Before I get stuck in to my Australia road trip series I wanted to point out a few of my favourite places on the Gold Coast. As you’ll know from my previous post I spent 8 months living on the Gold Coast for university, during my time there I came to absolutely love the area and I still see it as my second home even now! Every weekend was spent exploring new areas of the coast and so I’ve rounded up my top 5 neighbourhoods/areas to share with you…
It only seems right to start with my local spot. Living 10 minutes away from Broadbeach meant I spent time here every week without fail – in fact most Sunday mornings would start with breakfast at Caffe Cherry Beans in the Pacific Fair shopping centre. The neighbourhood really does have it all: for the outdoorsy type there’s a long stretch of beach, grassy park and a scenic beach side walking path; for the foodie there are 181 restaurants (seriously wow, my personal favourite was Koi for the tastiest ribs!); and for (the very rare) rainy days (and the gambler in us all) there’s Jupiters casino.
Honestly there was a time when I think I came here every weekend for about a month… it’s just that lovely! In such a small area there’s so much natural beauty to see. The first time I visited the area I explored Tallebudgera Conservation Park and then walked on to the creek from there, it’s about a 30 minute walk. The conservation park had a few different walking paths, lots of signposts with information about the wildlife and a mangrove boardwalk but my highlight was getting little peeks at the creek from between the trees on elevated areas of the paths! Even closer to the creek is Burleigh Head National Park where there’s a secluded beach, walking paths and a scenic lookout providing beautiful views of the coast (definitely makes the uphill walking worthwhile). The creek itself has a long stretch of beach with SUP and kayak rental available along the creek, but if you prefer jumping waves and surfing there’s a long stretch of beachy coastline both south of the creek to Palm Beach and North of the creek to Burleigh. With all the beautiful scenery to take in and lots of bars and restaurants just 5 minutes away in Burleigh it’s soooo easy to spend a whole day in the area – there were infact many weekends that I did just that!
Although not technically in the Gold Coast region Brisbane is a great city and soooo accessible from the coast so I couldn’t possibly leave it out! The city is full of things to do from spending days soaking up the sun in the lush South Bank Parklands to days spent taking in the culture in one of Brisbane’s many museums and galleries. For us Pommies there’s two Pig ‘N’ Whistle British pubs in the CBD, showing all of the EPL games and even putting on events for St. George’s day. If you can drag yourself away from the galleries, pubs and restaurants long enough there’s also the Queen Street Mall with everything from high end to high street shops – I can’t deny I found the Aussie shopping a bit lacklustre when I first arrived but their boutiques definitely grew on me, one of my favourites is Dissh.
So this is the most southerly point of the Gold Coast region, with Coolangatta sitting on the QLD side of the border and Tweed Heads on the NSW side. Getting here without a car was an hour journey on public transport but to spend the day beach hopping between Duranbah Beach and Rainbow Bay made it all worth it! Duranbah had probably the best waves I witnessed during my time on the Gold Coast and I was even lucky enough to watch a surfing event taking place here on my birthday last year (not sure which one, was not expecting a beach full of surfers, sponsor stands and commentators when I showed up for a paddle). If beach bumming isn’t your only priority there’s also the Captain Cook Memorial which provides a lovely lookout point – perfect for those insta worthy scenic selfies.
Springbrook National Park
This is the only destination that’s not really accessible on public transport, the only time I got to visit here was the day that we got the campervan – instead of heading straight to Byron Bay we took a detour to see the Natural Bridge at Springbrook. It’s definitely worth the drive, there are a number of walking routes making it more than worthy of a full day or even weekend trip depending on how much you want to see! Unfortunately I only got to spend about an hour walking the park – we’d had a long day driving and had a lot more ahead of us – so I’ll be sure to spend more time here when I return, I need to get that paradise perfect photo at Twin Falls.
Hopefully the above has given a good insight into my Gold Coast experience. Although these are some of my favourite places, the Gold Coast has sooooo much to offer so here are a few more places to check out:
Wet ‘n’ Wild – for the youngsters and young at heart
Marina Mirage – for high end shopping and boat trips from the marina
Nobbys Beach – for a laid back seaside town vibe
If you’re from the Gold Coast please contribute in the comments! And for more info on my time on the Coast feel free to comment/contact me…
Abbie May Travel