Mooloolah Valley Ranch since 1968

HISTORY and Culture


In the beginning ….

In 1968, Atalanta stumbled upon 90 acres in the Mooloolah Valley … a unique parcel of land …abundant with magnificent forest trees, waterways, rainforests, lush gullies, a cave in the mountains .. all teeming with wildlife .. wallabies, echidnas, possums, sugar gliders & a myriad of birds, ducks & turtles. …and so began Atalanta’s passion for this land.

At just 18 years old, ideas flourished how to showcase this natural beauty to the world. Tourists would come, to enjoy the glorious scenery … on horseback. Harnessing her knowledge from a childhood on the land, Atalanta began Trail Riding … with the kids growing up on the backs of horses, Country Accommodation grew from a want of a sleep-over at the ranch.

Still today, since 1980 Atalanta is the Cowgirl Sheriff, & with her dedicated team, shares with people from all over the world … the joy of horses & donkeys & ponies … true adventure trails in a glorious forest setting.

History & Culture

Atalanta’s Bush Sanctuary, backs onto 800 ha of State Forest, open to bushwalkers & bike riders. This vast area extends from the south at Landsborough township, west to Maleny highway, north to Mooloolah Valley, & east to the Great Northern Rail line. Close by is the Heritage Listed Dularcha Railway Tunnel, built late 1800s, & steeped in local history.

Back in 1890

Story goes …. back in 1890 … a Tent City was erected on Tunnel Ridge … entire families lived there …with a School Tent, First-Aid Tent, Supply Tent, even a Grog Tent.

Everyday, men would march down to build the tunnel. It took 2 years. Stories abound of steam trains, carrying soldiers to Gympie through this tunnel … to quell the miners’ uprising in the Goldfields. Used for only 30 years, the narrow-gauge rail-line was abandoned …today this fascinating old tunnel holds long-forgotten secrets.

When Atalanta first settled Mooloolah, initials of the early settlers were still visible, carved in the tunnel walls, today graffiti covers any trace.

Historic Aboriginal Significance

The Mooloolah Valley guests can meander along old Roses’ Road … following in the footsteps of the Aboriginal people, along the Ancient Aboriginal Walking Track … travelling between the Sunshine Coast & the Bunya Mountains, for the Bunya Nut Feasts.

Ancient Smoking Ceremony

A time when Aboriginal groups from all over south east Queensland, gathered together, every three years, for feasting & tribal ceremonies at the Bunya Nut Festival. Keenly aware of the native people’s footprint on this land, Atalanta invited the local Gubbi Gubbi people, to welcome happy Spirits, at the opening of Frangipani Country Guest House in 2001. Lyndon Davis, elder of the Sunshine Coast Gubbi Gubbi tribe, & proud ambassador for his people … performed an Ancient Smoking Ceremony … & the Toolumbi Aboriginal Dance Troupe performed Tribal Dancing. A Smoking Ceremony is an ancient Australian Aboriginal custom that involves smouldering various native plants to produce smoke, which they believe has cleansing properties, and the ability to ward off bad spirits …in order to a make pathway for a brighter future. Today, Atalanta’s 3 guest houses exude an amazing spiritual energy, & it is firmly believed, this is thanks to Lyndon Davis & his Ancient Smoking Ceremony, blessing this land.

Fly the Flag for Australia

Atalanta’s Mooloolah Valley Team, Flies the Flag for Australia every day … offering all sorts of equine adventures … brushing & grooming, interacting with animals, & gentle riding. Visitors can explore the gullies & rainforests … help feed the animals … take a Pink Tractor ride …

Disabled & special care visitors can enjoy the sheer pleasure of mixing with the animals … true Equine Therapy at its best! People of all ages & abilities are welcome. For the myriads of overseas tourists, who visit every year, to bush walk thru’ the old Dularcha Railway tunnel … is a true-blue Aussie experience.

The Sheriff & her Deputies

Along with the Sheriff & her Deputies, a team of devoted Mooloolah Valley Volunteers greet visitors every day. Over the years, volunteering at Mooloolah Valley, has helped shape the future of many young people. Important life skills are learnt, while caring for the animals, working in a bush environment, & sharing ponies & donkeys with children. Special schools often bring children in need. Many a lost soul has found direction-in-life at Mooloolah Valley!

A Peek into the Past

First Settlers Dennis Family

Historic Photo

DUlarAchA Railway TunnEl