Metropolitan sophistication meets rural lifestyle
Drop into The Gympie Times office at 44 Nash St and grab a copy of Sold On magazine for more suburb profiles.
THE Mary Valley, with it's townships of Kenilworth, Kandanga, Imbil, Amamoor and Dagan, has become the more affordable option to the Noosa Hinterland, according to lifetime local and realtor, John Cochrane.
Mr Cochrane and his wife Margaret own Gympie Regional Realty and Noosa Regional Realty and has been in the industry for the past 11 years.
"Both Marg and I are lifetime locals, we were both born and raised here,” he said.
Mr Cochrane said for those seeking a rural/residential lifestyle, the Mary Valley is the best of both worlds.
"For those who are forced out of the Cooroy area, the Valley represents value for money compared to the Noosa Hinterland,” he said.
The Mary Valley is also a more viable option for banks and financiers to other areas of the region.
"It's got good soil and good water and easy access to the Coast and the city. Banks are seeing the Mary Valley as country with water and close proximity to facilities. It's a more secure area to lend into,” he said.
This area of the region has always had strong ties to agriculture but the face of that is changing with niche rural industries and small agricultural endeavours replacing the original dairy and pineapple industries that once dominated the area.
Another driving force in the area is tourism.
"It's only an hour and a half from Kandanga to Brisbane these days. People don't see that as too far away and especially on the weekends townships like Imbil and Kenilworth are very busy.
"People are seeing the area as a weekend destination and they are loving the lifestyle.
"They are coming for the weekend, liking what they see and wanting to live here,” Mr Cochrane said.
The Mary Valley's rich fertile soil and abundant water make for perfect crop farming and pastures and a real boon for the area are the paddock to plate food tourism ventures that are helping to encourage more tourism dollars.
That's not the only tourism venture that is helping boost the local econony.
The Mary Valley Rattler steam engine also visits Amamoor several times a week, bringing tourists into the area from Gympie.
A world-class equestrian complex just outside of Imbil at Stirling's Crossing also this year hosted the prestigious Tom Quilty Gold Cup, an endurance ride that has been held across Australia for the past 65 years.
This event attracted upwards of 3000 people to the area from across Australia and the world.
The Imbil State Forest has also been the site of premier rally races and other equestrian and motorcycle events.
Music and cultural festivals feature prominently on the Mary Valley annual calendar of events.
Each year in August, the Amamoor Creek State Forest plays host to the Gympie Music Muster which attracts ten of thousands of visitors to the area.
Other events that are growing in popularity are the Mitchell Creek Rock n Blues Festival and The Jungle Love Festival.
Mitchell Creek is held at Kandanga Creek in September and festival headliners this year will be Mungo Jerry and The Badloves.
Jungle Love takes place in November, just outside of Imbil. It is a free-form music festival celebrating up and coming artists and performers.
All of these events play a part in stimulating the economy of the townships in the Mary Valley and making the area a desirable address.
"The statistics prove there is growth in the market in the Valley, and I think it's a trend that will continue. It's a good place to live and buy,” Mr Cochrane said.