sunshine coast hinterland cred@emmgoeshiking

Discover these secret Sunshine Coast Hinterland spots for a new adventure

Think you know the Sunshine Coast? Think again.

While the coastline hogs most of the attention, there’s more than meets the beach here. There’s plenty of lesser-known gems to sniff out beyond the the famous 3Ms – MalenyMontville and Mapleton. Especially if rock climbing ancient peaks and devouring latte-filled doughnuts get your motor running.

Discover these secret Sunshine Coast Hinterland spots next time you’re looking for a new adventure.


Kenilworth Bakery | Secret Sunshine Coast hinterland spots

Photo by @kenilworthbakery

Love doughnuts? Make your way to Kenilworth. This historic town built beside the meandering Mary River may have an interesting heritage as a 1920s rural hub, but it’s famous among sweet-tooths for one reason alone: Kenilworth Bakery.

From 1kg cream doughnuts to those filled with lattes; Golden Gaytime doughnuts and apple crumble doughnuts. Come hungry.

If you’ve never met a cheese you didn’t like, make tracks for Kenilworth Dairies to sample their Red Malling Vintage and range of yoghurts.

Want to stay the night? Pull into Bluff Creek Campgrounds for mountain biking, kayaking and glamping.

Yabbaloumba Retreat | Secret Sunshine Coast Hinterland spots

Yabbaloumba Retreat | Photo by @melissafindley via @visitsunshinecoast

A 12-minute drive from town will put you at the gates of Yabbaloumba Retreat, where Pitch Luxury Camping can also set you up for the night. At the heritage-listed Kenilworth Homestead you can even rent one of two vintage caravans, Uncle Arthur or Miss Georgia (available weekends and Queensland school holidays only).

Up for more exploring? From Kenilworth, continue on the scenic Maleny to Gympie drive north to Imbil and Amamoor State Forest.

Amamoor State Forest

Amamoor State Forest | secret Sunshine Coast Hinterland spots

Photo by @courtzadventures

While Kondalilla National Park gets the crowds, Amamoor State Forest is a serene escape perfect for a weekend break. And being a State Forest rather than a National Park, man’s best friend is welcome to join you (in Amamoor Creek camping area).

It’s overrun with boot-scooters come Gympie Muster time but during the rest of the year, follow a series of walks from the day use area for platypus spotting, more than 120 bird species, beautiful hoop pines and huge red cedar and fig trees.

How to get there: Divert off the Bruce Highway about 20km south of Gympie to make your way to Amamoor township. You’ll reach the entrance to the forest 10km out of town along Amamoor Creek Road.

Kandanga Kitchen

Kandanga Kitchen | Secret Sunshine Coast Hinterland spots

Photo by @kandangakitchen

Tummy rumbling from all that walking? Point your GPS towards Kandanga for a wholesome, farm-to-table meal at Kandanga Kitchen.

Here they use only chemical free, seasonal and fresh ingredients, sourced within a 10km radius. And it’s complemented by locally-roasted Sunday’s Coffee Co. beans. But what you pop in your mouth is only surpassed by the pretty views over the Mary River from this farm shed cafe.

Their strong community spirit is palpable, with skill sharing workshops and cooking classes held here too.


Cooroy might be on the train line, but if you haven’t visited in a while you might be pleasantly surprised its charming vibes.

Start with a wander through the Butter Factory Arts Centre to take in the current exhibitions and browse the artisan store. Pop by Circa for a pastry worthy of any Parisian boulangerie, and settle in for lunch with on-site brewed craft beer at Copperhead Restaurant & Brewery.

Prefer to explore the Sunshine Coast Hinterland by its beer trail? Start here.

Crystal Waters

You might be only starting to delve into sustainability, fermentation and organic produce, but Australia’s longest-running permaculture community has been all over it for 30 years!

A sneaky spot for a secret camping adventure, the best time to visit Crystal Waters Eco Village is when the monthly markets are on. Pick up a loaf of Les’s sourdough and watch the bellydancers and marimba players.

Boloumba Creek Falls

Up for an off-the-beaten track adventure in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland? Head for Booloumba Creek Falls within Conondale National Park and see if you can find the caves amongst the massive boulders.

You’ll need a 4WD to access the day-use and camping areas, but do as the locals do and hike your way in. The sweet, fresh water is your just reward.

Love chasing waterfalls? Here’s another five Sunshine Coast knock-outs to add to your adventure list.

Mothar Mountain Rock Pools

Never heard of Woondum National Park? You’ve been missing out on the Mothar Mountain Rockpools – found after just a 20-minute drive from Gympie.

Plonk yourself amongst the granite boulders where Boulder Creek and Woondum Creek meet. Look up into the towering eucalyptus trees overhead, and you’ve found your patch of paradise.

Baxter Falls

Baxter Falls | secret Sunshine Coast Hinterland spots

Photo by @dave.50013

Walk across a suspension bridge to find one of the best secret Sunshine Coast Hinterland spots.

You’ll find this bridge on the track to Baxter Creek – part of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. The 6.2km trail, starting from Flaxton Mill Road car park, leads you downhill to Baxter Creek and its waterfall. You’ll have the steep uphill for your return, but it’s worth it.

Chenrezig Institute

You’ll feel your shoulders relax just walking along the pathway into the Chenrezig Institute in Eudlo.

Whatever your beliefs, everyone is welcome to pop in for a chai and cake and perhaps join a guided meditation. But it’s just as nice sitting under the colourful prayer flags and soaking in the serenity.

Mount Tibrogargan’s cave

You’ve got to be pretty adventurous to summit Mt Tibrogargan – the big daddy of the Glass House Mountains. But you’ve got to be seriously hardcore to climb your way into this cave and camp out for the night.

Only attempt this if you’re an experienced climber with all the right gear. Otherwise, leave it to the experts and join a guided climb.

If you like your adventure a little softer, the walk around the base of this craggy peak still delivers an impressive perspective.

Ewen Maddock Dam

You don’t have to divert far from the Caloundra turn-off to find this slice of secret Sunshine Coast Hinterland goodness.

Ewen Maddock Dam is part of the South East Queensland water grid, running for 660m across Addington Creek. Take a stroll along the beautiful boardwalk and walking trails, tackle the mountain bike trails, pack a picnic, throw in a line or BYO kayak for a paddle amongst the reeds and water lillies. Keen for a dip? There’s a swimming spot here too.