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A new take on your next Gold Coast holiday; a selection of six awesome things you didn’t know you could do on the Gold Coast.
1. The Strand
Yes it’s a shopping precinct but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a mainstream mall. The Strand in Coolangatta is the swankiest new lifestyle complex to hit the beachfront and it’s bursting with curiosities. Boasting an eclectic mix of stores weaving through its slick, polished laneways, window shopping has never been so satisfying. Swing by My Juju Dance Fever and simply marvel at the sparkly speciality dance shoes, or head to Australia’s first Quicksilver Boardriders store. This should never be referred to as a surf shop, but more a surf sanctuary. Admire the 200 skateboards, or the surfboard carousel which showcases more than 500 shiny surfboards. Then take a break at Cafe 28; the store’s very own licensed café and bar. Still hungry? A decadent high tea can be enjoyed at Passiontree Velvet, complete with melt-in-the-mouth scones and full-leaf tea. There's even a beautiful 'Teddy Bears Picnic' for children. Beverages for the over 18s can be enjoyed at Bin 72, or if you need a quick pick-me-up, The Black Sheep Espresso Baa serves a soup bowl full of latte and dazzling views across the beach.
Click here for more Gold Coast shopping ideas.
Once upon a time virtual reality was the future. But today, on the Gold Coast, it’s very much part of the present. Holoverse, in Southport, is the world's first holographic entertainment centre. An indoor entertainment complex that allows visitors to get completely lost in a world of make believe. Kids and gamers will be in their element, but even adults get the chance to live out their childhood adventures. With forty hologram rooms and wearable lightweight equipment, guests are transported to new worlds and wondrous places. Sit on the seabed with turtles while schools of fish swim around your head, explore ancient civilizations or fight wayward robots with swords and guns. As the most cutting edge experience to hit the Gold Coast, spend an entire day walking through walls and running scared from charging rhinos.
3. Barefoot bowls
As the latest hipster obsession to hit the cool-kid circuit, barefoot lawn bowls is enjoying a 2017 comeback. Don’t shun it until you’ve tried it. And we suggest giving it a pop at the Tugun Bowls and Community Club. With three immaculate greens and the Gold Coast’s renowned sunshine, you get to flip off your jandals, touch toe to turf and enjoy a spot of old school fun. No uniform required on casual Sundays, there’s even free entry every last Sunday of the month. Grab yourself a beer from the well-stocked bar, or a meal from the distinctly Aussie "On The Plate" restaurant and perfect your ball skills alongside the veteran members. With prices synonymous with its origins, a Sunday roast won’t set you back more than $10AUD.
4. Australia’s oldest rum distillery
It smells like Christmas. The sweet mix of sugar, spice and rum. And it’s been smelling this good for centuries. Founded by a local rascal with a penchant for spawning and selling his own homebrew, Beenleigh Artisan Rum Distillery remains the oldest rum distillery in the country. Established by a scoundrel and shaped by convicts, the big red barn in which the rum's distilled fronts the banks of the Albert River and attracts a year-round influx of visitors. Using original copper equipment and handmade oak brandy barrels, the compound makes for a fascinating tour. Follow the distillery’s quality time-honoured traditions with a lively one hour tour of the buildings, from the distillery plant to the storage shed. Sample seven unique flavours, including copper pot rum and honey liquor, while admirimg the traditional boutique brewing methods. No need for a splash of Coca Cola in your tumbler, Beenleigh rum will trickle down your throat like a smooth velvety elixir.
Love your beer more? Check out the world's best destinations for ale.
5. Emerging markets
Markets fill the Gold Coast calendar, particularly Sunday, and in a city where the creatives and the collectives flourish like flowers, there’s always a new spectacle to behold. Crafty types should venture to the Broadbeach Art and Craft Market (first and third Sunday of every month, all year round). You’ll find over 150 stores you can spend a fair few hours perusing. From locally made items to fresh produce and just-baked biscuits, stroll around Kurrawa Park on the Broadbeach shoreline. For vintage finds and the Gold Coast's best up and coming designers, Burleigh Heads State School hosts a cute village market every first and third Sunday of the month. Then there’s the Chinatown Street Markets in Chinatown, Southport. A relative newcomer, if you’re a foodie, you’ll revel in the medley of Asian inspired street food. If you’re all out of Sundays, try the Friday night Sanctuary Markets held at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, on the Village Green. Pick a country, any country, and you'll likely find a pop-up store selling the local delicacy. From Vietnamese to Venezuelan, if you've got eager taste buds, this one's satisfying them all.
If Sydney is also part of your Aussie itinerary, they do a few awesome Sydney markets too.
6. Au naturel adventures
If you’re sick of sand slinking its way into your sarnies, have a picnic at Hinze Dam instead. As well as the dam, there’s a 3700 acre reservoir called Advancetown Lake, with beautiful walking trails, free-to-use barbecues and four picnic areas. Take the flat and easy walk across the bridge to observe the formidable expanse of water and then reward your efforts with an ice-cream from the onsite café. Affording stunning views across the parklands and lake, there’s no better backdrop for your Magnum. Alternatively, swap the water for wildlife and travel to Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. Featuring 300 metres of steel bridges and a 40 metre cantilever bridge that soars 30 metres above the creek, rainforest canopies are best explored from above. An eco-Adventure that’s replete with birdlife, flora and fauna, the GC sights are more natural once you venture inland.
From soft to slithery, if you want even more wild encounters, check out these alternative Gold Coast animal experiences.
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