Gold Coast, Queensland travel guide and things to do: Nine highlights


In the middle of Broadbeach's glitzy Oracle Boulevard you'll find the Gold Coast's best restaurant, Social Eating House. This two chef-hatted bistro is home to three-time People's Choice Chef Of The Year Matthew Jefferson who oversees a menu of tapas dishes. Take a seat at the bar, and order a cocktail – it's like Brooklyn in here. See


Only three minutes drive from the airport in overlooked Bilinga (yet the beach here is the widest and emptiest on the whole coast), La Costa Motel is an original '50s beach motel that's been lovingly restored to look like… a '50s beach motel. There's beach umbrellas outside and cruiser bikes set against white picket fences, and you can chat with your neighbour over a beer in the evening. See


There's much more to the Gold Coast than beaches – Pasture & Co epitomises that. Ten minutes from the beach at Currumbin, have breakfast or lunch among mobs of kangaroos, beneath the high escarpments of Currumbin Valley, built within the grounds of one of the world's most awarded sustainable communities – the Eco-Village. Go on Saturdays for live music. See


xxOneOnlyGC One & Only Gold Coast QLD ; text by Craig Tansley ; SUPPLIED via journalist ; Currumbin Sanctuary has been a great place for families since the 1940s - pic - Destination Gold Coast

While Sea World and Dream World have taken most of the limelight, Currumbin Sanctuary has been one of the most important conservation projects on the Gold Coast for over 70 years. Located on 27 hectares of rainforest just five minutes from the airport, wander through animal enclosures, watch bird shows, croc feeding and Indigenous performances, and see vets at work within the wildlife hospital knowing your money all goes back into wildlife and conservation programs. See


Forget XXXX or Great Northern, the Gold Coast is home to some of Australia's best-ranked craft beers (including its number one, Balter). But Lost Palms Brewery has the charm. Forget the masculine colours of your typical brewery, this one's pastel pink. And the owners aren't afraid to put mango and passionfruit in their wheat beer, and hibiscus flowers in their sours. You'll find it in an old industrial building in the heart of newly gentrified Miami – one of the Coast's best indie hang-outs. See


Waching sunset overlooking the McPherson Range from the communal space
xxOneOnlyGC One & Only Gold Coast QLD ; text by Craig Tansley ; SUPPLIED via journalist ; Take in a Lamington National Park sunset from O'Reillys Rainforest Retreat - pic - TEQ

O'Reillys Rainforest Retreat. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Forget the beach, you'd come to the Gold Coast for its hinterland. There's three World Heritage listed national parks up there, just an hour-or-so from the coast, but you can't go past Lamington National Park – home to Binna Burra Lodge and O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, two of Australia's oldest eco-lodges. There's also hundreds of kilometres of hikes and plenty of waterfalls. See


Once, the Gold Coast was famous for people who arrived at bars in limos, wearing white shoes. Oh sure, they're still around but so are 20 year-old Instagrammers. But not at Las Palmas in Palm Beach, where you can sit at the bar and chat to staff as you look out at the beach, across an open-plan eatery serving share plates, to guests who aren't all in their early 20s. See



xxOneOnlyGC One & Only Gold Coast QLD ; text by Craig Tansley ; SUPPLIED via journalist ; Take a walk on the Ocean View track across Burleigh Head National Park - pic - TEQmay22cover

Take the Ocean View Circuit within Burleigh Heads National Park – it's a 1.3 kilometre trail that takes you across volcanic columns that tumble into the sea. From high on top, watch whales and dolphins, and keep walking to watch surfers take on the iconic waves of Burleigh Point. Keep going through rainforest alongside Tallebudgera Creek, stopping at Echo Beach on the creek for a swim. See


The Gold Coast is fringed by farmers working some of the healthiest soil in Australia (the Tweed Volcano erupted 20 million years ago, meaning there's more nutrients here than in most destinations). Fifth-generation farmer David Freeman has the best located farm in the region, along a ridgeline perpendicular to Currumbin Valley with views to match. There's a cafe on site, live music and fresh produce. See


You might know the Gold Coast is a surfing hot-spot, but did you know it's one of only eight World Surfing Reserves on Earth? The beaches between the border and Burleigh Heads are where you'll find some of the planet's best waves – ideal for experienced riders, but also a perfect places to learn.

Craig Tansley was a guest of Destination Gold Coast, see