For when escape is the only option.
For when escape is the only option.
Sundays are reserved for one of three purposes; chilling with the fam and getting prepped for the week ahead, sneaking in a little Sunday sesh to delay Monday as long as humanly possible, and our fave, a spot of road trippin!
We’re lucky on the GC as we’re inundated with scenic drive options, and only need to travel an hour or two to find lots of beautiful, unique sights and activities.
We’ve broken it down to five destinations and provided a small snapshot of what you can find at each.
A trip up the mountain isn’t complete without a stroll along Gallery Walk. It’s a melting pot of eclectic finds, with over 70 shops in the one block. You’ll find everything from fashion, jewellery, arts and crafts, cellar door outlets, chocolate, fudge, food outlets, cafes…and even a cuckoo clock shop. If you’re looking for something unique or need to buy that friend who has everything a gift, chances are you’ll find something here.
Where: Long Road, Tamborine Mountain
Enjoy a beautiful walk through the rain-drenched Eucalyptus forest to the magical Curtis Falls. Wander past towering trees and through a canopy of ferns, down to this miniature and photogenic waterfall. The 1.1km walk should only talk half an hour or less to get down to the falls, but you will likely want to stay awhile and soak up the peacefulness. Top it off with a spot of morning tea at the Curtis Falls Cafe. Lovely!
Where: 16 Eagle Heights Road, North Tamborine – Get there via Eagle Heights Road and park right at the entrance to the walk.
This 18-acre working distillery is the darling of the Scenic Rim. A Prohibition-style space with an established vineyard, lush rolling meadows and of course, a generous gin and cocktail bar, there’s a lot to love. Settle in for a bev or a feed, or BYO picnic rug and chill amongst the vineyards. You can partake in complimentary lawn games if you so desire, and they’re pro pop here so Fido can come too!
Where: 89-123 Hartley Road, Tamborine Mountain
The Glow Worm Caves
Take a guided half-hour walk through lush rainforest to a purpose-built cave, filled with thousands of shimmery glow worms! Everyone can get up close and personal with a glow worm here without damaging delicate wild habitats #CueApplause. And the best part? It’s conveniently located in the Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery, you can enjoy a tipple pre or post tour…or pre and post tour!
Where: Cedar Creek Estate, 104-144 Hartley Road, North Tamborine
Mountview Alpaca Farm
Located in O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard, you can meet alpacas and drink wine and srsly, life made. Choose between 15 and 60 minute alpaca experiences where you can walk and feed these cute creatures, or go all out with an alpaca picnic, alpaca devonshire tea, or a wine, cheese and alpaca package (#us). Set in a boutique vineyard and historic Queenslander homestead, it’s as picturesque as it is fun.
Where: 852 Lamington National Park Road, Canungra
Farm & Co.
No doubt Instagram has informed you there is a field of sunflowers just a short 25 minute drive away where you can frolic, take selfies, pick said sunflowers and generally pretend you don’t have a care in the world. There’s also a coffee shop where you can sink into an oversized lounge chair while gazing at the sunflowers and contemplating a new career in farming, live music of a weekend, a tasty array of brunch eats and fresh veggies you can take home too.
Where: 529 Cudgen Road, Cudgen
Check out restful riverside town Chinderah, stopping in for a refreshment and snack at The Chindy. Also known as Chinderah Tavern, The Chindy boasts a big old deck overlooking the widest river in the world (not a fact) and supplies all the cold beer, wine and tasty eats you could wish for on a Sunday afternoon. There’s live music, sunsets if you time it right, and just general non-city good times. Right next door is Cubby Bakehouse you can get yourself some dessert for the drive home.
Where: 156 Chinderah Bay Drive, Chinderah
The Farm Byron Bay
A must visit for everyone (especially anyone with a little person in tow), The Farm is a destination in itself. See how the farm operates and say hi to the animals, and meet the infamous mascots Braveheart the Scottish Highland cow and Bobby the rooster. Collect macadamia nuts from the macadamia trees, have a meal at Three Blue Ducks restaurant, or grab a little something from The Bread Social to eat outside on a picnic rug. There’s a playground for the anklebiters and plenty of beautiful open space to explore.
Where: 11 Ewingsdale Road, Ewingsdale
The Crystal Castle in Mullumbimby
Instagood alert! Sit in an ancient amethyst cave, pose with rare and amazing giant crystals, and wander five hectares of subtropical, crystal-filled Shambhala Gardens and rainforest. You can even touch the World Peace Stupa, a project blessed by the Dalai Lama and join in Crystal Sound Healings at 12pm and 3pm! Grab a bite with a stunning hinterland view at Lotus Café and let the kids run amok in the playground.
Where: 81 Monet Drive, Montecollum
The heart of beautiful Brunswick Heads, swing in for a drink or a feed at this classic Aussie pub. Somewhat of an institution and a fave far and wide, relax under the beautiful Poinciana trees in the beer garden and soak up the ambience. Always busy on Sundays, if you can push the friendship and stay on till the early evening, you’ll generally be rewarded with live music and an even more awesome vibe. Pub grub at its best.
Where: Mullumbimbi Street, Brunswick Heads
A collective of creative local artisans and curators of fine goods who are passionate about what they do, this is our jam! Honouring the space and the essence of the Byron Bay Hinterland, Newrybar Merchants enables customers to experience rustic charm effortlessly blended with sophistication within a beautiful and unique retail space. Shop everything from faaarshion, to homewares, to wellness products and everything in between, it’s a must.
Where: 16 Old Pacific Highway, Newrybar
The Ivory Waterside
Barely over the border but for the northern GC folk, it’s a Sunday drive to Tweed Heads so we’ll let this one fly. Recently undergoing a bit of a nip and tuck and overlooking the adjoining marina and picturesque Terra Creek, it’s the ultimate in casual waterside dining. The food is consistently delish and guys, you can even get your rad on with tons of vintage arcade games in Benny’s Arcade. Talk about a one-stop-good-times-shop! Add it to the list.
Where: 156 Wharf Street, Tweed Heads
Wollumbin National Park
This World Heritage-listed national treasure is well worth a look. Previously known as Mt Warning National Park, lose yourself in some of the largest and oldest tracts of sub-tropical rainforest on Earth. Wollumbin, which rises from the park to a height of 1,157 metres above sea level, is a remnant central vent of an ancient volcano and yep, that’s a drawcard right there. Note the Wollumbin (Mount Warning) summit track and the Aboriginal Place remains closed.
Where: About 12km south-west of Murwillumbah off Kyogle Road, Mount Warning
Tweed River House
This one is special! From the vantage point of the verdant riverbanks, settled at the tropical foothills of the Tweed Caldera in Murwillumbah, this century-old riverside plantation house has been lovingly restored to maintain its original character and charm. The elegant yet relaxed renovation creates a unique space that reflects the gentle pace of the Northern Rivers, oozing 1930s style with a French twist. They’ve even been nominated for a Chef Hat Award by the Australian Good Food Guide so if the aesthetics aren’t enough to get you there, the nosh will be!
Where: 131 River Street, South Murwillumbah
Baked at Ancora
Another one that’s close by when you’re a bit strapped for time is Baked at Ancora. Believers that sweet treats and waterside picnics go hand in hand, we concur and we can’t get enough of this Parisian style café bakery. From their signature croissants and traditional classics like pain-au-chocolat, to the more unique and inventive flavour combos, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in actual Paris. Well worth the waistline damage.
Where: 118 Wharf St, Tweed Heads
Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre
There’s always something new to discover at the Tweed Regional Gallery, housed in a large, modern, architecturally award-winning building with views to Wollumbin/Mount Warning. Don’t miss the opportunity to see Claude Monet’s painting Meules, milieu du jour [Haystacks, midday] 1890, currently on loan from the National Gallery of Australia (NGA). While you’re there, a meal at the new in-house eats haunt Apex is an absolute non-negotiable. With a stunning outlook and design to reflect the vista, indulge in a unique combo of rustic French patisserie goodies and modern cafe plates with a very ‘now’ pan-Asian twist. Add a cocktail and instant happy place.
Where: 2 Mistral Road, South Murwillumbah
Husk Farm Distillery
Just a hop, skip and a jump over the border, a sneaky visit to the lush Husk grounds is certainly one of the more low effort, high reward outings Gold Coasters have at our fingertips. Our recommendation? Take your tastebuds on a very smooth sip around the signature Husk offerings with a tasting paddle to start. Not only have they mastered treats of the thirst quenching variety, the Husk Farm kitchen offers up a selection of top notch eats to rival their signature spirits selection.
Where: Dulguigan Rd, North Tumbulgum
Words by Bianca Trathen.
If there’s an eats venue that resonates with just about everyone these days, it’s one defined by local paddock to plate goodness and a commitment to sustainability. And we mean a genuine devotee to the green ethos, where actions speak louder than words. If you’re like us and go gaga for this sort of thing, you can’t beet the recently revamped Farm & Co at Cudgen, launching a first-class dining experience like no other from Friday 2nd September.
Just a stone’s throw from the untouched Kingscliff beaches, IYKYK – this place is already natural-treasure-status-worthy #HowzTheSerenity. But a star-studded group of seasoned eats and hospitality gurus are set to further ‘grow’ the reach of this organic working farm’s magic, with a truly un-baa-leivable dining and service experience.
So what are they doing they ask, and just who are “they” anyway?
Let’s start with the former, as the new contemporary menu will showcase incredible fresh farm produce, seasonal ingredients and palette-pleasing sustainable wines. Plus, the venue will also be launching Farm & Co Weddings, set to become a premium destination for nuptials in the Tweed region and if you’re already hitched, it’s time to renew those vows!
Food aside, the sweeping views of the surrounding paddocks, macadamia orchards and sunflower fields are as pretty as a picture and will make your wedding snaps pop. The icing on the (wedding) cake is that the entire venue is solar powered, with sizable water tanks for irrigation and bathrooms. We weren’t fibbing when we said these guys were dedicated to reducing their footprint, even including composting facilities for all food and paper waste, as well as a comprehensive recycling program.
Now let’s talk who’s who in the zoo (or the, uh, farm) and foodies, get your autograph books at the ready. Spearheaded by Mark Wilson of acclaimed hospitality group PLB Group (Osteria, Lolita’s Mexican Cantina, Ancora Weddings, The Acre Boomerang Farm and now-sold eateries Taverna and Spice Den), joining forces with hospitality heavyweight Rachel Duffy (former General Manager at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, and founder of esteemed Cabarita newcomer No 35. Kitchen and Bar)….need we really say more?
No, but this is us and of course we will, especially when wine specialist Tim Coleman (ex-manager of Sydney’s 3 chefs-hat recipient Rockpool restaurant), and hospitality chameleon Amy Brown (ex- chef at Rick Shores and events manager) are managing the venue and Farm & Co Weddings #NameDroppingDone.
Teaming up with PLB Group Executive Chef Armando Enriquez Icaza (okay one more…), you certainly won’t have any beef with what’s on the high-end menu.
Choccas with vibrant dishes sourced from the restaurant’s own backyard (quite literally) and other local organic producers, it’s truly legend-dairy. Diners and wedding guests will be blown away by the farmtastic flavours, paired expertly with sustainable wines, innovative cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.
Changing seasonally in accordance with what is thriving on the farm, lettuce give you a taste of spring’s offering.
For starters, savour the likes of Byron Bay Stracciatella with confit heirloom tomatoes and crispy XO oil.
Next, mooo-ve into a delectable main of Woodfire Lamb Shoulder with sweet potato, horseradish, burnt onion and jus. Because you can, order a side of Charred Broccoli Steak with sunflower hummus and avocado ash and trust us, greens never tasted so good.
Last but not least, wrap your laughing gear around dessert; the decadent Orange and Almond Cake with white chocolate, milk crumb and buck’s kumquats and yeah, we reckon this rounds out a ‘stable’ diet.
So peeps, you ‘herd’ it here first. The much loved and newly shooshed Farm & Co will be even more of a standout in its field.
Where: 529 Cudgen Road, Cudgen
When: Opening Friday 2nd September 2022. Lunch service Friday – Sunday. Closed Monday
Words by Bianca Trathen.
Every January the Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) bestows upon us its much anticipated Chef Hat Awards, a discerning and definitive ranking of culinary excellence. Aka, the foodie holy grail. For hardcore dining devotees, it feels a lot like Christmas morning. Our very own cheat sheet to work our way, hungry caterpillar style, around the most esteemed and decorated local destinations.
It leaves us with a lot to unpack and, in the case of our neighbouring Northern Rivers hat recipients, plenty of reasons to pack… our appetites and venture south, post-haste. Here are 10 of this year’s most road trip worthy restaurants.
Founded by former Paper Daisy chef, Pipit owner Ben Devlin is no stranger to the art of crafting exquisite eats – nor has he pulled any punches when it comes to his first solo venture. And AGFG clearly agrees, with Pottsville’s Coronation Avenue darling taking out the coveted top spot among this year’s most noteworthy Northern Rivers Hat recipients.
Pipit’s near-perfect 17/20 score (an elusive 20/20 has never been seen in the award’s history) immediately propels it to pole position on the day trip priority list in our books, and also according to the AGFG ‘worth a detour’ designation.
Set aside a few hours and treat yourself to the revelatory set menu dining experience, a curated sequence of flavours, textures and ideas spanning over several hours, one which Ben likens to ‘a day trip around the Northern Rivers’ in and of itself.
Where: 8 Coronation Avenue, Pottsville
Halcyon House’s beloved Paper Daisy of course also earned itself a nod, with an honourable 14. The esteemed and elegant eatery, sitting pretty against Cabarita Beach’s stunning shores – is mostly reserved for sandy-footed in-house guests, but it’s not all bad news for locals.
If you’ve got an arvo to kill, we’re all invited to see what the fuss is about courtesy of the bar, open from 3pm, or for dinner. Led by Jason Barratt, the kitchen shoots for ‘sophisticated simplicity’, where you can expect to delight in inventive and delectable dishes like Toasted macadamia kangaroo tartare or Riverina lamb rump, served with eggplant, green mango.
We’d recommend packing your appetite (and your towel, because, y’know, Caba #phwoar).
Where: 21 Cypress Cres, Cabarita Beach
Rae’s Dining Room
Byron Bay institution, Raes on Wategos came in a close second, with a stellar score of 16, with the astute AGFG gang deeming it to be (very) ‘worth a detour’ – and yes, we did take some liberties with the parenthesis.
The chic, boutique retreat, an icon set amongst Byron’s idyllic beaches, delivers a fine dining experience in its Dining Room, headed by Executive Chef Jason Saxby. A culinary showcase of the region, curated with Mediterranean influences, the menu offers Caviar service, 3-course a la carte and 6-course Tasting Menu options.
A word of warning, though – after tasting dishes like Australian Bay Lobster (bug), glazed in fermented chilli, hand-rolled fregola pasta, and the Lemon Meringue Bombe, served with lemon aspen sorbet and lemon myrtle semifreddo, you might just want to move in.
Where: 6 – 8 Marine Parade, Byron Bay
Taking home one hat with an impressive score of 14, is Byron’s Modern Australian gem, Karkalla. Though the venue – proudly founded by First Nations chef Mindy Woods – is about so much more than serving tantalising bites alone.
Now AGFG’s first Indigenous Female Chef Hat Winner, Mindy’s cosy, Fletcher Street destination explores themes of culture and connection through native food and flavours.
Showcasing indigenous ingredients such as bush tomato, pepper leaf and wattle seed, the seasonal menu offers share-style, locally sourced bites, Australian wines, native infused cocktails and mocktails – including a lemon myrtle infused Virgin Margarita that’ll knock your socks off, designated day trip driver or not.
Where: 10/8 Fletcher Street, Byron Bay
Tweed River House
Murwillumbah’s aptly named Tweed River House, perched just a stone’s throw from its banks, also scored a hat – earning a rating of 14 for its gastronomic bistro and bar experience.
The venue, housed in a spruced up, century-old colonial-style mansion – offers a panoramic river vantage flanked by wraparound verandas, and elevated eats to match.
The luxurious and immaculately appointed interiors alone make it worth filling your tank, but decadent dishes like Confit tuna, brandy flambéd Australian Bay Lobster and pan-fried Spatchcock, served with Lyonnaise sauce certainly sweeten the deal.
Where: 131 River St, South Murwillumbah
Another noshery deemed to be one of the best in the Northern Rivers Restaurant category is Murwillumbah’s Bistro Livi, scoring the prestigious hat accolade with its total of 14.
A short 30km trek from Cooly and one of the fresher faces among its culinary cohort – if you’re yet to be acquainted with Livi, it’s an easy one to tick off the list when you’re looking for a low effort adventure snap you out of the Sunday lazies (or scaries).
Tucked within the arts precinct of the tight-knit Murbah community – the European-inspired venue radiates romance with rustic textures and an inviting, intimate ambience, while Spanish influences inform the menu. It’s certainly not just the AGFG critics that this regional gem has succeeded in winning over… #swoon.
Where: 1A 1-3 Brisbane St, Murwillumbah
Nestled in the foothills of Mt Warning, Mavis Kitchen & Cabins is a Tweed Valley culinary treasure, offering Modern Australian cuisine with a Middle-Eastern twist.
Set in an immaculately restored 120-year-old Queenslander and owned by Tindal Magnus and Sam McCormac – Mavis is the culinary pot of gold that awaits on the other side of a meandering day trip through the postcard-esque rolling hills of Wollumbin National Park.
Equally swoon-worthy are the signature bites, such as Grilled Kangaroo Loin and Tender Chickpea Gnocchi, crafted with love, and scoring the spot a commendable ranking of 12.
Where: 64 Mount Warning Road, Uki
Capitalising on Carool’s sweeping valley views, Potager – A Kitchen Garden has long been a favourite destination among locals and discerning visitors. The charming nosher is also somewhat of a teacher’s pet, earning a score of 13 for its Modern Australian style eats in this year’s Chef Hat Awards – along with a near-perfect 4.8 score on Google, might we add… and honestly, we’re not sure which is harder to pull off.
Set on a small 10-acre farm, the seasonal menu is informed by locally sourced produce, much of which is grown on the property. Dishes like the Macadamia & saltbush crusted Lamb backstrap, served with Stone & Wood pickled onion, are a testament to the community-minded culinary experience, while the Summer Stonefruit “Melba” Pavlova gets a mention, because #yum.
Where: 502 Carool Rd, Carool
Another ‘big fish’ in the Northern Rivers end of town, is Kingscliff’s seafoodie haven, Fins, which also earned another honorary hat for its rack with a ‘commended’ rating of 13.
Located by the beach at Salt, the Tweed Valley institution has been going strong for some 30 years now, netting a slew of awards along the way – officially Australia’s most-awarded regional seafood restaurant, if we’re getting technical.
Specialising in sustainably-minded ocean fare, the famed destination’s Degustation menu is a particular highlight, expertly paired with a curated selection of local and international wines and cocktails, of course.
Where: 5/6 Bells Boulevard, Salt Village, South Kingscliff
Another Modern Australian nosher earning some serious cred is Newrybar’s garden gem, Harvest, awarded a hat, and an accompanying score of 13. Specialising in ‘simple and honest’ dishes with a focus on locally sourced, seasonal produce (are we sensing a theme here?) served with a side of spectacular surroundings.
Harvest’s whimsical, cottage garden residence falls right in the day trip sweet spot for those of us residing this side of the border – a scenic, one hour commute from Cooly, which is exactly enough time to work through a solid assortment of road trip bangers, if you ask us.
With everything from a hefty selection of Housemade digestif to Charred ballina prawns, served with prawn mousse & finger lime on the menu, you’ll want to take your ‘hat off’ to them, too.
18-22 Old Pacific Highway, Newrybar Village
Words by Kellie Leader.
Wine is a beautiful thing: loved the world over and the perfect accompaniment to the next best thing in the world — cheese. Happily, the Gold Coast Hinterland is home to several world-class wineries, all of which are around an hour or less drive away. Pack your picnic blanket and make space in your boot for a case or two; here are the best cellar doors to take a sip at.
Witches Falls Winery
A self-proclaimed small but bold winery, Witches Falls are passionate about big tastes. Not only do owners Jon and Kim love the end product, but they’re also pretty keen on the growing, making and matching aspects of the fruity liquid. They offer personalised wine tastings that permit access to their entire range for $15 per person. And be sure to try their fantastic cheese board when you go!
Where: 79 Main Western Road, North Tamborine
Cedar Creek Estate
With a tree-lined entryway and lush green surroundings, Cedar Creek Estate is all your charming winery dreams come true. The vineyard consists of two varieties including Chambourcin and Verdelho, and even though the vines are relatively young, their Chambourcin in particular, is producing a fabulous Rose. Cedar Creek Estate also boasts the Arthur Hamblin Art Gallery, if sipping wine overlooking vineyards doesn’t fill your cultural cup entirely. As an added bonus, the Queensland Wine Centre is their store located on the premises. Featuring the largest range of Queensland’s wine under one roof it’s an impressive display of up to 100 wines from 16 of Queensland’s Premier Wineries.
Where: 104-144 Hartley Road, North Tamborine
Passionate about sustainable wine production, Sirromet Wines state-of-the-art, family-run facilities can be found in picturesque Mt Cotton. From the award-winning 2014 Signature Collection Shiraz Viognier and 2012 Saint Jude’s Merlot to a fresh Vineyard Selection Rose, you’ll be spoilt for choice at the Sirromet cellar door. Tastings run every day and you can also choose to do a behind-the-scenes tour of the vineyard. Plus, there’s a nine-hole golf course too — before or after wine, it’s up to you.
Where: 850 Mount Cotton Road, Mount Cotton
O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards
A picture-perfect location, O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard is a boutique vineyard and historic Queenslander homestead dedicated to fine food and fine wine. Enjoy a wine tasting, stay for lunch or purchase a gourmet picnic basket and stretch out by Canungra Creek with a bottle of bubbles. Take the kids who can also run around and take the resident alpacas for a walk.
Where: 852 Lamington National Park Road, Canungra
Sarabah Estate Vineyard
Further along the Canungra Valley, before you begin to make your steep ascent up to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, is this enchanted and sun-soaked vineyard and cellar door. The folks here wear many hats as viticulturists, alpacas herders, cheesemakers and gardeners: meaning there is plenty to see, do, eat, and drink! Weekends see their Chalet Bistro open for delicious lunches and the Smoke & Vine Bar is perfect for a stone-baked pizza — and of course a glass of wine (our pick being their 2018 organic shiraz).
Where: 46 Rymera Road, Sarabah
Mount Nathan Winery
Mount Nathan Winery is a progression of the Gibson family’s involvement in the wine industry over generations. After developing a unique range of honey-based products in Cessnock, the winery was born. Award-winning wines include the Bubbly Brut – a not too dry and not too sweet sparkling – and the Autumn White – made up of late-picked grapes with explosions of fruit. If you’re visiting, wine tastings are direct from the barrel. Doesn’t get more authentic!
Where: 220 Clagiraba Road, Mount Nathan
The Overflow Estate 1895
Situated a little past Beaudesert, this ten-year-old vineyard is a spectacular feast for the eyes. Jutting out on a small arm into Lake Wyaralong, you may be forgiven for thinking you’ve come across a place of fairy tales, but alas, you haven’t; this is a place of delicious food and fine wine! Expect some delectable menu choices from their weekend seasonal menu from The Two French Chefs, and their gourmet cafe with antipasto and grazing boards aplenty runs Wednesdays to Fridays. Hardy Spanish and Italian varietals flourish here, so be sure to try the wine for a taste of Europe without the jetlag.
Where: 1660 Beaudesert – Boonah Road, Beaudesert
GC, say “Chardon-heyyyy” to our newest winery experience. Located in Southport, you don’t even need to leave the GC for this environmentally conscious tipple. Carafe Wine has been an established premium wine on tap supplier for several years, before opening their bricks and mortar space in March 2023. Sample wines direct from the barrel, enjoy crafted winery blends and share a charcuterie board. Sounds like our kind of afternoon outing.
Where: 49 Johnston Street, Southport
Want to visit some wineries without the hassle of finding a designated driver? Pineapple Tours offer half day, all day or fully customisable tours, with door-to-door service to/from your abode or hotel #VIP. They cover all areas of South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. Grab your bestie, your partner or your posse and check out all the best wineries, distilleries, eateries and super fun GC experiences in one of their luxury vehicles. Yes please!
Where: 3200 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Words by Alex Mitcheson & Belinda Symons.