This is a journey of icons, legends, lakes, gardens, national parks and beaches. Start in the beautiful Glass House Mountains before you wind your way down to Australia Zoo. You'll then continue on to Ewen Maddock Dam, Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens, Mooloolah River National Park, Mooloolaba Beach and on to Lake Cootharaba.
One of Queensland's natural golden girls, the Glass House Mountains are distinctive volcanic plugs, rise abruptly out of a patchwork of farms and forests. There are both sealed and unsealed roads through the national park, with spectacular lookouts over the surrounding plains and eight walking tracks catering to all levels of experience. Fit walkers with rock-climbing skills can reach the summits of Mounts Tibrogargan, Ngungun or Beerwah. Suitably equipped experienced rock climbers can climb and abseil Mount Ngungun.
Drive to 41 Mountain View Road, Maleny where you'll discover Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve. This 55 hectare National Estate-listed subtropical rainforest overlooks the Glass House Mountains and offers some of the best views of the mountains that are steeped in Indigenous myth and legend. The reserve is a living museum of diverse plant and animal life, which promises to delight with its tranquillity and beauty. Continue along Mary Cairncross Road to Maleny Botanical Gardens, arguably one of the best views of the mysterious Glass House Mountains, steeped in a rich indigenous history. Meander through some of the most exquisite gardens in Queensland enjoy a picnic or simply relax with a Devonshire tea at the café.
While perusing the soul of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in the delightful town of Montville, stop in at The Edge for a panoramic view over the area all the way to Sunshine Coast Beaches. Stop at Mapleton Lookout to see how early pioneers, in full Victorian dress, navigated the Obi Obi gorge.
From charming Mapleton, follow the road down the range until you reach the Bruce Highway (Pacific Coast Drive) then head south for about 15 minutes until you come to the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens. Surfers and swimmers adore this lovely beach with its stretch of white sand and specialty shops and restaurants. Enjoy some fresh seafood for which this particular part of the Sunshine Coast is renowned.