Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Easter in Maleny

For me, the Easter long-weekend is all about visiting my parents at their home in Maleny. For four days I wander around town and take lazy walks, read and snooze in comfy armchairs and of course, eat and drink gloriously. So this year, Easter was the perfect opportunity to introduce my British guest to a part of Australia I dearly love.

We headed up early on Friday morning, just skipping the traffic jams. First up, after the necessary morning tea/coffee and cake, was the tour of the garden. My parents have the standard large Maleny garden and every time I visit I need to be updated on all the changes; trees have come down, shrubs gone up, new veggies have been planted and new animals have taken up residence. The big new addition this time was a native bee hive, installed to help the overall health of the garden and encourage the re-generation of native bee populations in the area.The bees are very small and sting-less so you can get up close and watch as they come and go.

The hive on a stake in the veggie patch.

Native bees flying in and out, feeding the hive.

On top of these native additions, my mother is slowly building up a private art collection in the garden. There are old school-pottery projects, wood-carved seats and Portuguese roosters hidden around corners. The newest installations were her birthday and christmas gifts; a rat with attitude and a Kiwi.

The mushroom garden.

Lemons, lemons, lemons. Now where is the gin?

Friday afternoon we took a trip to Gardner's Falls. Once it was the waterhole only locals knew about, now it is on the list of spots to visit for day trippers. On this bright sunny afternoon it was packed out with visitors. No photos, because I feel weird taking snaps of strangers in their togs. Also, I could not have taken a single photo without including a bad tattoo. I have a very low opinion of the standard of tattoos in Australia. Too many, too poorly thought out, too brightly coloured and too tacky. Sitting in the stream of the falls, watching the parade of teenagers and parents pass by, it was a pretty horrifying show. Better as few people as possible see the giant purple owl stretched across some pasty guy's sunken chest or Marilyn's face wreathed in skulls.

Taken on an afternoon walk past farmland and the Maleny Dairy.

When we woke on Saturday it had rained all night and didn't look like stopping. Nevertheless, in the drizzle and mist we set off to do the Mary Cairncross rainforest walk in the hope of spotting some Pademelons before the tourist hoards arrived. We were not disappointed and saw eight of these charming little marsupials, some of them right up close. Read about our other wildlife encounters here.

Red-legged Pademelons.

Walking through the rainforest at first light, with the chilly mist and drizzle of rain and no one else near was a little magical and made dragging ourselves out of bed worth it.

We were lucky to come home to a full continental breakfast with steaming mugs of tea and coffee, which helped the morning chill. This almost the least impressive meal of the weekend, but the only one I could sneak a photograph of. The next morning was brioche french toast with freshly stewed plum and vanilla yoghurt, but I was too busy scoffing that to pause for photography.

The rest of the morning was taken up with the obligatory tour of Maleny high street to see what had changed (new community hall had been completed) and pay visits to my favourite stores (Rosetta Books) and of course, sit down with the paper and coffee and watch the world go by.

In the afternoon we took a drive out to near Montville, to the Hidden Secrets cafe and the Baroon Pocket Dam walks. This relatively easy 4.2km round trek takes you through dry rainforest and palm gullies and spits you out on to a small rocky ridge overlooking the dam wall and far down into the valley. Photos do not capture it.

The walk up took us 45 minutes, going slow and taking photos but only 20 minutes return. The reason was a close encounter of the reptilian kind, when my guest had come within inches of a metre long snake. Nothing like a good scare to make you long for the safety of a car and locked doors.

In truth, it was a harmless common tree snake but it still gave us both a bit of a shock.

Easter Sunday started with an easter egg hunt in the garden. So much more fun when there is an acre of garden for eggs to be hidden in!

Sunday was our final day and we were in no hurry to return to Brisbane. So we took the scenic route home, along the ranges down to Woodford, though Mount Mee and Dayboro. In Dayboro we stopped off for some lunch and a coffee in a parent-recommended cafe and sat out on the pavement enjoying this picturesque little town.

Main street, Dayboro. 

The pub in Dayboro. Not where we had lunch but it just looked So Australian!

It just so happened that I parked the car outside of A Little Bit Vintage. I was so girly-excited that Dayboro had such a great little vintage shop. Tiny, poky, but well organised, it had cheap recent wear and DIY-worthy clothes from the 80s and then my favourite, the satin and lace gowns from 1920-1950, all in mint condition and just waiting for a loving owner.

I might have sighed a little as I perused the racks. Despite encouragement from a patient visitor, I did not try anything on. Maybe next time.

If you ever have the opportunity to go through Dayboro or even to stop for an hour or so, it's worth it. A nice town with good cafes, a great butcher and what is probably a decent pub. With perhaps a bit of shopping thrown in.

So that was my Easter. It was, all in all, a perfect weekend. A wonderful way to spend the longest long weekend of the year.

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