- Highlife Magazine - Sunshine Coast

North Queensland is not the only place in Queensland with award winning tropical gardens. Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World, overlooking the magnificent Glasshouse Mountains on the Sunshine Coast, cover 14 acres with numerous walking paths meandering through a plethora of plant species. Waterfalls and ponds complement the beautiful landscape.

If you are not a botanist but an ornithologist, then Bird World is a must for you. The walk-in aviary opened in 2013, housing more than 300 birds, ranging from Australian birds to exotic parrots and macaws from every corner of the globe. All you need is a camera (leave shiny items at home) and the birds will do the rest.

A friendly and experienced volunteer will take you on a guided walk-through tour lasting between 30 and 40 minutes. A word of warning, be prepared to carry a macaw on your shoulder as you walk, as some of them are lazy and would rather catch a ride than fly. - Highlife Magazine - Sunshine Coast

For little ones who are scared of birds, there is an animal enclosure next to the aviary where they can pat the friendly alpacas, goats and sheep as well as a miniature horse and donkey. This is a place that cannot be enjoyed in just an hour. Take a picnic and a blanket and use one of the many grassed areas to sit, eat, relax and enjoy the views.

Opening times for the Gardens are from 9am to 4.30pm every day except Christmas Day. Entry fees are very reasonable. Adults are $26 for gardens and aviary or just $16 for the gardens only. Little ones (3 to 15 years) are $7 for both, or free for just the gardens.

Words and images by Jose Alonso