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
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
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
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.
We’re not good with secrets. Maybe you know some of these, maybe you don’t. Here we’ve listed our top five hidden gems on the Gold Coast.
Tallebudgera Creek – Ocean Parade
Most of you will be familiar with Tallebudgera Creek, the once hidden oasis that is not so hidden anymore. However, there are some secret spots along the Creek that not many people know of (not even the locals)! I would recommend taking a car but if you’re good on your feet or love riding your bike, a short stroll along the Creek will also get you to Ocean Parade’s secret beach.
Where: If you’re on the Gold Coast Highway coming from Palm Beach take a left at Ikkina Rd and follow the road until you head onto Elanora Dr. From there take a right onto Pindari Ave (turns into Ocean Pde) and follow all the way up. From the West Burleigh Road side, head onto Tabilban St and take the second right onto Ocean Pde. Park your car at the crossing Ocean Pde/Vantage Point Dr’ and go discover this hidden gem for yourself.
Tugun Lookout – Burleigh Heads National Park
It’s no secret Burleigh Heads is one of the more popular suburbs on the Coast. From James Street offering countless breakfast options and little boutiques to Burleigh Point, it’s the perfect place to spend a sunny Sunday arvo watching the surf and having a picnic with family and friends. But there are also some ‘not-so-known’ places in Burleigh and if you are looking for some exercise go hike up Burleigh Heads National Park. Don’t take the obvious track towards Tallebudgera Beach though, take a right through the rainforest and walk up to Tugun Lookout which will take you no longer than 10 minutes, if you’re lucky you can spot Humpback Whales in winter and spring or white-bellied Sea Eagles riding the ridge updrafts. Whether it’s overcast or sunny, Tugun Lookout always offers breathtaking views over Surfers Paradise’ Skyline to the north or Coolangatta to the south.
Duranbah beach or “Deebah” is the most northerly beach in NSW and located in Tweed Heads, right next to famous “Snapper Rocks” and the Captain Cook Memorial Lookout. Dbah is well-known amongst surfers and you might be lucky to spot Mick Fanning or Joel Parkinson doing their thing at their local surf break. If you’re not a big fan of surfing or you’re looking for a calm and quiet beach get away, then our third secret oasis is exactly what you’re looking for: Little Dbah beach. Situated between Duranbah beach and the mouth of the Tweed River, this spot is surprisingly peaceful with barely ever any waves, which makes it a popular destination for families with little kids. Bring your snorkelling gear and discover little Dbah’s flourishing under-water world or just sit back, relax and enjoy this untouched and uncrowded secret oasis.
Currumbin Valley Rock Pools
Away from the coast and into the green. If you’re looking for something more adventurous and exciting to do, Currumbin Rock Pools are exactly what you’re looking for. The beautiful scenic drive through Currumbin Valley is almost enough of an attraction in itself, taking you straight to the hidden natural swimming pool located just next to Currumbin Valley Primary School. The destination offers a wide variety of activities. Whether you just want to cool down and splash in the clear, blue watering hole or enjoy some family time over a BBQ at the designated picnic area, you decide!
Mt Cougal Cascades
A mere 10 minutes further down the road from Currumbin Valley Rock Pools you’ll end up at Mt Cougals Cascade, where you can walk along a 1.6km track to an old 1940’s sawmill, have a swim in the cascading waterfalls below or jump into the rock pools from one of the rope swings hanging in the trees. Toilets and a picnic area are located next to the car park.
Where: It only takes 20 minutes to get here from the M1. Just follow Currumbin Creek Rd to its end.
By Louisa von Ingelheim
Oh Burleigh you little beauty, what’s not to love right? Since the dawn of time (or the dawn of the GC at least) Burleigh has been one of the most-loved suburbs amongst a slew of strong contenders.
Sure, the beach is beautiful and James Street boasts all the best eats and acai bowls galore but it’s more than that, Burleigh has a soul of its own born of cruisy, barefoot, salty seabreeze vibes you simply won’t find anywhere else.
Gushing aside, here are 20 solid reasons why the locals love it and you should too (or else). And yes, we understand there are many more, hold your horses for list 2.0.
The fine dining venue is only a couple of years old, but in that time has become one of the Gold Coast’s premier dining destinations. Tucked away on West Street, the five-star, seasonal produce-led restaurant is an absolute must-visit and your dining experience there is one you won’t long forget. The produce is sustainable and the wine list is filled with some of the most stunning natural wines in the world. The service is impeccable too, but in a fun, not-too-formal way. We LOVE.
Where: 2A/8 West Street, Burleigh Heads
It’s the good time, slightly fancy Australiana bar of your dreams and it is perfectly at home in Burleigh Heads. Rosella’s very quickly became a firm local favourite when it opened last year and with both a drinks and food menu made up entirely of Australian produce, we are in love. There are cocktails made with Nutri Grain, some of the tastiest toasties around and all the very best Aussie beers. It’s refined, beautifully decked out and created by a couple of absolute legends. Love.
Where: 6/1734 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Yum, contemporary Cantonese food, we love you. Mr Hizola’s is dishing up the goods in the form of tasty share-style dishes and we are here for it. Particularly the sizzling steak dish that is all kinds of delicious and an array of epic cocktails to match. Mr Hizola’s is by the gang who brought you Hideaway Kitchen and Bar, Nightjar (see below), Bine, Soho Place and Nightcap, so it’s fair to say they know what’s up.
Where: 1730 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Well hasn’t this simple little piece of Mother Nature become a local legend. No matter the day of the week (but particularly Sunday arvos) “the hill” as it’s affectionately known is packed with picnic rugs, ball games and groups of revelers basking in the sunshine. Looking out over the ocean and with the city in the distance, it’s the perfect spot for a late afternoon lemonade or early morning coffee date with the crew. If you’re feeling energetic, take a stroll around the hill to Talle Creek for some Insta-worthy scenery.
Where: The south end of The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads
It’s the good old-fashioned party bar Burleigh has welcomed with open arms and there’s absolutely no doubt that all the best things go down behind Nightjar’s spray painted roller door. Inspired by wanderluster Sailor Jerry and with very few rules, the back alley bar is home to epic live jams, crazy cocktails and guaranteed good times.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
Iku Yakitori Bar
Yakitori translates to chicken on a stick, simple enough to describe, but much more intricate in nature. As for Iku, ask the crew when you stop in. Also found in Burleigh’s bustling back alley, Iku is even better than you’d imagine it to be. Skewers are the name of the game and no part of the chicken is left behind. There’s also veggo ones and some ridiculous edamame dip and plenty of tasty cocktails too.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
The stunning space offers incredible Vietnamese dishes inspired by Head Chef Jakes’ trip through Vietnam and a desire to eat some of the very best street food in the world every single day. Same. It’s a refined style of dining paired with mouthwatering cocktails and a sleek, paired back vibe. Jimmy Wahs is one of the Gold Coast’s most impressive eateries and we are big fans.
Where: 1724 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Sean Scott Boutique
Gold Coast local Sean Scott is a world-renowned surf and nature photographer and his gallery on James Street is filled with his stunning images and the coolest of clothing and accessories. The gallery has been open for five years and is the perfect spot to stop in for some creative inspo or grab yourself a piece of Sean’s incredible art. Read our interview with the man himself here.
Where: 21 James Street, Burleigh Heads
Literally opening out onto the sand at Burleigh beach, Rick Shores is loved (not only locally) for its stunning sunset views and those tiny little taste sensations otherwise known as Bug Rolls. If you’ve never tasted one, you’ve been wasting your life, make a booking RIGHT NOW and order them all. Wash them down with one of Rick’s signature cocktails and you’re a bonafide Burleigh-ite.
Where: Shop 3, Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Bowls Club
A relaxing little beachside club loved by young and old alike, Burleigh Bowls has been around since 1937 and is certainly a prime piece of real estate these days. Barefoot Bowls roll on from 12 to 5pm every Sunday and it’s a measly $5 per person including coaching and bowls (AKA ball whipper snappers). Live music can be heard on Sunday arvos from 2 to 6pm. Get down and support your local while sipping on a schooner.
Where: Connor Street, Burleigh Heads
The Village Markets
Our beloved boutique fashion and lifestyle market, The Village Markets, is home to hundreds of local makers and has helped to launch the international careers of countless creatives. Head down for an early morning coffee and breakfast while wandering through the stalls until it’s time for lunch. Oh and there’s always live music if you need a breather. It’s the best way to spend a sunny Sunday
Where: Burleigh Heads State School, Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
The baked goods that come out of this friendly little bakery are honestly something else. Owners Geoff and Lisa are passionate about baking and opened Burleigh Baker to provide us with the best tasting and most nutritious Artisan Sourdough and boy do they deliver. They use only the finest ingredients and the traditional process of fermentation. Do not buy bread anywhere else. You’re welcome.
Where: 13/50 James Street, Burleigh Heads
Freedom Float Centre
Floating in an enclosed tank of water may not seem like the most freedom-inducing activity in the world but trust us, it is. It’s the perfect place to experience the deepest of relaxation for the mind and body and literally involves floating weightlessly in a concentrated salt solution in a specially designed lightproof and soundproof pod. You’ll be shut off from the entire world. Sign us up!
Where: 105 West Burleigh Road, Burleigh Heads
Justin Lane Rooftop
Don your finest frock and rally up your girlfriends for a Sunday session and a spot of people watching on the roof at Justin Lane. With cocktails in hand and a balmy breeze blowing in through the windows, you need never go anywhere else again. After a few hours, pop downstairs for one of Justin’s famous pizzas and that’s your Sunday sorted.
Where: 1708 – 1710 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Absolute beachfront views and balmy ocean breezes aside, Burleigh Pavilion is a real treat. The interior is all pastel hues with greenery dotted throughout, two distinct sides including a sit down restaurant (The Tropic) and a more casual beach bar-style situation (The Terrace) for the best of both worlds. There are tasty eats on both sides and many a refreshing cocktail. Not to mention their new baked goods-filled van. Get involved in all of that.
Where: Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
The OG of giant, gourmet burgers, Ze Pickle’s Burleigh Heads store is all the best burgery things. Opened by friends Joey, Nathan and Aaron in 2012, the concept has spread around Australia and is now loved nationwide. Paired by your favourite local craft beer or a tipple of primo tequila and you’ve got yourself a good time.
Where: Corner Park Avenue and Connor Street, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Farmers Markets
Everyone’s favourite Saturday morning market adventure. Get up early, grab your basket and set out in search of fruit, veggies and of course, your first coffee of the weekend. These days the farmers market also boast locally made clothing and homewares, flowers, meat and seafood and delicious breaky and lunch options. There’s also live music and plenty of laughter floating around. Happy days.
Where: Burleigh Heads State School, Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
David Fleays Wildlife Park
Nestled in the heart of Burleigh Heads, David Fleay’s is a wildlife park with a difference. Stroll through the tranquil surroundings to experience some of Queensland’s most iconic natural habitats and meet the resident wildlife — all in just one day. Explore the park solo or join the dedicated Park Rangers at the daily wildlife shows.
Where: Corner of West Burleigh Road and Loman Lane in West Burleigh
Burleigh Brewing Co.
If there’s one thing Burleigh deserves (the big legend), it’s a brewery and Burleigh Brewing Co. certainly delivers. After opening in 2006, Burleigh Brewing Co. has produced nine delicious drops with delightful names such as ‘My Wife’s Bitter’ and ‘FIGJAM’ – perfectly Burleigh. Get a sixer for Netflix and chill or head into the brewery from Wednesday to Sunday afternoons to get amongst it. There’s live tunes too, what a combination.
Where: 2 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads
A somewhat hidden little speakeasy in the heart of Burleigh Heads, Lockwood Bar specialise in all of the very best varieties of whiskey along with many a local tipple transformed into tasty cocktails. It’s a laidback, jazz bar kind of vibe, low lit, often with live music and once you’re inside, you likely won’t want to leave. We dig it.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
Words by Kirra Smith