Start your two-day Gold Coast adventure with a pastry-filled breakfast at Miami’s Paddock Bakery. The Paddock team pull tray after tray of fresh, buttery croissants and other delicious treats out of the oven each morning, so do your best to help them get through them all.
The beaches are undoubtedly the best thing about the Gold Coast, so get to know them first. For sun and a relaxing dip, check out Nobby Beach or Currumbin Creek. Surfers flock to the point breaks at Currumbin or Snapper Rocks at Coolangatta, which is home to the annual Quiksilver Pro World Surfing League. For snorkelling, head to Palm Beach Reef. Its underwater ridges and channels are covered in coral, sponges, anemones and countless other colourful marine critters.
Paddock Bakery, 20 Hibiscus Haven, Miami, Australia +61 7 5508 2573
Enjoy lunch at Elk Espresso at Broadbeach. Their coffee and all-day breakfast are fantastic, just ask Orlando Bloom, who enjoyed many meals here during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean.
Experience another aspect of Gold Coast’s beautiful natural setting with an afternoon in Springbrook National Park. To see the stunning 100m Purlingbrook Falls, you can either take the easy 300m track to the lookout, or follow the 4km circuit under the green canopy to view the falls from below. If all the walking has gotten you a bit worn out, take the track to Warringa Pool. It’s a peaceful swimming hole hidden in a lush jungle valley.
Elk Espresso, 16 Chelsea Avenue, Broadbeach, Australia +61 7 5592 2888
For a chic dinner that won’t empty your wallet, Cicchetti on Isle of Capri serves unbelievably affordable Italian fare in a dazzling setting. End the evening with an exquisite cocktail in the lounge at the Palazzo Versace.
Cicchetti, 15 via Roma, Isle of Capri, Australia +61 7 5526 8868
Palazzo Versace, 94 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach, Australia +61 7 5509 8000
The vegan feast at Southport’s Cardamom Pod will give you the energy and vitality to tackle a second busy day on the Gold Coast. They serve up bright, delicious meals and smoothie bowls, packed full of natural goodness.
Stretching 36km from The Spit near Main Beach to Point Danger at Tweed Heads, the Gold Coast Oceanway is a collection of walkways and pathways between some of the greatest beaches and waterfronts on the coast. Follow any section of the trail and you’re bound to be rewarded with amazing ocean views, seaside coffee shops, quirky markets and verdant parks.
Cardamom Pod, Ferry Road Markets, Southport, Australia +61 7 424 251 008
No trip to the Gold Coast is complete without fish and chips on the beach. Some of the most popular options for locals include Peter’s Fish Market at Main Beach, Fishmonger at Burleigh Heads and Scales Seafood at Tweed Heads.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is another essential Gold Coast experience. Feed the kangaroos, cuddle the koalas and feed the flocks of rainbow lorikeets.
Watch the waves roll in over Burleigh Heads while you enjoy dinner at Rick Shores. Located just on the edge of the beach, the menu combines the best South-East Asian flavours. The roasted pork shoulder with apple teriyaki and red miso is a favourite.
Rick Shores: Gordon Terrace, Burleigh Heads, Australia +61 7 5630 6611