Oh, Gold Coast, the city of pristine surf beaches, trendy cafes, luscious hinterland and friendly faces. It’s where every Aussie wants to escape to for a relaxing holiday and secretly wants to live. As a born and bred local of 22 years, I feel the lid must be lifted on my home town as it has so much more to offer world travellers and fellow Australians alike than the nightclubs of Surfers Paradise and sought-after Theme parks.
The Gold Coast has grown into one of Australia’s most loved cities, likely because there is something here for everyone; you really are spoilt for choice! Your morning can go from watching a killer sunrise on the beach to café hopping and shopping to then adventuring into the hinterland or valleys before winding down at night with some live local music and food. It’s a tough life here on the Coast, but someone’s got to do it!
So, once the Gold Coast has initially tantalised your sense of adventure with its natural beauty and fun energy, trust me, you won’t want to leave without having ticked off all of these experiences. Just a head up, you probably won’t want to say goodbye at all!
Here is your must-do guide for experiencing the real Gold Coast from a Burleigh Heads local herself:
Watch the sunrise over Burleigh Beach
Arguably one of the best beaches on the Gold Coast, Burleigh is becoming more and more popular, and for a good reason. Get yourself up at the crack of dawn, meander along Burleigh Beach and up the hill for the best, golden sunrise view in town. Don’t let the early wake-up call alarm you (or do!) as it is guaranteed to be worth it. You’ll realize it’s called the Gold Coast for a reason! Grab a coffee from Nook Espresso at the bottom of the hill and continue on exploring through the hottest suburb on the Coast.
Cool off at the Currumbin Valley Rock pools
While the drive through Currumbin Valley is scenic in its own right, at the end of the road, you’ll be met with quite the treat! A pathway surrounded by lush rainforest will lead you to the rock pools where fresh mountain water flows down hills of smooth boulders. In the summertime, you will not be able to resist jumping in too cool off in this tranquil part of the Gold Coast. Plus, it’s the ideal end destination for a road trip and picnic with friends
Capture the perfect shot of the Gold Coast Skyline Atop Q1
Don’t forget your camera when you climb up one of the world’s tallest residential buildings! For 360 degree views down the coastline and over the hinterland, it’s near impossible to leave the Q1’s Sky Deck without a killer Instagram shot! The afternoon is an ideal time to visit as the sun falls behind the mountains and the waves crash below a pastel sky.
Cafe hop through Palm Beach and Burleigh
If you’re a lover of all things food (who isn’t?!), then the areas of Burleigh and Palm Beach are where you’ll want to be! They’re home to some of the Coast’s cutest and most popular cafes, with new ones popping up every few weeks. If you’re in the area, firstly, make sure you’re hungry and then get yourself to the likes of Commune, Paddock Bakery, Burleigh Social, Barefoot Barista or Parlour coffee for a brunch and caffeine hit!
Spend an afternoon BBQing on the beach at Rainbow Bay in Coolangatta
A BBQ is always a good idea anytime of the year on the Coast, especially when it’s on the beach! Just around Greenmount Hill in Coolangatta is where you’ll find a delightful stretch of beach and esplanade known as Rainbow Bay. Cook up your snags and cheers your drinks to the ultimate BBQ spot on the Gold Coast. Afterwards though, you cannot leave without checking out the world-renowned surfing hotspot that is Snapper Rocks. End the afternoon by heading up to Point Danger and gazing out over Duranbah Beach where the boarder of Queensland meets New South Wales.
Catch an AFL Game
Us Australians love our sports, so what better way to immerse yourself in the Aussie spirit than at an AFL game in Metricon Stadium where the atmosphere is guaranteed to be electric! With a beer in one hand and a pie in the other, cheering along-side some seriously passionate AFL supporters always makes for a fun night out!
Picnic at The Spit as the sun sets
Friends, food, the beach and a sunset is a winning combination, especially when you’re at The Spit in Main Beach. Wander down the rock wall toward the lighthouse and admire the fisherman casting off the jetty. Lay down your picnic blanket on the sand with your drinks and nibbles, gaze down the coastline and admire the beauty that is the Gold Coast.
Eat your weight in food & listen to live music at Miami Marketta
For a fun, entertaining and delicious night out, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Miami Marketta. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to food as market stalls lining the fairy light covered hall are cooking up every kind of cuisine you can imagine. Next to the quirky little bar where you can treat yourself to a cocktail or two, more stalls sell local artwork and clothing. Marketta is becoming a serious hot spot for live music too, and you can almost always find local and international bands and artists playing on Wednesday, Friday and Weekend nights.
Get up close with Australian Wildlife at Currumbin Sanctuary
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is quite the popular attraction between Australian locals and tourists alike, because, I mean, who wouldn’t want to cuddle a Koala and get up close and personal with a Kangaroo!? In the early mornings, you can feed free flight rainbow Lorikeets before wandering around the park on foot or by train to oo and ahh over all varieties of Australian wildlife. Throughout the day, you’ll enjoy more feeding shows, reptile exhibits, aviaries, the adventure park (if you’re game) and photo opportunities. The Kangaroos have a wonderfully spacious enclosure where visitors can even hand feed them and have a pat!
End your weekend sipping beer & hitting up food trucks at Balter Brewery
At Balter HQ, their philosophy states that taste-buds come first. The warehouse style space, where the beer on tap is ice cold and food is aplenty, has an open door policy and offers tours of the brewing facilities for the big beer fans. It’s no secret that Gold Coasters love their beer, so top a trendy brewery off with food trucks and you have a recipe for the perfect, chilled out Sunday afternoon here in Currumbin with your mates.
I’m pretty lucky to call the Gold Coast home, aren’t I! It’s comforting to know that after all my travels, I can come back to a place that is this beautiful and filled with adventure, great food and some of Australia’s best beaches. These are just SOME of the amazing things you can do on the Gold Coast
This article was orginally posted on HostelWorld.com. You can view the full article here where you can read all about the best Gold Coast hikes and waterfalls, too: 20 Amazing Things To Do on the Gold Coast!