THE REAL GC SUBURBS OF INSTAGRAM

To add a little more local love to your feed, point yourself south (as we locals like to do) and wander the beachside ‘burbs of Mermaid, Nobby’s (Nobby Beach), Burleigh, Palmy (Palm Beach), Kirra, and that old salty dog – Cooly (Coolangatta), for a quintessential Gold Coast coastal fix.

Image: Bam Bam Bakehouse Instagram

First stop is the evocatively named Mermaid Beach where you will find pastries worth lining up for at @bambam_bakehouse, but also a hip little spot to snap and chat about. It’s the place where local golden girl Margot Robbie hosted her hens night in the kitchen with a group of her bestest girlfriends, who then ate what they baked…#squadgoals. Robbie has claimed this place as one of her favourites in the WORLD – so naturally line-ups are mandatory, but if you do make it to a table, the blue hued Mermaid Lattes will look very pretty on your feed.

Image: Nineteen at The Star

Next door you will find Nobby’s Beach where the food is literally raising the roof at local favourite @hellenikarestaurant, the flagship Greek joint of iconic local Simon Gloftis who happens to be the co-owner of the GC’s newest love child, @nineteenatthestar. If you do get a seat here, the slow baked Junee roasted lamb has carved a cult following, so much so that a rooftop bar was recently added to create some more room downstairs for hungry carnivores. But for an Insta snap, head upstairs for the bar filled with sunny striped umbrellas, then strategically position that cocktail and start snapping as the sun sinks into golden hour.

If picnicking is more your jam, take your food styling to one of our headlands. You have a choice of Miami with its double header view that will have your Instagram singing for weeks, or pull up some grass on Burleigh Headland and watch the surfers go about their business as the perfect background blur. When the swell is on, this is one spot that fills up fast, so park at @thelocalburleigh and leave a donation by buying a coffee or a frosty on the way home as a thank you for the only free parking left this close to the beach in Burleigh. Please don’t tell them I sent you…#sorrynotsorry

Next – soul time, with a dip into the turquoise waters of Tallebudgera Creek. You can swim on either side (the southern side has a flagged beach and some dishy lifessavers), so whip out your blow-up mermaid or unicorn for an Insta snap #gurl (and no, I do not really talk like that). Friendly advice though – this is one of the Gold Coast’s prettiest spots and locals turn up early, so get in quick, stay ‘til late, and munch on the pastries from our family of friends who own @paddockbakery (another foodie Insta-tution in Burleigh) and @bambam_bakehouse (mentioned earlier), who conveniently now have a little sister cafe Neptune Kiosk, perched right here on the creek too.

Better Together is splashed across the wall at @thecollectivepalmbeach, which makes for a nice snap and is one of a batch of freshly concocted eateries. A collection of five different kitchens inspired by global cuisines can be ordered mix and match style, so curate your own or construct a feast to share. Perennially busy, and best to book – if you can nab a seat upstairs to watch the sun go down over artisan cocktails and a procession of plates, it is a pretty perfect place to go ‘live’ or load up those Insta stories.

Image: Cornerstone Stores Facebook page

The newest kid on the block at Currumbin is @cornerstone_stores, and it dishes it up in the style stakes with a boutique selection of specialty shops including a cafe, florist/plant menagerie (from the greenthumbs at @theborrowednursery), hairdresser, wellness stores, and a place where I often find and lose myself at the same time, the walk-in fromagerie. This is a pretty place to Insta everything, with cute coffee art and rainbow-like salads (#vegangoals), but if you want to stretch a little further, book in for a Pilates sesh at @the.body.method upstairs to complete the #omg #ohm.

Further down the coast, you will find a makeover in progress in the beachside strip at Kirra, known for its squeaky clean white sand, crystalline waters and arguably the best views of Surfers as it appears to hover above the sea. A quick dash up to the eagles nest – a lookout on top of Kirra Hill – will give you drone like views of the world famous sets rolling in at Snapper. But for those looking for food over views, hit @hipoke for the prettiest poke bowls around, plus an Insta-lustworthy hibiscus wall and to get those flower emojis rollin’. Right across the street, stack your vegan gelato into three pretty colours at @_mygelato_, and take it down the beach for the perfect shot of melting pastels popping against the Tiffany-blue bokeh backdrop of the sea.

Cooly is in my opinion, the perfect antidote to all-that-glitters. It’s the home of surfing and a place where world champs walk straight off the break into cafes or juice bars and don’t mind stopping for a friendly chat along the way. Here, there is a trilogy of surf clubs serving honest food, frosty beers and chilled SSB alongside killer views. Chow down on tasty eats as you take in a barrage of spots to get all misty over, like Rainbow Bay, a beach that dusts itself in pretty colours around sunset each day.

Image: Catmantoo Instagram

If that is not enough, stalk the skateboard riding cats of @catmantoo and get some epic footage of the high fiving, hippy jumping and half-piping cats that have well over a million followers online and 330k on Instagram. #Watchthisinstagood

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