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Cooran

About three kilometres from the Bruce Highway, Cooran is one of those country towns that offers more than you might think. Close to the Sunshine Coast towns of Pomona, Nambour, Cooroy and popular surfing beaches at Noosa, Cooran is a pretty hamlet in a lush valley. However, for those touring the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane, which is less than two and a half hours drive away, there is much more to discover about Cooran than just its beauty.

Overlooking Cooran are the Cooran Tablelands and Mothar Mountain State Forest areas that have walking tracks and swimming holes. Take care, as access to these often requires a four-wheel drive. From the Cooran Tablelands Lookout, the scenic view along the Sunshine Coast is magnificent.

In addition, for lovers of the bush, the Noosa Trail Network includes trails around Cooran. For example, Trail two of The Scenic Trail is 26 kilometres one way and starts at Tablelands Road, Cooran and moves along to the Cootharaba Views Lookout. This trail takes approximately five hours to complete on horseback and two days to walk one way. There are four lookouts along the trail, providing fantastic views of the hinterland and coastal areas. Be warned, the steep hill climbs along the trail require courage and a high level of fitness. Locals say it is worth camping overnight at either Middle Lookout or Cootharaba Views Lookout and leave a car at each end of the trail.

If curiosities get the blood flowing, then look at Cooran Lagoon, not far from the train bridge on James Street. When it was full, local Aboriginals used the lagoon as a source of Water-lily bulbs and mussels for food and called it Guran. In 1870, the lagoon was also the site of the Half Way Hotel, on the original Tewantin-Gympie Coach route. Sadly, only a faded plaque marks the site now.

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Mapleton Forest Reserve

Mapleton, Sunshine Coast Area
Free Entry
In Mapleton Forest Reserve, Mapleton Forest Drive winds through deep forest, past Cooloolabin Dam, to Point Glorious lookout where great coastal and hinterland views await. Picnic at the Mapleton day-use area near Cedar Creek’s headwaters or camp at Gheerulla Creek.

Gardners Falls

Maleny, Sunshine Coast Area
Leave your vehicle in the car park on the banks of the Obi Obi Creek and take a short, level walk downstream to Gardners Falls.  You’ll pass a number of shallow rock pools which are ideal for smaller children who just want to splash about.

Kondalilla National Park

Montville, Sunshine Coast Area
Free Entry
A refuge for many species of native animals and plants, Kondalilla National Park is a popular place for birdwatchers and nature photographers as well as bushwalkers. With a magnificent waterfall, rock pools and freshwater creeks - is it any wonder the park gets its name from an Aboriginal word meaning 'rushing waters'?

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

Maleny, Sunshine Coast Area
Free Entry
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve comprises 55 hectares of National Estate listed subtropical rainforest overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains. A remnant of the rainforests that once covered the Blackall Range, the Reserve is a living museum of diverse plant and animal life which promises to delight with its tranquility and beauty.

Conondale National Park

Conondale, Noosa Area
Free Entry
Conondale National Park forms the heart of an extensive area of unspoilt mountain scenery in the Conondale Range. With magnificent forests, deep gorges and spectacular views, this park and the adjacent State forest offer scenic drives, picnic areas and a choice of four grassy camp sites near rainforests and mountain streams.

Delicia Road Conservation Park

Mapleton, Sunshine Coast Area
Free Entry
Delicia Road Conservation Park on the scenic Blackall Range is a small park protecting remnant forest communities. It is a refuge for wildlife and a special place where visitors can enjoy a peaceful native forest.

Baroon Pocket Dam

North Maleny, Sunshine Coast Area
Baroon Pocket Dam is a picturesque lake tucked away between Montville and Maleny. The dam offers a range of fantastic recreational facilities and you could easily spend the whole day exploring the shores and waterways.

Mapleton Falls National Park

Mapleton, Sunshine Coast Area
Free Entry
Mapleton Falls National Park marks the point just west of Mapleton where Pencil Creek cascades 120 metres over an escarpment. This small, day-use-only park shelters many bird species, including the peregrine falcon, eastern whipbird and wompoo fruit-dove.

Kenilworth Forest Reserve

Kenilworth, Sunshine Coast Area
Free Entry
Kenilworth Forest Reserve in the Conondale Range offers wonderful views, deep gorges, mountain streams and waterfalls. It protects rare and threatened plants and animals living in the rugged mountains.

Amamoor State Forest

Amamoor, Gympie Area
Free Entry
Amamoor State Forest produces some of the finest hoop pine in Queensland. More than 120 bird species have been sighted in its riverine rainforests and plantations of hoop and bunya pines. Enjoy a drive through the forested valley to walk through the forest along trickling creeks and streams.
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