June 02, 2023
11 mins Read
Sorry to burst your bubble if you’ve only just discovered this beautiful neck of the Gold Coast hood, but the secret’s been out for a while. Halfway between Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta, holidaymakers have been flocking to Burleigh Heads in Queensland for more than a century to embrace its sun, sand, and sea.
Fast-forward to today and Burleigh Heads still boasts a predominately low-rise streetscape with throwback architecture, an abundance of green space, quiet pockets of beach, and an unpretentious vibe.
While this laid-back beachside town has long been a favourite in the getaway stakes, its cool factor has recently spiked with a recent influx of exciting new places to eat, drink and shop, meaning it’s well and truly emerging from the good old days.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in Burleigh Heads.
More than just a picturesque paradise (although laying by the beach there is lovely too!), you’d be surprised at how many things there are to do in Burleigh Heads. From guided walks and boutique shopping to a relaxing bathhouse and delicious food markets, here’s how to spend your time there.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or more experienced, everyone is welcome to grab a board and hit the waves in Burleigh.
If you’re looking to learn, pro surfer Cheyne Horan offers a variety of surfing lessons so you can enjoy the water with confidence.
Take a step back from the bustle and carve in some time to walk through Burleigh Head National Park. As you wander along the rocky foreshore, you have no choice but to soak in the spectacular views looking out to Surfers Paradise — you might even spot a whale!
Join a guided tour at Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre and learn about the Aboriginal history and culture of the Gold Coast while walking along a beachside rainforest walkway. Guests will also hear about traditional life, bush tucker, fishing, hunting, and important ecological practices.
Every month on the first and third Sunday, The Village Markets is a collaboration of designers, artists, foodies, and musicians for you to enjoy. Held at Burleigh Heads State School from 8.30am to 1pm, it’s an awesome way to spend a slow Sunday morning browsing stalls of good-quality local products, sampling cheerful and cheap street food, and listening to home-grown talent under the shade of sprawling, leafy trees – you can also check out our guide to the top Gold Coast markets for more.
Stroll down to James Street in Burleigh Heads Village and browse the eclectic mix of boutique fashion shops, beautiful homewares, and gourmet goodies, followed by a coffee or freshly squeezed juice at a charming local cafe.
Also on James Street is Golosi, an emporium of all things delicious. Pick up some goodies for a picnic down at the foreshore. Think freshly baked sourdough from Mullumbimby, delicious tapenades from nearby hinterland village Tyalgum, creamy handmade cheeses from South Australia, a banquet of mouth-watering sweet treats, and much more.
Soak, steam, sweat, and swim; a session at Greenhouse The Bathhouse will have you feeling utterly rejuvenated. This communal bath house has hydrotherapy spas, a steam room, a sauna, a magnesium plunge pool, massage services, and a sun deck to enjoy a plant-based lunch and kombucha (or Champagne!) afterward.
This iconic landmark of Burleigh Hill is not to be missed. Pack a picnic and head there to watch the sunset over the beachfront view and Surfers Paradise skyline.
Three times a week, Miami Marketta comes alive with street food from around the world. Expect a generous smattering of all your favourite cuisines from wood-fired pizza and handmade pasta to fried chicken, pad Thai, gyros, tacos, doughnuts, and more.
By now you won’t be surprised to hear that Burleigh dominates the list of best restaurants to eat at on the Gold Coast so it must be pretty spectacular. From cafes to restaurants to breweries, do yourself a favour and drop into one of these top places to eat in Burleigh Heads – and if you’re after a cafe guide to the Gold Coast we’ve picked the best of the bunch for brunch too.
Nestled in James Street, the light and airy Social Brew is perfect for a caffeine fix, smoothie bowl, and delicious daily bakes.
The lively Commune cafe with quirky vintage decor, serves light meals and coffee, with a focus on organic food.
A renovated old Queenslander home, Paddock Bakery creates what they believe to be the best wood-fired sourdough around. As a walk-in-only establishment, you’ll find plenty of seating available in their cottage, garden, rooftop, loft, and barn areas. Hot tip — the doughnut game is strong here!
Location, location, location. The sleek award-winning Rick Shores restaurant serves up pan-Asian flavours with front-row views of the rolling surf (bonus: the space’s tiered design means there are no bad seats). The menu has a focus on locally sourced produce, while the bar snacks – karaage chicken, barbecue pork steam bun, and the signature fried bug roll – are perfect to enjoy in the casual al fresco seating area with sandy feet. Book ahead; this place is buzzing.
The view is extra special at The Tropic, known for its beautiful sunsets and Mediterranean flavours.
With a shareable menu, mix and match small plates here like puff spiced bread, sweet peppers, roasted pumpkin hummus, and Ocean King prawns.
For a more laid-back vibe, side-step into its sister restaurant Burleigh Pavilion for wood-fired pizzas and all the classics.
This local favourite is the result of a five-week motorbike tour that Chef Jake Cooley took around Vietnam. Offering a flavoursome modern Vietnamese menu, it’s difficult to decide on what to order when you’re tempted by the likes of wok-seared squid, ong choy, chilli, crispy taro, and lime; or half chicken, morning glory, kaffir lime, and coconut cream.
Who doesn’t love a rooftop bar? Sundowners, balmy nights a tipple under the stars… Justin Lane combines all this with views out to the ocean and the Surfers Paradise skyline. Eat, drink, and be messy is the J. L motto and from their famous sourdough pizza and handmade pasta to signature cocktails and boutique wines, they pride themselves on the quality of their products. We’ve also rounded up more top bars on the Gold Coast if you’re venturing into other Gold Coast suburbs during your stay.
A modern Australian Restaurant in the heart of Burleigh Heads, Restaurant Labart showcases the best local produce of the area. Choose from the set lunch and dinner menus, or go à la carte and set your tastebuds to the Burleigh baker bread with caramelised butter, native rock oyster, or chocolate mousse with popcorn ice cream.
An excellent family-friendly option is Willow Dining, known for its laid-back, easy food experience. With a cool, rustic vibe, Willow Dining mixes a feast of Mediterranean, European, Modern Australian, and Spanish cuisine, along with a fusion of Asian favourites together in Tapas style, so there’s something delicious for every person at the table.
With plenty of delicious pan-Asian share plates, Iku Yakitori Bar is the place to go for a feast. From Chef’s signature sushi maki and succulent Asian tapas to bigger plates of deliciousness such as black miso cod and crispy baby barramundi, you’ll be well looked after. Alongside adventurous cocktails and a seriously cool mix of silky-smooth jazz, new and old-school funk, and groove and soul music, you won’t want to leave.
Rated among Australia’s top 10 breweries, Black Hops Brewing is all about keeping it real. It’s understated, yet somehow that makes it all the more trendy. Grab a tasting paddle and a bite to eat from the on-site food trucks every Friday and Saturday. If you fancy a change of pace, make sure to taste their refreshing Ginger Cider.
There have been stacks of World Beer Award Gold Medals along the way for Burleigh Brewing Company and today, their brewery is one of Burleigh’s trendiest spots, hosting live music on the weekend and food trucks. You can even bring your four-legged friends along! If you’re keen to brewery hop your way around the coast, we’ve also rounded up the top Gold Coast breweries for you.
Looking for Burleigh Heads accommodation? There are so many beautiful options, it really is difficult to choose. Take a look at the following options.
People have been visiting Burleigh Heads for camping and caravanning holidays since the early 1900s and now you can do it too with an upgrade. Grab a two-bedroom cabin at Burleigh Beach Tourist Park and be at the centre of everything Burleigh Heads has to offer.
Address: 36 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
Featuring high-quality fit-out and finishes, enjoy modern conveniences in the luxury apartments at Bujerum Apartments on Burleigh.
Address: 26 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
Stay just moments away from Burleigh Beach at 2nd Avenue Beachside Apartments. With spacious full self-contained rooms and private balconies, as well as ocean views and resort facilities, you won’t want to leave.
Address: Second Ave, Burleigh Heads
Experience the beauty of Burleigh Heads at Burleigh Esplanade Apartments, known for its generous space so the entire family has plenty of room to enjoy their holiday.
Address: 146-156 The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads
Another Burleigh Beach location contender is Burleigh Surf, a stunning high-rise complex with impressive panoramic views. Individuals, couples, and families will all find the perfect self-contained apartment here.
Address: 238 The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads
Another luxurious option is Solnamara Beachfront Apartments which offer fabulous ocean views from both the living areas and from your own private balcony – in some apartments you can even view the ocean from your bedroom.
Address: 202 The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads
Located directly opposite the patrolled North Burleigh Beach, soak up the holiday atmosphere at Burleigh Mediterranean Resort. With rooftop areas boasting 360-degree views of the Gold Coast and a resort-style 20-metre pool, spa, and sauna, it’s the ideal base for your Burleigh escape.
Address: 220 The Esplanade, North Burleigh
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