With the weather as cold as it is at the moment, escaping to the beach for a weekend getaway isn’t an option. But still, just over halfway through the year, there’s a desire to get away from home and find time to reconnect and recharge. There’s one place that embodies the perfect winter retreat — the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Long stretches of road wind up toward the Hinterland, with its lush rolling green hillsides where horses and cattle nibble near the roadside. The sun cracks over the horizon at dawn, illuminating the mist that has settled, turning it into brilliant shades of yellow, orange and eery grey. From Gerrard’s Lookout along Montville-Maleny Road you can take in views stretching from the Hinterland right out to the Sunshine Coast and ocean.

Accommodation is easy to find, with plenty of wonderful Bed and Breakfasts offering comfy, cosy and quaint accommodation. Just be sure to choose one with the biggest beds, snuggliest blankest and a fireplace for toasting marshmallows. The two best spots to base yourself would be Maleny and Montville, both offering cosy digs and plenty to see and do nearby.

Exploring the town of Maleny brings with it the smell of fresh, crisp air and the lure of home-made fudge from Sweets on Maple. The free taste testings get a good workout before you finally commit to a flavour, or five. The main street is lined with book stores, art galleries, antiques, coffee shops, organic food stores, thrift shops and more.

A short drive away is the small but might Maleny Cheese Factory. Watch the factory workers briefly then hit the free tastings and stock up on all things cheese, from creamy brie and a deliciously smokey cheddar through to unique creations like Buffalo Quark.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays the famous Eumundi Markets pop up a 40 minute drive from the Montville and Maleny area. It may sound like a fair distance, but it doesn’t take long to get there, just be sure to arrive early to get a good parking spot. The markets are huge, selling everything from crystals, jewellery, hand-made clothing, art, fresh produce, food and absolute everything else in-between.

If that sounds a bit too far, stay closer to home and visit the Maleny Markets which happen every Sunday right in the heart of Maleny’s main town area.

There are a number of great restaurants to choose from, but for a real foodie treat that you won’t soon forget visit two-hatted restaurant, The Long Apron. The five course degustation will knock your socks off. It’s also advisable to visit Maleny Mountain Wines for a tasting and to stock up on the good stuff, as well as a stop at a cafe for afternoon tea of fresh scones with jam and cream.

The most important thing about visiting the Sunshine Coast Hinterland region is to make time to relax, recharge and reconnect. Spend a few hours reading a book in front of an open fire place, sleep in and go for walks through the forest or visit Lake Baroon.

It’s about taking time out to breath the fresh mountain air and slip into a slower pace of life, one you cannot help but enjoy.