We love heading inland when winter comes around – there’s something therapeutic about rugging up and breathing in the cool mountain air. Soak in the beautiful Gold Coast hinterland on these treks.
South of the border, nestled in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales – home to the world’s oldest subtropical rainforests and mountains forged by volcanoes – Mt Warning towers at 1156m above sea level. With the promise of a 360-degree view of the Great Dividing Range when you reach the summit, the 755m climbing distance is totally worth it. Trek through subtropical and temperate rainforests and shrubland, only having to scramble up rock (with the help of well-positioned chains) for the final tenth of your journey. Suitable for families and beginner mountain climbers, but still challenging for experienced hikers, Mt Warning is one mountain you’ll find yourself coming back to time and time again.
Okay, so this one isn’t technically a ‘hike-able’ mountain. Tamborine Mountain is actually a region in the Gold Coast hinterland, and doesn’t have peaks at all – it’s a plateau, formed by an eruption from Mt Warning some 22 million years ago. Drive up the mountain – stopping to admire the mysterious ‘piano rock’ on your way – for horse riding, bird watching, glow worm tours, thunder-egg fossicking, fishing, walks, some window shopping along Gallery Walk and so much more. Then, when you’re in need of a refuel, find Café Alpine in the Birchgrove Nursery, or opt for one of the many wineries, breweries and distilleries in the area. Finish the day with a bit of fudge, and you won’t care that you didn’t find a mountain to climb after all.
Perched on the Queensland-New South Wales border, Mt Cougal is not for the faint of heart. But, considering you get two views for the price of one at Mt Cougal, we’d say it’s totally worth it. Getting to the twin summits involves a hard climb – lots of scrambling up rock faces, navigating rainforest pathways and even a narrow cave to squeeze through – but once you reach the first peak, it’s all worth it. Your trek is rewarded by panoramic views of the Tweed Valley not once, but twice, from the east and west peaks. Even on your way up, there are sights to see. Make sure you stop and admire the large tree in the large rainforest clearing that was marked by the surveyor Francis Roberts in the 1860s, and check out the Cougal Cascades in Currumbin Valley below for a refreshing post-hike dip.