Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve – the jewel in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

February 20, 2018

Overlooking the Glass House Mountains National Landscape, the sprawling 55 hectares of subtropical rainforest of Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is a must if you are visiting the remnants of the rainforest that once covered the Blackall Range in southeast Queensland.

blankOne our Gallivanters spent an incredible afternoon here over the weekend and just had to come back and share with us this treasure!

It’s perfect location, just an hour north of Brisbane, means its ideal if you want to pick up your motorhome as the road up here is sealed with ample spacious parking for a motorhome. If you are still looking at motorhomes, check those out here.

With a family of 2 young children under the age of 7, this reserve was perfect for a family afternoon out of exploring.

blankFor a gold coin donation, you can enjoy the walking tracks at Mary Cairncross which feature over 2 km of tranquil walks, boardwalks and viewing platforms. The walking track is suitable for families with prams and with much of the track also suitable for wheelchairs, its an ideal out for all levels of fitness.  Download here a map of the walking track or grab a copy when you get to the Education Centre located there at Mary Cairncross. Open: 07:00 – 18:00.


We found Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve picturesque and also thought that the forest carried a certain whimsical charm about it, as some of the pictures show with many of the trees entangled in vines.

This rich subtropical rainforest which had very limited logging of highly prized timbers prior to about 1935, and none since has a good distribution of old Australian Red Cedar, Black Bean, Yellow Carrabeen, White Beech, Tulip Oak and many very large Strangling Figs among the rich profusion of rainforest trees. In the wetter areas the dominant trees are Piccabeen Palms.


The reserve is one of only a few confirmed breeding habitats for the southern subspecies of Pink Underwing Moth. This species is found between northern NSW and north-east Queensland.

The bird life here is also well documented and includes 139 recorded species including the rare Grey Goshawk!

Several native mammal species have been recorded here at Mary Cairncross including three representatives of the kangaroo family – the Red-legged Pademelon, the Red-necked Pademelon and the Red-necked Wallaby.

The streams around the Reserve also contain significant frog species, a rare Spiny Crayfish and other fauna which depend on high water quality.

blankEducation Centre

The visitor facilities here are incredible with well-equipped kids play area adjacent to a wonderfully large grassy area and a respectable amount of shady picnic tables and BBQ points. When our Gallivanter was here on a busy Sunday afternoon, there was still plenty of space to sit and park up for a picnic.



Here you’ll find:blank

  • The Rainforest Education Centre with new and innovative rainforest interpretative displays
  • A very reasonably priced café with decent quality food and spectacular views of the Glass House Mountains landscape
  • Picnic tables and barbeques (gas supplied)
  • Children’s playground and open recreation space suitable for ball games
  • Toilets
  • Picnic shelter area
  • Breath-taking views of the Glass House Mountains landscape

If you are in the planning stages of your motorhome holiday around Australia and are thinking of touring this part of Queensland, check out our Travel Routes to make sure you don’t miss out on other hidden gems in our magnificent country.

Don’t miss out! Chat with us if you are looking for inspiration for your motorhome holiday!



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