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An interview with the Gold Coast’s local experts

This article originally appeared on www.hotelclub.com/blog. which is now part of hotels.com

We chat to the Gold Coasts’ local experts to find out everything from their top tips on restaurants, fashion, kids activities, walks, bars and more to help you avoid the tourist traps and enjoy the best the Gold Coast has to offer.

Sechy's Diary

Sechy’s Diary

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Twitter: @Sechysdiary

Sechy is a happy go lucky Gold Coast girl whose restless feet and love of travel has taken her all around the world. Her blog and vibrant Instagram account are full of beautiful beach pics, stylish travel stories, unbiased and honest fashion, art and travel related reviews. Sechy’s Diary is the perfect destination for people seeking a unique, friendly and lovable escape from the daily hum-drum.

1. What’s Gold Coast’s best off the beaten track attraction?
You can’t go past the Natural Arch in Springbrook, it is stunning. You will need your walking shoes because it is a bit of a trek but it is so worth it. At night the place is full of glow worms so day or night it is an absolute must see experience.

2. Where is Gold Coast’s best-kept secret shopping destination?
I don’t know if it is our best kept secret anymore, but Arkive Vintage in Surfers Paradise is a fave of mine. It is a small boutique but they have a great collection of vintage and very friendly customer service. Their range of Men’s vintage clothing is the best around and I always stock up when I am in Surfers.

3. What’s your favourite independent Australian fashion brand and where can you find it in the Gold Coast?
Ooh, that is a tough question to answer because there is so much great Australian fashion available. White Bohemian in Palm Beach is definitely worth checking out even though it is a little out of the way. It stocks beautiful Australian labels such as Spell Designs and have even created their own brand, Carbo Gyspy. Sean Scott in Burleigh Heads has an amazing collection of Valley eyewear. I am obsessed with my new Dead Coffin Club sunglasses.

4. What’s your favourite place in the Gold Coast to escape the crowds and why?
At the base of Mount Warning is a beautiful renovated Queenslander which houses an outstanding restaurant called Mavis’s Kitchen that has been my secret getaway spot for a while now. Even just popping in for a Devonshire tea and a wander around the property during a hinterland drive is worth it. The menu changes daily according to what is available in their organic garden and they even raise their own chooks. The food is divine, the wine selection is excellent and it is situated in the most picturesque, romantic and very remote place, however bookings are essential!

5. What’s your favourite hotel on the Gold Coast?
I don’t need to stay in Gold Coast hotels as I am fortunate enough to live here, but I have always liked the idea of pampering myself in a luxury ocean view apartment at Soul, Surfers Paradise.

6. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?
If you want to experience the real Gold Coast culture, stop by Miami Marketta. On a Saturday night it is a bustling smorgasbord of street food accompanied by live music and a host of local creatives selling their wares. If you love live music you must check out The Loft on Chevron Island. It is an iconic Gold Coast destination famous for its chilled out vibe and open mic nights. It is one of my favourite places to experience local artists as well as independent national and international acts.


Sassy Gold Coast

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Twitter: @SassyAustralia

Arabella Foster, Managing Editor of Sassy Gold Coast After spending parts of my early life growing up in London, Ireland, Spain, and the USA, there’s something about the Gold Coast that always brings me back (this time for good!). The glorious yearlong summery weather, the clean air, and the easy lifestyle may have something to do with it! I’m a true social butterfly at heart. I love to wine and dine, attend local events, travel often and I try to get to the beach as much as I can. Recently I moved back from Hong Kong with my friend and now business partner, Candace James. Soon after Sassy Gold Coast was born. Sassy is a recommendation site and city guide offering girls (and guys) original and local lifestyle content.

1. What’s Gold Coast’s best restaurant?
This is a tough one as our restaurant culture has definitely upped its game lately. Favourites to date though (because I simply can’t pick just one) would have to be Gemelli Italian in Broadbeach for the best authentic Italian food (you must try the gnocchi four cheese – you’ll be thanking me later), Hellenika in Nobby Beach (the Greek tastes are just incredible and the service is top notch), and lastly Espana in Broadbeach for a casual and delicious tapas Sunday (with a rose? of course!). Oh, and Grocer and Grind in Broadbeach Waters – absolutely amazing for breaky and its organic offerings.

2. Where is Gold Coast’s best-kept secret shopping destination?
I lean towards The Brickworks in Southport. It has everything you could possibly need (and want). They offer a range of fabulous stores from high-end fashion at Another Love, to fine art at Gallery One, to homewares at Runway International and St Barts, with a divine marketplace and cafes to boot.

3. What’s your favourite small bar in the Gold Coast?
I love Fix Cocktail Bar at the Hilton hotel. It reminds me of a bar you’d experience on your overseas travels. It’s ultra cool, the bar staff look schmick in their get up (complete with bow tie and braces) and their cocktail list is so wild and quirky, it really adds to the whole experience. Also, there’s a fabulous small bar in Nobby Beach called The Cambus Wallace. This dark and cosy spot was named after a sunken ship just off Queensland and features old ship doors at its main entrance. They do a mean Espresso Martini!

4. What’s your favourite place in the Gold Coast to escape the crowds and why?
Fireshaper hot yoga is my saving grace for when I need to break away from the Gold Coast buzz and completely switch off. Another favourite escape is heading to one of our beautiful beaches along our coastline for the ultimate chill out.

5. What’s your favourite hotel on the Gold Coast?
Again I can’t pick one. QT Hotel has a great retro and fun vibe with a fabulous bar, and the restaurant has the best buffet in town. The Marriott always gets me with their lagoon-style pool with the tropical fish, and I can’t go past The Sheraton Mirage – this old school classic has just had a revamp to the hotel rooms, which look fantastic!

6. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?
On the whole, the Gold Coast is a pretty special place. We have divine farmers and designer markets on the weekends, stand up paddle boarding up and down the coastline, and a creative arts culture that is taking over. Here’s a couple of weekend tips, ensure you visit the Miami Marketta Street Food on Saturday night, and hit Daark Espresso in Chirn Park for the best coffee in town.


Gold Coast Mum

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On Twitter: @GoldCoastMum

Gold Coast Mum Managing Editor, Lauren is a mum of four under four – including TWINS – who, while on maternity leave from her 14-year career as an award-winning journalist & editor, blogs about all things Gold Coast as well as topics including: parenting, pregnancy, multiple births, breastfeeding, reviews, giveaways, travel, entertainment, what’s on and more. She’s also a Zumba fanatic, karaoke queen, Cadbury Dairy Milk addict & a former Golf widow (with 4 under 4, hubby no longer has time for golf ;-)).

1. What is Gold Coast’s best off the beaten track family-friendly attraction?
There are so many to choose from (& some not-so-secret). The Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens (Rosser Park) in Ashmore/Benowa are lovely – there are walking tracks, gorgeous plants, flowers & wildlife & a play park. The Rockpools at Southport’s Broadwater Parklands is great and the beachside boardwalks & parks at Broadbeach & Burleigh are a must-do.

2. What’s your favourite place in the Gold Coast to escape the crowds with the kids?
The fenced play park on Miami Beach is a great spot to have a play/have a BBQ & enjoy a stroll with uninterrupted beach views. Hinze Dam is also worth checking out for something different.

3. What’s your favourite family-friendly restaurant in the Gold Coast?
We love Benowa Tavern with our children as there’s a fenced, outdoor play park & face painting fairy on Fri/Sat nights. There are a couple of surf clubs with kids’ areas &/or kids eat free deals too which is always a bonus. The Wattle Hotel in Coomera is fantastic for families – with an indoor play area for the kids and a kids’ menu its definitely worth checking out.

4. What are your top 5 family friendly activities in the Gold Coast?

  1. Theme parks (Sea World, Movie World, Wet n Wild, Dreamworld, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary).
  2. Rockpools at Southport’s Broadwater Parklands.
  3. Fish & chips at Burleigh, a walk along the beach & a play in the park.
  4. Stand-up paddle boarding at Currumbin Creek.
  5. The Observation Deck of the Q1.

5. What’s your favourite hotel on the Gold Coast?
The QT is pretty funky – I’d love to stay there sometime. Also, Paradise Resort for families and Palazzo Versace for the ultimate indulgence.

6. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?
Vapiano in Surfers Paradise – where they cook your dish in front of you is yum. Nerang Thai is great and Pad Thai Robina are fabulous! Kurrawa Surf Club, Broadbeach is great value for money and I hear Ashmore Seafood and Steak offer huge portions – so definitely good value too.


Walking the Gold Coast

Follow Walking the Gold Coast on Facebook
Twitter: @walksgoldcoast

Gillian lives on Australia’s Gold Coast and loves to walk. She decided she would record her activities on her blog, map her routes and photograph the location to share with everyone-both visitors and locals. Gillian has produced two walking guides for the Gold Coast with the motto ‘Experience the Gold Coast on Foot’.

1. What’s Gold Coast’s best walking track?
The Gold Coast’s best walking track in my opinion is Burleigh Headland National Park. Both upper and lower circuits have magnificent views featuring both the northern and southern Gold Coast, everything is here –  rainforest, wildlife and spectacular vistas. It’s a tantalising starter for a bushwalk adventure into the Gold Coast Hinterland.

2. What’s your favourite offbeat thing to do in the Gold Coast?
I love to get up predawn and watch the sunrise on different beaches throughout the Gold Coast, not always an easy task.

3. Where can you find the best off the beaten track beaches in the Gold Coast?
The best off the beaten track beaches, are on the Gold Coast Spit, where there are kilometres of beautiful white sand dunes draped in native dune flowers and heathlands behind the dunes to explore. A walking track called the Federation Walk meanders through the middle of the Spit and sand path disappears through large dunes to deserted beaches; I just love it.

4. What’s your favourite place in the Gold Coast to escape the crowds and why?
I like to escape for a walk along Tallebudgera Creek Conservation Park track, it’s a magical place, the water is crystal clear and best of all it’s the Gold Coast’s best kept secret Shh… you may not see another soul. Perfect for an escape!

5. What’s your favourite hotel on the Gold Coast?
My favourite hotel is Jupiter’s Hotel & Casino and the reason is the gardens, the tall Palms and the approach to the hotel is quite beautiful and best of all, there are plenty of places to walk and experience the Gold Coast on foot.

6. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?
Having breakfast or a break in a nice cafe is important to me after a walk, I’m always on the lookout for new cafes. Burleigh Village is full of quirky cafes, some are up alley ways other are facing the street. One of my favourite places to rest after a long walk.


Good Food Gold Coast

Follow Marj on twitter @FoodGoldCoast on Facebook
or on Instagram @FoodGoldCoast

Marj Osborne (Kirkland) has been reviewing restaurants for about 17 years, formerly for ‘Mietta’s Eating & Drinking in Australia‘; now for her own site. Her work has also been published in ‘Cafe Culture‘, in the street newspaper ‘Blank Gold Coast’ and on ‘More Gold Coast’. A researcher, teacher, and former Hospitality educator trained in vegetarian cuisine and wine appreciation, she believes in positive living and thinking, spending time enriching the body, mind and soul. She values the generosity of spirit and time taken to listen to others, to reflect, learn and contribute that are essential to the food industry.

1. What is the best up-and-coming restaurant on the Gold Coast?
Etsu Izakaya ticks all the boxes. It provides a Gold Coast twist on Japanese culture, their bars in particular – smart Japanese cocktails, tasty food to drink with beer and a communal space for the throngs to gather. The izakaya concept is integrated throughout the venue in its amazing decor, its carefully chosen food and drinks menu; so much so that the diner can feel transported to another place.

2. Whats your favourite local attraction? (something the tourists often miss).
Locals would probably be happy to keep the Marketta Street Food Markets tourist free! They’re busy enough already. Tucked away in a row of Miami’s warehouses, the market operates every Saturday from 4pm – 10pm. You can buy street food from around the world, listen to live music, even have a dance! We recommend that you dine early, though, to avoid the rush!

3. Whats the best restaurant for a romantic dinner on the Gold Coast?
Gondolas have been the vehicles of love for centuries. Dine with Gold Coast Gondolas to see the city at its most romantic, with city lights reflecting off the water. If you’re on the southern end of the coast, the new Bin 72 feels intimate and secluded. Share plates of varying sizes from one of the coast’s finest chefs, Daniel Ridgeway, before you cross the road to walk on the beach by moonlight.

4. Where’s the best café for Sunday brunch on the Gold Coast?
Gold Coast dining tends to fall into the ‘breakfast’ or ‘lunch’ (rather than the European ‘brunch’) tradition. If you dine early at Oskar’s, overlooking the beach at Burleigh, you’ll see why! Against a backdrop of curving coastline dotted by high rise, the rest of the Gold Coast is out playing, building sandcastles, catching waves and even hunting for car keys! The stories unfolding on the sand below you almost overshadow your delicious meal. You might relax so much that you stay on for lunch and champagne!

5. What’s the best vegetarian restaurant on the Gold Coast?
Cardamom Pod has just moved to a newer, more spacious location. They’ve won over diners with their generous, affordable servings of tasty, healthy food. Now with a view over the park, we expect their trade to increase. Why not grab a chia pudding or a slice of raw cake and enjoy a picnic under the trees?


Crave Gold Coast

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Twitter: @CraveGoldCoast Instagram: @cravegoldcoast

At Crave we enjoy visiting cafes, dining at restaurants, shopping at farmers markets, discovering new foodie stores & more so that we can report it all back to our followers.

We like to believe we are building a foodie community on our social media networks, a great place to share our recipes and share food experiences that not only we have, but what our followers also have.

1. What is the Gold Coast’s best up-and-coming restaurant?
Since we first started Crave Gold Coast we have seen so many new cafes & restaurants pop up all over the coast. One of our favourite is Can Tho Kitchen & Bar in Runaway Bay who recently underwent an amazing renovation of the entire restaurant including the menu, which includes some of the freshest and tastiest Vietnamese Food we have ever tasted, along with sensational cocktails. Their new décor is amazing and very on trend. A must visit restaurant..

2. What’s your favourite restaurant on the Gold Coast and why?
We don’t have just have one favourite restaurant on the Gold Coast, we have many. Some of them are.. Gemelli Italian in Broadbeach they have delicious traditional pastas and pizza that are all handmade. Slurping Panda Noodle Bar in Burleigh Heads is a great place to go for casual cocktails and asian inspired food. Elk Espresso in Broadbeach have fantastic Friday Night Dinners. Justin Lane Pizzeria in Burleigh Heads is the place to go for great pizzas.

3. Where can you find the best coffee on the Gold Coast?
There are so many great places to grab coffee on the Gold Coast. We have to agree with our Crave followers who voted strongly for Daark Espresso in Chirn Park. They use Supreme Roasters coffee beans and we simply cannot fault them on how they serve each cup, perfect temperature, smooth and sophisticated flavours. And their food also gets our vote.

4. What’s your favourite hotel on the Gold Coast?
Without a doubt it would be Jupiter’s Hotel & Casino in Broadbeach. We are super excited to experience the openings of two brand new restaurants – Kiyomi will serve a modern Japanese menu and Cucina Vivo will offer an Italian menu with traditional favourites. Plus all of our other favourites like Zen and The PA Pub and more. It’s a hotel with so much to offer locals and visitors on the Gold Coast

5. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?
For many years we have studied the food truck trends overseas and down south in Melbourne. We are finally happy to see that trend hitting the Gold Coast with additions such as Siguenos – Mexican Food Truck and The Wiener Haus – Gourmet Hotdogs. There are so many amazing mobile food vendors now on the coast serving up phenomenal food. Gold Coast markets are definitely the place to find these hidden gems..

Ali RelishFoodandLife

Relish food & life

Ali started her blog, Relish, when her husband and friends urged her to share her food obsession with other hungry folks. With many years experience working in five star hotels and fine dining, as well as cooking and coveting great food, she aims to use Relish to share great experiences and support people who make great food, coffee and/or wine and are passionate about what they do. Ali is a Gold Coast local whose travel and dining activities have slowed down of late due to having twins (newsflash: toddlers don’t like restaurants or long haul plane travel!), but she still manages to eat locally often and prides herself on stalking and sharing the scoop on great local dining experiences.

1. What is the Gold Coast’s best up-and-coming restaurant?
There are so many new cafes and restaurants at the moment it’s hard to keep up! Although I can personally recommend the Vietnamese at a casual little place in Miami called Bac to Nam that we visited recently. There are also quite a few on my GC wish list – Etsu, Seaduction, The Social Eating House, Gemelli Italian and The Fish House to name a few.

2. What’s your favourite restaurant on the Gold Coast and why?
There are a couple that stand out, but our last most memorable ‘special occasion’ experience was at Ten Japanese. Flawless, fresh food with great flavours and excellent service. We can’t wait to go back.

3. Where can you find the best coffee on the Gold Coast?
So many places – I recently did a ‘Best Coffee’ post on my blog, check it out! There are new places popping up everywhere, it’s so wonderful to be spoiled for choice on the Coast… finally!

4. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?
A short road trip from the Gold Coast, Northern New South Wales has some great dining experiences (Kingscliff, Byron Bay, Lennox Head and surrounds) and beautiful coastal and hinterland scenery.


Haven Magazine

Follow Keeley on twitter @havenhub or on Facebook

Keeley is a keen entrepreneur tackling the business world in addition to raising her three young children. She is owner of haven, a family lifestyle magazine shared on the Gold Coast south to Byron Bay and Brisbane.

1. What is Gold Coast’s best off the beaten track family-friendly attraction?
Off the beaten track you can explore Currumbin Rock Pools and Natural Arch – both great hinterland escapes to cool off on a hot day and enjoy nature.

2. What’s your favourite place in the Gold Coast to escape the crowds with the kids?
You can’t go past the great wide-open space of our beaches – they are just amazing! We head south to Palm Beach parklands with the dog or catch a wave at Currumbin or Coolangatta. They all have sweet spots to grab a caffeine fix or frozen treat nearby too!

3. What’s your favourite family-friendly cafe in the Gold Coast?
Paddock Bakery in Miami is a converted cottage in the burbs that offers something for all ages. Commune in North Burleigh is a laid back locals hangout that serves up a super thick shake!

4. What are your top 5 family friendly activities in the Gold Coast?

  1. Surfing (Burleigh, Currumbin, Snapper Rocks).
  2. Aqua Zone at the Broadwater Parklands plus or for the littlies the nearby Rock Pools.
  3. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
  4. Paddle Boarding (Currumbin Creek or Budds Beach).
  5. Bush Walking (Burleigh Headland, Currumbin Rock Pools or Natural Arch).

5. What’s your favourite hotel on the Gold Coast?
Zagame’s Paradise Resort in Surfers Paradise is the big favourite with the kids and they always ask to go back every time we drive by! If you want something off the beaten track Mantra or Peppers in Salt Village, Kingscliff is a lovely weekend escape.

6. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?
Burleigh Heads is a magic spot for the kids to adventure over the rocks, walk the rainforest or enjoy the playground with the word’s best view! There are loads of local takeaway spots where you can grab fish & chips, sushi or Mexican and picnic on the hill. Palm Beach parklands is sublime spot for families with young kids, you can splash in the lagoon, play pirates at the ship style playground, rent a paddle board (seasonally) and top it all off with a snack or frozen treat at the Dune Café. If the kids are a bit older and you love live music and street food, check out Miami Marketta they have markets, street food, tapas nights in an art-house warehouse.


Ocean Road Magazine

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With a background in Photography, publishing, advertising and media, Brian Usher leads the creative team at Ocean Road Magazine. Publisher, Editor in Chief and photographer of Ocean Road Magazine Brian has lead this publication to the leading lifestyle magazine in the Gold Coast Market and has built a wide professional network among influential leaders in the Southeast Queensland’s business community. Well-known throughout the Gold Coast, he has the ear of leading developments, hoteliers, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and political figures. A facilitator who believes in rolling up his sleeves to make things happen, Brian uses his business links and communications skills to bring people together and create connections. He is also a professional photographer, who has won many prestigious awards for his work for Ocean Road Magazine and corporate freelance clients.

1. What’s the Gold Coast’s best café?
There are so many now it’s really hard to choose. I can say that Burleigh Heads Village is certainly becoming a hub of great dining and cafes

2. What’s your favourite small bar on the Gold Coast?
At this point in time I’d have to say Cavalier, Burleigh Heads.

3. Where can you find the best coffee on the Gold Coast?
Another difficult one as there are so many now dotted about the Gold Coast. In a recent feature in Ocean Road Magazine we profiled 5 great coffee shops – Bambi Delux at Tweed Heads, Canteen Coffee at Burleigh Heads, Harvest Moon at Burleigh Heads, No Name Lane at The Oracle, Broadbeach & Canvas at Nobby Beach. All great cafes and they all create great coffee

4. Where can you find the best off the beaten track attractions on the Gold Coast?
You have to head up into the hinterland. Places like Currumbin Valley, Mt Tamborine, Tallebudgera Valley.

5. What’s your favourite hotel on the Gold Coast?
We just stayed at Palazzo Versace for the birth of our third child Noah Usher as part of a deal with Pindara Hospital. A truly great experience and it is hard to think of any other Hotel that provides such silver service. It’s Palazzo Versace for me!

6. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?
There is so much that this region has to offer, in saying this if you like fish then you can’t go past The Fish House at Burleigh point, the pizza at Gemelli, Broadbeach is the best you will find anywhere, The Cuban at The Oracle, Broadbeach is rich with Cuban heritage and flavour. There are so many more you just have to get out and give the taste buds the time of their life.  

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