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Where to Eat, Drink, Stay and Play on the Gold Coast

This popular seaside strip is the destination du jour for a holiday close to home for many Australians, offering the perfect package of year-round sunshine, world-famous sandy beaches and surfing, spectacular rainforest scenery, restaurants, bars and theme parks galore. But whilst it’s beloved for family fun in the sun and a larger-than-life night scene, is it also where true luxury can be found?

Absolutely.

Eat

The Gold Coast has its fair share of Chef-Hatted restaurants, inspired by the finest ingredients from home soil and sea and world cuisine, from Japan to Italy.

Vanitas, Palazzo Versace, Main Beach: The seasonal menus may be ever-evolving at the Chef-Hatted Italian restaurant Vanitas, but handmade pasta, freshly-cut bread and classically-Italian tipples such as wine, Nergroni, Aperol Spritz and Prosecco are a given.

Social Eating House + Bar, Broadbeach: Head to Social Eating House + Bar for Chef-Hatted, modern Australian dining crafted by multi-award-winning chef and owner Matthew Jefferson, such as salt bush lamb shoulder slow roasted in sheep’s milk yoghurt and Yuzu cheesecake cannoli with matcha tea custard and black sesame ice cream.

room81, Sofitel Gold Coast, Broadbeach: More Chef-Hatted indulgence awaits at room81, whose signature 12-course tasting menu utilizes local produce to create dishes such as maremma duck with honey lavender glaze, celeriac and pear and hot and cold scallops.

Drink

Whilst Melbourne enjoys a worthy reputation as Australia’s bar capital, the Gold Coast is snapping at its heels with a flush of trendy cocktail bars.

Stingray Lounge: Dress to impress to mingle amongst the Gold Coast elite at one of the region’s hottest bars, the Stingray Lounge within the QT Gold Coast hotel. Sip on innovative cocktails such as a QT G & T (West Winds Sabre gin, elderflower quinine syrup, fresh lime, cucumber and rosemary) and Banana Rum Old Fashioned (banana Bacardi 8, chocolate walnut bitters, orange twist and house-made plantain chip) whilst soaking up the stylish surroundings.

The Collective Palm Beach: The old Palm Beach post office has found a chic new purpose as The Collective, home to five restaurants and two bars – one of which is on the rooftop. Sample everything from tap beers to winter warmers such as egg nog and mulled cider, plus suitably fancy cocktails such as a Heart-Shaped Box (Zubrowka, pear juice, lavender liqueur and white pepper).

The Cambus Wallace: The nautically-inspired bar The Cambus Wallace takes its inspiration from the doomed ship of the same name, which met its fate on Stradbroke Island. When it comes to a tipple, there’s surely something for everyone, from beers on tap to spirits served with fresh-pressed apple juice and themed cocktails such as The Captain’s Sangria (Capatain Morgan spiced rum, peach liqueur, orange juice, red wine, fruit and spices).

Stay

After five-star luxury? You got it: from the lavish to the understated, you’ll be spoilt for choice with fine destinations to lay your head.

Q1 Resort & Spa: Housed in the monumental Q1 Building, the tallest residential tower in Australia, Q1 Resort & Spa is an elite vacation spot which pays design homage to the lines and curves of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Olympic Torch – and boasts an array of awards. In 2018 alone, the resort was awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and Queensland Tourism ‘Deluxe Accommodation’ accolade, and named among the ‘Top 10 Family Resorts in Australia’ by Holidays with Kids. It’s also home to the spectacular SkyPoint Observation Deck, Australia’s only beachside observation deck, located on Level 77, which offers 360-degree views from the surf to the hinterland.

Palazzo Versace: Crafted by one of the most legendary brands in the world, Palazzo Versace is considered the jewel of the Gold Coast. Situated in a premier location, this hotel boasts a spectacular waterfront setting with views of the Pacific Ocean and Gold Coast Broadwater, combined with unparalleled grandeur, stunning architecture, Italian furnishings, extraordinary service and an ambience of pure glamour.

QT Gold Coast: At QT Gold Coast every corner is packed with personality, from the retro panel van parked out the front to the super-charged buffets and the bevvy of 50’s pin-up girls waiting to check you in. Sink into a bright blue Acapulco lounge chair or a comfortable white sun lounger and soak up those Queensland rays with a mojito in hand beside the hotel’s stunning calypso-style pool – complete with a swim-up bar ready for when you need a top-up. QT Gold Coast knows it’s all about the little touches that make for an unforgettable getaway. You’ll find extra beach towels waiting in your room, two tennis courts, a gym, a sauna, multiple on-site dining options and everything from a homemade lemonade stand in the lobby to complimentary retro bicycles you can book to help you explore the area.

Play

Soak up spectacular natural scenery in the Queensland Hinterland, shop ’til you drop in luxury boutiques and walk in the footsteps of the Hollywood elite in the well-heeled Byron Bay.

Go hiking in Lamington National Park: Away from the glittering lights of the coast lies some of the Gold Coast’s most beautiful scenery. Lamington National Park is home to part of the ancient Gondwana Rainforest world heritage area, with scenery ranging from lush rainforest to mountains and dramatic waterfalls.

Part with some dollars at Pacific Fair: This colossal shopping centre is home to no fewer than 400 stores from the likes of Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada to international favourites Zara and Sephora, so be prepared to do some serious damage to your credit card.

Take a road trip to Byron Bay: Just over an hour from the Gold Coast is Byron Bay, which has attracts a captivating mix of surfers and stars such as Margot Robbie, Chris Hemsworth and Matt Damon with its glorious beaches, beautiful properties and chilled-out surf culture.

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