Originally from Queenstown, I have lived on the Gold Coast for 16 years.

I am excited at the new funky coffee houses, gourmet markets, shopping and improved nightlife for adults.

Kirsten Wise. Photo / Supplied
Kirsten Wise. Photo / Supplied

The best beach has to be at Rainbow Bay, at Coolangatta. It has a beautiful view - sit with a beer, watch the sunset over the hinterland and, if you're lucky, see whales breach.

Alternatively, Tallebudgera is a beautiful spot for all ages. The water is crystal clear and turquoise, running beside white sandy beaches - try a paddle board or kayak.

Advertisement

Stretch your legs with a walk at Burleigh Heads National Park. It's stunning, with two easy options through rainforest or along the coast and lots of swimming opportunities.

Highly recommended accommodation is the BreakFree Diamond Beach Resort in Broadbeach. It has an amazing pool. But the Intercontinental Hotel at Sanctuary Cove is serious luxury.

Head to Mt Tamborine for a day of gift shopping, galleries, wine and cheese, and nature walks. It's only 30 minutes from Gold Coast beaches but you'll feel a million miles away.
While here, dine at the Three Little Pigs Bar and Bistro.

For the best local produce, go to the Farmers Market at the Gold Coast Turf Club every Sunday. Look for the gorgeous couple who make their own dips, olives, cheeses and chowders. Every week, I buy their basil and feta pesto with garlic parmesan crisps - it's my weakness.

Check out Ferry Road Market in Southport, too - upmarket shopping that is the best on the Coast.

Coffee addicts can get their fix at Coffee Sisters in Broadbeach Waters and Kiva Han Roasting House at Mermaid Beach, which makes a super tasty brew, too.

For top dining, go to Hellenika at Nobby Beach - their banquet menu includes saganaki, whole fish, Mooloolaba prawns and the most spectacular slow-cooked lamb outside of New Zealand. It also has excellent service and a great atmosphere.

End your trip with a pampering at Lella Hammam Moroccan Bath and Spa in Bundall. Perfumed luxury and authentic Moroccan treatments combine with exotic body scrubs and a super-relaxing steam room. I feel like I'm floating when I walk out of here.