Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve – THE REVIEW

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

The rolling green hills of Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland are well known, but prior to European settlement, the whole area was covered in thick sub-tropical rainforest.

A 55 hectare remnant of this beautiful rainforest remains at the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve in Maleny, approximately 100 kilometres from Brisbane, making it the perfect day trip destination for Brisbane families.

The playground – good old fashioned fun

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Once you have arrived at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, the first thing you will notice is the clean and crisp mountain air and the stunning views over the Glasshouse Mountains. The first thing your Brisbane kids will notice is the awesome playground! Cross the bridge to enter and then spin, climb, swing, bounce and slide around the playground equipment. The timber playground blends in with its natural surroundings and educates as it entertains with murals of native animals as well as a wheel depicting the lifecycle of the local Birdwing Butterfly.

Playground at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

The visitor centre – a place of discovery

A gold coin donation is required for entry into the visitor centre and rainforest walk. The centre has a large display illustrating rainforest development from the early Cretaceous period to the present, as well as wildlife photographs, a kids’ corner, videos on natural history and volunteers that can answer your questions about the local flora and fauna.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Visitor Centre

The imagination factor – an ancient rainforest walk

Step into the rainforest at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, and you could well imagine that you are stepping back in time. And while some animals like the Queensland tiger and marsupial mouse are now sadly extinct, there are still many species of animals, birds and reptiles for your Brisbane Kids to spot, including cute pademelons, spiny crayfish, unique frogs, brush turkeys and pretty butterflies. Allow an hour to walk the two kilometre track through the tranquil rainforest. There are a number of seats along the way to rest if needed, or just to stop and marvel at the majestic trees. Remember to stick to the track to help preserve the natural beauty, as well as to avoid stinging plants that are found in the region.

rainforest walk at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

The café – food with a view

Breakfast, lunch, coffee and cake are all served at the café that boasts stunning views over the Glasshouse Mountains. There are high chairs and plenty of kid-friendly items on the menu, including milkshakes and toasted sandwiches. During busy periods, it may be a good idea to order and pay for your food before going on the rainforest walk. That way there will be no waiting around for hungry little people that have worked up an appetite thanks to all the fresh air and exercise.

View from Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

Special Needs

The café, visitor centre and rainforest walk are all wheelchair (and pram) accessible.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve – the facts

  • Flushing toilets
  • Excellent playground suitable for primary school aged children and younger
  • Café open Tuesday to Sunday, 8.30am – 4.30pm
  • BBQs and picnic tables
  • Large field perfect for picnicking, cricket, football, Frisbee
  • Visitor centre and two kilometre rainforest walk

Set your navigator to 148 Mountain View Road, Maleny for a fun-filled day trip with your Brisbane Kids.

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