If you're looking for a sun-filled week away complete with world-class food, the best cocktails in town and views to write home about, you can't beat the Gold Coast. Trust me, I'm from Queensland, and I know a good time when I see one.
You'll want to set aside five days at least to explore not only the incredible coastline and beaches, but to head out to the Gold Coast hinterland & Scenic Rim to get a real taste of what Queensland has to offer.
Forget kangaroo watching and mountainous hikes, when I'm in charge of the itinerary, nailing the food, drinks and atmosphere is my top priority. Check out my ultimate foodie tour of the Gold Coast and start planning an adventure of your own.
Day 1 - Broadbeach and Mermaid Beach
Pack your togs and prepare for a day by the sand at Broadbeach and Mermaid Beach - an easy 20-minute stroll from each other along the beach or road. First stop is of course, coffee and brunch to fuel for the morning so grab a flat white and some green chilli scrambled eggs at Elk Espresso in Broadbeach, conveniently located in the heart of the outdoor Oasis Shopping Centre.
After a mince around the shops or a dip in the ocean, head to Social Eating House for a family-style, fine dining lunch of tapas and plenty of international flavour. They've got a killer cocktail menu, too.
Mermaid Beach is the dinner spot to hit this evening, so after a long lunch, head along on foot and work up your appetite for modern Mexican at Bonita Bonita. There's a takeaway menu too if the weather calls for tacos, grilled corn and guacamole on the beach. On the way home, call in to uber-chic wine bar Nineteen at The Star, inside The Star hotel, for cocktails with a killer view.
Day 2 - Burleigh Heads
If you're setting out from Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach or Mermaid Beach, Commune Cafe is the perfect place to stop for coffee and a bite to eat as you head to Burleigh along the Gold Coast Highway. Grab a Jumping Jimmy banana smoothie with a double shot of espresso if you're keen to get back on the road quickly.
Burleigh Heads is one of the Goldie's most famed beaches, so enjoy an array of bar bites overlooking the water at Burleigh Pavilion or hop next door for a fresh seafood extravaganza at The Tropic. If you fancy your seafood with a pan-Asian spin, make time to swing by Rick Shores for their famed set menu featuring lobster, Moreton Bay Bug roll and whole Barramundi amongst other flavourful dishes.
I'm pretty much known for being able to sniff out a good beer spot wherever I'm travelling, so believe me when I say, you'll want to hit up both Black Hops and Burleigh Brewing if craft beers are your thing too.
A menu of modern Vietnamese at Jimmy Wah's is the ideal way to round off an afternoon of beer-filled antics, thanks to the array of fresh produce and light zesty flavours synonymous with this southeast Asian cuisine.
Day 3 - Day trip to Gold Coast Hinterland and Scenic Rim
Just 60 minutes drive from the Gold Coast, the sights along the way to the Scenic Rim are worthy of the adventure, but the dining options complete with award-winning wines and use of local, seasonal produce are second-to-none, too. Mount Tamborine Coffee Plantation is a fantastic spot to stop for brunch, followed by Pethers Rainforest Restaurant for an award-winning five-course menu which changes based on availability and the chef's inspiration.
Let's be honest though, you're also here to sample the famous local beer, wine and spirit offering, so my top picks for hitting the tasting trail are Fortitude Brewing Co, Witches Fall Winery, O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Vineyard and Tamborine Mountain Distillery. Make sure you have a designated driver for this one!
Day 4 - Palm Beach
After yesterday's excursion, you may want to keep it low key, so head to Palm Beach for the day and start off with some fuel at Barefoot Barista. You may even want to re-energise with a cold-pressed juice or green smoothie if you're feeling a bit dusty. Italian is the order of the day for lunch, so head to The Italian Job at The Collective for handmade gnocchi, spaghetti or pizza. If that doesn't tickle your tum, there are also Japanese, Greek and Mexican options - so order an array if you're feeling game.
Come sundown (or maybe even earlier) you may find a cocktail calling, so Frida Sol is where you want to be. With a plethora of margaritas, sangrias and zingy signature cocktails, you won't be able to stop at one, so enjoy another before heading to Las Palmas for a Latin American feast. This recently opened restaurant boasts stunning views of Palm Beach, while the menu is a-buzz with fragrant flavours from the earth, land and sea.
Day 5 - Surfer's Paradise
The final day! A lovely, lazy beach day is probably a safe bet so park up near Northcliffe Surf Club where you'll find a cafe, restaurant and a good swimming spot, too. Spend the morning here then head to The Bistro at Seascape Restaurant and Bar for some seafood al fresco on the balcony overlooking the ocean.
I'm all about going out with a bang, so the only spot you've got to hit tonight is Hyde Paradiso. They say, come for the music and the view, and stay for the socialising and signature cocktail menu and I couldn't agree more. With unobstructed sea views, mouth-watering Mediterranean tapas and a fun and frivolous atmosphere, it's the perfect place to toast to a week of unmissable culinary experiences.
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