Explore Montville

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Take a stroll through the village of Montville. It is a trip of discovery with some 70 small retailers, cafes, restaurants and galleries to explore.

Montville was established in the early 1900’s. It takes its name from a district in Connecticut USA. One of the early settlers, Henry Smith, had migrated there from England with his parents. When he moved on to Queensland he proposed the name of the village as “Montville” after his childhood memories of Montville in the USA.

Montville was for many years a mix of farming and tourism. The unique Shae locomotives and railway up to the Hinterland linking Nambour with Mapleton was initiated for the benefit of the agriculture community to get produce to market. An unexpected bonus of the introduction of reliable transport to the Hinterland was that the railway now brought holidaymakers to the area seeking the walks, the fresh cool mountain climate and the peace and tranquillity for which the region is now famous.

By the nineteen twenties Montville had developed into a very special mountain escape. Visitors created the demand for high quality accommodation which you will find to this day. Artists were attracted to the beauty and tranquillity of the district.  That culture continues with some of Queensland’s best galleries and many extraordinary artists located in and around Montville.

The main street of Montville is an eclectic mix. The visitor will not go hungry with a feast of restaurants and cafes to choose from many specialising in local produce. The village is famous for its shopping and is a wonderful antidote to the “sameness” of the major shopping centres. Many make a visit to Montville a true shopping event, a “girl’s day out”, which of course includes a long lunch and so many shops to be discovered!

Look for the old “School of Arts” next to the Village Green. This is now the Montville Village Hall. It has memorial gates unique to Australia that commemorate those who fell, those who served and even those who were ‘rejected’ for service in the 1914/18 war.

The wedding chapel built behind Poets Café in Main Street is a building of breathtaking beauty and simplicity. Further to the north of the village the view from the Mayfield building to the Sunshine Coast is worth the visit alone.

There is a very special ambience about the village of Montville that draws people back to its peace, tranquillity and vibrant charm.  So put the time aside to take a stroll through this very special place with its enviable history of visitors, fine food, cool mountain air, artistic culture and wonderful places to stay, a history that goes right back to the early 1900’s.

Kondalilla Falls

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Ten minutes by car to the north of Montville lies the entry to the Kondalilla National Park and the famous Kondalilla Falls. The whole district around Montville contains some wonderful walks and parks for the visitor to explore. Detailed maps of the area can be obtained from the Montville Information Centre located at the southern end of Main Street. Visitors are encouraged to pick up a free copy of the many walks maps available which contain details and helpful advice to ensure a walk in the area is a truly enjoyable experience.

Kondalilla Falls and the walk to it are very popular in the summer months. The lure of a dip in the rock pools is hard to resist on a hot day. However a degree of fitness is required to make the trek to one of the two walking circuits.

Kondalilla Falls were discovered by William Skene whilst searching for lost cattle on his property in the late 1800’s. Recognising how special this area was he gave it to the Queensland Government who named the area Kondalilla from the Aboriginal word meaning ‘rushing water’. The park is a remnant of the subtropical rainforest that was once extensive throughout the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

The Picnic Creek Circuit is 1.7 km and will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour. It is a ‘moderate’ Class 3 track and there are views to the valley from the lookout point.

The Kondalilla Falls Circuit is 4.7 km and you should allow 1.5 to 2 hours for the walk. This circuit is classed as ‘moderate to hard’ and some 150 steps will be encountered through the uphill section. A reasonable level of fitness is required.

This walk winds down through the rainforest to the base of the waterfall and continues back up to the ridge. The walk then brings you to the rock pool above the waterfall on Skene Creek. Then continue back up the escarpment to Picnic Creek and back to the Picnic Area and Car Park.

Some sensible advice to those off to enjoy the walk:

Always ensure you have enough time to return before dark.

Wear sensible shoes and a hat.

A Day Pack is a great idea with plenty of water, something to eat and towel and bathers.

Stay on the designated tracks. There are steep cliffs in the area.

Mobile phone reception is unreliable so it is sensible to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Always lock your car, take valuables with you or lock them in the boot away from prying eyes.

All rubbish must be carried out for appropriate disposal. Be a minimal impact walker. Feel privileged as you are visiting Kondalilla Falls which is an area of high significance for nature conservation. Take photos but leave only footprints!

The Arts & Galleries

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Montville has always been the home of some of Australia’s most exciting artists. There is a narrative that reaches back to the early 1900’s that speaks to this day of the creativity that Montville and the Hinterland has nurtured and fostered.

The international acclaim of the late Tony O’Connor and his relaxation music, which continues to enchant and heal so many people from around the world, will be known to many. His extraordinary music CD’s are to be found in the Main Street.

Visitors marvel at the skill and quality of the woodworkers of the Hinterland and their displays particularly before the Christmas season provide a wonderful reason to come up and visit Montville for that unique Christmas gift. There are woodworking shops in Montville and Maleny where the talent of the local craftsmen can be enjoyed and purchased.

The “Open Studios” events where the public is encouraged to visit the local artists in their home studios is a wonderful and generous invitation to what is usually a very private sanctuary.

Our local amateur artists frequently hold exhibitions on the Village Green. A great opportunity to discover an ‘unknown’ that could well blossom into a future collectable.

For the serious collector or someone simply seeking a stunning work of art Montville, as a base, is a brilliant way to start and the places to go are the professional galleries to be found in Montville and the Hinterland.

The Montville Art Gallery and the Main Street Gallery are a “must” for the visitor. For internationally known Tina Cooper’s vibrant hand blown glass call in to Illume Creations in the Mayfield Building. All three of these outstanding galleries are in Montville’s Main Street.

Further afield and just 15 minutes by car from Montville you will find Art on Cairncross with Johanna De Main’s extraordinary Ceramics, and the artist’s co-op Peace of Green. Both of these galleries, like those in Montville, present work of outstanding quality and are well worth a visit.

In fact one of the best things you can do if you are interested in the visual arts is to call into the Montville Information Centre and pick up a copy of the local Gallery Trail. This will give you an excellent guide to the visual arts galleries of the Hinterland and provide you with a wonderful day trip around the stunning countryside of the area.

Fancy a Short Walk?

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Montville is the perfect place from which to base yourself for some excellent short walks. These walks will be no problem for those with an average level of fitness. They suite the young and old, mums, dads and the kids plus there are a couple of great options that are wheelchair friendly. We have listed a short summary below but do suggest that you get further detail from the Montville Information Centre at the southern end of Main Street.

The Russell Family Park

This beautiful park is located in the centre of iconic Montville. You can enter via the Main Street public carpark behind the Information Centre. You will find open green spaces with a spring fed lagoon, easy walking paths, gas BBQ’s, picnic shelters, a children’s playground and toilet facilities. This is a top spot in the heart of Montville to relax and take a break. If you fancy a picnic this is the place for you!

Mapleton Falls and the Wampoo Circuit.

The circuit is 1.3km and is an easy Class 2 track which will take about 45 minutes return. There is picnic area at the entry to the walk and toilets next to the car park.

Mapleton Falls and the Wompoo Circuit are located in the Mapleton Falls National Park.  It is a place of intense beauty and natural treasures.

The highlight is the Mapleton Falls viewing platform with its easy access situated only 50m from the car park. This certainly ranks amongst the best views on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

This brilliant platform extends out over the escarpment high above the Obi Obi valley. You will be rewarded with a wonderful view of the luxuriant green rainforest and the Piccabeen palm groves far below.

To your right you can glimpse the top of the Mapleton Falls as it plunges 120m to the valley. It truly is an awe inspiring sight. Looking out from the platform you may sight the raptors that climb and soar in the thermals that rise from the cliff edges.

The walk itself winds through Rainforest, Piccabeen Palm and Eucalypt forests. These progressive vegetation changes are quite apparent as you walk the circuit. They add another level of interest to the experience. Wayside signs provide information about the features of this small but significant remnant of the forests that once covered the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Take the short diversion on your way to the Peregrine Lookout with its excellent views over the Obi Valley and if you are lucky spot a Peregrine Falcon as it soars above the rainforest far below. This Falcon is remarkable for its legendary speed and is said to exceed 250km per hour when swooping on its prey.

On a gentler note the Wompoo Fruit Dove, after which the circuit is named, may greet your passing with its unique “book-a-rook” or “wallack-a-woo” call from high in the canopy above. It is a soft and gentle sound that so perfectly reflects the charm and serenity of this special place.

Lake Baroon

At the southern end of the Montville Main Street just past the Information Centre you will find the turn into Western Avenue. Follow this road for about 4km and turn left down the hill into the spectacular Narrows road. This road is very steep and will take you down to the Lake Baroon dam.

The site of Lake Baroon was a very important gathering place for the traditional owners, the Jinibara People, who came together between December and March to enjoy the harvest of the Bunya nuts that only grew on the Blackall Range and in the Bunya Mountains. Hundreds would attend meetings at this great social and cultural event. These seasonal gatherings would take place at what we know today as Lake Baroon.

The dam was finished in 1988 as a primary water storage area for the Sunshine Coast. On the banks of the lake you will find picnic areas, shelters, BBQ’s and toilet facilities. You can drive out along the 370m dam wall during daylight hours to the spillway. This makes a spectacular sight when the dam overflows after heavy rain. There is a short walk to a viewing platform at the foot of the spillway. Canoeing and sailing are allowed on the dam but only electric power boats are permitted. No fishing permit is required but lead sinkers are prohibited.

Whilst you are down at the lake and if you fancy a bite to eat or a cuppa call into Secrets on the Lake. They have a unique café, gallery and wonderful wood carving which makes Secrets certainly worth a visit.

Mary Cairncross Park.

This park is about 15 minutes drive south of Montville and is well worth a visit. It has two circuits of 1.2km and 1.75km of which both are wheelchair friendly.

Mary Cairncross Park covers some 55 hectares and has one of the best remnants of subtropical rainforest in Australia. Also the views across to the distant Glass House Mountains are simply magnificent.

With its own micro climate Mary Cairncross Park is a truly refreshing escape in the heat of mid summer.

The park has some very large trees which attract a rich variety of birds. Many rare tree species flourish here. A large hollow Strangler Fig is 400 to 500 years old and you will see two Rose Gums aged between 350 to 400 years old. You may come across the rare, diminutive and delightful Rainforest Wallaby  (Pademelon) and the rare and endangered Richmond Birdwing Butterfly.

Currently work is near completion of an upgrade to the facilities of the park which include the Thynne Natural History education centre which is staffed by well-informed volunteers. The visitor will find picnic tables, barbecues, a children’s playground. The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm. A gold coin donation is appreciated and guided walks can be arranged.