John Rozentals discovers that there's much more to the Sunshine Coast than sun, sand and surf

Josh Donahoe: relaxing at Maleny Boutique Cheeses
Josh Donahoe: relaxing at Maleny Boutique Cheeses

Some of the most interesting and charming things about Queensland's Sunshine Coast lie in its hinterland, which occupies a much larger area than imagined.

Those things, often food-or-beverage based, will keep travellers returning to the area as much as the sun, sand and surf will, and they'll soon spend as many days in the coast's hinterland as they do on the beaches of places such as Mooloolaba.

As with most things touristy, a good place to start is with a reliable guide, and you could hardly do better in this case than with Josh Donahoe, owner of Creative Tours and Events.

Flame Hill: A magical outlook.

Flame Hill: A magical outlook.

At least you'll probably end up having a fine beer or ale with a decent meal, but the Sunshine Coast has good enough craft breweries to require a separate story.

Visitors can start their tour, as I did, with a caffeine boost at Tim Adams Specialty Coffee, which isn't really hinterland but instead occupies an out-of-the-way semi-industrial location between Mooloolaba and Caloundra.

Tim shares a name with a famous winemaker from South Australia's Clare Valley, but in his own right is an Australian barista champion and a self-confessed coffee crazy.

He regularly blends his own coffees, visits plantations in remote tropical areas, and is well worth sharing a brew with.

I'll gladly leave the last words to Tim: "Visiting a place like Honduras is so humbling and makes you want to be a better person, to keep driving our business forward so we can help those producers have a better livelihood."

And so say all of us.

Then it's on our four wheels and into the real hinterland.

Look, every tourist area needs its own wine producer, no matter how unsuitable it is for making great wine, and the Sunshine Coast is no different, though Montville's Flame Hill does have a couple of things going for it.

Firstly, its location and outlook are gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Secondly, its management realises that the sub-tropical climate is far from ideal for producing first-class table wines and sources most of its product from the much more suitable Granite Belt to the south.

The total experience, tasting included, is divine.

The next port of call on Josh's itinerary - Maleny Boutique Cheeses - is completely ridgy-didge and an integral part of the area's historic dairy industry.

Let's just say that their product is unimaginably good and creamy. And that their presentation and story are both sublime, and put the district's changes into perspective.

It's a great yarn - and a great tasting.

And then it's on to lunch at Maleny's Brouhaha Brewery, but, as said earlier, that's another call and a separate story.

Good to know

  • Creative Tours and Events, Maroochydore, Queensland 4558; phone 0438 823 377; visit
  • Tim Adams Specialty Coffee, 3/14 Textile Ave, Warana, Queensland 4575; phone 0407 742 183; visit
  • Flame Hill, 249 Western Ave, Montville, Queensland 4560; phone (07) 5478 5920; visit
  • Maleny Boutique Cheeses, 1 Clifford St, Maleny, Queensland 4552; phone (07) 5494 2207; visit
  • Potential travellers should check the status of individual events and establishments with regard to the COVID-19 outbreak.

While you're dreaming of your next adventure...