In our original plan, the Gold Coast [GC] had been struck off the list as our impression of it was a tacky high-rise, full of theme parks and partygoers. However at the last minute we decided to give it a go instead of pushing on up to Sunshine Coast and then looping back to Brisbane for Mum and Dads flight back to the U.K. I love being proven wrong, the Gold Coast is magical mix of coastline and hinterland. It will be home to the 2018 Commonwealth games and we think it will be an incredible venue, with its mountainous backdrop, meandering waterways and big golden surf beaches. We wish we were going.
Due to our friends Jen and Marcus leaving the rat race of Sydney and moving to Tallebudgera on the GC and Ex Cyclone Debbie, we ended up here three times on our trip, it’s funny how these things turn out.
A GREAT RESOURCE: is the Journey Guide to the Gold Coast and Scenic Rim
WHERE TO STAY: We camped at Burleigh Beach Tourist Park which is right in the centre of the town, with cafe’s, shops and the beach on your doorstep. We walked past a campsite at Palm Beach and if you wanted to be next to a safe swimming area by the river I would also look at Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK:
THE POSH ONE:
The Fish House: After a long beach hike, we found ourselves drawn into the Fish House with its beautiful interior and ocean views. The food and wine list was amazing and the service some of the best we have had in Australia. The produce is local and fresh and the side dishes never ending. I had the bugs, they were delicious, washed down with our favourite wine a Voyager Chardonnay.
Rick Shores: This place is opposite the campsite and right on the beach with stunning view of the Gold Coast skyline. We had the best seats in the house and enjoyed cocktails and sparkling wine on the beach watching the sunset, having first walked around Burleigh Heads National Park.
THE HEALTH FOOD OPTIONS:
BSKT: We went here twice as we loved it so much, the menu is exactly what I want to explore when I go to healthy café. They do Cocowhip too, which I love and introduced Mum to it. This was my favourite health food café of the three we went to on the GC and having recommended it to our friends Jen and Marcus they love it too.
Beach Shack Cafe: We hit this place twice too and both times had an Acai bowl [ this is where Rich had his first and he’s now a convert] we grabbed a seat on the top deck overlooking the ocean at Currumbin.
The Woodbox cafe: A quirky little place in West Burleigh, a little off the beaten track that does a great breakfast and lunch. They are happy to swap different menu items out which I love in a cafe. Funnily enough we went here twice too, we really must stop doing this and explore more.
THE SMALL BAR:
BiN12 The service again here was fantastic and after exploring the shops we sort of fell in here. We had red wine and a cheese board to share and sat outside on the street watching the world go by. Find more cool small bars in Burleigh Heads here
A CAFÉ BY THE WATER:
Dune Cafe: A lovely little place with huge windows that open out. Mum and Dad loved the pastries here.
Tamborine Mountain and Glow worm caves.
We all agreed that with so much to do in this area, you need at least two days, probably three and it would be great to stay up here. We started our jam packed day at Green Lane Coffee Plantation Cafe for coffee with the cheeky Minor birds, before doing the grade 4, 2.6km Sandy Creek Circuit in Knoll NP, passing cameron falls.
Next stop was the Glow Worm Caves, a purpose build chamber full of thousands and thousands of bright green glowing worms. so so beautiful. You cannot take any photos in the caves, so sorry, it just us as glow-worms. There is also the frog hollow experience, which is great to do while you wait for the glow-worm tour to start.
The Botanic Gardens are small but really beautiful and well worth a visit with a range of exotic and native flora. There are over 70 craft and tourist shops along the Gallery Walk as well tasting places….we just ran out of time and only had a quick dive into one place for tastings.
David Fleay Wildlife Park and Boardwalk:
It was the school holidays and so we decided we would borrow Jen and Marcus’ kids as these places are much more fun with little people. It’s a native Australian park so we were met with wallabies, salt and freshwater crocodiles, cassowaries, dingoes and snakes. We all agreed however our favourite part was the nocturnal show where we got to see a squirrel glider, barn owl, possums and the endangered bilbies. After the boys had an ice-cream we applied some QLD park tattoos as a bit of fun and headed off into the bush across the boardwalk and along the estuary for a lovely walk.
Thank you so much Jack and Harry for a lovely day.
Head up the Q1 TOWER:
On our big walk from Burleigh to Main Beach we shot up in the elevator to level 77 of the Q1 building to the SkyPoint Observation deck and were met with stunning 360 degree views across the beach, waterways and out to the hinterland. This tower is 230m above sea level and is one of the highest residential towers in the world. Its expensive to go up, but the views on a nice sunny day are superb.
Hit the beach and shops
We spent a morning on the beach sunbathing and splashing about in the surf at Burleigh heads, the whole GC area is patrolled every 100 meters by surf patrol, which is great as those waves are not like they are on South Beach in Fremantle. The shops around Burleigh heads are also worth a peek in.
There is a walking track the length of the GC and we walked a fair amount of it. It’s great as you can walk a section on the beach and then pop back on the track.
Burleigh Heads to Main beach 15km [One way with a few stops on the outdoor fitness equipment] We walked this straight out the campsite and turned left, en-route there was a great view-point overlooking the ocean and then about 50 minutes we reached BSKT a perfect coffee stop. We stopped again for a coffee and a cool down at one of the surf clubs, before heading to the Q1 tower for spectacular views. You walk through surfer’s paradise it had a much nicer feel to it than we thought, although we never went there at night. We didn’t fancy the 15km walk back and so called an Uber and went for lunch at the Fish House. [Checkout the route on my Garmin ]
Burleigh Heads to Palm Beach 12.6km [return] The other direction from the campsite takes you through the Burleigh Heads National Park, before crossing the river and then heading on the beach to Palm beach. We got absolutely soaked in the rain before we dived into the Dune Café for coffee and a dry off. Checkout the route on my Garmin .
Elephants Rock: On our return to the GC, Rich and I parked at Currumbin and walked along the beach and up elephant rock, before having an Acai bowl at the Beach Shack
Burleigh Heads National Park: It’s great that there is a National Park in the middle of suburbia, with a network of paths both along the coast next to the jet black hexagonal-shaped basalt and up the hill to great lookouts. We came here twice, once with Mum and Dad on our first full day in Burleigh Heads and again with our friend Jen. Checkout our route with Mum and Dad on my Garmin. There are lots of brush turkeys and water dragons throughout the park too.
Our friend Jen owns Respark your soul she specialises in sound healing, meditation and life coaching. If you are in the area look her up, all the details are on her website. I enjoyed a much needed sound healing after our time gertting caught up in Ex Cyclone Debbie
Head to Springbrook NP and Natural Bridge, checkout our blog of our time here after Mum and Dad returned home. (Coming soon)
Lammington National Park, sadly we didn’t make it here, but we would have loved too. If you do go hiking or camping here, let us know what we missed. All the info is here www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/lamington