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A Guide to the Gold Coast

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The Gold Coast is Brisbane’s big sister in terms of lifestyle. It’s the perfect mix of boho beach relaxation & party until the sun says hello. The Gold Coast also has stunning nature activities or you can get your adrenaline pumping by visiting the theme parks. Anyway enough chit chat, Let’s get planning. 

Must - not - miss experiences

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Must - not - miss experiences...

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Sky point observation deck & climb at Q1.

 

How are you with heights? You can actually hang off the side of the building & get a beautiful photo to scare the heck out of your lovely mum. It’s highly worth it & you can see the skyline stretch out in both directions. 

$$ : 110$ per person for the climb package 

The ‘Big 3’ theme parks.

Every child’s dream birthday! Ideally if you would like to do Wet 'n' Wild, Dreamworld & Movie World you would need a day for each. Otherwise, maybe just pick your favourite & make a whole day of it. If the option is there, definitely go in the middle of the week just to avoid some of the queues. Also pack sunscreen & wear comfy shoes- It's a big day!

$$ : 79$ for a day pass or 159$ for 3 days entry to all the parks

Beachfront markets.

 

Depending on the time of year, you can find night markets right on the beach. What’s better than combining shopping locally with delicious food, live music & a warm balmy night. Google to make sure that it’s running when you are there.

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Draculas Cabaret.

 

 

A night out combining food & a cabaret performance! You can look at the different packages available but all of them come with a delicious 3 course meal. 

$$ : 124$ per person including Sparkling on arrival

Australian Outback Spectacular.

 

 

Another food & theatre experience but this one has live cattle & horses alongside a huge steak dinner. The story that’s portrayed follows two farmers that live on the land. 

$$ : 120$ per person

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Purlingbrook Falls.

 

I cannot highly suggest this enough! It was one of my favourite hikes when living in Brisbane! It’s a beautiful & very easy 1-hour drive from Surfers Paradise. The hike itself is graded as easy-medium intensity & the 4km hike takes around 2 hours. You can also take food & swim at the nearby pools. You won't regret it. 

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Mount Tamborine.

Not just a viewpoint, there is a buzzing hive of options when it comes to activities. There are a number of different hikes that you can do; including, a walk to see glow worms, a treetop walk & a distillery. There are lots of different cafès & restaurants on top of the mountain to refuel you for a day of exploration & it’s only a 40 minute drive from Surfers Paradise.

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Where to get a delicious feed...

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Milkman's daughter.

Pancake Diner.

Willow Dining.

ORZO

Yellowfin

They serve up beautiful breakfast/brunch options. They are health conscious, not somewhere to go for a greasy hangover feast, but don’t worry there are plenty of options for that! They also have a range of tea & coffee options. The setting is very chic & beachy.   

This is an award winning restaurant that has been open since day dot. It serves home style, super fluffy pancakes & families go back time & again because they are just that good. A very cute diner atmosphere. They do sell more than pancakes but I suggest if you go, get what they are known for.

Known for their kitsch interiors & tapas menu. It mixes Mediterranean & modern Australian cuisine & is best enjoyed slowly with lots of wine & good company.

They have your pasta cravings covered. They have a very contemporary layout & are based conveniently at Broadbeach. The dishes are perfectly paired to the array of wines on offer & they have a ‘chef's choice’ tasting board if you are looking for delicious food without needing to make any decisions. 

If you have a seafood craving, run, don't walk to yellowfin. It’s located in Broadbeach. With a large outdoor seating area. It has won a host of awards from Travellers choice to Trip Advisor for being the best seafood on the Gold Coast.

📍Mermaid beach. 

$$ : 14$-30$ 

 

⏰ : 7.30a - 1.00p 

📍Surfers Paradise.

 

$$ : 6$-20$

 

⏰ : 8.00a - 2.00p

📍Burleigh Heads. 

 

$$ : 16$-34$ 

 

⏰ : 5.30p - 9.30p 

📍Broadbeach. 

 

$$ : 10$-50$ 

 

⏰ : 12.00p - late 

📍Broadbeach. 

 

$$ : 10$-60$ 

 

⏰ : 12.00p - late 

I know you want to see the menu! 

Sharing Food
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Where to buy a class  'A' cocktail 

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Burleigh Pavillion

Roosevelt Lounge

The Island 

'19' At the Star

Grandad Jacks distillery

You can’t get much closer to the sand if you try. It has a very beachy vibe to it, sun soaked & with high tables galore it’s the perfect way to watch the sun go down after a day of hitting the pavement exploring. They don’t take reservations & it will get busy as it's popular with locals & tourists alike.

A 1920’s inspired speakeasy bar, exclusively opened on weekends only. Boasts a range of theatrical cocktails & live music on both nights. Definitely a small bar but that’s to be anticipated with the concept. It’s an experience rather than a boozy night out.

I don’t know about you but if I see a rooftop bar with plants galore my eyes turn to hearts. It is awarded the largest open air rooftop bar in the whole of the Gold Coast. Alongside delicious, fruity cocktails and DJ’s playing summer beats it makes for the perfect afternoon drink.

This is a new venue that has views covering the skyline of Gold Coast. It’s a pool deck and lounge with a restaurant inside. Definitely a place to get some instagram photos but maybe not financially sustainable for a full night. 

It’s a cozy setting best shared with a group of friends. The booking allows you two hours & you can add a tasting package for an additional 30$. It’s BYO food! There are places nearby that you can order from if you don’t have a chance to get prepared & it’s pet friendly as well.

📍Burleigh Heads. 

💃 : Smart casual 

 

⏰ : 11.00a - 12.00m 

📍Broadbeach.

:💃 : Cocktail dress

⏰ : 5.00p - 1.00a

📍Surfers Paradise. 

💃 : Smart Casual 

⏰ : 4.00p - late 

📍Broadbeach. 

💃 : Cocktail dress

 

⏰ : 4.00p - late 

📍Miami. 

💃 : Casual 

 

⏰ : 3.00p - 9.30p 

Cocktails
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Where to snap the fire Insta shots... 🔥

The idea here is to have your friends green with a healthy envy! 📸

  • Sky point observation deck. 230m above sea level makes everything look like a beautiful ant. The cityscape is stunning however!

  • North Burleigh hill. More of the cityscape but from a different angle, absolutely gorgeous at sunset with fish ‘n’ chips.

  • Miami marketta. A night food market but also doubles as amazing backdrops for instagram shots.

  • Mount Tamborine. Any of the activities mentioned earlier in the guide will award you some beautiful scenery, landscape and adventure shots.

  • Surfers Paradise. Worth a sunrise walk & a swim before taking a snap with the iconic sign.

  • Currumbin Valley. Greenery galore.

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Where to book a room...

There are a few main suburbs to consider. 

 

If you are on the Gold Coast to hit up the theme parks & let your inner child run free look at Helensvale & Coomera areas. 

If you are on the Gold Coast to party until the sun comes up stay in Surfers Paradise.

If you are on the Gold Coast to wake up on the beach & eat delicious acai bowls all day, stay in Broadbeach. 

 

$$ : Around 160$-400$ a night is the average for an Airbnb. You can look at options below. 

Website : https://www.airbnb.com/ 

** If you have never stayed in a hostel before, click HERE to decide if they are the right choice for you before reading on. ** 

Bunk.

Located 100m only from the beach, they have free Wi-Fi, they also have privacy screens for all of their beds, which is a rare touch. They have a great common deck area with a pool and hot tub.


6 Beach Road,

Surfers Paradise 

Tequila Sunrise.

Aside from having a wonderful name & a bomb location they also have a ‘capsule beds’ concept. As well as, breakfast included daily & dinner 4 nights a week.

3298 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise 

Rainbow Bay backpackers.

It's a relatively small hostel with only 16 rooms but it has a sauna, spa & outdoor swimming pool. A free daily breakfast is included in the rates & it’s very close to Snapper Rocks, perfect for beginner surfers.

3 Hill Street,

Coolangatta 

Budds in Surfers.

Also right on the beach & a 5 minute walk from Cavill Avenue, the shopping district in Surfers. The unique thing about this hostel is their long list of offerings.

 

Surf boards, bikes & standup paddle board tours are all available straight through the hostel. At night they have $3 happy hour & nightly events to help you mix & make friends. 

6 Pine Avenue,

Budds Beach

Maxmee hostel.

Great location, central to everything. They have a garden terrace & ticket assistance for attractions, but not as much of an environment to meet new people in, compared to the other hostel options. It is very affordable though & there are plenty of opportunities to meet people out on the Gold Coast.

 2837 Gold Coast Highway, Surfers Paradise

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How to get from point   'A' to 'B' 🚗

How to get to all these beautiful destinations mentioned above? 

The Gold Coast doesn’t have a train system running through the CBD unlike some of the other major cities in Australia. They do have a light rail/tram system though. You can use the same go-card to get around in both Brisbane & the Gold Coast.

Taxis are plentiful along the coastline but I still suggest booking through an app especially around peak times. 

But why not hire a bike & ride from beach to beach living your ultimate sandy toe fantasies? It’s the cheapest way to get around the city & is a beautiful, flat ride along the coastline.

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I hope you have a wonderful time on the Gold Coast, please tag me in your photos. I would love to see!
@awanderingredhead
 
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