Beginning around 30km inland from the coast’s jangling excesses, the Gold Coast Hinterland is a mountainous, rainforested plateau encompassing a series of beautifully wild national parks, all packed with scenery, animals and birds. The pick of the bunch is Green Mountain at Lamington National Park, with atmospheric hiking trails through beech forest and a stunning density of birdlife. Tamborine Mountain’s less rugged walking tracks and country “villages” also provide a relaxing weekend escape, while waterfalls in Springbrook National Park make for an easy day-trip.
Weather ranges from very wet in summer (when there are leeches in abundance and some hiking trails are closed) to fairly cool and dry in winter, though rain is a year-round possibility. If you’re planning to hike, you’ll need good footwear for the slippery paths, although trails are well marked.