Make yourself at home while visiting Southport and Labrador. The original CBD of the Gold Coast and recent athletic hub, is brimming with tasty eats and memorable activities – here’s what the locals like to do:
First you’ll need coffee. Drop in to the Brickworks on Ferry Road for a cup of Merlo – freshly roasted on site – and pick up something decadent from the bakery across the way. Also at the Brickworks centre is Cardamom Pod, a local go-to for organic, vegan and gluten-free deliciousness (they also do great coffee). A short walk from the Aquatic Centre you’ll find Percy’s Corner – a cute café in a beautifully restored ambulance station.
SEA WORLD ADVENTURES
If you’re feeling adventurous, head to Sea World, say a quick hello to the resident dolphins and polar bears, then strap in for a scenic helicopter ride over Surfers Paradise. There’s no better birds-eye view. Between June and September you can join a whale watch tour and hit the high seas to see some of our largest visitors as they cruise up and down the coast.
STEP BACK IN TIME
Stroll down memory lane with some of our senior locals and check out Pavillion 34 next to the Southport Surf Club. The bathing pavilion has been reincarnated as a casual beach café where you can get a good old-fashioned newspaper-wrapped parcel of fish and chips. The original change rooms are still there housing plenty of photos circa 1930s. Nostalgia is great isn’t it?
VISIT THE SPIT AND BUY FRESH PRAWNS
This not-so-secret local hangout offers calm Broadwater swimming on one side and an impressive surf break on the other. It’s no wonder a tribe of natives head to The Spit every weekend. After a swim, surf, fish or walk you can indulge in (cheap) fresh prawns bought right off the trawlers. Hop across the floating pontoons at the Gold Coast Fishermen’s Coop and buy prawns, crabs and the freshest of fish from the guys who just reeled them in.
SIP CHAMPERS WITH THE YACHTIES
If peeling your own prawns doesn’t ap-peel (ha!) then perch your good self on the deck at Southport Yacht Club and gorge on beautifully prepared seafood from the Waterfront Restaurant. Then order a beverage at their floating pontoon bar and ogle multi-million dollar yachts and powerboats in the marina. Even better – be a boatie yourself with a learn-to-sail lesson. You’ll feel like a local in no time.
While you’re at the fancy end of town why not join the ‘ladies who lunch’ at one of the luxury restaurants on iconic Tedder Avenue in Main Beach? Slip in a spot of shopping then settle in at Palazzo Versace for an afternoon by the pool. This is what Gold Coast locals do for a treat. We say indulge yourself while you have the chance.
BARGAIN WITH THE BEST OF THEM
There’s no better place to bargain-shop than Harbour Town – Australia’s largest outlet shopping centre. Browse 240 stores, grab a bite to eat, see a movie and go home with bags of goodies you’ve bought at up to 70% off retail price. Shopaholics, what’s not to love?
Hit the water at Broadwater Parklands. Let the kids go wild in the park but make sure they save some energy to have a jumping good time with you on the AquaSplash Inflatable Water Park moored just off the beach. If you’re still pumping after all that jumping then hire a jetski or go parasailing over the Broadwater. The excitement never stops around here.
ENJOY POST-EVENT FEASTS
Ravenous after a big day of Southport-ing? We have you covered. For a ‘melt-in-your-mouth-I-can’t-believe-how-good-this-is’ steak choose Cav’s Steakhouse on Frank St in Labrador. You’ll recognise it by the herd of fake cows grazing on the front lawn. Tuck into a Chinese feast at the Jasmine Room or duck up to Runaway Bay for Vietnamese noodles at Can Tho. Back in Southport follow the locals to Mr. P.P.’s Deli & Rooftop bar for post-event pizza, pasta and moonlit drinks.
CHILL IN THE PARK
Don’t think we’ve forgotten you Labrador. After a day of hockey spectating there’s no better place to wind down than Harley Park on the Broadwater. Charis Seafoods will provide the freshest-cooked seafood you’ll find and the local pelicans will keep you entertained. They’re fed every day at about 1.30pm. Warning – they’re huge. Jump next door to the grand ol’ Grand Hotel for an old-school Aussie pub experience that locals have enjoyed for 134 years.