I consider myself to be very lucky to be living near one of the prettiest drives in Queensland, and possibly in the whole of Australia. Just up the highway from where I live in Brisbane is a mountain range called The Blackall Range.
This range overshadows the area known as the Sunshine Coast hinterland which is situated about 20kms inland from the beautiful pristine beaches that make up the Sunshine Coast including Kings Beach in the far south of the Sunshine Coast, heading north through Alexandra Headland, Maroochydore; Sunshine, Perigian, Coolum and finally Noosa Beach in the north of the Sunshine Coast.
Whilst a beach holiday is always enjoyable, a day trip to the hinterland reveals a wonderful mix of beautiful scenery, fantastic restaurants and cafes and more than enough boutiques, galleries and specialty shops right across the 15 or so kilometres of the scenic tourist drive to sate even the most inexhaustible shopper.
The popular tourist drive starts at Landsborough at the base of the range and winds its way up through the little villages of Maleny, Montville, Flaxton & Mapleton and then back down the range to the larger central township of Nambour.
There are some fabulous bush walks open to all fitness levels right along the range including Kondalilla Falls in the Kondalilla National Park and Mapleton Falls in the Mapleton Falls National Park.
The Range is home to the Baroon Pocket Dam which is a reservoir for the large part of the Sunshine Coast and boasts a very pretty picnic area.
When the area was first opened up in 1880 the almost the entire range was covered in wonderful dense rainforest and logging was very popular and saw many ancient old growth trees cut for their magnificent timber. Logging finally ended in 1939 after the area was declared an important area of environmental diversity and was given protection as such. The Bunya Pine is found sparingly throughout the Range; here and at the Bunya Mountains further west are the only locations where the bunya pine grown naturally in the whole of Australia.
The soil on the range is volcanic and so the area is renowned for its prolific vegetable and fruit production. Together with the high rainfall of the area, the hills and valleys are always green, green, green. The range affords the visitor the most magnificent vistas right across the deep lush valleys to the coastal townships to the east. On a clear day you really can see forever.
The Blackall Range is so well situated that a visit to the iconic Sunshine Coast must include a day trip to the Blackall Range and all that it has to offer.