Having lunch in one of our favourite small outdoor cafes in Maleny is my idea of heaven on a a weekend. My salmon skin was crisp and about to be washed down with a pear and rocket salad when we looked down. We had un-invited friends about to join us. Totally brazen, three Eastern water dragons cruised between the legs of our chairs, one bobbing his head expressing his dominance. Having lunch with the critters is just one of the delightful things to do in Maleny.
Maple 3 Cafe
Maple 3 Café is known for its water dragons. King George unfortunately died in recent times but his family live on in the environs of the café, entertaining patrons with their close quarter activities.
Maleny is a small historic town in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
It is 90km north of Brisbane and on the Blackhall Range, 450m above sea level.
Whilst it is a top tourist hinterland destination in Southeast Queensland, it is predominantly a town run for and by the locals.
They have reputation of being hippies or greenies and there are numerous eco-businesses and cooperatives, as well as local artists, crafts and musicians.
Most visitors to Maleny would not think of it as a place to see wildlife. Neither did we and we live here! But, we discovered differently whilst spending a romantic weekend.
Spicers Tamarind was our destination for our romantic weekend getaway.
A quiet resort set in a hillside just outside Maleny near Gardner’s Falls, its unusual garden sculptures greeted us and set a wildlife trend for the weekend.
There were numerous water dragons adorning and sharing the property, one right next to our Pavilion.
Gardeners Falls is popular with local families as a cool watering hole on a hot summer’s day. Even local brush turkeys patrol the falls joining in on the fun.
The town has a rather curious sprinkling of small wooden animal sculptures set up as a discovery trail for visitors.
We had lots of fun walking around the main and back streets trying to see how many we could find.
Rainforest wildlife at Mary Cairncross
Prepared for the worse on a wet and windy hot summer weekend in January, one of our daily expeditions took us to the beautiful rainforest of Mary Cairncross Park.
During a sleepy time of the day, we expected virtually no wild or bird life.
So we were pleasantly surprised when we came across numerous rainforest or pademelon wallabies feeding on nuts and fruits.
A large family of red or brown flying foxes (fruit bats) had made their temporary home high up in the piccabeen palms near the Piccabeen Palm Grove near Walkers Creek.
Glass House Mountains view
We stopped off for a bite to eat at the park’s café to enjoy one of the best views of the Glass House Mountains.
At the café entrance, we spotted a flat backed dragon. In fact, not just one but two.
The knowledgeable volunteer ladies back at the park’s reception eagerly told us they were residents and were often seen there. Wow!
The next day we set off to the Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World. We had never visited the gardens before and were pleasantly surprised at how beautiful they were.
The landscaping was some of the best we have ever seen and the view to the Glass House Mountains is breathtaking. And we even saw a harmless green tree snake as we walked around. What a bonus!
An old goat in the little hobby farm next to the aviary was quite a character.
The goat stood on a bench peering into the aviary as if to say. If a goat could talk I’d guess it would say “Hey there, someone let me in, ok?”
When we started to queue to go in, they goat was at the front of the line, head butting the keeper to let him in.
In the aviary, we were told to watch out for was the birds.
The instruction that sticks in my mind is “Don’t forget before you step, look in front and behind you so you don’t stand on any birds.”
The birds were everywhere!
If you don’t like birds then this is not the place for you. Some of the birds will treat you like an old long lost buddy returning from the war. They will stick to you like concrete.
Watch out for your earrings, jewellery or handbag. They love them all.
One pair of rosellas took a personal liking to my black and lime-green iPhone case, which now has holes pecked out around the edges.
Later that day we discovered the Obi Obi Creek Boardwalk, near the library.
Alongside Woolworths end of the creek, the boardwalk has been extended and is now a long walking path along the creek.
Along the path are large eye-catching sandstone sculptures made by local artists.
Following the path around as far as it would go, in the deep grass right next to the path, we found a Mary River turtle.
The turtle seemed to take it all in its stride whilst being handled for photos. It was rather obliging actually.
After the turtle photo shoot, we placed it gently back closer to the water’s edge. As we crossed a tiny sandy bottomed inlet, we saw two more turtles in the water. Amazing!
Last but not least, let’s not forget the elusive Obi Obi Creek platypus. They are shy, mainly nocturnal animals.
According to the locals there are spots around the Creek where they have been spotted. But they eluded us no matter how hard we looked.
It gives us good reason to go back there. We’ll be back as we now have a mission to see an Obi Obi Creek platypus.
Irene Isaacson wandered the wilds of Maleny at her own expense.
Looking for more things to do near Maleny? How about following the Sunshine Coast hinterland art trail? For more things to do on the Sunshine Coast have you considered surfing or sun baking on one of these beautiful beaches?
Have you ever visited the Sunshine Coast hinterland? This is why you should put it on your list!