The Road Ahead : April May 2008
travel & leisure APR/MAY 08 39 STORY CAROLE HORNE PHOTOS MARK DEADMAN It takes its name from the Aboriginal word for "black ants" but don't let that description put you off making tracks to Kin Kin, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. This small country community sits in the picturesque Kin Kin Valley. Whether you approach from the Bruce Highway, via Pomona, or journey inland from Noosa, the drive affords glorious views of green pastures and gently rolling hills. Kin Kin came to life in the 1870s as a settlement for bullockies hauling logs to the sawmill at Elanda Point. You can get a taste of the town's timber-getting history by dropping into the Country Life Hotel -- one of those friendly, rural pubs where the walls serve as a photo album of the area's past. The hotel has its own interesting history. Built in 1914, it survived numerous floods and even a tornado in the 1970s which stripped the roof and verandas. These days, you might see a horse or two tied to the hitching rails outside the hotel. Kin Kin is the gateway to four of the six Noosa Trails that thread through the hinterland and the pub is a popular starting point for riders. Stay for a meal in the shady beer garden, but don't be fooled by the tongue-in-cheek menu offering such delights as Devilled Dingo Dongers and Wild Wombat Wontons. Equally exotic but more familiar fare can be found down the road at Kin Kin Manor -- a tastefully restored Queenslander- turned-restaurant which is also an Asian cooking school. Owner Marilyn Rekdale enlists experienced local chefs to lead classes in Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisine. "I travel a lot through Asia and I love the food," Marilyn said. "The surrounding lushness of this country is very much like a lot of the Malaysian countries. So when you come out here, it's a similar feeling." If cooking's not your pleasure, there are plenty of other activities in the area to keep you busy. Go boating on nearby Lake Cootharaba or play a round at Kabi Golf Club, Australia's only certified organic course, where the fairways double as organic fruit orchards. Staying in the Kin Kin area should prove no problem. Choices include two Australian-renowned health retreats, Living Valley Springs and High Spirits Retreat. If chasing the holy grail of good health isn't a pressing priority, you can hide away at one of the local 'bed and breakfasts'. Kin Kin Haven is a quiet nook just 4 km from town, offering the choice of three queen-sized bedrooms, each decorated in earthy colours and set in tropical gardens. It is also the rural retreat of owner and host, Lew Bromley. For 10 years, Lew has been the operations manager for Brisbane's Riverfire festival -- handling the challenging logistical feat of coordinating government, civic and defence authorities. "I spend a lot of time in Brisbane in the lead-up to the festival. As soon as it's over, I shoot back up here to regain my sanity." SOOTHE YOUR soul You can recharge your batteries with a relaxing visit to the Sunshine Coast's Kin Kin. SEE IT ON SEVEN Share Sofie Formica's experience of Kin Kin on Sunday, April 27, at 5.30pm, on Channel Seven's The Great South East. GET THERE WITH RACQ Plan your driving holiday in the Sunshine Coast hinterland area online with the RACQ trip planner, at racq.com. See RACQ's tips on The Great South East and Queensland Weekender. RIGHT: Sofie Formica tries a cooking class. TOP: Lush country around Kin Kin.
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