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5 Sunday drive destinations

Sometimes the best way to figure out your life is to just run away and hope for the best. Pretty sure Buddha said that. He’s right of course, life can be super overwhelming and if you’re anything like us, come Sunday you’re keen to escape those day-to-day dramas via either wine or naps.

We’ve got another solution though pals and you may not be surprised to read that solution is Sunday drives. Yep, just like the ones your parents used to take you on except now you get to choose where to go and yes, now there’s also wine.

Here are five spots to set off to next time it’s Sunday. Seeya on the open road.

Farm & Co. Kingscliff
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 

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 so you can get yourself some dessert for the drive home.
Where: 156 Chinderah Bay Drive, Chinderah

Kooroomba Vineyards and Lavender Farm (image supplied)

Kooroomba Vineyards and Lavender Farm
More floral fun but this time WITH WINE. You can drink said wine overlooking said lavender farm and eat delicious foods while you’re at it. The stunning onsite restaurant (haing recently won a Chefs Hat Award in 2020) uses local produce from the Scenic Rim and within the Brisbane Valley. See you Sunday lovely lavender (in season from November).
Where: 168 FM Bell Road, Mount Alford

Mt Tamborine
Slightly more general than those others but impossible to leave off a list of places to drive, is Mt Tamborine. There’s a whole treasure trove of goodies up there guys. Fudge, cheese, wineries, distilleries, breweries, waterfalls, pubs with views over the entire Gold Coast and temperatures that don’t reach 450 degrees Celsius like the rest of this city.
Where: It’s the big mountain out west

Moo Moo Roadhouse
Soo there’s a café that is painted in the way of a dairy cow and what a time to be alive. It’s in a town called Mooball (does anyone know how to pronounce that properly) where pretty much everything resembles a cow for obvious reasons. Anyway. The café. There’s sweet vintage memorabilia in there and you can grab yourself a burger and a milkshake and enjoy the towns’ abundant good vibes.
Where: 5875 Tweed Valley Way, Mooball

Words by Kirra Smith

Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk (image supplied)

Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

7 road trip worthy restaurants

Quite obviously the Gold Coast is home to a growing number of epic eateries that will keep your Instagram feed filled for the rest of time. However, sometimes it’s nice to step outside your comfort zone and taste something slightly further afield.

Upon investigation, it seems there are plenty of epic eateries just outside our pretty city that are guaranteed to knock your socks off (should you be wearing socks due to these slightly chilly temps) now that border restrictions are easing.

Also, how fun are road trips (miss you!). Grab your gang and get out on the open road, your tastebuds will thank you. 

Harvest, Newrybar
Not even where to start to be honest. Harvest is THE GOODS. They weave fresh, local and organic produce into dishes that are the equivalent of Chris Hemsworth in the looks department and as tasty as anything you’ve ever eaten. Anything. Found in a renovated weatherboard cottage and with a deli, bakery and coffee shop on the premises, it’s an absolute must-visit. You need never eat elsewhere again. Where: 18-22 Old Pacific Hwy, Newrybar Village

The Mez Club, Byron Bay
It’s Mediterranean magic at The Mez Club with high ceilings, all of the white walls, wooden furniture and on point rattan seating and light fittings. The vibe is laidback sophistication, the food is share plate style and the cocktails are all the best things in the world. How does a Peach & Thyme Collins sound? Gin, peach liquor, fresh thyme, lemon juice and soda – it sounds like a party in your mouth does it not. GO NOW. Where: 4/85-87 Jonson St, Byron Bay

Federal Doma Café, Federal
It’s Japanese food in the Byron Bay hinterland and it’s some of the best you’ll ever put in your mouth. From hand-rolled salmon cones to the tastiest miso soup there is and Japanese-style burgers, you’d be crazy not to eat one of everything. The produce is fresh, there’s live music on weekends and you can sit outside under the trees, sampling stunning food and contemplating why it is you live in the city when apparently the country is where it’s at. Where: 3-6 Albert St, Federal

Mavis’s Kitchen Restaurant, Uki
Nestled at the base of the Mt Warning is a 25-acre former dairy farm, home to a relaxed country-style restaurant where as much produce as possible is sourced from the organic kitchen garden. The breakfast and a la carte lunch menus are filled with beautiful dishes that taste like your loving Grandma cooked them (if your loving Grandma is Nigella Lawson). If you over-indulge, which you will, you can stay overnight in a pretty little log cabin surrounded by sweet, sweet serenity. Where: 64 Mount Warning Road, Uki 

TOWN Restaurant And Café, Bangalow
It’s the quaint little town known for fresh air, mountain vibes and epic weekend markets but were you aware there is also quite a lot of good food to be taste-tested? Probably since you’re reading this, but let’s power on. TOWN is a modern, one-hatted (for their degustation) restaurant offering next-level contemporary eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cute as a button too (who decided buttons were cute). Where: 33 Byron Street, Bangalow

Spice Den, Casuarina
Oh guys, Spice Den is the business. Just 25 short minutes down the road, it’s an Asian fusion-style establishment serving share-style dishes you definitely won’t want to share though. There’s ridiculous curries, sashimi, whole snappers, scallop shooters – all of the good things. One visit is definitely not enough. Do yourself a favour and order the Grilled Spice Lamb Roti and report back (with samples if you don’t mind). Where: 9 Dianella Drive, Casuarina

Fleet, Brunswick Heads
The tiny Brunswick beauty is perhaps the most stunning venue on the NSW north coast. The ever-changing menu is made up of a series of smaller dishes, each with a focus on a few primary ingredients and each is sleek, refined and packing a flavour punch. Produce is sourced sustainably, as is the wine menu of course and there’s a degustation menu if choosing becomes too much. It’s authentic, local, incredible food that must be tasted to be believed. Where: 16 The Terrace, Brunswick Heads

Words by Kirra Smith

7 wineries within short driving distances of the Gold Coast

Cedar Creek Estates

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.

Cedar Creek Estate
With a tree-lined entryway and lush green surroundings, Cedar Creek is all your charming winery dreams come true. From Sauvignon Blanc to Shiraz and Moscato to Muscat, their impressive wine list is unrivaled, and you can do a winery tour with all the crew for a cracking time. Cedar Creek Estate also boasts the Arthur Hamblin Art Gallery, if sipping wine overlooking vineyards doesn’t fill your cultural cup entirely.
Where: 104-144 Hartley Road, North Tamborine

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. The three distinct ranges – Granite BeltWild Ferment and Prophecy – can be tasted for $10 per person, including six tastings. And be sure to try their fantastic cheese board when you go!
Where: 79 Main Western Road, North Tamborine

Winery tour experience at Witches Falls Winery (image courtesy of Tourism Australia)
Winery tour experience at Witches Falls Winery (image courtesy of Tourism Australia)

Sirromet Wines
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 for just $5 per person, 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

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

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

Sirromet Wines

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

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

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

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