See and do
It’s the Gold Coast, so you’re going to hit the beach, obviously. For the full glam experience – beach babes, lifesavers, high rises, nightclubs, shopping– it’s got to be Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach or Main Beach. But for a bit more calm and seclusion, our tip is to head south to the relatively quiet Tugun. Cooloongattahas the best surfing conditions, while Burleigh Heads has a national park with walking trails and good picnicking options.
High atop the Q1 resort and residential building, SkyPoint Climb is Australia’s tallest external building walk and takes daring climbers on a journey 270 metres above Surfers Paradise. Guides showcase the best of the Goldy to climbers, who, of course, are suited and harnessed up. If you’re not game, you can simply visit the Observation Deck. Lvl 77, Q1 Resort, Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise 4217. 07 5582 2777. From $49.
If you’re into themeparks then you’ve come to the right place. The Goldy has Warner Bros Movie World for buffs, Dreamworld for thrillseekers, Sea World for dolphin lovers, Wet’n’Wild for waterslides, and WhiteWater World for – well, more waterslides. And they’re just the most popular ones. Buy tickets online to avoid the queues.For those who like to keep their feet on the ground and like their beer ice cold, a visit to the Burleigh Brewing Company is a must-do. On the first Saturday of every month at 2pm, Burleigh Brewing offers a one-hour ‘Tanks, Tales and Tastings’ session hosted by the company’s brewmaster. 17A Ern Harley Dr, Burleigh Heads 4220. 07 5593 6000.
Eat and drink
The Hilton Surfers Paradise (see Stay) has enlisted the services of famed chef Luke Mangan and noted mixologist Grant Collins. Mangan, known for his work at Glass in Sydney and the Palace in South Melbourne, has taken an open-kitchen concept to Salt Grill, which focuses on contemporary Australian. Mangan’s signature Hiramasa kingfish sashimi with Persian feta is the star of the menu.
Next door is Fix where Collins has created a cocktail list that features a huge range of bourbon and gin. Order a Bulldog Martini or a classic bourbon cocktail. 3113 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise 4217. 07 5680 8000.
In Broadbeach, MooMoo Wine Bar + Grill has been the best steakhouse on the Coast in sometime, thanks to the high quality of meat from the region’s leading family farmers. Seafood also stars on the menu, with freshly shucked oysters the highlight. 2685 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach 4218. 07 5539 9952.
Nearby at Room 81 inside Sofitel Gold Coast, the brunch menu is a standout, while at night, the Martinis are hard to go past. 81 Surf Pde, Broadbeach 4218. 07 5592 2250.
The Gold Coast has had an injection of fantastic accommodation of late, with three new hotels. Soul Surfers Paradise has luxuriously appointed apartments and all rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows. 8 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise 4217. 07 5635 5700.
At Hilton Surfers Paradise up the street, the second tower of the hotel is now open (the hotel offers 420 rooms), along with a huge pool deck that includes cabanas and a barbecue area. 3113 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise 4217. 07 5680 8000.
Peppers Broadbeach, meanwhile, has one of the best locations on the coast in an area that features good shopping, eating, drinking and possibly the best stretch of sand in the city. One-bedroom ocean view suites include king-size beds and large private balconies. 21 Elizabeth Ave, Broadbeach 4218. 07 5635 1000.
Virgin Australia offers several flights daily from Sydney to the Gold Coast and most aircraft are equipped with the Live2Air system, which offers around 20 live Foxtel channels on demand for the flight north for a couple of bucks. Jetstar also flies from Sydney to the Gold Coast. And don't forget your sunscreen.