THE GOLD COAST

The Gold Coast in Australia is also known as The Goldie, Surfers and The Glitter Strip.  I call it home. 

It stretches along approximately 65 km of coastline all the way from South Stradbroke Island down to Coolangatta.

The Gold Coast is a major tourist attraction in Australia and is a playground for all ages.  The sunshine, magnificent beaches, rainforest hinterland and the thrilling theme parks are the main attraction.  It has the most theme parks in the Southern Hemisphere as well as becoming known as a screen production hot spot.

The region is a beautiful place to live and I feel like I’m on a perpetual holiday.  The best part is the sub-tropical climate which means mild winters.  We don’t use a heater and it’s tucked away in the garage somewhere – just in case.  To be honest though, I’m not a fan of humidity and you’ll get it in spades during the summer months and I think February is probably the worst.

On rare occassions we’re affected by tropical cyclones from the Coral Sea as was the case in February 2019 when tropical cyclone Oma impacted the Gold Coast resulting in beach closures due to dangerous surf and abnormally high tides.

Surfers Paradise Beach closed:

The city has an impressive skyline which rivals Miami, Florida and with its elaborate number of canals and waterways, it has more canals than Venice.  The views from the many high-rise hotels and apartments are spectacular.  During the day, the ocean views are mesmerising and at night, the glitz and glitter of the city lights will beckon you.

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS

Coolangatta sits on the Queensland side of the border and as Queensland doesn’t do daylight savings, it can get pretty confusing if you happen to live in Tweed Heads which is on the New South Wales side of the border.  You can cross two time zones in a matter of seconds.  If you’re on the Tweed Heads side of the street, it might be 10am, but cross over to the other side and you’ll find yourself in Queensland and it’s an hour earlier.  The bonus is, you get to celebrate New Year’s Eve twice within an hour!

THE BEACHES

Main Beach is just minutes north of the heart of Surfers Paradise and close to the famous Versace Hotel and Marina Mirage with its high-end fashion, restaurants and super yachts.  Sea World is a short drive north.  Tedder Avenue is where you’ll also find cafes and restaurants.

Surfers Paradise is where the tourists tend to gravitate and it’s where the action is particularly around Cavill Avenue.  The beach is also popular. 

Broadbeach is quieter.  But don’t let that fool you.  I much prefer it as it has a great atmosphere and better restaurants.  There’s also a fantastic park which includes a couple of kids’ playgrounds.   The park is a favourite for family time and barbecues, strolling along the boardwalk, cycling and jogging.  Besides catching the waves, there’s also beach volleyball.   The re-built Kurrawa Surf Club is a real drawcard as is the The Star (formerly Jupiter’s Casino). 

Burleigh Heads is another favourite.  It’s very picturesque with it’s beautiful Norfolk Pines, and gorgeous beach.   The views from John Laws Park towards Surfers Paradise from the hill are sublime. You’ll find a huge array of cafes, restaurants and fashion boutiques.  A great day out!

Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin – these two beaches are very popular with the locals and very pretty as well.  Tullebudgera Creek has been voted the 2019 winner of Best Swimming Spot in Australia. The estuary is quite beautiful and it also has a tourist park. Currumbin has a great beach as well as family frierrumestuary and a number of top eateries. It’s where you’ll find the Wildlife Sanctuary and stand-up paddle boarding further down the estuary, in the creek.

Coolangatta has a laid back vibe about it and is a beautiful seaside suburb with spectacular surf and beaches.  The headland around Greenmount provides a protected spot for swimming. Snapper Rocks and Rainbow Bay offer world class surfing.  

EVENTS

The Gold Coast hosts a number of annual events which draws in the crowds.  Below are the major ones.

  • Blues On Broadbeach Music Festival – a free Blue’s festival held at the end of May at Broadbeach. 
  • Cooly Rocks in Coolangatta – held in June and a nostalgic 50’s and 60’s two week event featuring hot rods, restored cars and plenty of rock n roll.
  • The Gold Coast Marathon – where over 25,000 energetic people of all ages from around the world participate in a flat, fast and scenic course along beautiful surf beaches and stunning broadwater. There’s also a Wheelchair Marathon for those inclined.
  • Magic Millions – a horse racing auction and race day held at the Gold Coast Turf Club.  In 2020 it will be held on 11 January.
  • The Gold Coast 600 (formerly known as Lexmark Indy 300) – car racing event held in October.
  • Schoolies Week – at the end of November where Gold Coast school leavers celebrate the end of their high school life.  The following week it’s the New South Wales schoolies who besiege the city.  It’s during Schoolies time when most Gold Coasters tend to head for the hills – or at least steer clear of Surfers.

SHOPPING

The two premier shopping venues are Pacific Fair at Broadbeach and the Robina Mall at Robina, both of which have undergone multi-million dollar renovations over the past couple of years.  You most definitely won’t be disappointed! And what I love best – I’m halfway between the two!

Chill Out Zones at Pacific Fair:

Max and I love a good coffee and unfortunately, in our 13 years here, we’ve not found a great many that we return to.   Nothing here to rival Melbourne or Canberra however we always get consistently good coffee at Barbosa in the Kitchens at Robina Mall, Merlo at Ferry Road Markets, and Hard Coffee on Tedder Avenue in Main Beach.  There’s also a couple of cafés in a little arcade off James Street at Burleigh Heads.   I’m sure there are other great venues out there and no doubt we’ll eventually discover them too. 

Industrial Theme at the Kitchens – Robina Mall:

MARKETS

The Gold Coast has a vast array of markets which sell bits and bobs, souvenirs, fashion, art, crafts and fresh produce.  

The iconic Carrara Markets are the biggest permanent weekend marketplace in Australia and have been operating for over 30 years.  It’s a major tourist attraction.  Here you’ll find over 400 stores so make sure you take plenty of shopping bags with you.

If you want to experience some real atmosphere, then you need to head for the Miami Marketta Street Food Market which is open every Friday and Saturday night from 5pm-10pm.  The food is inexpensive and varied and you can also purchase alcoholic beverages.  And while you’re dining, you’ll enjoy great live music.  They’re also open for specific music events throughout the year and you can go to www.miamimarketta.com for more information and tickets.

To find out when and where specific markets are held, go to http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/thegoldcoast/art-craft-markets-22942.html

IMAGES

  • Image 1 – Jordan Gellie on Unsplash
  • Image 3 – Aaron Burden on Unsplash
  • Image 7 – Stuart Photography on Pixabay
  • Image 21 – Marcus Clark on Unsplash
  • Rest of images – author’s own
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