Walking to Maleny

Neil on Brandenburg Road 800
Today’s adventure involved a long train trip, followed by a long scenic walk up a steep hill to Maleny, followed by a hard-earned beer.

Fractured Clavicle - BeforeFractured Clavicle - After

There were a few challenges I needed to sort out.

As you can see from the x-rays, my recently broken collar-bone has received a shiny new titanium “upgrade”. This means I can’t ride a bike or drive a car at the moment. So I’ve decided to walk as much as I can instead. The only problem is that long walks require a back pack – which I can’t wear at the moment because the shoulder straps would cause problems with the injury.

So I bought myself a wonderful Osprey lumbar pack (see top photo) – otherwise known as a “bum bag” which just straps around my waist. It lets me carry a couple of litres of water plus a few other things, and doesn’t get in the way.

Bray Road Lawnton

Armed with all my gadgets and looking like a cross between a one-armed bandit and Steve Irwin, I set off from home as the sun was rising.


The northward train journey took us through endless pine forests, past the Glasshouse Mountains before dropping me off at Mooloolah an hour later.

Mooloolah Station

In the past we have ended a few of our rides at Mooloolah Railway Station – it’s in a perfect location near Dullarcha National Park and Ewen Maddock Dam. I was glad to be back!


My plan was simple: walk westwards out of town, and just keep going up the hill.

Message for Anna

It looks like Anna made it here before me, but Bek wasn’t quite as lucky. Good on ya, Anna!

"RIP Ces""RIP Ces"

Following a road on foot allows you to see more details. This roadside memorial to “Ces” told the story of a young bloke who loved fishing and obviously had a fatal accident on this corner. Ces’s fishing rod was attached to the tree, as well as a bottle of “Pure Blonde” beer. I thought about the brevity of our lives, and how important it is to focus on the important things before it’s too late.

That’s an awesome looking fish you caught, Ces.

Brandenburg Road

And then the road got steep.

Brandenburg Road

The views slowly improved as I climbed the dirt road.

Brandenburg Road

I could see out across the pine forests to Moreton Bay. Wonderful.

Sometimes at the start of an unusual adventure like this, a small doubtful voice in the back of my head asks “Is this going to be fun?”

When I see views like this, that voice soon grows silent.

Brandenburg Road
Brandenburg Road

Brandenburg Road followed a ridge line up towards Bald Knob. I was able to enjoy views down the hill on both sides of the road.

Brandenburg Road

My mate Darb has ridden down this road. However, I think it would be difficult riding a bike up it – you’d probably have to get off and push in parts.

But when you’re on foot, you can’t get off and push – you just have to keep on trudging upwards.

Brandenburg Road

Eventually I decided to sit on a flat bit of grass by the side of the road, tore open a gel, and had a bit of a rest.

Brandenburg Road

I sang parts of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from “The Sound of Music” as I walked upwards. It was probably a good thing no one was there to hear me. The analyst in my head took great delight in pointing out that it sounded like the melody started on the sixth note in the scale. It’s hilarious what goes on in my head when my body is working hard.

Bald Knob

Eventually I reached the top of the road, coming out directly underneath Bald Knob, topped with radio towers.

A kind lady in a taxi drove past me.

“Would you like a lift, love?”

I think she felt pity for a crazy bloke with an arm in a sling.

“Thanks for the offer. I don’t need a lift up, but I’d be happy to get a lift down the mountain later if you’re passing by the Maleny pub!”

She made a few notes on her pad, then drove off with a bemused look on her face.

Landsborough Maleny Rd

I emerged from Hovard Road on the main road between Maleny and Landsborough. Thankfully there was a wide verge and I didn’t have to walk too far. The continual buzz of passing traffic was a shock after the serenity of the climb on the other side of the hill…

Glasshouse Mountains
… but the view of the Glasshouse Mountains on the other side of the road was quite impressive.


The kind people at Cafe De Fudge refilled my water bottles for me. I’d been walking for almost two and a half hours and was grateful for this cute little cafe on the edge of a vineyard.

Mairy Cairncross Park

At Mountain View Road I had to make a choice.

My planned route would take me along this busy road into Maleny in just over an hour.

Or I could change the course and take a scenic detour via Mary Cairncross Park.

Mary Cairncross Park won out, thank goodness.

Mary Cairncross Park

What a beautiful patch of rainforest!

Before settlement, these hills were covered in forest like this, with towering Red Cedars, tangled strangler figs, groves of Piccabean Palms, and a chorus of birds.

Walking through an ancient forest like this is a peaceful experience tinged with grief – when I think about how many forests like this we’ve lost.

Glasshouse Mountains

Tourists soaked up the views on the other side of the road as I left the park. It’s not surprising this road was named “Mountain View Road”.

Hitting a Golf Ball

A little further down the road, John was smashing golf balls into his back paddock.

“Good shot!” I yelled.

John grinned sheepishly.

“Do you mind if I take your photo?” I asked.

John agreed, I counted him down while I held the camera – and this is how it turned out.

I found it difficult to hold the camera with my left hand while crouching behind a wildly swinging golf club – but it worked 🙂

Glasshouse Mountains

I’d been walking for almost four hours as I trudged along Mountain View Road. By concentrating on the amazing views I was able to ignore my sore feet.

McCarthy Road

“Not long to go now” I thought to myself as I walked past the dairy.

I imagined the cold beer and huge steak I was going to have at the pub.

Ewe with Lambs

As I neared town, I passed some newborn lambs in the paddock next to the high school. Wouldn’t it be fun going to a school that had their own baby lambs?

Maleny Pub

And there it was. More appealing than the Pearly Gates themselves: the Maleny pub was a welcome sight to this footsore traveller.

Beer at the Maleny Pub

I think I deserved this one!

Total distance: 18.78 km
Max elevation: 462 m
Min elevation: 37 m
Total climbing: 849 m
Total descent: -472 m
Average speed: 4.97 km/h
Total time: 04:33:17
More data
I walked a total of 18.4km in about four and a half hours.

When you add in the walking to and from the railway station at either end of the day, that’s a total of about 24 km for the day.

The challenge is rating this on the “tough-o-meter”. I don’t have many walks with which to compare it. I think it was easier than the Super-V hike I did with Lachlan a few years ago, but harder than the Somerset Lookout walk I did with Liz and the kids a while ago. I only had one or two spots where I was breathing heavily, and I didn’t experience any major discomfort while walking in my jogging shoes.

I think 8 out of 10 is a reasonable toughness measure for this one.

Don’t do it in summer, and carry lots of water.

Where to next?

Glasshouse Mountains

5 Replies to “Walking to Maleny”

  1. I grew up in Maleny. I went to that high school you passed by and went to Mary Cairncross park too many things to remember. I had a bestfriend who lived on Brandenburg road. We used to ride our horses down to Moloolah. It used to have large potholes. Is it still dodgy like that? Thank you for posting about a road dear to my heart.

    1. Hi Lisa
      Thanks for reading.
      Brandenburg Road is nice and smooth now. It’s still unpaved in parts, and very steep in some sections, but you can comfortably take a 2wd sedan down there, so I think a horse would find it quite easy.

  2. Nice walk!! geez Neil that distance, that’s the reason God invented horses, mountain bikes, and cars!
    Neat those clavicle repairs. Btw you have a very good looking [R] upper and mid fields.
    Cheers Ian
    ps Dave’s [flyboy] write up of his Tour Divide was a great serial read. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

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