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Hydeaway Bay

If you like to seek out hidden gems on your travels, Hydeaway Bay should be on your list when visiting the Whitsundays. This tiny coastal hamlet is set on a long, white, sandy beach on a no-through road about 50 kilometres from Airlie Beach (take the Gregory-Cannon Valley Road to Dingo Beach Road and then don't miss the turn to Hydeaway Bay Drive).

Originally settled with summer shacks for local farmers, there are now a few hundred houses scattered along the beach and the nearby hills. The beach has five public access points and you can comb for shells on a low tide, swim the fringing coral reef or try your luck fishing from the beach or in a "tinnie" (Aussie lingo for small tin boat). The nearest boat hire and ramp is just down the road at Dingo Beach.

Locals actually say the best thing to catch in Hydeaway Bay is peace and quiet. It's guaranteed you will hardly see a soul but you could be lucky enough to spot a dugong, dolphin, whale or turtle on your travels.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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