Where to live: Maleny?

We’re planning on leaving Sydney in the next year or so, due to starting a family and needing a 4-bedroom house. But where to move to? The choice is overwhelming. In this series of posts, I explore a plethora of possible places – many of which we’ve visited – in an attempt to reach some sort of conclusion. Next up – Maleny.

Maleny is nestled within the beautiful hills of the Sunshine Coast hinterland in south-east Queensland.


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Maleny is about an hour’s drive north of Brisbane, and 30 minutes from the coast. This means it has access both to a major city, and to some beautiful beaches such as Caloundra, Maroochydore and Noosa. The views from Maleny and nearby roads are simply stunning, taking in vast swathes of rolling hills, the ocean, and the spectacular Glasshouse Mountains in the distance:

Lookout, Sunshine Coast hinterland

We discovered Maleny on a trip up to Brisbane. We stayed with some friends of mine, and they suggested we take a look at some of the towns in the hinterland, including Montville. We checked out Montville and thought it was pretty, but a bit twee for us. Our guide book mentioned Maleny as being more “genuine”, so we hopped over and took a look.

In many ways, Maleny is like Bellingen. It has quite an alternative culture, with intentional communities dotted around the area, a great food co-op, and the well-known UpFront Club cafe and venue in the main street. The town has a really strong community feel – as evidenced by their recent (unsuccessful) resistance to having a Woolworths built in the town – and loads of fabulous cafes, restaurants and clothes shops.

Unlike Bellingen, it’s only 1 hour’s drive from a capital city (Bellingen is 5 hours’ drive from the nearest capital, Brisbane), and it doesn’t suffer from floods. What’s more, Queensland has cheaper stamp duty and petrol taxes.

So Maleny has a lot going for it, and consequently it’s fairly high up our list. The only major downside is that it’s even further from all our mates in Sydney – we’re talking plane flights for certain – although we do at least know a couple of people in Brisbane. It’s also a tad more expensive than Bellingen, so we might be pushing our budget if we wanted a 4-bedder. Other minor niggles include the heat – would we be able to stand it in the summer? – and the fact that it’s maybe a bit too alternative a place for us.

Do you live in Maleny, or know the area? What do you think of it?

2 Responses to “Where to live: Maleny?”

  1. Nathan Says:

    Maleny’s got it all. It’s actually quite cool if you’re concerned about the temperature, always about 5 deg cooler than down the hill. Alternative? I’d say balanced. There is a diverse mix of people, a thriving local business economy, low crime rate, and a real community spirit. Ok, real estate’s a bit pricey, but look carefully and you can find bargains. I’ve recently visited Bellingen, nice town!

  2. Matt Says:

    @Nathan: thanks for your comments on Maleny. It does sound great! We ended up moving to Robertson in the Southern Highlands, which is lovely, but I can see us moving to Maleny at some point (probably when we get fed up with the cold weather here!).

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