Starting in February 2021 I will publish a post on a place or route I have explored. The first will be a series exploring the Blackall Range, and the first post in this series, is on Mapleton. We will meander along Route 23, along the Blackall Range, out to Maleny and Kenilworth before returning to Mapleton. This is a pleasant circular scenic route, easily done in a day. First off – Mapleton!
Mapleton is a small community at the northern end of the Blackall Range, in the Hinterland region of the Sunshine Coast. The tiny village has only a handful of shops, a junior state school and a small library serving the community. The historic Mapleton Tavern dominates the small shopping precinct and is a popular venue for lunches and dinners, where the wide verandah allows patrons to sit, relax and enjoy the lovely views out towards the sea.
Across Obi Obi Road from the tavern is a tiny cluster of shops: coffee shops, bakery, doctors rooms, pharmacy, hairdresser, holistic health, real estate, antiques and pizza shop. The community library is next to the tavern, and the op shop (charity shop) is a little further along Obi Obi Road in The Old School House. Behind the cluster of shops is the bowls club and gym, and further along is the post office. The IGA and a fuel station are close to the school.
The park at the Lilyponds was officially opened for the celebration of Mapleton’s centenary in 1988. A popular fish and chip shop borders on the Lilyponds, and is a favourite dining venue for families as there is plenty of space in the Lilyponds park where children can safely play. The Lilyponds were created from swampland and a circular walking path skirts the larger pond and takes you across a pedestrian bridge to a BBQ and picnic area, playground and skateboard park.
On weekends the village buzzes with visitors who arrive to enjoy breakfast or morning tea, while others head for the Mapleton National Forest where mountain bike, walking, motorbike and horse trails provide a good selection of outdoor activities.
The Mapleton Forest and National Park is also part of the Blackall Range Great Walk. (Click on a picture below to show more detail.)
The adjacent Linda Garrett Park can be accessed from Delicia Road and offers a 2.2 km walking trail.
Another popular view point in the area is Mapleton Falls. The lookout provides stunning views of the Mapleton Falls and out over the beautiful Obi Obi Valley. The Falls are on Pencil Creek which cascades down a 120 metre steep escarpment. There is also a day use area with picnic tables and a couple of shorter walks.
Mapleton began as a tiny rural settlement where oranges, coffee and timber were the main income generators. Selective logging took place until mid 1900’s, and the last operational sawmill closed in 1972.
There are a number of historic buildings, and the most prominent is the Mapleton Tavern. The building was built in the early 1900’s, and there are a number of historical photos displayed on its walls. The Old School House was relocated from the school grounds to its present location adjacent to the Lillyponds, and it is now the local Op Shop.
Outside the community library is the Shay Chair, which was designed and made by the Mapleton Men’s Shed, using parts from a wagon that was pulled by the Shay train. The Shay train did a circular trip to and from Nambour until 1944. The Mapleton Men’s Shed has a small forestry museum with a number of pieces of forestry equipment on display, and the building facing Delicia Road was once the old forestry office. Diagonally opposite the Men’s Shed is a commemorative signpost stating that the area was occupied by the Australian Calvary Regiment during WW2.
Finally, there is a Queensland State Heritage listed site along Post Office Road called St Isidore’s Farm House. It is also known as Seaview House, or Mapleton Homestead, and was entered onto the State register in 2000. It was constructed in the early 1900’s. It is a private residence, but you can catch a glimpse of this beautiful stately building at the top of Post Office Road.
A quirky side to Mapleton is the three old metal animals that are across the road from the shops near the intersection of the Obi Obi Road and the Mapleton – Montville road. There is also a carved wooden post with an iconic Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo and a Goanna just outside one of the shops.
Following the Blackall Range Tourist Drive (route 23), the next village to be explored is Montville.