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6 Gold Coast heritage sites you should know about

Brush up on local history. 

Kirra Shelter Shed

Although our beautiful city seems relatively new in comparison to some down south, settlers actually began arriving here in the 1700s and there are plenty of heritage sites dotted around the place to prove it.

We’ve rounded up six of the most unique so you can spend the weekend brushing up on your local history. You’re welcome.

Matey Memorial, Surfers Paradise
You may have unknowingly had a selfie with this little guy but as a Gold Coast local, you should get familiar with Matey, the homeless dog who called the streets of Surfers Paradise home for over 12 years. He was a true Gold Coast icon befriending many tourists and locals as a loyal companion. Matey was mainly known for walking home revellers from Jim Cavill’s hotel during the 1940s and 1950s.
Where: Cavill Park, across from Melba’s, Surfers Paradise

Kirra Shelter Shed, Kirra
Kirra is home to one of the world’s most famous surf breaks, the Kirra Beach Pavilion (also heritage listed) and old school, iconic Gold Coast fibro beach shacks. While driving around the headland towards Cooly, you may have noticed the cute little shelter overlooking the ocean. It’s not only a great place to hide from the scorching sun, it’s also got some time on its back, over a century to be precise. Early photos of Kirra beach show the shelter in place by around 1916. The Kirra Shelter Shed makes for a great viewing platform and is the perfect spot to watch whales play out in the ocean.
Where: Kirra beach, Kirra

Maid of Sker, Nerang
Nerang was one of the Gold Coast’s founding suburbs so it’s no surprise a lot of heritage listed sites can be found there. One such site is the Maid of Sker, an old iron paddle steamer built in 1884, lying next to the Nerang River in Bischoff Park. From 1893 to the early 1930s it transported sugar cane and other produce up and down the Albert, Logan and Nerang rivers. The Maid of Sker is a great little history lesson on how things were back in the day.
Where: Bischoff Park, Nerang

The Pink Poodle neon sign

The Pink Poodle neon sign, Surfers Paradise
The iconic Pink Poodle Motel built in 1967 along the Gold Coast Highway and Fern St drew many tourists (especially honeymooners) to the Gold Coast. One of its standout features in a time of motor travel was the brightly lit neon sign featuring a strutting pink poodle. The motel has since been demolished but the famous sign has been preserved and can now be found close to its original location on Fern Street. Tricky to get a selfie with, the sign has been immortalised on local t-shirt brand, The Undercurrent due to its importance to the Surfers Paradise community.
Where: Gold Coast Highway and Fern St, Surfers Paradise 

St Augustine’s Church, Coolangatta
St Augustine’s Church in Cooly is the only church on the Coast resembling the Italian Romanesque style. The building opened in 1926 and was designed by J. P. Donoghue, changing the skyline in Coolangatta with its campanile of 110 feet (33 metres). For the local Catholic community, the church became the focus for both social and spiritual life, and continues to serve that purpose today.
Where: 42 O’Connor Street, Tugun

(Former) Tallebudgera Post Office, Tallebudgera
The old Tallebudgera Post Office is one of the oldest surviving buildings found on the Gold Coast today. It was built in 1878 and operated for almost a century until March 1958. This super cute building consists of a small, single roomed structure with a veranda at the front. It is constructed from timber in the style known as ‘board and batten’. You can find this historic site at
Where: 17 Trees Road, Tallebudgera

Words by Louisa von Ingelheim

Hampton Estate Wines

Overlooking the Gold Coast skyline and atop a rolling green hill, Hampton Estate Wines is the epitome of charm and old world hospitality.

Located on Mt. Tamborine, surrounded by trees and boasting a beautiful open fireplace, Hampton Estate Wines is the perfect destination to escape the city for a relaxed, five-star lunch accompanied by one or two award winning wines.

New owners Peter and Karen Rea have completely transformed the majestic venue with the addition of an upstairs art gallery, live music on Sunday’s, an impressive new menu and dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.

Try award-winning wines including the Fiano, winner of the prestigious Gold State Award at a mid-morning wine tasting then make yourself at home in the elegant dining room for lunch.

Confit Duck Leg and Lamb Shanks are firm favourites and Peter will always recommend the best wine to accompany each dish.

Planning on getting hitched? Hampton Estate Wines onsite glass pavilion opens onto a spacious deck overlooking the luscious valley, it’s the perfect place to say ‘I do’. Peter plans on adding an additional cellar door downstairs within the next few months so guests will simply step out of the pavilion and up to the bar.

Only a quick 30 minute trip from the Gold Coast, visiting Hampton Estate Wines feels like receiving a warm bear hug. With the addition of delicious food and an abundance of wine of course.

What more could you need.

HOURS:  10am to 4pm weekdays and 10am until late weekends.

LOCATION: Corner Shelf and Bartle Roads, Mount Tamborine

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.

6 places to brush up on local Aboriginal history

Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre (Image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)
Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre (Image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)

The Gold Coast region is rich with indigenous history, and if you’re anything like us, you want to soak up every single bit of it.

For example, did you know Aboriginal people inhabited the local region for over 23,000 years before European settlers arrived? Leaving behind numerous sacred sites just waiting to be discovered. Of course, It’s never too late in paying tribute to and educating yourself about our city’s deep-seated Indigenous culture.

Here are six places to get you off to a great start.

Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre
The Jellurgal Aboriginal Centre is located at the bottom of Burleigh’s Headland. Authentic paintings are available for sale at the Centre, and along with the paintings, you will see Aboriginal artefacts such as dilly bags, shields and other tools and instruments that were part of everyday life. Burleigh Heads National Park is a significant and sacred Indigenous place that, to this day, offers a fantastic insight into the world of the Kombumerri people, including many Dreamtime stories about how Burleigh Hill and Talle Creek came to be. Go on a guided tour to discover all that is hidden. Go to their website to find out more and book.
Where: Right next to the Tallebudgera Creek car park, Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Bora Ring Site (Jebbribillum)
The Bora Memorial Rock can be found in the Jebbribillum Bora Park beside the Gold Coast Highway in Burleigh/Miami. Thousands of people pass it every day without realising its significance. The rock is dedicated to the Indigenous men and women of the Gold Coast region who served in Australian war conflicts from 1914 to 1991. It was once the site where young Australian Aboriginals were initiated into their tribe in special ceremonies.
Where: Corner Gold Coast Highway and Sixth Avenue, Burleigh Heads

Corrigan Walk, Bond University (image supplied)

Bond University
Bond University is home to Australia’s most extensive private collection of Indigenous art on public display. Tracing the evolution of Indigenous art from the traditional Western Desert Movement to the colourful contemporary styles, the Corrigan Walk is now attracting international acclaim. The unique collection features the works of Australia’s most celebrated and admired Indigenous artists, including Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Sally Gabori, Tommy Watson and Gloria Petyarre. The Corrigan Walk Art Tour is free once a semester, providing insight into these works and highlighting the artists and Dreamtime stories woven into each piece and Indigenous art history.
Where: 14 University Drive, Robina

Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre
The Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre is a great place to start for a unique insight into Aboriginal culture. On offer are museum exhibits, informative videos, Aboriginal art and traditional dances are performed regularly in the outdoor performance area. Go on a tour and hear how Aboriginal life was when this area was an untouched paradise of natural forest and mangroves before learning about the cultural significance of Bora Ring, which you can see on the Walk on Water walking track.
Where: 17 Kirkwood Road, Tweed Heads South

Yugambeh Museum (image supplied)
Yugambeh Museum (image supplied)

The Yugambeh Museum
The Yugambeh Museum, Language and Heritage Research Centre aims to record and promote the traditional knowledge of our region, especially the Yugambeh language, which was spoken throughout South-East Queensland. The team work with and bring the community together through many initiatives centered around the cultural and educational exchange so that future generations have the opportunity to embrace the language, hear stories and truly connect with their Indigenous legacy as a relevant part of their today and tomorrow. It’s an incredible place, absolutely packed with knowledge and well worth a look in next time you day trip northwards.
Where: Corner Plantation Road & Martens Street, Beenleigh

Currie Country
Created by one of the most prominent Traditional Owner Families within the Aboriginal Yugembeh Bundjalaung nations of South East QLD and Far North NSW; Currie Country is the perfect place to learn about our Indigenous history, connections to the country and Aboriginal knowledge systems which exist in the Tweed Coast as you connect to ‘Currie Country’. They run a beautiful Women’s Cruise on the Tweed River where you can learn, connect and create with like-minded women AND an incredible Women’s Retreat which is the perfect chance to rest and re-enliven yourself. We LOVE the work these remarkable women do, and we’re confident you will too.
Where: Tweed Valley Way, Tweed Heads

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre (Image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)
Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre (Image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)

Buca di Bacco

Unfortunately, this restaurant has now closed – but you should stick around and check out these other restaurants!

Meaning cave of the goddess of food and wine, recently opened Buca Di Bacco is bringing a unique Italian flavour to the popular Broadbeach restaurant precinct.

Head Chef Christopher Norris has handcrafted a menu comprising of locally sourced seasonal produce after spending time in Italy honing his craft.

Specialised breakfast dishes include Italian-inspired Caprese Toast (made up of artisan sourdough with avocado smash, fresh mozzarella, cherry tomato and fresh basil leaves, finished with a sticky balsamic drizzle) and a never-seen-before Peanut Butter Porridge which is bound to be popular in the cooler months to come.

In the spirit of keeping things Italian, mini breakfast pizzas are also on offer.

For lunch and dinner, Italian street food has proven popular. Buca Di Bacco’s signature share plates include Truffle Mushroom Arancini Balls, Pork Puffs with Salt and Vinegar Crystals and Crumbed Mushrooms with Rosemary Salt.

For those in search of an interesting combination, why not try lasagna stuffed baby peppers for a modern spin on a traditional favourite.

Of course, when dining in an Italian restaurant, it would be remiss to go past an authentic pizza.

Top picks include Salsiccia – mozzarella, Italian pork and fennel sausage, cream, broccoli, chilli, parmesan and fresh basil or Philly Cheese Steak – tomato, mozzarella, roma tomatoes, shaved beef, two-toned peppers, red onion, jalapeños, cheese sauce, and rocket.

Perhaps a delicious pasta is more your style; for those keen on the real deal, Spaghetti Sciué Sciué is made up of fresh tomato sauce, sweet basil, heirloom tomatoes, touch of chilli garlic, and shaved parmesan cheese.

To wash it all down, an extensive, hand-picked wine list graces the bar including several Italian stunners.

Inspired by their Italian heritage, Buca Di Bacco is family owned and operated with a vibrant atmosphere and beautifully presented drinks and meals.

La buona cucina!

HOURS: 7am to 10pm daily.

LOCATION: 24-26 Queensland Avenue, Broadbeach (underneath the Phoenician Resort).

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.


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