With its skyline right on a pristine stretch of sand and sea, there’s a reason the Gold Coast has been fondly referred to as paradise by Australians for years.
But this spot is so much more than a surfer’s playground, with a revamp in recent years that has turned it into one of Australia’s most quickly ascending luxury destinations that draws thousands of travellers from across the country and the world.
From high-end dining and hatted restaurants to helicopter tours overlooking the rugged mountain ranges and private boat charters across the glistening seas, the Gold Coast has become the perfect spot for an indulgent beach-side getaway without the hassle of international travel.
How to get there
While there are some Sydney-siders who relish embarking on a road trip to the Gold Coast, the quickest and easiest way to get to this slice of paradise is by plane.
The city is just over an hour’s flight from Sydney and about two hours from Melbourne, allowing you to board after breakfast and be immersed in your luxury Gold Coast getaway by lunch.
Where to stay
With a number of elegant hotels perched just metres from the shoreline, a trip to the Gold Coast is the perfect opportunity to splash out and indulge in a sprinkling of extravagance.
Broadbeach is just a little south of the famous Surfers Paradise and combines relaxed beach-side living with high-end dining and glamour.
One of the top hotels in Broadbeach is the Dorsett Gold Coast, which offers stylish rooms just 500 metres from the beach and overlooking the glittering sea. The Dorsett is complete with a luxurious poolside and the fine fare of the Jin Café & Bar to start and end your day.
What to do
Take to the skies
You can stare at the photos of the Gold Coast on Instagram as much as you’d like, but there really is no comparing it to the real thing.
One way to soak in the snaking skyline skirting the glittering coastline or the beautifully rugged mountains of the region is from above.
And several experiences on offer will take you to dizzying heights (literally).
Gold Coast Helitours
To really soak up the full breadth of the coastline that’s made this part of Australia world-famous, Gold Coast Helitours provide scenic flights ranging from five to forty-five minutes in length.
From this vantage, you can see the snaking waterways, rolling hills, and warm golden beaches in just one afternoon.
And for the more adventurous among us, Gold Coast Helitours offers a skydiving experience.
If adrenaline is what you’re after, Gold Coast Adventure Flights will take you on a twisting, spinning thrill ride, with enough quick snatches of the city skyline to get in some premium sightseeing at the same time.
This experience markets itself as a “choose your own adventure” and shows you what’s involved in flying what’s aptly named the “warbird.”
Hot Air Balloon ride
For something without the thrum of rotors or propellers, Hot Air Balloon Rides have become an increasingly popular way to experience the Gold Coast, with sweeping views of the sea and Hinterlands. Many of the hot air balloon experiences on offer also provide a champagne breakfast as part of your sky-high tour.
Take to the seas
Many visitors to the Gold Coast are there for one very big, very blue reason. The beaches here — accompanied by the balmy weather — are one of the reasons the Gold Coast is impossible to resist.
And if you want to get off the sand and onto the picturesque Pacific Ocean, there’s plenty of opportunity to do just that.
Yot Blue is a private boat charter service popular among couples and big groups. From seafood lunches to overnight stays, there’s a variety of different experiences to indulge in while you’re bobbing off into bliss.
Take a trip
One of the best things about the Gold Coast is that it’s surrounded by more idyllic spots than you can count, and the locals know it.
If you’re up for exploring beyond the bounds of Surfers Paradise and Main Beach, there are some exciting ways to see a little bit more of the region where half the fun is the journey to get there.
Rent a car
Whether you want to venture further South or North, one way to get a sense of the region is to hit the road. And why not do it in style?
Get behind the wheel of a Ferrari or Mustang — available through the luxury car rental service at Langham Hotel — and see the coast from a car straight out of your daydreams.
Heli flight to Beechmont Estate
Imagine taking a helicopter to a luxury estate nestled in a world heritage national park, complete with a hatted restaurant and even the option to stay overnight in a luxury cabin.
Now stop imagining and start booking because that’s exactly the experience on offer with the Beechmont Estate helicopter tour.
This country retreat prides itself on getting you to reconnect with nature, while indulging in the finest fare on offer at the Hatted Paddock restaurant, of course.
The whole experience goes for two hours or four hours, depending on the package you select, with the option to stay overnight in one of their cosy cabins also available.
Where to eat and drink
The Gold Coast is quickly becoming one of the country’s top luxury getaways, and no glamourous holiday spot is complete without a thriving restaurant and bar scene. The city has an incredible array of fine dining that draws inspiration from all over the world, while being surrounded by the rugged natural beauty of the surrounding mountainside and glistening coastline.
Malibu Racquet Club
No, you won’t need your sneakers and sweatband, the Racquet Club isn’t a venue for the athletic amongst us.
Instead, this cocktail and raw bar has been open for less than a year and makes quite the impression, with its arched windows, green finishings, and cactuses spotted throughout the space that make it feel as if it has been plucked from our Californian dreams.
The venue has a laid-back and minimalist atmosphere, with a deceptively simplistic menu of around eight dishes that includes artisan prosciutto with triple cream brie and cranberry on toasted sourdough, along with other favourites like the smoked Burrata with pomegranate and burnt honey.
Cocktails range from a traditional pina colada to the kind of mescal-based delights that will truly transport you to America’s West Coast.
Eddy + Wolff
An intimate 22-seater Asian bar and restaurant, Eddy and Wolff combines high-end cuisine with the authentic story of its owners, Thao and Vienn, two Vietnamese Australians who grew up on Eddy Crescent and Wolff Crescent in Canberra.
The owners have proudly designed the space and the food to make it feel like you’re stepping into another time and place, with no other menu on the Gold Coast offering fare quite as unique and authentic.
From the Kowloon Peking quail pancake, to the ox tongue with tare and Shichimi to the roasted Kabocha — a Japanese squash — served with jungle curry and charred over a traditional Hibachi, dining at Eddy + Wolff is an experience unto itself.
Located in Robina, Eddy and Wolff is around 20 minutes from the heart of the city.
Social Eating House
If you want the fine dining experience without the dress coats, you’ve found it at Social Eating House.
Proudly marketed as the Gold Coast’s ‘casual take on fine dining’, Social Eating House has the best of both worlds; an evening of laid-back conversation spent in a balmy coastal breeze and some of the most exquisite food you’ve ever tasted, including dishes like the BBQ South Australian Octopus served with txistorra sausage, potato puree, and chimichurri, or the King prawn risotto, with black truffle crème fraiche and caviar.
Located at Burleigh Heads, this European-style bistro has an ever-changing menu that keeps locals and tourists alike coming back for more.
The décor and menu are decidedly minimalistic, and why not when every detail of this restaurant and its fare is designed to perfection?
The set menus here will give you a true feeling of the restaurant, with a dinner degustation of six courses that have been known to include dishes like a Bangalow Pork rack with squash purée, red kuroda carrots and honey or the Kingfish tartare with almond cream, finger lime, and radish.
Known for its sashimi, Kiyomi brings a taste of Tokyo to the Gold Coast.
Set in an intimate bar and dining space, Kiyomi serves up an extensive raw menu that includes Hiramasa King Fish, scallop sashimi, and Maguro Tataki.
Its larger dishes are prepared in the Binchotan style — which means charcoal in Japanese — and include full-blood wagyu fillets and dry-aged maremma duck.
After a long day of relaxing on the beach or by a poolside, you’re likely to have worked up an appetite; and nothing quite says ‘feed me’ like pasta.
Orzo is one of the Gold Coast’s most popular Italian restaurants, with pasta made from scratch daily and a carefully crafted interior that may make you think for a moment you’re basking in the Tuscan sun.
Miss Moneypenny’s Broadbeach
Part of the much-loved and multi-award-winning restaurant group across Queensland, Miss Moneypenny is a gloriously large, open venue with an incredible menu boasting items from caviar to carpaccio; coral coast barramundi to cloudy bay diamond clams.
Whether you’re there for the Mediterranean cuisine, extensive drink menu, or cocktail class, this spot is a favourite among large and small groups alike.
Jimmy Wahs is a modern Vietnamese restaurant in the centre of Burleigh Heads that’s been popular since its inception in 2016 for its selection of fine cuisine to be enjoyed to the sounds of songs from the 50s to the 70s.
Visit for the chilli margarita and stay for, well, everything else.
Horizon Sky Dining
There’s no need to guess one of the best things about Horizon Sky Dining. The views from this restaurant mean a meal here will undoubtedly be one to remember. Situated atop Crowne Plaza, Horizon Sky Dining serves a set menu that allows you to sit back as you enjoy course after course while the rotating restaurant provides views out over the city, snaking waterways, and glimmering coast beyond.
A favourite among locals, Rosella’s unabashedly takes its inspiration right from the nostalgic depths of our shared Aussie childhoods. For example, cocktails include the Blinky Bill and Banana Paddle Pop while “tasty goods” include dishes like the XXXX and Fig Damper, complete with Macca Butter, Olive Oil, and Vinegar. You’ll need to see and taste it to believe it.
From the fine dining scene to beachside accommodation and thrilling activities across land, sea, and sky, the Gold Coast is very much calling. The question is, how much can you squeeze in? Plan your visit today and head to https://www.destinationgoldcoast.com/itineraries for more top experiences in the region.
This article was sponsored by Destination Gold Coast.