The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have recently stirred up a storm among us Australians with their royal tour down under, each of the places they set their foot on and every piece of locally designed fashion Kate wore have received instant fame (who else loves the dainty white lace Zimmermann dress she wore at the Sydney show?). I just came back from a glam-filled weekend away on the glorious Gold Coast and it got me thinking: If I was so honoured to be asked by the Duke and Duchess for my insider’s tips on local hangout spots in this charming coastal city on the South Pacific shore, what are the places that top the bucket list? Oh choices! With such an vast selection of glamorous, delicious, toe-curling, soul-soothing and smile-inducing things to do on the coast, the only thing the royal couple will need to worry about is where to start. Here I’ve hand-picked my top twelve:
1. Who’s keen for an evening of live blues music and soul-arousing coffee aroma at Black Coffee Lyrics? This dark brick and retro lounge in the centre of Surfers Paradise is the place to mingle for all the uber-cool surfers and musicians in town. After a long day breaking the waves, drop by here for a chat with the seriously friendly staff.
2. Serving the most scrumptious seafood buffet in town, Citrique located within the Marriott Hotel in Surfers Paradise has undergone a major facelift for those enchanted special evenings. Live cooking station is the highlight. Be sure to leave room for those luscious chocolate mouse tarts and meringue pies. Hmm…
3. What else is more quintessentially British royal than an elegant English high tea experience at Tea and Niceties? The Gold Coast Hinterland view up on Mount Tamborine is truly splendid. And it’s all about the details here: from shiny silverware, rose teacups, pink sugar to the sparkling chandeliers, just pick your most elegant floral dress with a matching fascinator and you’ll feel like the royals for an afternoon.
4. Stroll through lots of quirky stalls perfectly suited to those who love vintage fashion at The Village Markets at Burleigh Heads. This is where you can spot emerging local designers and artists before they make their debut on catwalks of the fashion festivals.
5. This little vintage boutique Arkive Vintage located next door to Black Coffee Lyrics carries a similar electric vibe. With an exciting range of men’s and ladies fashion from the good old days sourced locally and overseas, it is a treasure trove of goodies in an offbeat arcade.
6. The mecca for foodies, the Organic Gold Coast Farmers Market is where you can feast on fresh produce picked or prepared within the last 24 hours without any preservatives or additives. It is fiercely proud of being a growers-only market. Not-to-miss includes Summit Organics, Mias Milk Bar and the Japanese vegetable stall.
7. The Gold Coast is famous for fun rides and theme park thrills, if you only have time for a day of park visit my top pick is to meet Henry the playful polar bear cub at Sea World. The park also boasts a resort located right next door that can be reached by a pleasant monorail ride. The Sea Word Resort has had a makeover and their rooms are one of the most spacious among various other Gold Coast accommodation offerings.
8. Budds Beach is where the locals spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s much more peaceful and down to earth compared to beach at Surfers Paradise, with a couple of small cafes, paddle board hire place and a homeware shop.
9. The beach at Surfers Paradise might seem a little bit overflowing with tourists, but it still remains as one of my favourite spots for seagull watching. Yes, you heard me right! It’s a tourist attraction on this endless white sandy beach where thousands of resident seagulls put on a spectacular show every day, either stealing bread and chips from sun bathers or picking shells on the shore.
10. The 1950s-inspired quirky boutique hotel QT Gold Coast has got plenty of arty details to keep the avid Instgrammers happy and snap-py, but nothing else drew more attention than the graffiti-ed wall by Justin Bieber during his stay last year. The concierge guys who came to greet me out the front wearing board shorts, t-shirts, beach shoes and big smiles were a source of cool breeze under the blazing sun.
11. A waterfront setting, opulence decor, Italian furnishings and an ambience of pure glamour, Palazzo Versace Hotel at the Marina Mirage lives up to its fame as the the world’s first fully fashion-branded hotel.
12. Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in the hinterland is where you go for some much needed nourishment for your soul, body and mind. A door knock at 5:45am to get you to their morning Chinese Qi Gong class sounded daunting at first for a city girl like me, but I guarantee you’ll feel rejuvenated after seeing the glorious sun rising above the Pacific shoreline on their green grass knoll.
So tell me my fellow travelettos, have you been to the Gold Coast? Have I missed any of your favourite sights on this glorious coast that are sure to please the Duke and Duchess?
Until next time my darlings, stay glamorous!