Gold Coast – the theme park capital of Australia. Most mothers can empathise with me, after a few too many visits to the theme parks, it all get a little too much to handle.
That was until I discovered the other side of The Gold Coast… without kids. That’s right. They don’t want you to know about it, but there is a life outside of theme parks for parents to enjoy.
When I need a short getaway with a girlfriend or someone special, I decided to develop a few easy suggestions for anyone to follow.
Where to stay
Sheraton Grand Mirage: They have the best seafood buffet and incredible ocean view rooms with stunning views, however the hotel tends to get booked out quickly, so make sure to check the specials and availabilities.
Palazzo Versace: The best room they offer is the Lagoon view room. Palazzo had built a poolside oasis set in the heart of the hotel with its very own white sandy beach.
Now here is an interesting one. If you want to go inland, then check out the O’Reilly Rainforest Retreat. It’s only about 1.5 hours from Surfers Paradise, but it’s totally in a world of its own. Another great hotel is The Lost World Day Spa – the hotel features a 25-metre wet edge infinity lap pool and an extensive spa menu. There quite a few soft adventure activities if you’re ‘other half’ wants to do some action while you are chilling in the spa. It’s the best of both worlds. You must try the Segway Safari, where you get to travelling through ancient subtropical rainforest and eucalypt forest to spectacular Moran’s Falls.
It’s a Spa life
For me, no trip to Gold Coast is complete without some serious pampering. My top favourites are:
Aurora Spa at Palazzo has some amazing facilities like an indoor pool which is particularly great in winter. I had one of the best facials Active Botanicals followed by Olive Leaf Hair Mask & Scalp Massage.
Golden Door Spa at the Sheraton Mirage also offers some great packages that include massages and facials.
If you don’t mind going out of the hotel then there are some great smaller and more affordable places to pamper yourself. I had tried Endota spa which has saloons in both Surfers and Broadbeach. They got the new Organic Range as well.
I would suggest to check out websites for all the spas and ask about specials. Don’t be too shy to mix and match what you like to create a package you want. After all, you want to get the best.
Great places to have a drink are the bars at Palazzo Versace and Marina Mirage.
Stingray Lounge in Surfers Paradise is also worth a visit. Located in the newly refurbished QT. Beverage list is impressive, with variety of cocktails and some 450 tequilas. Friday and Saturday nights check out the resident DJ.
What on the plate
Over the years Gold Coast had been known for some interesting places to dine.
I became a fan of Tedder Avenue. One of my favourites is Shuck restaurant. The menu does mainly showcase seafood. However, if you are not a seafood lover there are also meat options. My top two dishes are cone bay barramundi and Moreton Bay Bugs.
Seduction restaurant located in the Peppers Surfers Paradise is a stunning fine dining restaurant, definitely for a special occasion. The restaurant is quite small so make sure you book well in advance. I had taken some of my top clients there and organised private functions. The menu is very innovative and seasonal. Service is second to none.
If you are in the mood for Japanese and if you got a group of friends there is greatMisono Japanese Steakhouse in Marriott Resort and Spa. Meals are prepared on a teppan hot plate built into each table. It’s quite an exciting dining experience. You can even request the top chief if book well in advance. The entertainment alone is worth every cent.
Marina Mirage Complex still has one of my favourite Italians, Fellini. Make sure you ask for the window table and also book well in advance especially for Friday or Saturday nights.
As mentioned earlier If you a seafood lover, Sheraton Grand Mirage offers an amazing buffet. Locals love it.
Omeros Brothers is also one of the gems for those who fancy seafood at it’s best. It’s one of the oldest seafood restaurants in Gold Coast. I find the menu very traditional but the quality of the produce is simply the freshest and the best.
There is a new kid in town – Cocoon Lounge Bar & Dining located in the Cavill Avenue via riverwalk. This is an interesting venue. Very sleek and modern. Daybeds overlooking the river. Food concept is food sharing which is very European. In fact, the whole décor/concept is very Mediterranean resort inspired. It can get very noisy Friday and Saturday nights. Then again – it’s a party scene.
Out and About
Gold Coast Hinterland – this is the place not to be missed.
If you are staying in Surfers Paradise and want to have the best of both worlds you can either rent a car and drive through the subtropical rainforest or take a tour.
For tours those guys had been running tours for years and I absolutely love the small and personalised attention. Daren and Steph from Southern Cross are great.
If I visit Gold Coast in summer, then for me there is nothing better than to get a car and drive to a place called Currumbin Rocks. Make sure you take swimming gear, plenty of water and a picnic. There is nothing better than diving in the stunning fresh, cool natural waters in the national park. After a swim you will be so glad you had packed the picnic.
You can head back to the hassle and bustle of the Gold Coast or continue your drive to the National Park. Mount Cougal National Park are nearby offering a 1.6 kilometre return walk.
My other favourite is to drive inland to Tamborine Mountains to visit local wineries.
I had discovered the best way to see the rainforest is to do the new exciting new eco-adventure walks. The walk takes approximately 45 minutes at a leisurely pace, when pausing to view the many points of interest and information along the way.
The entire walk totals 1.5 km and is a combination of forest floor trails, 300 metres of high-tech steel bridges through the highest points of the upper canopy, and a 40 metre cantilever bridge that soars a breathtaking 30 metres above the creek and rainforest below.
While you might think it’s not the best region for Australian Wine production, you will absolutely love the drive and the scenery. One of my favourite is Albert River. Book a table for lunch at the Vineyard Restaurant located on the sweeping veranda of “Auchenflower House”, overlooking the lush green valley of vines.
Check out Cedar Creek Estate where you will find an interesting Art Gallery featuring artwork of Arthur Hamblin – ‘The Farther of Australian Outback’.
You can do so much or so little. There are spas, cafes, walks, abseiling.
For me personally the Wild Walk in small group of 10 people thought the National Park ‘off beaten track’ is a must. Make sure you walk with a group if you don’t want to get lost.
Life is a beach
I am not a fan of big waves so I stick to smaller secluded beaches. Currumbin Inlet is perfect for those who like calm crystal clear waters or Labrador. It’s popular with locals for the stunning views to the South Stradbroke island as well as the iconic Grand Hotel dating back to 1884. Check out the events and what’s on. You can always go for grill or fish n chips unless you fancy Oysters and Champagne.
So whatever you travel plans are for the Gold Coast– make sure you get the best of your next short break by checking out my suggestions.
Till next time stay Zen.