The nearby Glasshouse Mountains are often the first sign for travellers they have reached the Sunshine Coast, and visitors looking to explore the ancient peaks and surrounding Hinterland townships are in safe hands with the VIC’s volunteers.
The VIC in Settler’s Rotary Park celebrated its 10thbirthday today (9 May, 2019), but it has been 17 years since an information centre first opened in the Glass House Mountains.
The original display was a yellow caravan set up in Matthew Flinders Park off Steve Irwin Way, and many of the volunteers have been showcasing the region’s nearby hikes, accommodation options, attractions and eateries since the van’s opening in 2002.
Among those volunteers is Ivon Northage, who took up the role three months after the van opened.
Since taking on the position Mr Northage has dedicated himself to learning the history of the Glasshouse Mountains, penning the book The National Heritage Listed Glasshouse Mountains to share the local history, geology and Indigenous knowledge.
Mr Northage said visitors to the region were not only interested in mountain hikes and visiting nearby attractions such as Australia Zoo, but learning about the mountains’ history and geology.
“Many come with preconceived ideas that the Glasshouse Mountains are old volcanoes, but they’re not, they’re magma intrusions,” he said.
“The geology is a really interesting subject.”
Others are interested to learn how the Glasshouse Mountains got their name, with next year marking 250 years since Captain Cook named the mountains as he sailed along Australia’s coast in 1770.
Visit Sunshine Coast has managed the Glass House Mountains VIC since January 2012, and CEO Simon Latchford said its success was made possible by the passionate team of 43 volunteers who gave their time each week.
“You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who knows as much about the Glasshouse Mountains and surrounding Hinterland townships as our volunteers,” Mr Latchford said.
“Today’s modern traveller will research a destination before they leave home, but many are after word-of-mouth referrals once they arrive to help with their decision making and that’s where our volunteers play an important role.
“Today’s 10thbirthday celebration is a great way to thank our volunteers for their unwavering passion and support.
“The Glasshouse Mountains are one of our region’s star natural attractions, and it’s important we continue to show travellers that yes we have a beautiful coastline, but our Hinterland is just as spectacular.”
Divisional Councillor Rick Baberowksi congratulated the Visitor Information Centre volunteers who had welcomed thousands of visitors to the area over the past decade.
“The Glasshouse Mountains VIC plays a dual role,” Cr Baberowski said.
“Firstly, providing information services to our visitors and locals to keep them well informed of the extensive range of tracks, trails, accommodation places and tourism activities.
“And secondly, as an interpretive centre, explaining to our visitors the natural and social history including that of our indigenous peoples.
“This VIC is the gateway to the Glasshouse Mountains and for 10 years, our community has played host to those who have visited this important regional asset – our majestic mountains which are becoming recognised around the world.”
Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said: “for many of us like me, when we are returning to the Coast from a trip away, it is the sight of the Glass House Mountains that really tells us we are home”.
“The mountains are a Sunshine Coast icon, and a must see for any tourist to our region. But though the Mountains are a beautiful on their own, the colour, the stories and the science provided by the Glass House Mountains Visitor Centre has for ten years enriched and enlivened the experience for locals and tourists alike.
“I’m proud to have been able to support them. If you want to understand what our iconic mountains are really all about, then pay a call on the friendly volunteers of the Glass House Mountains Visitor Centre today.”
The Glass House Mountains VIC was opened on Saturday, 9 May 2009 by Sunshine Coast Council with the assistance of State and Federal Government grants.