When on the Gold Coast, join the locals who leap up at dawn to stride along the ocean's edge. It can become so hot later that you may be ready to substitute strolling for a swim in the sea. Either way you need to nourish yourself, so check out these hot spots for your day as a native of Broadbeach.
Zip past No Name Lane for your first coffee fix. Have a smooth cappuccino for the boardwalk or if you are already feeling the intensity of the heat, cool yourself with an iced mocha treat. This is the perfect spot for a first light, first brew and they know it, so are open and ready for you at 6.30am. A recent massive make-over here also means its a cool space to hang later in the day for cocktails, coffee-inspired of course.
After you have marched along the beach, taken a dip and worked up an appetite, make sure you earmark Elk as your destination. The seasonal breakfasts here are some of the best on the Coast and you can join the party vibe inside or catch the breeze on the deck. Choose from Bowls of Goodness, Essentials or Awesome options and get the kids a great mini fix alongside. The chilli scrambled eggs with goat's cheese is a go-to although the olive and thyme toast is equally addictive and comes with a choice of toppings. If you come a little later you can have breakfast for lunch although you should try the crispy skin salmon with carrot hummus and mint salsa verde. If you are ready for your next cuppa, "Single O" beans and a great barista equal fabulous coffee. You can pop by anytime between 6am and 4pm daily (kitchen closes at 2.30pm).
Getting about on the Coast is easy with Translink, which allows you to bounce between the little townships. If you are after superb, local, spray-free farmer's produce, head to Palm Beach to its latest cafe, Highline. The menu may be short and sweet but it's gutsy with flavour. Try the toast with tomatoes, pickled nectarines, burrata and basil or one of their unorthodox toasties (because who doesn't love an Aussie jaffle?) such as the Japanese pork curry. It's just a nook, so grab a seat on the pavement and strike up a chat with your neighbours. Make sure to get there before they close at 2.30pm. Remember they have been serving up all-day yumminess since 6am.
Just up the road at Mermaid Beach, concealed behind a white sliding door is Etsu, a hidden gem in this obscure stretch of massage parlours. This is true "under the radar" dining and it's fabulous. If you're alone or love to engage and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the place, perch at the bar. Select from tap-pour sake, thoughtful mixology, or take advice on a bespoke wine list with plenty of options by the glass. The menu is extensive and can cause anguish of choice. Everything sounds delicious and what came did not disappoint. Try the Salmon Usuzukuri, thinly sliced, with white soy and truffle oil topped with the chewiness of sesame seeds. Another hit are the prawns in tempura batter with spicy aioli and a feathering of chilli strands. The creamy crispy combination of the zucchini flowers stuffed with tofu feta are a delight. You can book online but there is no street sign to guide you in, so look out for the hanging lantern. The exterior may be unassuming, but this hideaway deserves to be discovered.
Vanessa Baxter is a food and travel writer and runs The Fearless Kitchen in Auckland.