Once an exclusive, highly fashionable English seaside resort for Brisbane’s better-off in the 19th century, today Southport’s charms are accessible to one and all. With a history of theatrical attractions drawing high-profile figures from all over Queensland, today Southport has blossomed into one of the major business and entertainment hubs of the Gold Coast, and its dazzling Broadwater views remain to dazzle travelers of every stripe.
The Seaway Dive Site
Divers and snorkelers from all over Australia make the trek to Southport’s own Seaway, the most popular shore diving site in all of Queensland. Found at the mouth of the Nerang River in Southport, the site has several different diving areas; of these, the Short Pipe and the Sand Pipe are the most accessible and wel-attended. Even at depths of 15 meters, you’ll be flabbergasted by the variety and diversity of species you’ll encounter: here you can swim among schools of trevally and mulloway fish, turtles, moray eels, stingrays, wobbegongs, sea horses, dragonets, stonefish, scorpionfish, anglerfish, and pineapplefish, to name only a few. There are several diving experience operators nearby who can supply you with equipment and offer instruction to beginner divers.
Price: free to dive!
Watch out for: incoming trevally
Gold Coast Seaway, Queensland, Australia +0415 666 457
The Brickworks Centre is a popular shopping precinct incorporating Southport’s famous Ferry Roads Market. Home to some of the Gold Coast’s leading retailers, this complex offers a refreshing contrast to the crowded Australia Fair Shopping Centre (also in Southport) on account of its multiple open-air storefronts, and its inclusion of boutique brands such as Fine Fruit, Reef, Dune, Globe Interiors and Merlo. Hungry shoppers can take respite at the wonderful Spendelove Bar and Bistro, a healthy, spacious café with a range of lunch dishes heavy on fresh fruit and vegetables.
Opening Hours: 8am – 6pm daily
107 Ferry Rd, Southport, Australia
Opening Hours: 10am – 4pm daily
Produce by the Pier
Produce by the Pier is a bi-monthly weekend market, which takes place on the picturesque Broadwater Parklands on the second and fourth Saturday of every month, rain or shine. The market is instrumental in boosting eco-awareness throughout Southport: its organizers are active advocates of sustainability, and only feature local produce sourced directly from suitable farmers and food producers in the area. Curious urban foragers will find a wealth of farm-fresh fruit and vegetables here, as well as a range of treats and sweets like coffee, flowers, honey, deli snacks, and even wine.
Marine Parade, Southport, Australia, +61 7 5581 6984
The Escape Hunt Experience
The Escape Hunt Experience Gold Coast is a live escape game that will test your mental agility and threshold for thrills. The concept is that of a mini theme park combined with an immersive role playing experience, inspired by classic ‘escape the room’ online and video games such as the popular Portal franchise. Customers are transported back in time to play the part of a famous London detective, and must try to solve a unique mystery with the help of their colleagues. Teams collectively race against the clock in one of the six themed rooms to gather clues and solve puzzles, with the goal of uncovering your ultimate escape before the 60-minute time limit expires. This challenge is known to delight and infuriate its participants in equal measure; just make sure you’ve chosen the right Watson(s) to your Holmes.
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm daily
2/162 Scarborough St, Southport, Australia, +61 7 5532 4180
Anzac Park and The Rockpools
The Broadwater Parklands along the foreshore host a multitude of activities and walking routes across their sprawling 3 kilometers, including picnics and BBQs, fishing off the pier, swimming and footie and rugby on the Great Lawn, and a rooftop Terrace where one can take in views of the Surfers Paradise skyline. The Rockpools is an exciting new kid-friendly sculptural water playground, ideally suited for cooling down on summer days with its fountains, splash guns and intriguing tidal rockpools. At the southern end of the parklands you’ll find Anzac Park, designed specifically as a memorial space for Anzac Day and memorial activities.
Marine Parade, Southport, Australia
Southport Heritage Walk
The Southport Heritage Walk is a self-guided trail with text and image markers to help walkers explore historical points of interest from Owen Park to the Broadwater. Along the walk you’ll discover several sites listed on the Gold Coast Local Heritage Register, informative plaques, inspiring monuments, and colorful stories that come together to form an evocative portrait of Southport’s history. Part of this experience includes discovering over 100 in-ground CD-sized marker discs, which indicate places of historic significance that you might otherwise walk past, and sometimes include photography and artwork depicting the site in its full former glory. Download the Southport Heritage Walk booklet to guide you through this trail, and see if you can spot them all!
Southport, Queensland, Australia
by Alex MacKay
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