It is not far short of five hours to drive from Kochi to the tea-laden hills of Munnar, but lovers of mountain scenery will find the trip into the lush green forests of the Western Ghats thoroughly worthwhile. Explore the hill station of Munnar, once the summer resort of the British during the colonial period. Sprawling tea plantations, mountain peaks (Anamudi, at 2,695m is the highest) and gushing waterfalls makes this an inspiring holiday destination. The region is perfect for trekking, mountain climbing, birdwatching, boating, trout fishing, and cycling. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Eravikulam National Park which is home to the famous Nilgiri Tahr - a rare species of mountain goat -- is worth a visit. Don’t forget to pack a sweater or jacket – especially in Kerala's winter months when daytime temperatures in the mountains can fall to between 10-15C and, at night, even lower.
As an option, if you find birdwatching rewarding, you could consider spending an extra night at a homestay en route to Munnar, close to the renowned Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary.