Managed to escape the confines of Toowoomba briefly on the weekend and drove through the Sunshine coast hinterland, the Blackall range drive. A picturesque drive through lush green hills and winding roads, punctuated by delightful villages with artisan crafts and excellent cafes. When it comes to places to eat on the road you are spoilt for choice in this gorgeous region but this trip we discovered a cafe that is our new favourite, the delightful Pettit’s @ mapleton
This lovely little cafe in, what is the quietest, and least touristy of the Blackall range villages has the most stunning views combined with exceptional food and service. Child friendly and dog friendly this lovely family business is an absolute gem, definitely being added to Ada’s list of tail wagging good cafe’s. Fantastic hospitality, we were made welcome and entertained by the owners little girls who were fascinated by Ada, I got to hear all about their own dog, a border collie pup. We actually got our drinks on the house since the little girls decided to join us, actually they were doing us a favour as it was great practice for Ada and the friendliness of the girls and their dad, who had baby sitting duty while mum worked in the kitchen was really welcoming. I am afraid I was guilty of encouraging the company as I am only to happy to chat to anyone and Ada can be a conversation starter. The coffee was excellent and while we only ordered a simple brunch of bacon and eggs, the eggs were poached to perfection and everything could not have been better.
Pettits is also open for dinner and they have an upstairs room and deck with some of the best views in the hinterland. Our next camping trip this way I really want to try Pettit’s for dinner, our little experience of their food and hospitality was so good and from what I have seen on their Facebook page I am enticed to try more. Pettit’s @ mapleton is definitely worth the stop.
Next stop is Montville, again a beautiful village filled with craft and gift shops, lots of cafes. Montville has always been a bit of a must visit stop for anyone visiting the Sunshine Coast, but these days I am inclined to skip it, a lovely place but to me it seems familiar and a bit touristy but still a great place to stop if you are out for a weekend drive in the hinterland.
My favourite Blackall Range village is Maleny, why? The bookshops of course. This little township has at least three bookshops, two of which are always must stops when we are travelling through. Ps Books Maleny is a second hand and antiquarian books shop in the main street, a great place for a bargain, a forgotten gem or a cheap classic, Gary especially finds a lot of bargains to satisfy his sci-fi reading needs. My personal favourite is Rosseta Books this wonderful cosy independent bookshop, always has something to tempt me and when you finish browsing you can grab a coffee. Books and coffee there really is nothing better.
Maleny Lane world food right in the center of town epitomizes the foodie nature of the region with its affordable variety of global street food available at a series of stalls, including Thai, Mexican, Greek, French and others. The Lane is a great place to grab a quick lunch and on trips to the Sunshine coast this is often a lunch stop. The town has numerous other cafes and restaurants which I am sure are worth trying but I must confess I have still to try somewhere other than the laneway. The variety on offer has something to please everyone and there is often the added benefit of live music in the laneway.
There is one last store that is a must visit when ever we come this way and that is The Soap Bar, my all time favourite soap, showering with a soapbar soap is a relaxing escape in itself, I cannot stress just how gorgeous this product is. Manufactured locally with natural and aromatherapy oils, these soaps are just pure bliss. They are not a cheap product but neither are they expensive and they are well worth every cent. The store sells other gifts and cards but it is the soaps themselves that I come for which are an exceptional product. L’ete en Provence and wildflowers are amongst my favourites but the range is huge and there is something for every mood. No plastic packaging is an added bonus and I would much rather use a soapbar soap than any shower gel.
The Blackall range is relatively close to Toowoomba and contains some glorious bush walks as well as the wonderful village shops and cafes. Not least of which is the Kondalilla Falls walk, a gentle rain forest walk we have done in the past, absolutely beautiful, although the stairs back up from the falls are steep, still a wonderful walk. It is national park so we did not visit on this trip, since we had Ada with us, no dogs in national parks. There is an Obi Obi Creek walk in Maleny that does allow dogs so in the future we will try that one and try and spot the regions iconic platypus in the creek.