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14 true blue Aussie Day events on the GC

Feat. sausage sangas and thong throwing.

Straya. It may well be the most beautiful place in the world and we, as the sunkissed, salty haired inhabitants, are the lucky lot who get to call this sunburnt country home. Cheers to that.

In honour of all things green and gold, we’ve been gifted a day to celebrate the great southern land (‘Straya has many nicknames yo) and celebrate we shall.

Here’s a list of spots (from north to south) to gather with your gang, sip some coldies and generally give thanks that thongs are an acceptable form of footwear.

Get into the Aussie spirit at NightQuarter this Australia Day with a ripper night of live music and family fun at NightQuarter. There’ll be thong throwing, dunny roll throwing, lamington eating and, of course, a sausage sizzle. That’s as Aussie as it gets. Where: 1 Town Centre Drive, Helensvale 

Broadwater Parklands
Spend the day soaking up the sun then head to the Broadwater Parklands from 4pm and fill up from the all-nations food truck feast. The free event concludes at 8pm with a spectacular fireworks display, set to rival New Year’s Eve. Where: Broadwater Parklands, Southport 

Southport Sharks
You beauty! Forget the shrimp on the barbie – head into Sharks for a range of family friendly entertainment including face painting, a live reptile show, buffet dinner and Cold Chisel tribute. Where: Cnr Musgrave and Olsen Aves, Southport

Cabana Bar & Lounge
Celebrate in style in an open-air cabana with live, acoustic music and Lamington and Pavlova cocktails! Oh and a free sausage sizzle with a drink purchase. Where: Cnr Musgrave and Olsen Aves, Southport

Melbas on the Park
Celebrate everything great about Australia in the heart of Surfers Paradise from 11.00am with cheap eats, cold drinks and good tunes. PLUS there’ll be a massive James Squire giveaway that will run all day long. Where: 46 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise

Hard Rock Café
Celebrate with Hard Rock in the land down under! They’ll be celebrating in traditional Aussie fashion. Head down to join the fun with an Aussie Burger and a Lamington for just $24.95. Where: Cnr Cavill Ave and Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise Beer Garden
Don’t miss the nonstop party vibes in the heart of Surfers Paradise with Melbourne artist Running Touch. There’ll be dancing and drinking galore and plenty of space for activities. Where: Cnr Cavill Ave and Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise

The Star
Garden Kitchen & Bar
will host a Garden Barbeque complete with sausage sangas, garlic lamb rolls and a picnic table package that includes a bucket of King Prawns. From 1pm, six of the best local acts will take the stage. M&G Café and Bar will welcome a new dish for day – the Meat Pie Jaffle, featuring beef mince, bacon, mozzarella and tasty cheese and Food Fantasy will boast a huge selection of Aussie favourites ready to spoil you with a smorgasbord of specially themed dishes. Where: The Star, Casino Drive, Broadbeach 

Nobbys Beach Surf Club
A BBQ, beers and beats right on the beach! There’s nothing more Australian than that. There’ll also be games, prizes and live entertainment. Head down for a balmy beachside afternoon. Where: Cnr Albatross Ave and Lavarack St, Nobbys Beach

Burleigh Pro
Celebrate Australia Day at Burleigh Hill with the annual Burleigh Pro kicking off. Watch some of the world’s best surfers compete for a spot in the WSL Qualifying Series. The event runs from the 25th to the 28th of January. Where: Burleigh Point, Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads Hotel
It’s a Burleigh Pro after party overlooking the ocean at Burleigh Heads Hotel with live music in the afternoon from Pauly P, Jackson James and Hope for Brok. Catch some rays during the day then sink some schooners in the PM. Where: 4 The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads

Justin Lane
Kicking off from 3pm until late, Justin Lane will have DJ’s, Little Fritter (playing 3pm to 8pm) and Bonnas (8pm to late) playing some awesome tunes to have a boogie too, whilst the bar serves up their usual array of over indulgence inducing cocktails. Where: The Rooftop, Justin Lane, Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads

baskk at Kirra Point
It’ll be an afternoon of filled with Aussie tunes by DJs AlanC and Veople, sliders and $5 Stone & Wood from 2pm to 5pm at baskk. Feel that afternoon sea breeze on your face and enjoy a sweet afternoon of good vibes and good times. Where: Shop 2, Beach House Plaza, 52-58 Marine Pde, Coolangatta

Coolangatta Hotel
Spend Australia Day at the most Aussie venue there is – the Cooly Hotel. Fat Albert and Alter Egos will be providing the tune from 2pm and the beers will be flowing. Get ready for a good time. Where: Marine Pde, Coolangatta

Words by Kirra Smith.


Iku Yakitori Bar

I think we can all agree Japanese food is a gift from the Gods. Particularly when it’s consumed in a floating, recycled railway sleeper booth and with the sweet smell of charcoal wafting through the air.

There probably aren’t enough words to describe the sensory experience that is Burleigh’s new back alley Japanese Yakitori Bar, but in the name of delivering the news, we’ll give it a crack.

Iku Yakitori Bar is the latest baby of local restaurant dream team Mitch and Nerissa McCluskey (of Etsu Izakaya and Commune fame) who will soon be welcoming an actual baby into the world (because sleep is overrated yo).

The vibe is dark and moody with the aforementioned booths floating a foot off the floor opposite the Binchotan (grill) and decked out with leather cushions and cosy, up-close-and-personal feels. At the alley end of the venue, a low-lit bar and velvet corner lounge await and you may dine in any area that tickles your fancy. With an authentic, somewhat massaging cobblestone floor, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just stepped off the streets of Tokyo. Alas, work tomorrow.

In case you’ve never heard of a yakitori bar, the gist is this – yakitori quite literally translates to grilled chicken and no part of the chook will escape the Binchotan uncooked. That’s right foodies, your boundaries are about to be tested and you should not be sad about it. Thighs, liver, skin, cartilage and hearts will all be skewered for your tasting pleasure.

Tenderloin, seafood and veggies will also be stuck on sticks and there are other delightful things such as edamame dip and raw fish to consume too.

Bar manager extraordinaire Adam Bastow was brought down from Etsu to work his magic in the Japanese whiskey-focused space. He and the team will also be creating a new, fresh produce focused cocktail menu each week to keep you on your toes. Ambitious lot aren’t they.

Charcoal for the Binchotan is imported from Japan and everything from the plates to the leather menus and napkins have been handmade by the team (read: Nerissa). It’s tiring just reading that.

So many words, so many reasons to go. Thanks for reading.

LOCATION: 1730 Gold Coast Hwy (front entrance) or head in through the back on Justin Lane (next to Lockwood Bar).
HOURS: 5pm until late daily.

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.


Just as it was starting to seem like there weren’t enough nights in the week to visit all the sweet bars Burleigh has to offer, another one pops up to demand your time and your cash.

You can thank Scott Imlach and his talented team for the latest dive bar-style back alley haunt, which is guaranteed to be your daily (too far?) go-to.

In their signature style, the gang behind Bine, Hideaway and Soho have decked the place out in traditional, Sailor Jerry, tattoo-style artworks and over 50 hanging bottles that provide a low-lit, dark and debaucherous vibe.

Opening on October 6th, Nightjar will take the bar scene back to basics with a focus on the ideals of freedom-seeking, wanderluster Sailor Jerry himself. There’s no dress code, no fancy fittings and no uptight rules (high fives all round).

It’s just a bar, down an alley, where good times are the name of the game.

There’ll be live music, cold beer, creative cocktails and crazy dance offs (may have made that up but a girl can dream right).

The name Nightjar pays homage to Scott and Michael’s Kiwi roots – in NZ their fave (also made up) phrase is “let’s have a jar at the pub” which in Aussie talk translates to “let’s get a beer”.

Can anyone confirm that beers in NZ are served in jars? Asking for a friend.

It’s the good old fashioned party bar Burleigh wants and deserves and there’s absolutely no doubt that all the best things will go down behind that roller door.

So pals, let your hair down, get your tattoos out and let the good times roll.

LOCATION: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads (located next to Lockwood Bar)
HOURS: From 4pm to 12am Wednesday to Friday and 12pm to 12am Saturday and Sunday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.

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