Luxury Escapes Guide to the Gold Coast
Glorious gold-sand beaches, spectacular skyrise stays, bustling ‘burbs and subtropical serenity. There’s nothing standard about the Gold Coast.
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Discover the Gold Coast
Things to see and do
Find a beach to suit you
You could be forgiven for thinking the Gold Coast is just one long stretch of sand, but once you get familiarised, you’ll realise each beach is different. For the bathers and paddlers, there are the calmer waters of Surfers Paradise Beach, The Spit and Burleigh Beach, while surfers flock to the point breaks at Kirra Beach, Main Beach and Snapper Rocks. The Gold Coast is also home to year-round diving sites with the most diverse marine life in any Australian city. Head to Palm Beach Reef or Wave Break Island to explore the underwater ridges and channels.
Feed a kangaroo at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of 27 hectares of rainforest as you meet native Australian and exotic wildlife animals at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Wander through open animal enclosures, take photos with a cuddly koala, feed kangaroos and lorikeets, see the Wildlife Hospital precinct work their magic, and marvel at saltwater crocodiles before watching entertaining shows and Aboriginal cultural performances. There is also plenty of entertainment for kids with a miniature train and huge outdoor themed playground.
Tour the distillery at Granddad Jacks
Granddad Jacks is the Gold Coast’s first craft gin and whiskey distillery. Located just two minutes from Burleigh Beach, this old surfboard warehouse has been rebuilt with raw, rustic and upcycled materials including exposed brick walls, arched ceilings, hanging greenery and steel beams. Sign up for a tour and you’ll savour a gin and tonic on arrival, complimentary tastings of three gins and a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour through the distillery as you learn about the history of Jack himself.
Find your new favourite at The Village Markets
Handcrafted wooden skateboards, sustainable knick-knacks, vintage mementos, one-of-a-kind collectibles, boutique clothing and live music by local artists — there is no denying The Village Markets are a special community worth supporting. A blossoming talent pool of artfully selected small businesses, stylists and creatives coming together since 2008, TVM has also helped pave the way for global brands such as Peony Swimwear, Cleopatra’s Bling and Duke of London. Those who diligently peruse this treasure trove of unique curiosities are typically rewarded with not just positive vibes, but authentic and affordable one-of-a-kind finds. Please note: trading is limited to the first and third Sunday of every month.
See the future of VR gaming at Zero Latency
Are you a gaming aficionado? A die-hard fan of sci-fi? Or just an adrenalin junkie? If so, Zero Latency is a brand new multi-sensory experience for you. Already a success in Melbourne and Brisbane, this Southport based state-of-the-art VR experience allows you to roam freely throughout a 200sqm warehouse-sized area and immerse yourself in virtual reality. Choose to fight for survival amid a zombie apocalypse, take to the skies and outer space where you must rescue a space station, or walk through an ancient alien world where gravity is not as it seems.
Discover a new world of entertainment at the Pink Flamingo
Be amused, tantalised and teased by a formidable cast of handpicked performers at the world’s first Spiegelclub, the Pink Flamingo. With nightly performances every Wednesday through Saturday, this new era of entertainment offers a promising touch of burlesque with a hint of Vegas. Flaunting blush pink velvet, a state-of-the-art circular stage, extravagant light fittings, gold touches, 1920s art and splashes of pink flamingos, this intimate and immersive cabaret experience also features aerials, acrobatics, choreography, vocals and laugh-out-loud comedy. Hang around for a high-end club experience.
Get hands-on at POT studios
Channel your inner creativity at the Gold Coast’s dreamy pottery studio, POT studios. Perfect for beginners who have always wanted to try pottery or those more skilled seeking a communal studio space, POT studios will help get your creative juices flowing. Offering a wide range of workshops and at-home tutorials, POT studios encourages you to slow down, connect with your clay and create a handmade pottery piece you can keep forever. If you’re looking for something more romantic, POT will organise private classes so you can channel your inner Swayze and Moore.
Let off some steam at Lumber Punks
Fancy yourself as a bit of a lumberjack-slash-ninja? Test your axe throwing skills in dedicated throwing lanes at Lumber Punks in Miami. After a mandatory ‘Tactical Tomahawks and Hatchets’ safety training session, don your best plaid shirt and perfect your zombie apocalypse survival techniques. If you’re more competitive, why not challenge your mates to a game or two — think of it as darts but with an axe. Adding to the experience, there’s also a juke box for personalised bangers and novelty Viking hats for Insta moments. Biceps at the ready!
Bash some balls at Topgolf
Have a ball and test your swing at Topgolf, a state-of-the-art golfing facility located in Oxenford. An innovative, three-level venue equipped with 90 climate-controlled bays, the space boasts a 190-metre-long outfield where you can channel your inner Woods or Gilmore. Aim for the giant light-up dartboard-like targets, which award you points based on your power and distance, before relaxing comfortably on the sidelines while you watch the fun. Take a break to enjoy a chef-driven menu of American classics, local specialities and unexpected new creations.
Top places to eat and drink
Rainbow Bay Surf Life Saving Club
Where locals and holidaymakers rub shoulders, Rainbow Bay Surf Life Saving Club is the most southern club on Queensland’s coast and one of the coast's only north-facing beaches. Once inside, you’ll find cold beers flowing and be tempted by sumptuous food wafting out of its dynamic kitchen. The perfect location for that long lunch or cheeky Sunday session, Rainbow Bay Surf Life Saving Club is the ideal place to people watch as you breath in the fresh ocean air.
The Balter Brewery
What do you get when you bring together local pro surfers Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Bede Durbridge and Josh Kerr, with award-winning Australian Brewing Champion Scott Hargrave? One of the country’s most popular boutique beer brands — Balter. Without question one of the coolest additions to the Gold Coast (in March 2016), Balter’s spacious Currumbin-based cellar door is open from Friday through Sunday. And for those who wish to farewell the weekend in style, their renowned Sunday Sessions feature food trucks, exclusive beer samples, big tunes and great energy.
Nestled in the bohemian pocket of Burleigh Heads, Justin Lane is the epitome of the good life and arguably one of the best bars on the Gold Coast. Inside this recently renovated two-story compound you’ll find hordes of jovial, beautiful people absolutely embracing life. Be tempted by handmade sourdough pizzas, pastas and share plates, or simply head upstairs to the rooftop bar where prime positioned booths face coastal views and evening cocktails are a must.
Crafty’s Sports Bar
It’s easy to label this place just another sports bar, but Crafty’s Sports Bar is about much more than beers and cheers. There’s plenty of space, competitive socialising with cornhole boards and ping pong tables, a pastel pink bubble-waffle truck at the entrance and a slightly more formal dining area so you don’t have to sit with the diehards. The bar itself also takes pride in its craft beer selection and signature cocktails and the gourmet pub grub menu is a blend of both comfort and clean eating. This venue is the perfect place to be, pre or post season.
White Rhino Bar & Eats
Located in the Circle on Cavil precinct, sprawled over two levels and with a capacity of 200 for dining and 500 standing, White Rhino is an absolute must-visit on the Coast. Your Jumanji dreams will be brought to life here, with beautifully decorated lush greenery, ceiling-high indoor trees, hanging plants, a running waterfall and life-like white rhinos. The hero of the venue however must be the 12-foot tree that stands proudly in the middle of the room. The menu itself also offers both a fine and casual style of dining full of fresh local ingredients with a big emphasis on seafood.
Nestled in Cavill Lane in Surfers Paradise, Chop Chop is a foodie precinct of fashioned laneways serving up the very best hawker-style eats. Comprising of several tenants, all specialising in their own style of Asian street food, you’ll be spoiled for choice with offerings from Korea, Thailand, Japan, China and India. Whether you’re feeling like noodles, dumplings, sushi, or Korean hot pot, you’ll find something to suit your tastebuds. For the thirsty, a visit to Bangla Road Bar is a must where refreshing delicious cocktails are designed to pair perfectly with your dining.
Say ‘hola’ to Frida Sol, a boutique modern Mexican Taqueria & Tequila Bar, located in Palm Beach. Looking as though it belongs on a balmy Mexican beach, Frida Sol is littered with giant succulents and cactuses, brightly coloured artworks and copper adornments, while its polished wood floors are offset by concrete-esque high tables and incredibly textured walls. Stacked full of Mexican classics with a modern twist, the menu has everything from traditional favourites such as grilled corn and beef cheek empanadas to market fish ceviche and sangria… lots of sangria.
Bine Bar & Dining
A beer lover’s dream come true, Bine Bar & Dining is the Gold Coast’s first craft beer establishment. Specialising in Australian crafts, the Nobby Beach favourite is the perfect place to kick back and relax with a few drinks or experiment with an exotic brew — all from local and interstate breweries around the country. With a rotating tap system on offer, you’ll likely never have the same beer experience twice. Elsewhere in the menu, you’ll also find plenty of delicious dishes ready to be shared.
Balanced above the prime southern Gold Coast seashore, Rick Shores is a hotspot for those looking for something casual or celebratory with pace and precision. With a carefully curated Asian fusion menu of contemporary flavours, this Burleigh Heads restaurant not only offers epic views of rolling surf just beyond the open windows but some of the best Pan-Asian cuisine on the coast. You won’t leave wanting for more after the likes of fall-apart Madras-spiced lamb with curry butter and a nutty black rice dressing, and Rick's famous bug rolls – crisp-battered Moreton Bay bug served with bug-and-sriracha mayo in a squishy bun.
Boasting sweeping views of Burleigh Beach, this architecturally designed restaurant and bar is an Instagrammer's dream. Nostalgia is the predominant theme underpinning Burleigh Pavilion, with its welcoming wide arches and textured concrete. Inside, its large, light and airy space, creatively paired with pale pink splashes and crisp whites, tropical foliage, high ceilings and exposed timber rafters evokes the Gold Coast beach houses of the 1970s. A local produce-filled menu serves up freshly shucked oysters, prawns on ice and perfectly seared barramundi. Come explore retro elegance for yourself after a quick dip and sip a Pavilion Negroni as sand settles between your toes.