My family recently visited the Gold Coast from England, to escape the cold winter and spend time with me and my husband. With this on the horizon, I had to come up with an elaborate itinerary of incredible experiences and day trips to keep them entertained. Here are my top picks and some of their favourites, perhaps a few slightly different to the “norm”.
Edgewater Restaurant, Isle of Capri, Surfers Paradise
OK, I know what you’re thinking: This is a little fancy. And do you know what? It was! But I don’t see my family much, and it was lovely to be able to share this delicious meal together. Edgewater is waterfront dining on the Isle of Capri, in Surfers Paradise. Described as modern Australian with a twist of traditional Italian, the food is sumptuous. We shared calamari to start and then I devoured a bowl of prawn linguine; a real treat for someone who isn’t confident cooking seafood at home. My dad chose the steak which was juicy and tender, my step-mum the snapper and my hubby the seafood risotto. We were charmed by our waiter; the view was glistening; and the food exquisite. If you’re looking for a bit of glitz and glamour and a special treat, then this is the place for you.
David Fleay Wildlife Park, Burleigh
This may be perceived as the poor cousin of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, but do not be fooled, it is a delightful little nature park. Being “Brits abroad”, my relatives were mostly interested in seeing some koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles and maybe the odd deadly snake. Well, this park certainly delivers on every front. Fleay himself is known for his pioneering work with breeding platypuses, so if you’re lucky (and you can see in the dark), you might also catch a glimpse of Wally. When it’s hot and sticky, an entire day traipsing around an animal park can be exhausting, so this park offers a delightful bitesize insight into Australia wildlife in a very peaceful setting, and there’s not a nasty cage insight.
The Boat Shed, Currumbin
Most English people’s holiday dreams include sipping on something cool by the water somewhere hot, enjoying a gentle breeze and idyllic view. Well this is exactly what we achieved one Thursday afternoon at The Boat Shed. We had simply popped in for a cool beverage but two hours later we were still there. They have some delicious tapas including yummy bruschetta, as well as a fine selection of wines. You can hire stand-up paddle boards, or like us, simply sit back and watch others have a go! At weekends this venue often has live music, which certainly piqued the interest of my musician father, but sadly we ran out of time to make a return visit. A favoured spot amongst the south coast locals, get yourself down there to show your visitors what GC living is all about.
Pacific Fair Shopping
Now this might seem like one just for the ladies, however my dad is partial to a bit of shopping too, so we made a couple of visits to Pacific Fair during their stay. There aren’t comparable shopping centres in the UK, in terms of both the range of shops on offer and the incredible design and setting of Pac Fair. My step-mum was extremely enthralled by the makeup on offer and we both had a splurge in Mecca Maxima; we also took quite some time browsing the sales in Lovisa. We loaded our bags full of goodies with things you wouldn’t find in the UK and once our legs were weary, we took refuge at Coco Cubano in one of the food halls. Following a jug of sangria and some nachos, we were ready to hit the shops again. We returned home after many happy hours including a final dart into Woolworths for some essential groceries. This is certainly retail therapy on a grand scale, and a joy for those holidaying and perhaps looking to escape the heat.
Fortitude Brewing Company, Mount Tamborine
Mount Tamborine is certainly a regular stop on the tourist trail and it was for us, too. Dad did ask the valid question of “is there a summit?” as we drove up the steep roads to the top. I obviously stated there isn’t a summit as such, however there are a few wonderful lookout points, a couple of which we enjoyed that day. After a peruse around the shops, the obvious thing to do was have a drink (we’re not alcoholics by the way). We found a table in the courtyard at the Fortitude Brewing Company. There are delicious beers and wines to sample, and as the time ticked on we ordered a couple of pizzas too. A perfect spot to while away an afternoon, and as well as enjoying the menu, we were treated to some of their regular Sunday afternoon live music. We even made friends with our neighbours, who turned out to know some people from our town back in the UK. You can travel to the other side of the world, and not fully escape, but Fortitude Brewing Company is certainly very different from the pubs I know back home.
By Charlotte Hall