Road tripping to the Gold Coast? Here are our top 10 unexpected things to do in (or around) the Gold Coast.
PROGRESSIVE FEAST AT PALM BEACH
It’s official. When no-one was watching, Palm Beach became cool. Seriously cool. From local bars and tapas joints to cutting edge foodie haunts, there are now more than 50 restaurants and cafes fit for foraging by even the most discriminating diners. Why limit yourself to just one restaurant? Try a progressive feast at some of the newest venues to grace the shores of Palm Beach. Our picks include The Collective, Wildernis Café + Bar, Balboa Italian and serious newcomer, Mr Bengal.
Long known for its sun, sand and surf, it’s the Gold Coast’s lesser known hinterland and more specifically, the waterfalls that are capturing the imagination of many – and for good reason. There are so many to choose from – all spectacular, but our picks are Curtis Falls for a short and easy walk (Mount Tamborine), Morans Falls for epic sunsets (Lamington National Park), and any number of the waterfalls on the Box Forest Circuit – seriously, take your pick.
JOIN A CRAFT BEER TOUR
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll be familiar with the exploding craft beer scene on the Coast. Breweries like Burleigh Brewing Co., Balter and Black Hops are bringing their A-Game for the beer connoisseurs and drinkers alike. Thankfully, this movement has also paved the way for guided brewery tour companies. Hop On Brewery Tours will have you tasting your way through the Coast’s best craft beer breweries faster than you can say, “next round’s on me”.
ON YOUR BIKE – EXPLORE THE GOLD COAST ON TWO WHEELS
Don your lycra for a two-wheeled adventure along the beachfront, a hill climb or a downhill dirt track. For road cyclists, try Currumbin Valley, a favourite for champion and proud Gold Coaster Robbie McEwan. If you’re seeking an off-road adventure, the Gold Coast has plenty of world class courses for downhill, enduro-riding, pump track, BMX dirt jumps and flow trails. And if the hills and valleys aren’t your thing then you can always cruise the entire Gold Coast beachfront from Runaway Bay to Coolangatta – 40km flat stretch taking in all the beauty of Pacific Ocean. Gold Coast Mountain Bike Club or the Gold Coast Cycling Club, both in Nerang are your go-tos for trail information and events to take part in.
JOIN A “CRAFT-ERNOON” IN PALM BEACH
Envious of all the brilliantly talented, marvellously creative people in your life? Now it’s your turn. The Craft Parlour will have you honing some sweet new skills and running your very own market stall in no time. Operating out of a Queenslander-cottage-turned-studio in Palm Beach, The Craft Parlour offers half-day, full-day and multi-day courses on just about anything you could think of. Name your craft: macramé, Shibori tie dye, hand lettering, basket weaving, kimono sewing, crocheting, naked cake decorating, screen printing, ceramics, candle making and styling as well as workshops to get the creative juices flowing for tiny tackers…. they even host craft parties for groups.
GLAMP IN THE WILDERNESS
If you crave a brush with wilderness, but would prefer to leave camping to the lads and raucous young families, then this is the place for you. This is not camping. It is five-star-glamping at its luxurious best. Nightfall Wilderness Camp is tucked away right beside Lamington National Park. Accommodation is limited to just six guests at a time and it’s a kid-free zone. This place is booked at least three months in advance, so don’t let the opportunity pass you by, book early.
KAYAK THE CULTURAL HEART OF THE GOLD COAST
Ever wondered why a stroll through Burleigh Headland feels like a spiritual awakening? Why Tallebudgera Creek holds such a special place in the hearts of locals? And how wildlife warrior, David Fleay’s legacy lives on? Take a concious stroll around Burleigh Headland with Jellurgal Cultural Tours and be transported back to a land where time stood still. A time where white sand stretched into the mangroves, where dugongs and dolphins frolicked by the water’s edge and where the Dreamtime giant, Jabreen, stood guard over Burleigh Headland. For a true adventure, hire a kayak for a leisurely paddle along Tallebudgera Creek before stopping off to meet native Australian wildlife at David Fleay’s Wildlife Park.
REDISCOVER YOUR LOVE FOR FOOD AT THE KITCHENS IN ROBINA
If you’re a foodie and you haven’t been to The Kitchens yet, then pack the car. Stat. We’re talking a huge spread of over 50 retailers; where artisans, chefs, providores, purveyors and food lovers plate up everything from fine dining to street food, and every doughnut, macaron and vegan dessert in between. Join in pop-up events, workshops and tastings. Be inspired by the Chef In Residence, watch free foodie films in their outdoor cinema, marvel at the super-bee highway, sharpen your skills at the Icon Cookery School, sip on espresso martinis, attend pop-up workshops – you can even design your own signature sausage.
FIND YOUR ZEN
Don’t think a weekend away means you have to sacrifice your ‘me’ time. Salute the sun at yoga classes, ranging from SUP yoga (yes, this really is a thing) with Pure Aloha Yoga, anti-gravity yoga at the Yoga Shed in Mermaid Waters, hot yoga, or take a class overlooking the ocean (without the sand to contend with) at BSKT in Nobby Beach followed by a delicious healthy breakfast downstairs. If yoga isn’t your thing, or if you’re wanting to try something different and deeply relaxing, try a session at the Freedom Float Centre in Burleigh Heads.
JOIN AN INSTAMEET
If you’re a budding photographer with the bells and whistles or haven’t branched beyond a selfie stick, then an Instameet on the Coast could be just what you need. We love ‘IGers Gold Coast’, a passionate group of locals who can help you out with their favourite spots to photograph and provide a few hints along the way.