. Today they are a playground for the adventurous, a gourmet destination, and a glorious way to get back in touch with nature. They are also home to our latest million-dollar prize estate, and soon to be home to one lucky winner this Christmas.
Travel back in time
Let’s face it, everyone loves the quaint atmosphere of an historic mountain village, it’s like a treasure you stumble across after a drive through the wilderness. Immerse yourself in the old world glamour as you stroll the tea houses, antique shops, booksellers and other curios. Pull up a stool at the local pub and watch the passers-by, or fuel up with a generous cooked breaky for further adventure ahead!
Maleny and Montville are equally charming examples to explore within a short drive of each other. Each dating back to the 1800s, the tree-lined streets of these thriving mini-metropolises will welcome you to another era. People are friendlier here, the scenery is prettier, and the escape from the pressures of the city will have you relishing the surrounds. You’ll sip your piping hot coffee with fresh milk sourced just over the hill, or purchase cushions made by local seamstresses, gallery items from local artists, slurp a smoothie loaded with the best bananas you’ve ever tasted, or fill the boot with avocados and berries to take some of that country goodness home with you.
The “rushing water” of spectacular Kondalilla Falls
After breakfast, take a short drive to Mary Caincross Scenic Reserve for beautiful views over the Glass House Mountains, and cool hikes through ancient rainforest. Or visit Maleny Botanic gardens where you can choose to wander their 6km of walking trails amongst beautiful gardens or hire a golf buggy for less strenuous enjoyment. With over 700 exotic birds at their onsite aviary, you can easily spend several hours here enjoying nature’s splendour. If the day is warm, Gardner falls are a quick detour for a dip in the cool mountain stream water and easily accessible with just a 300m walk from the Obi Spice Lane car park, 5 minutes out of town.
Less than half an hour away is the ever-popular and more spectacular Kondalilla falls. Work up a sweat and get the best views with a relatively easy and short walk (just over 1km) to the top of the falls before taking the 100 odd stairs for a swim in the glorious rock pool at the bottom.
The view from the top is always better
The piece-de-resistance! Reaching the summit of any one of the Glass House Mountains is a true high-five moment. With so many to choose from, there are plenty of mountains you can conquer.
If go hard or go home is your mantra, Mt Tibrogargan is one of the steepest and more difficult mountains to climb. Join the super-fit and be at the top for sunrise – a sensational way to start the day! You’ll need a reliable alarm clock to get you up in time and torches as you begin the climb in darkness, but it’s well worth the effort. The fittest of the fit reckon they can summit in just under 30 minutes, but, especially if it’s your first time, you’ll probably want to allow a tad more.
It’s also doable for the less super-human among us, just allow plenty of time, climb with a buddy and make sure you have good walking shoes and water, and you’ll also want a hat and sunscreen for the descent. But if you are a teensy bit prone to vertigo, you may want to stick to ground level and walk the base circuit. At 4km it’s still a decent 1.5 hour walk and a great way to experience the energy and beauty of the area.
Nestled in the valley below the majestic Mt Tibrogargan is our latest prize home, sprawling over 2,500m2, you’ll be spoilt by the views and the magnificent lifestyle that awaits.
For the more experienced climbers, Mt Beerwah is a challenging, steep scramble up the organ pipes, an inward leaning cliff on the north face, and on to the summit. As the mother of them all, the ascent to the highest summit is 556 metres up and climbers can get strong cross winds so it’s no walk in the park, and you’ll want to be sure to do it with plenty of daylight to get safely back down.
Possibly the most popular of all, is Mt Ngungun (known as gun-gun, but actually pronounced noo-noo). Easily accessible and offering ultimate Instagram-worthy photo opportunities at the top, the 2.4km walk has an elevation of just 163m. Walkers of all fitness levels can reach the top via a well maintained walking track on a steady incline to snap that photo of Mount Coonowrin and Mount Beerwah in perfect alignment.
Let’s face it, us humans do like to conquer a mountain and there are plenty of options here, but if hiking’s just not your thing and the only climbing you like to do is onto the seat of your trail bike, The Glass House Mountains have got you covered. Known by many as trail bike mecca, just unleash the throttle and an extreme adventure of a different kind awaits!
All this activity is making me thirsty
Once you have worked up an appetite, it’s time to get your gourmet on! Known for its fertile farmland, the Glass House Mountain’s surrounding valleys produce some of Queensland’s best produce. Maleny Food Co is the total foodie experience, complete with a fromagerie selling over 250 kinds of cheese, sorbet and coffee to sample onsite or stock up on for snacks later. A scheduled stop off at Brouhaha, Maleny’s own craft brewery is also a must-do. With a full range of merch, there’s a souvenir for everyone, and they have a great restaurant too if you are tempted to linger and sample a beverage or two…
Closer to Montville is Flame Hill Vineyard who do wine tastings at their cellar door and then paddock-to-plate dining in their restaurant with views over the hinterland in all it’s green splendour. And if you really want to splurge, the Spicers retreats have not one, but two properties in the area with hatted restaurants, check out the Long Apron and The Tamarind, but be warned, you might want to book a room because you may never want to leave. On the other hand, you could just buy a ticket in our prize home draw, and you never will have to leave.
Crikey! You little beauty!
If you’ve got the kids in tow, you may be looking for some more family-friendly good times. And crikey have the Irwin family got just the ticket with Australia Zoo and the world-famous Crocoseum! The kids will have a ball and learn heaps too, and you’ll rack up some parent brownie points so you might just get to have lunch at Brouhaha up the hill later…
It’s a big day out and if you’ve got limited time but still want to get a pic of the kids cuddling something furry, call into Q Camel, a camel milk factory where they let you hug the camels at the end of the tour (if you really want to). And if it just happens to be Sunday, then you are all in for a treat with the Maleny Markets. Delicious food stalls, massages, jewellery, massages, arts and crafts, and massages will keep everybody entertained.
So close to the coast
In under 30 minutes, you can reach beautiful Caloundra or Mooloolaba where crystal clear water and white sandy beaches await. Climb Tibrogargan for sunrise, where you will have 360 degree views up and down the coast, then just a short trip up the Bruce highway, you will feel like you’ve teleported to a paradise of another kind as you settle in for the afternoon beside that soothing ocean melody.
So much natural beauty abounds you’d be hard pressed to find a better day out, a better holiday spot, or a better place to relocate the family. For the price of a ticket, you could win our sensational million-dollar Christmas Prize Home in the Glass House Mountains and move here to enjoy all that this glorious part of the world has to offer permanently.