The Gold Coast can overwhelm you with choice, some of it a little underwhelming. Here are some suggestions to help you sort the worthwhile from the worthless. 

Graze without the masses

Sharing is caring at Social (1) in the new Oracle precinct of Broadbeach. Co-owners Amy & Matt Jefferson (People’s Choice Chef of the Year for three consecutive years) are all about that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from tapas style dining, serving up delights such as spiced soft shell crab.

As pizzas go, it’s all about the right balance between crust and toppings. That’s where the mouth-watering menu at Justin Lane (2) at Burleigh Head comes into the picture. Gluten-friendly options and an 85 per cent approval rating on Urbanspoon mean this local jaunt is a restaurant champion.

This year saw the successful Sydney team from Helm in Darling Harbour move 800 kilometres north and complete a vibrant renovation of an old bistro with the help of designers from Peckvonhartel. Inspired by the aquatic activities of locals, the waterfront bar (3) dishes up pub favourites and generous sharing plates.

Drink by theme

Welcome aboard, The Cambus Wallace, Nobby Beach! (4) With a rustic naval theme, and based on the story of a ship containing ‘precious cargo’ (scotch, beer and explosives) wrecking in a cyclone off Stradbroke Island, this nifty dig serves up some decent drinks and nibbles, sure to be a blast.

The Fish House, (5) Burleigh Heads, is a dining experience now accessible seven days that’s bolstered by a strong sommelier team, accompanied by a multiple award-winning wine list and backed by a breezy ocean setting. Ponder whether to tuck into Scotch fillet or swordfish, whilst sipping at the very best southern European vino.

Spa, spa, spa spoil yourself – you know you want to!

Stepping on up in the luxury stakes, the Gold Coast boasts a generous number of top spas. From an aloe vera body wrap dubbed the ‘Skin Rescue’ at SpaQ (6) to the ‘Mala Mayi’ – an Aboriginal inspired Mapi mud treatment at Q1 Spa, (7) every good summer getaway deserves a break from the beating sun. Other top picks include O’Reilly’s Lost World Spa (8), The Golden Door Spa & Health Club (9), and the new Aurora Spa Retreat (10) at Palazzo Versace.

For the tots

Every young adventurer craves an arctic adventure, so why not fulfil their dreams and take them to visit the Northern Hemisphere’s cutest marine mammal from the comfort of a plexiglass sanctuary? ‘Henry’ is Sea World’s newest (11) and, at seven months old, the only polar bear cub in Australia.

Shopping malls are so last decade

Village Markets, Burleigh Heads & Paradise Point: Fond of the old switcheroo, the markets rotate back and forth (12), calling Burleigh Heads state school home each first and third Sunday, and the emerald parklands of Paradise Point on every fourth. Open 8am to 1pm, the markets were founded for emerging local designers and artists as a showcase to success.


For the tech-savvy traveller, Gold Coast Tourism launched a free local app (13) back in July that gives users access to over 700 listings with an easy to navigate display. Features also include Find My Friends, Local Transport, Flight Info and Locate My Vehicle.

For more information, see Visit Gold Coast.

See other summer holiday destinations: Same old Christmas beach holiday? Not any more…