Hola mi amigas! Today I’m going to chat about one of Australia’s top tourist destinations, the Gold Coast.
Home to various theme parks, beaches, high rise apartment blocks & rabid Schoolies running amok every November, there is more to the Goldie than just flash & glitz. With the Commonwealth Games coming up next April, the GC is about to come into the spotlight in a big way & what better time to visit than now? I just spent a week up there recently & thoroughly enjoyed my time there. It’d been 9 years since my last visit, so seeing it through fresh eyes & getting out & about more was great….besides, sometimes it’s good to get out of the rat race that is Sydney. 😉
This small guide to the Gold Coast will encompass shopping, eating & how to get around, as well as telling you about where I stayed down in Broadbeach (which is just one area of the GC). All of this is based purely on my own experiences & won’t encompass everything there is about the Gold Coast – consider it a mere taste of what to look for & expect.
Without further ado, let’s get into it:
This was my predominant activity during my time there & as far as I’m concerned, there are only 3 shopping hubs you ought to check out: Pacific Fair, Harbour Town Outlets & Robina Town Centre. I’ll start first with Pacific Fair.
|via Gold Coast Bulletin|
Next up, Harbour Town Outlets, which will be familiar to you Adelaideans as you guys have one too (apparently). This place certainly beats the DFO we have in Sydney & dare I say it, might even beat Birkenhead Point. I’ve done my fair share of outlet shopping both here & overseas & for me, Harbour Town Outlets was the best of the bunch as I was able to find quite a number of things. Here you’ll find your designer brands like Kate Spade & Michael Kors alongside your usual high street stores like Portmans, Cotton On, Forever New, Peter Alexander & a zillion surf shops. There are also eateries here too, but I didn’t bother eating when I went there. Be prepared to utilise a map because again, you could easily get lost. I scored a number of bargains during my trip here, including a Kate Hill handbag which you will see in the next Shopping Cart post.
Lastly, Robina Town Centre. I was always going to make a trip there seeing as I’d passed it on the bus on my way to Robina train station; but you know a shopping centre is half decent when someone you know swears by it (in my case, my Mum’s friend). Happy to say, this friend of Mum’s was right. Again, it’s big, but not too hard to get around in. (What is it with you Queenslanders, all your shopping centres are frickin’ huge! Not that I was complaining…) Again, you’ll find your major retailers like Myer & David Jones in amongst your high street brands, as well as a few interesting shops in between like The Hat Store & That Shop (the latter a vintage-inspired clothing & accessories store). For me, this suburban shopping centre was great as whilst it had the same stores I’m used to seeing back home, it also had other stuff to pique my interest. I sometimes feel that Sydney shopping centres have all become cookie-cutter, due to ridiculous rents & the like.
Around Broadbeach (where I stayed) there’s a tonne of eateries – some decent, some not-so-decent. My parents used to go to Rocks every morning & have their $10 big breakfast (which they enjoyed), but I found their so-called “sourdough” toast tasted more like normal white bread. I also went to Sage twice & Koi once for breakfast & found them to be ok (although the people at Koi served my food before my drinks). I also hit up Bootleg Juice Bar twice for a “Cacao Shake” (aka a cacao & banana smoothie) & found it pretty enjoyable. For all you health nuts, their breakfasts looked quite wholesome & their açai bowl looked nice too.
|FYI, the polish I'm wearing is OPI's Kerry Blossom.|
You can drive of course and in some places (i.e. getting to Mike’s Kitchen for rib-tastic goodness) it is necessary; but it is just as easy to get around the Gold Coast via public transport. If you are staying solely on the GC & going to all the major attractions like Surfers Paradise & the theme parks, then a go explore card is for you; but if you want to venture north into Brisbane & surrounds, or you’re staying longer, then a standard go card is best. It will set you back $10, but you can redeem that + any amount of have remaining on the card either at the customer service desk in Pacific Fair before you leave or via mail after you leave. The card also has a 12-month expiry date, so if you know you’ll be back in the meantime it might be best to hold onto it.
As far as public transport options go, there’s the G:link tram, which goes in both directions from Broadbeach South (which isn’t far from Pacific Fair & is also a major bus hub in the area) all the way to Gold Coast University Hospital, servicing Surfers Paradise, Cavill Mall, Main Beach, Southport & numerous other stops in between. They are in the process of extending it, but I’m not sure where the extension is going to. That said, I caught this tram plenty of times & found it highly efficient, with trams running every 5-15 minutes, depending on the time of day.
There are also plenty of buses servicing the GC, which will take you to the theme parks (there’s special theme park express buses marked with a TX), Robina & Nerang train stations, Gold Coast airport, Robina Town Centre & many other places in between, including the Harbour Town outlets I mentioned earlier (I caught the tram to Southport, then a bus from Southport to the outlets).
If you wish to travel by train into Brisbane & surrounds from the Gold Coast, you’ll need to get to Varsity Lakes, Robina, Nerang or Helensvale station & catch the Gold Coast line north. I did this twice whilst up there & from Robina it took roughly 1 hour 10-1 hour 20 minutes; so my advice would be to get up early if you wish you do it that way because it’ll be a very long day if you do decide to use public transport. (I also went to Indooroopilly on the first occasion...I’ll talk about that in the next Shopping Cart post too.)
WHERE TO STAY
My folks & I stayed in a 2-bedroom ocean-view luxury apartment at Synergy Broadbeach, located right on the Gold Coast Highway. Conveniently located near restaurants, shops (Pacific Fair was about a 10 minute walk, or 1 tram stop, away) & the G:link tram system (the Broadbeach North stop was 50 metres away on foot), these apartments are modern & fairly spacious with a fair amount of storage to boot. Neither my parents nor I felt like we were encroaching on each other at any stage of our stay.
|Main bedroom - it also contained a mini TV|
|2nd bedroom, which I stayed in|
|2nd bathroom - yes, that's me in the corner, that's me in the spot...light, losing my religioooooon...|
|Balcony with ocean views|
I hope you’ve all enjoyed this small guide to the Gold Coast!
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Have you ever been to the Gold Coast before? What did you think of it?