If you’re looking for action and adventure, you’ve come to the right place. The Gold Coast is a destination that delivers on diverse experiences with wide open spaces and wilderness, world-class attractions and breathtaking natural beauty alongside, fine dining, cool culture, sophisticated shopping and fun in every form. Whether you want to take the plunge with watersports, try your hand at Top Golf or taste your way around Gold Coast’s boutique breweries, bring your sense of adventure for the best experience in our seaside city.
Book in for a stay that’s out of the ordinary at QT Gold Coast. Inspired by the beach culture of the 50s and 60s, this luxury hotel offers premium digs in Surfers Paradise, just metres from the beach. Onsite dining options include traditional Japanese at Yamagen or you can taste your way around a world of flavours at QT Bazaar (special mention to the incredible breakfast buffet). But to really hit that holiday vibe, spend a sun-drenched afternoon in one of the luxe cabanas at poolside precinct, The Spring. Sip on chilled beverages and savour delectable bites in between dips.
Soak up the sophisticated ambience at Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise. Spacious and superbly appointed one, two and three bedroom apartments have been refurbished in soft earthy tones of blue and beige, and boast uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean. With the beautiful beach right across the road and a lively dining and entertainment precinct quite literally on the doorstep, a stay at Peppers Soul is bound to be a 5-star experience. If you need a break from all the action, relax in the stunning, sparkling infinity pool perched high above the beach or head to beautiful Hyde Paradiso – the onsite restaurant where freshly mixed cocktails, Mediterranean cuisine and ocean views will have you feeling refreshed and ready for the next adventure.
With an innovative menu that caters to all dietary types (gluten free, vegan, paleo etc) BSKT is a fave breakfast/brunch/lunch spot for those in the know. This bustling corner café in Mermaid Beach is a favourite for health-conscious foodies. With a choice in indoor and outdoor seating, the vibe is bright and breezy and the industrial chic interior features polished concrete floors, natural timber tables and exposed brick. Among the breakfast fare, acai bowls are a BSKT specialty, available in a huge variety of customisable combinations of fruit, granola and toppings. The lunch menu offers healthy summer salads, vego plates or pulled beef burgers. Given it’s proximity to the beach, BSKT presents the perfect weekend plan – grab a takeaway meal and a coffee, take it to the beach and savour the flavours while you soak up the views.
For fresh, filling and healthy eats, head to Finn Poké – there’s one on James Street in Burleigh Heads and another at Pacific Fair. Made with sustainably sourced fish, Finn Poké are putting their own spin on the popular Hawaiian dish. Choose from fish, chicken or beef on a bed of soba noodle, rice or greens then customise it with a selection of tasty additions to create a mouthwatering meal for under $20.
Follow the alluring purple glow emanating from Maggie Choo’s for some next-level Asian cuisine. The exciting menu features street style hawker food with Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian influences, and the ambiance is opulent. The ceiling is festooned with lanterns and purple cherry blossoms and with quirky Eastern-inspired street art decorating the interior, it’s a feast for your eyes as well as your tastebuds. Get the party started with one of their unique cocktails (Lady Luck comes with a fortune cookie) and order share plates to sample a bit of everything. The sashimi platters are incredible, as are the prawn and crab dumplings and pillowy bao.
Visit Top Golf for clubbing of a different kind. You don’t have to be good at golf or keen on the sport to enjoy it, with pumping tunes, multiple bars and social competition creating a par-tee atmosphere. The unique venue features fun golf games for all ages and abilities, and you play from your own playing bay, similar to a bowling lane. It’s impressively high tech. Microchipped golf balls measure your speed, distance, accuracy and overall score, which appears up on a screen in your bay. You can order drinks and shareable diner style food like pulled pork sliders, nachos and wings. Top Golf opens around lunchtime (10am on weekends) but night games get extra sparkle when the golfing stadium lights up after dark.
Surf lessons are a rite of passage for visitors to the Gold Coast – it’s one of the best ways to experience our sublime beaches and have a tonne of fun at the same time. Surf instructors tend to have sunny dispositions and this bright bunch are always happy to share the stoke with new students to the sport. With some basic instruction and a few practice waves, you should get the hang of it in no time. The exhilaration you feel standing up for the first time will stay with you long after the experience. Take your pick from surf schools along the Gold Coast from Main Beach down to Coolangatta.
The Gold Coast Broadwater begins just behind Surfers Paradise and stretches all the way north past Labrador and Runaway Bay to Paradise Point. It’s a huge, calm-water estuary and offers an enormous range of wonderful water-based experiences. The numerous creeks, canals and lakes spread across the city provide plenty of opportunity to make a splash. Think of any activity you can do on water and chances are you can do it here. Take it slow on a sunset cruise, push out on a paddleboard or relax on a romantic gondola ride. For a more action-packed approach, have a go at hydrofoiling or join a jet ski or jet boat tour. When we say these are immersive experiences, we mean it! Pack your towel and discover the aquatic adventures waiting on Gold Coast’s waterways.
Head to the lush, rainforested hills of the hinterland for a real adventure in nature. Strap in for a swinging time at the Tree Top Challenge at Mt Tamborine – Australia’s largest treetop adventure park. Enjoy a birds eye view from the canopy as you traverse nine acres of subtropical rainforest via 120 different high ropes courses and 10 thrilling ziplines. Suitable for all levels of fitness and experience, it might make your palms a little sweaty as you test your skills (safely harnessed at all times of course) but the satisfaction and elation you feel as you conquer each challenge is brilliant. Not to mention the freedom, fun and speed of the zipline sections. Weeeeeeeeee!!!
Sandwiched between Burleigh and Mermaid Beach, Miami is a small suburb with big energy. Tucked away in the back streets of this beautiful beachside neighbourhood, you’ll also find a treasure trove of local haunts including a slew of craft breweries, Granddad Jack’s distillery, cute boutiques and homeware stores and some of the best cafes on the Gold Coast. Miami Marketta is a much loved local dishing up street food markets and live music. Check out Lumber Punks for some axe-throwing fun and skaters will definitely want to visit Pizzey Park Skate Park, which has recently had a major upgrade. And then there’s the golden stretch of sand fringed by parklands and pine trees – Miami Beach is an absolute beauty.
This fun and flexible itinerary should give you plenty of inspiration for active adventure on the Gold Coast. If you’re keen for more check out Thrill Seeker’s Guide to the Gold Coast.
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