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Arundel is centrally located on the Gold Coast, with Brisbane and the Tweed Coast just 45 minutes either way. It is also a mere 20 minutes from the heart of Surfers Paradise making it close enough to enjoy all it has to offer, but for enough to be out of the hustle and bustle to enjoy a quieter lifestyle. Arundel is home to fantastic venues such as Grille Restaurant at Arundel Hills Country Club, as well as a number of useful products and services.
The name Ashmore derives from a family property in England. Also a local thoroughfare with residents travelling from Benowa Road to Nerang Road, the suburb was officially perpetuated in 1976 when a housing estate was developed in the area called Ashmore Village. Ashmore is home to some lovely cafes and eateries as well as some excellent holiday park and hotel options.
Life's a beach, (or should that be beech?), for the laid-back residents in this quaint country village which sits smugly between the Lamington Plateau and Tamborine Mountain. First settlers flocked to the area in the 1800s and used the white beech trees, once prolific here, for timber.
Just 3km west of Surfers Paradise, Benowa is close to all your favourite activities, restaurants and tours without being right in the middle of it all. Interestingly, the name was originally derived from the Bundjalung word "Boonow", meaning bloodwood tree. This was lated corrupted by European settlers in search of sugar cane growing on the shores of the Nerang River.
Beautiful Biggera Creek lent this suburb its name which is famous for its heritage-listed "land's end" site, but there is nothing final about a visit here. Those searching for a sedate spot in the northern part of the coast will adore a trip here, opposite the bustling Broadwater and the sizzling Gold Coast Spit and across from Wavebreak Island.
Bilinga is a quaint beachside suburb on the southern end of the Gold Coast. Located right by the Gold Coast Airport, staying in Bilinga means you can hop straight off a flight and into paradise without any hassle. Just around the bend from this area you'll find the world famous stretch of beaches in Coolangatta, including Kirra, Greenmount and Snapper Rocks.
Mutter the words Binna Burra and you are instantly transformed into the Dreamtime among the ancient Aborigines who gave this destination the name of "where the beech tree grows". A little like Alice in Wonderland, you are now down your own rabbit hole, in a World Heritage site, among the Gondwana Rainforest of Australia. You'll find the old Antarctic Beech in these parts among a myriad of plant and animal life which makes Lamington National Park so delicious.
While nearby Broadbeach buzzes, adjacent Broadbeach Waters adopts a more sedate approach with its intricate kilometres of canals, bike paths and scenic walks. While it would be tempting to eschew this fringe-dwelling suburb in favour of bustling Broadbeach which bags the spotlight, don’t. For there are plenty of interesting restaurants dotted around the place and the canal system itself is one worth witnessing. It sits nestled behind unassuming Cascade Gardens with its rainforest walk, water bird sanctuary, waterfalls and tranquil creek.
Bundall is Surfers Paradise's neighbour to the west, and is quite a popular hub for both leisure and business. It certainly has a lot to offer with the Arts Centre Gold Coast, Evandale Parklands and the Gold Coast Turf Club calling Bundall home. Not to mention the abundance of major retail stores and shopping outlets all situated throughout this popular little suburb.
Neighbouring Burleigh Heads, Burleigh Waters is just moments from beautiful protected beaches, the Burleigh Heads National Park which wraps around the headland, offering views of the ocean on the left and a number of walking trails and wildlife to experience. Burleigh Waters is home to the blood-pumping thrills of Air Factory Trampoline Park and more.
Think Carrara, think colour, for this suburb is home to the Gold Coast's most popular markets which have been operating for 30 years and have become a tourist destination in their own right. Boasting more than 500 stalls, the Carrara Markets offer everything imaginable from farm fresh produce and meat to fashion, toys, jewellery and homewares.
Just five minutes from Pacific Fair in Broadbeach, and less than 15 minutes from Surfers Paradise, Clear Island Waters is a much underrated spot on the Gold Coast. Clear Island Waters is home to a cosy and intimate restaurant, My Place Ristorante.
Surrounding Coombabah is Paradise Point and Hope Island to the north, Arundel to the south, and Biggera Waters to the east. Coombabah is most well-known for the Coombabah Lakelands, one of only five sites in Queensland included in the RAMSAR international convention for significant wetlands. Over 150 bird species use the area, and it is a beautiful location to see.
Local Aborigines named this suburb after a fern but these days it could easy be named after fun, for you have now entered theme park heaven for which the Gold Coast is renowned. All the big names in entertainment are here including Dreamworld and WhiteWater World, Wet’n’Wild, Warner Bros. Movie World and the Australian Outback Spectacular.
Heading into the Currumbin Valley is a little like entering an Aladdin's Cave of adventure. From the coastline, head southwest into another world along Currumbin Creek Road which leads to Tomewin Mountain Road winding up to Tomewin Mountain.
Named after Helena White, Helensvale is a major hub of the Gold Coast. It boasts a massive Westfield shopping centre, is close to all the major theme parks and attractions and is well connected by public transport to get to everywhere else on the coast. It is also home to King Opal - a unique destination allowing visitors to view and purchase from the largest selection of exquisite Australian opals direct from the miners.
You would expect anticipation to be fairly high when travelling to a place called Hope Island and this destination doesn't disappoint. But rather than being named after the positive emotion, it actually borrowed its name from a colonial aristocrat Captain Louis Hope who was granted land at the mouth of the Coomera River in recognition of his sugar industry contributions.
Named for its natural freshwater waterhole, thirsty travellers have been visiting Jacobs Well since the mid 1800s. Situated near the mouth of the Pimpama River on the edge of a pristine waterway peppered with uninhabited islands, Jacobs Well is a haven for fishermen and boat enthusiasts alike.
Like a loyal puppy, Labrador has been one of the Gold Coast's mainstays since its hotel was built in 1884. Back in the day, this 15-room hotel complete with three sitting rooms, outhouses and stables, was perfect for the Cobb and Co coach service which transported boat passengers arriving from Brisbane. Local Aborigines were also drawn to the area due to its abundance of shellfish, mud crabs, oysters and waterfowl.
You could certainly be forgiven for thinking you might happen across a mermaid of two at this curiously-named beachside suburb. Sensual sea sirens aside, this is simply a laid-back spot next to its bustling neighbour Broadbeach. There’s an eclectic blend of dining options here from modern Australian to plenty of Asian culinary experiences in which to participate.
Boasting waterways with names such as Rumrunner Lake and Lake Wonderland, it’s easy to see the appeal of Mermaid Waters, a canal community which sits at the elbow of Mermaid Beach. Australian surveyor John Oxley first came to the area in 1823 and gave it its name after the cutter ship Mermaid on which he travelled.
For 69 years, this relaxed Gold Coast suburb was home to Miami Ice, an iconic ice factory built from two recycled army huts which were demolished in 2013. Even Australian singer John Farnham used this venue to film his Two Strong Hearts film clip. But while the controversy over the demolition of this cultural icon has since melted, Miami remains an uber cool place to visit with its burgeoning café culture.
Mount Nathan is situated in the scenic Gold Coast Hinterland, South Eastern Queensland. While many believe the hinterland is quite far out, Mount Nathan is only 20 minutes from Surfers Paradise, 15 minutes from theme parks, 45 minutes from Brisbane, and 30 minutes from Tweed Heads. Mount Nathan Winery is a major attraction in this area, and well worth the trip.
This town is a bit of a tongue twister but the once you wrap your mouth around the name, it’s well worth a visit. For this is a pretty village, which skirts the fringes of the Gold Coast and sits patiently at the foot of the Gold Coast Hinterland. Old Gold Coasters believe Mudgeeraba remains relatively untouched by tourism and this is one of its many charms.
Many travellers use the entry to Nerang as the benchmark that they have arrived at the Gold Coast. Indeed, it’s like a golden gateway with the beaches to the east and the hinterland to the west. Punctuated by the beautiful Nerang River, this suburb has come a long way since its waterway was named "little" by its original Indigenous inhabitants. The river itself is a popular place for picnics, boating and fishing with a platform at Arthur Earle Park allowing easy access to catch the bream, flathead, whiting and trevally which inhabit these waters.
This amazing café precinct borders the famous Hedges Avenue 'Millionaire's Row' and is home to an array of boutique bars and restaurants. This local favourite blends a family-friendly atmosphere with an ultra-trendy vibe that is frequented by surfers, cyclists and healthy lifestylers. At the southern end, the beachfront offers park, playground and barbecue facilities ideal for young families and offers an enjoyable walking track that connects to the picturesque lookout at North Burleigh Hill.
The Numinbah Valley is a valley and suburb in the Gold Coast hinterland. This Scenic Rim valley covers 116 km² and contains cleared grazing land, rocky outcrops, waterfalls, rainforest walks and good hinterland scenery. Lonely Planet has described the valley as the most beautiful in South East Queensland.
It’s difficult to believe but this rather unassuming suburb, which lies just off the Pacific Highway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, is home to some of the best movie-making facilities in Australia. Oxenford, which borders Coomera and the theme park mecca which is Dreamworld, Warner Bros. Movie World, Wet’n’Wild, and The Australian Outback Spectacular, can lay claim to Village Roadshow Studios.
One of the most northern points of Gold Coast waterways, Paradise Point boasts a café and restaurant lined boulevard that is frequented by nearby residents of Ephraim and Sovereign Islands. On the waterfront exists numerous park and barbecue areas that are a continuous hive of activity and have proven extremely popular for picnickers looking for the perfect lazy Sunday venue.
Utter the word Pimpama and most Queenslanders will instantly think of the succulent strawberries produced at the iconic Strawberry Farm which has sat along the highway enroute to the Gold Coast for eons. It makes perfect sense, given this area’s rich farming history which dates back to the mid 1880s when arrowroot crops were first grown in the area, shortly followed by the first sawmill in South East Queensland.
Reedy Creek is adjacent to the Pacific Motorway (M1) making it very accessible from the north and south. Located in the hinterland towards the southern end of the city, Reedy Creek is a developing residential area with a beautiful backdrop.
This master-planned community boasts some of the most impressive shopping and recreation facilities in the state including the Robina Town Centre and Bond University, both build around expansive lakes which are sympathetic to the laid-back lifestyle here.
Escape enthusiasts will adore Runaway Bay and not just for the name. Bracketed by South Stradbroke Island to the east and a colourful canal system to the west, it’s simple to see why this northern Gold Coast suburb was originally better known as Angler’s Paradise. For it’s a fishing feast galore here where you can opt for deep sea reef and game fishing, or select the more sedate option of dropping your line in a calm water estuary.
If you stand along the marina and use a little imagination, you can almost picture the famous Gold Coast white-shoe brigade who put Sanctuary Cove on the map during those crazy, hazy 1980s. While that kind of excess has long departed, the style synonymous with Sanctuary Cove remains in this exclusive master-planned community.
If you squint into the sunshine and cast your mind back a little over a century, you can almost picture the Southport of old, one of the Gold Coast’s earliest and most fashionable seaside destinations. Originally called Nerang Creek Heads, it wasn’t long before Southport’s name was changed to mirror that of the English resort of the same name. This area has a rich romantic history which in the 1890s attracted Queensland Governor Anthony Musgrave and his entourage for its sideshow theatre, the Southport pier and its picture theatre. Brisbane’s well-heeled arrived by cutter or steamer and were rowed to shore.
Is best known for its sparkling creek which is framed by the Burleigh Heads National Park on one side and Palm Beach on the other. This is the focal point for any visit to Tallebudgera where the lifestyle is all about camping, swimming, picnicking, kayaking and a spot of fishing or two. So popular is the campground here, that generations of families return each summer to claim their favourite spot at the Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park which is perched on the edge of this estuary.
Its formal name is Tallebudgera Valley but in true Aussie minimalist style, you’ll probably hear locals around these parts refer to it as the Tally Valley. However you prefer to wrap your mouth around it, this lush valley at the back of Tallebudgera Beach leads you into emerald-green farmland and natural forests and the relaxed ambience for which the southern Gold Coast is renowned.
Just when you thought the Gold Coast couldn't get any more relaxed you arrive over the hill and into Tugun. This southern Gold Coast suburb is so laid-back that locals fondly call her Tugz (pronounced choog-s) while ancient Aborigines referred to Tugun as a place of "breaking waves". Certainly, it boasts one of the biggest and some say best beaches on the Gold Coast and on a good day, you may bag a breaker or two, but the real charm of Tugun lays in its homey streets, café culture and fish and chip shops.
Willow Vale is a rural suburb, previously referred to as part of Pimpama on the northern end of the Gold Coast. Willow Vale is home to some very exceptional accommodation options, and is a great spot to stay when you want to be close to both Gold Coast and Brisbane attractions.