Maleny is a beautiful part of the world! Rolling hills, quaint shops, cows relaxing under big trees, the best lookouts to the Glass-House mountains and one of our favourite places – Mary Cairncross Reserve.

What makes Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve different to other hikes is the amazing Discovery Centre at the entrance! You can walk in here for free and the kids can spend hours discovering all they can about the rainforest before you start on your walk.

There are drawers to open and learn about all different kinds of butterflies, birds nests, buttons to press that show you what various kinds of birds sounds like, a video display of the forest, a ‘night’ forest experience plus more! You can also pick up a kids activity sheet that they can fill out while in the centre, which gives you a ‘rainforest bingo’ game to play on the track. We spent hours in the forest searching for the things on the list, and the kids really loved it! The Discovery Centre is really well done and really engaging for kids. It’s run by volunteers who we can’t speak highly enough about! They will even lend you a pair of binoculors for sighting birds!

Near the Discovery centre you will also find a cafe and toilets, a great kids park tucked amongst the trees, BBQ’s and across the road a beautiful view of the Glasshouse mountains.

The walk itself is great. It is all shaded so it’s cool in summer, there are signs through it to teach you about different trees, or animals to look out for and the path is flat. If you get there early you will hear birds singing and we were lucky enough to spot Pademelons. The trees are stunning with huge branches hanging down and wrapped around like Tarzan Vines.

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The way we ordered our day was we started in the Discovery Centre, went on the rainforest walk, headed back to the kids park and had a picnic lunch we had packed, then the kids wanted to finish their activity sheet back in the rainforest centre! There are kids-clubs they run during the school holidays too you can book in for.

After we had finished we headed to Maleny shops to Maleny Food Co. for some of our favourite gelato, made with local Maleny milk! The sorbet there looked pretty good too!

One of our favourite day outings with kids on the Sunshine Coast. Cost: Gold-Coin donation.