Theme parks, nightclubs and beaches packed with people. Does this sound like the Gold Coast to you?
Although this is typically what we know the popular tourist destination to be, that’s not all this beautiful location has to offer.
Boutique food outlets, craft breweries and exceptional restaurants are making a name for themselves all over the Gold Coast.
For outdoorsy types, the beaches and the hinterland offer endless amounts of natural scenery to explore.
Here are a few of the best places to enjoy the more cosmopolitan side of the Gold Coast.
Things to do on the Gold Coast
Paddle boarding at Currumbin Creek
See the beach from a different view as you paddle out into the beautiful waters of Currumbin Creek.
Try stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) for a decent workout as well as a fun holiday activity.
Head right out to the waves of Currumbin Beach and have a little surf if you’re feeling adventurous or take it easy on the calm, cool waters of the creek.
Gold Coast SUP: 8 Thrower Drive, Currumbin, QLD
Sunset Champagne Sailing Cruise
For something luxurious, book a champagne sailing cruise on the Broadwater.
Enjoy the intimate environment with groups limited to small numbers on this stunning boat, making you feel as though you’ve got a crew all to yourself.
Cruise out at sunset, sip on champagne, snack on prawns and fresh fruits and take in the exquisite views as the sun sets behind the mountains of the hinterland.
Champagne Sailing Cruises: Berth C, 51 Mariners Cove Marina, 60 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach, QLD
Hike at Mt Tamborine
Take a break from the beaches and head about 40km inland to explore Mt Tamborine.
You can’t go past the Witches Falls walk for views (pictured above) out over the farmlands below while being surrounded by lush rainforest.
Opt for a quick 30-minute walk to the waterfall or take a longer loop to enjoy more of this breathtaking landscape.
Make sure you reward yourself with a visit to one of the many boutique shops, vineyards and breweries on the mountain while you’re there.
Walking routes at Mt Tambourine: 79 Main Western Rd, North Tamborine, QLD
Places to eat and drink on the Gold Coast
The Cardamom Pod
The rise of vegetarian and plant-based meals is being offered by many restaurants on the Gold Coast, to the delight of customers looking for alternatives.
No more so than The Cardamom Pod, voted as one of the top 10 restaurants for breakfast by The Gold Coast Bulletin.
You can enjoy exquisitely presented acai smoothie bowls, delicious Indian inspired dishes such as dosa and fresh, wholesome salads.
Head to The Cardamom Pod for a brunch that will set you up for a day of holiday fun. Don’t miss the desserts cabinet; take away some indulgent treats for later in the day.
The Cardamom Pod: 1/2685-2689 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach, QLD
Burleigh Brewing Co.
A Sunday session at the Burleigh Brewing Co. is the perfect way to end the day.
If you love a fresh, cold brew or simply want to enjoy some laidback tunes with mates, this is the place to be.
Ask the friendly bar staff to help you tailor the tasting paddles to your palette – they have a range of delicious beers on tap.
With rotating food trucks parked at the front offering Cubano sandwiches, chicken wings, loaded fries and more, you’ve got more than a few good options to pair a tasty snack with your beer.
Even if you’re not a beer drinker, this open warehouse has lots of other beverages and a great atmosphere on offer.
Burleigh Brewing Co: 2 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
Picnic at Burleigh Hill
If the outdoors is more your thing, then a picnic at Burleigh Hill is ideal.
This popular lookout and meeting spot for friends and families is enjoyed year-round and is known for its amazing views towards Surfers Paradise.
Head to Golosi Food Emporium in James St (pictured above) and pick up some delicious local and international delicacies. Cheeses, olives, cured meats and sweet treats will make the perfect picnic.
Golosi Food Emporium: 3/45 James St, Burleigh Heads, QLD
Getting to the Gold Coast
Fly into Coolangatta Airport, just 30 minutes from Surfers Paradise. You can also fly into Brisbane International Airport from many cities around Australia or internationally which is only a 50-minute drive away.
If you’re looking to explore, then get yourself a hire car for ease of transport. If you’re happy to be chauffeured then the Con-X-ion airport shuttle runs an affordable and efficient service to and from the airports.
Where to stay on the Gold Coast
You’re absolutely spoiled for choice for places to stay on the Gold Coast. To get away from the hustle and bustle we recommend staying at Tugun or Burleigh Heads in the south for lovely beach areas. For more of the lush rainforest setting, a few nights amongst the trees in Mt Tambourine is highly recommended.
All images by Emma Lovell (except header image).
Disclaimer: The writer travelled at their own expense.