The Mary Cairncross Walk is one of the easiest walks in the Glasshouse Mountains. This rainforest walk is quite special, so here are a few tips to make the best out of it, including tips to see cute wild pademelons.

Visit the Discovery Centre before your walk

A panel with photos of birds and buttons to press to hear their melody at the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Discovery Centre

The Discovery Centre is amazing for kids. But I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much as an adult. I really loved having the opportunity to see what birds look like and how they sound. We often hear birds while hiking, and we could finally put a name to a melody!

Access to the Discovery Centre requires a gold coin donation. The volunteers at the centre don’t check it, but it’s good to remember to bring one. If you don’t have cash, why not buying a souvenirs there to support the centre?

Take your time to complete the Mary Cairncross walk

The Mary Cairncross Walk is short and flat. Still, it took us more than one hour to complete the 3.5-kilometre loops. Of course, you could do it a lot faster. But it’s not really the point when you visit this rainforest.

After learning more about the forest at the Discovery Centre, the Mary Cairncross Walk is a fantastic opportunity to try to identify trees and birds in the forest. So you don’t want to walk too fast, and breaks are necessary to listen to your surroundings.

We also added the very short canopy board walk. It’s not as spectacular as the Mount Tamborine Skywalk or the Lamington National Park tree top walk, but it’s well worth the very short detour.

Tips to see pademelons during your Mary Cairncross Walk

A pademelon on Mary Cairncross Walk in the Glasshouse Mountains

We saw about a dozen pademelons on the Mary Cairncross Walk. It surely is the highlight of the walk for us and the reason why we chose to go there in the first place.

Taking your time is the most important tip to see pademelon on the Mary Cairncross Walk. Two pademelons crossed the path right in front of us, so these ones were easy to spot, but we could not see them well as they jumped so fast!

Pademelons are not big, and their brown fur is a fantastic camouflage in the forest. So I highly recommend walking slowly, so that your shoes don’t make too much noise. It will allow you to hear noises in the bush. That’s when you can stop and quietly look for movement in the bushes. They camouflage really well, so take your time.

If you’re unlucky to cross paths with a noisy group, as there are many kids on the paths especially during weekends and school holidays, you’ll be glad that you have enough time to stop and wait for the forest to be quiet again.

Two pademelons hidden in the branches of the rainforest on Mary Cairncross Walk in the Glasshouse Mountains

If you want to take photos of the pademelon, you should bring a camera with a zoom. The pademelons on the Mary Cairncross Walk don’t scare easy, but they are still wild shy animals, and they will not approach visitors. There isn’t much light penetrating the rainforest, and the pademelon camouflage makes it really hard for mobile phones to take photos.

Like always with wildlife, avoid sudden movement and observe them from a distance. If you’re quiet, the pademelons won’t jump away.

Responsible travel tip: Feeding wildlife can change their behaviours and accustom them too much to humans. As tempting as it may be, don’t give food to animals. It’s more harm than good for them. Read more about it here.

Check the views from the platform

There’s a viewing platform just above the café where you can beautiful views of the Glasshouse Mountains. The views are better from up there than from the other side of the road.

Take a break at the Mountain View Café

We did the Mary Cairncross Walk in winter, so we were very happy to finish with a hot drink at the Mountain View Café! The views aren’t as good as from the viewing platform, unfortunately.

Have you done the Mary Cairncross Walk? Share your experience in the comments below!

Where’s Mary Cairncross Walk?

Mary Cairncross Walk is in the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, in the north of the Glasshouse Mountains in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to drive there from Brisbane.


Eloise is the creator and writer of She writes about her experiences exploring exotic destinations and finding hidden gems closer to home. Her goal is to share tips and stories to inspire and encourage others to go on their own adventures. She loves outdoor and nature-based activities like scuba diving, hiking, kayaking, and sailing. She grew up in France and has lived in England and Turkey before calling Australia home for the past decade. So let's get ready for another adventure!

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