From the quirky and hip, to the loud and lively, the colourful, the clever, the fresh and the fun, our art and culture scene is constantly buzzing. Uncover revamped warehouse spaces transformed into creative meccas, dine at eclectic eateries doubling as art galleries or live music venues, delve into ancient cultures and mingle with the local creatives behind our new movement.
One thing we know for sure, our home turf is turning heads with its raw talent, eager ‘tude and killer underground knack, so take another look and settle in amongst all the arty action with this 48-hour go-to guide.
BREAKFAST AT SPIKEXX, PALM BEACH
Start your day the grooviest way ‘round, with a strong cuppa and breakfast spread served with a side of rock’n’roll. Palm Beach’s boutique coffee house Spikexx Espresso, is one funky hangout. With its huge wall mural of music legend Jimi Hendrix, funkadelic soundtrack of retro tunes, and mix of quirky art and décor, this space is quite the hip brekkie joint, with tasty eats to boot. Try their smashed avo, fruit-brimming acai bowls, or their famed jaffles served on sourdough – we love the ‘Get Baked’, chock-full of baked beans and Swiss cheese!
EXPLORE THE CURRUMBIN INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, CURRUMBIN WATERS
A short drive from Palmy is Dust Temple, an old warehouse, newly-refurbished into a creative haven that’s part gallery, part café, part performance space. Peruse the eclectic mix of art on display, grab a beetroot turmeric latte and nestle down on a comfy couch as you chat all things art, while listening to some sweet acoustic jams. Next, head around the corner to Iron & Resin Garage for a spot of lunch with the cool kids. Here, motorbikes reign supreme, and you’ll notice this from the get go as the Harleys, Indians and everything in between come roaring into the driveway. Check out the retail store stocked with edgy riding accessories and apparel, then fuel up with a big juicy burger or our perennial fave – a good ol’ toasted sanga.
WORKSHOP AT THE CRAFT PARLOUR, PALM BEACH
Mosey your way back over to Palmy to The Craft Parlour, it’s time to unleash that inner artist! Whether you’re looking to put those hands to good work, pick up a couple of new skills, or try something entirely new, The Craft Parlour is an ace little studio that’ll have you constructing all sorts of goodies, certain to make your Nana proud. Offering a range of creative workshops from ceramics to water colouring, naked cake making, Shibori tie-dying, extreme knitting, even basket weaving, this crafty little joint will have you walking out its doors rivalling Martha Stewart herself.
19 KAREN ART GALLERY, MERMAID BEACH
Fancy yourself a bit of an art critic? Then grab your best beret and pondering face, and head to 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace, tucked away in the Mermaid Beach industrial estate. This converted warehouse is now a thriving contemporary art gallery – the largest in the city in fact – that showcases a number of epic Australian and international artists and exhibitions. While meandering through the space, you’ll peruse some seriously striking pieces – from brightly painted Pop art and Expressionistic pieces, to gnarly street art styles and everything in between. 19 Karen is a Gold Coast gem that’s a must-do for any avid art lover.
DINNER AND A MOVIE, ISLE OF CAPRI
It’s time to kick back and unwind date-night style, with a primo dinner and show combo. Head to The Fish Emporium on the Isle of Capri for a finger-licking seafood feast set in a gorgeous waterside location. Serving up fare fresh off the boat, this venue really knows how to make seafood shine. Slurp down the succulent oysters, try a smidge of sashimi, or spoil yourself with one of the Emporium’s signature dishes, like the seared kingfisher with prawn bisque and vermicelli noodles – drooool! Once your belly is feeling blissfully full, duck around the corner to HOTA (previously the Arts Centre) in Bundall. Catch a performing arts production or comedy act live on stage, or watch the latest art-house flick at the darling in-house cinema.
STAY: THE ISLAND, SURFERS PARADISE
With its retro pink exterior and contemporary indoor furnishings sporting all kinds of swagger, The Island boutique hotel in the heart of Surfers Paradise is one for the design buffs out there looking for accommodation with a bit of an edge. Sleekly decorated with modern elements paired with a pinch of coastal style, The Island’s interiors are pretty darn impressive. From the tables covered in brightly tiled mosaics, to nautical-inspired art works, rattan light fixtures, and leather couches styled with vibrantly coloured cushions, this place is packing some serious street cred. Rooms have recently been revamped and you’ll now find an equally charismatic set up, with timber-panelled walls, fresh monochromatic bathrooms and epic cityscape views.
BREAKFAST AT THE VILLAGE MARKETS, BURLEIGH HEADS
Homemade boho threads, Moroccan-esque wares, handcrafted trinkets, health conscious food trucks, and the strum of an acoustic guitar and raspy vocals as your soundtrack; no, you’re not in Bondi – welcome to this little gem we call The Village Markets. Pick up a fresh brew and acai bowl on your way in and spend the morning moseying through alfresco stalls, chatting with local creatives and soaking in the feel-good Sunday vibes. Once you’ve got a taste for our laid-back coastal lifestyle of today, it’s time to take it back in time a little – to the Dreamtime if you wanna be specific…
JELLURGAL WALKABOUT, BURLEIGH HEADS
A quest into Gold Coast culture isn’t complete without a stopover at Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Nestled on the Tally side of the Burleigh Headland, Jellurgal is the place to go to immerse yourself in the Indigenous culture of days gone by. Take the two-hour tour and learn the story of the Yugambeh people, who have lived here for thousands and thousands of years. Follow the guided walk through the ‘Dreaming Mountain’s’ lush bushland, spot culturally significant sights, watch a traditional smoking ceremony, and hear ancient creation stories of The Dreamtime. Once the tour’s wrapped, you’ll be left feeling invigorated, inspired and even more smitten with this magical corner of the Coast.
LUNCH AT TACOCAT, BURLEIGH HEADS
Hola chicos! It’s time for a serving of another kind of culture… Who needs to fly the coop to Mexico when you can get jugs of chilled sangria, an epic range of tasty street-style (and inventive – add pork crackle and corn crunch) tacos, tostadas and quesadillas right here in Burleigh?! Enter Tacocat. This rad new eatery, hidden down the laneway arcade of James Street, will have you morphing into the salsa-ing senorita emoji with your first margarita (we hope you like tequila, because there’s a line-up of six on the menu to get through). Once you’re feeling festive, keep the good times rolling with a pit stop at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse.
SUNDAY ARVO AT MO’S DESERT CLUBHOUSE, BURLEIGH HEADS
Although a new kid on the block, Mo’s Desert Clubhouse has already earned itself a rep for being quite the creative hub, with its chilled vibes, top notch tunes, and mixed-bag bohemian décor, all sprinkled with that hipster charm (and hint of cowboy) we all know and love. To be frank, this hangout is home to some rather cool shindigs, such as live music gigs showcasing upcoming indie artists, art exhibitions, and crafternoon get-togethers. Mo’s also doubles as a space where musos can meet up for a jam sesh or creative collab – they’re all about getting those feel-good juices flowing.
DINNER AT MANDALA ORGANIC ARTS CAFE, MERMAID BEACH
A plant-based venue dishing up some of the most drool-worthy (and guilt-free!) pizzas in town, Mandala Organic Arts Café is a wholesome and heart-warming eatery that’s a fave among local vegans and non-vegans alike. Try the scrumptious creamy mushroom pizza, complete with sautéed tamari mushroom, sweet corn, Kalamata olives and cashew sour cream, yum! The Balsamic is another crowd pleaser, served with paprika-roasted eggplant, sweet potato, capsicum and a delectable balsamic reduction. Sit inside and catch a live music show in the act, or chow down your dinner alfresco-style in the charming outdoor area surrounded by greenery and good vibes. But don’t let those Sunday night blues get you down… the fun doesn’t have to end just yet.
DRINKS AND TUNES AT THE CAMBUS WALLACE, MERMAID BEACH
Drop anchor at the nautically themed Cambus Wallace in the hip hood of Nobby Beach, a beloved local bar that puts on an awesome Sunday sesh combining (more) acoustic tunes with moody rum vibes in true sailor style. Get to work on a ‘Walk the Plank Sundays’ charcuterie board and wash it down with an ol’ fashioned whisky or rum from the masterfully curated spirits wall (just wait ‘til you see the lineup). The cocktails here are also rather delish – we’re obsessed with the ‘The Old Man’, ironically dubbed after the 23-year-old captain of the ship the bar is named after. Drink up, me hearties!