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Adopt a furry friend to keep you company at home

Photo by Leio McLaren (@leiomclaren) on Unsplash
Photo by Leio McLaren (@leiomclaren) on Unsplash

There are many good things coming out of being stuck at home for extended periods of time. First, hilarious memes. Second, your friends making ridiculous videos of all the ridiculous things they’re doing and third, pets

We can all be thankful for pets and all of their fluffy, cuddly and loving goodness. Don’t have a pet? No worries. You can (and absolutely should) adopt one from one of the many local adoption centres across the Coast and doing so is more affordable than ever.

For example Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) have absolutely slashed their prices so you can adopt a cuddly kitty for just $29, dogs and puppies are $99. There are also guinea pigs, birds and fowls available for adoption.

The best part is, they need you as much as you need them right now.

There’s also an adoption centre called Precious Paws Animal Rescue and prices are based on each potential pet.

If you head to either website, you can check out the pets available for adoption, choose your new best friend and go from there.

Animals are one of the very best things you can have around you to lift your mood, make funny videos and take photos to send to your friends.

Plus, they need a home too.

So what are you waiting for. Jump online now and find yourself a furry, forever best friend.

https://ppar.com.au/

https://www.awlqld.com.au/

Words by Kirra Smith

Photo by Avi Naim on Unsplash
Photo by Avi Naim on Unsplash

22 puppy-friendly places on the Gold Coast

Doggo at Palm Springs Burleigh (image supplied)
Doggo at Palm Springs Burleigh (image supplied)

Dogs are man’s best friend. There’s no disputing it and we don’t want to hear a word said against it.

But in all honesty, we doubt any of you locals out there are going to argue against this ethos — as it’s rather easy to see we utterly love our dogs here on the Gold Coast.

Did you know that on Tuesday the 23rd of March it’s National Puppy Day? An occasion to remember how much these guys bring to our lives in way of their cuteness and unconditional love. Because let’s face it — where would we be without them.

If they aren’t running at breakneck speed down the beach, pottering about in a body of water somewhere, or just drooling themselves into a comatose under the couch, there’s a good chance they can be found with their loving owner sharing a coffee and living their best life in one of our many great cafes.

Knowing which cafes are more receptive to your four-legged friend is sometimes a bit tricky. To alleviate the puzzlement, we’ve put together the finest and most convenient cafes where taking your pooch is most certainly welcomed.

Double Barrel Kitchen
Two locations mean double the doggie good times. Double Barrel Kitchen not only serves up delicious eats and plenty of good vibes, they also allow pups to join in the fun.
Where: Shop 4/64 Karbunya Street, Mermaid Waters and 1 The Concourse, Benowa

Ground N Sound
House-made cakes are one of the greatest things cafes can do. Wash that down with a cuppa, (or some wine if you like) a bit of live music, and your dog by your side and that’s pretty much the best time we reckon you can have. Do it at Ground N Sound.
Where: 6/23 Musgrave Avenue, Chirn Park

Le Vintage Boutique Cafe Puppy (image supplied)
Le Vintage Boutique Cafe Puppy (image supplied)

Papercup Coffee
The prettiest of spots, found in two locations Papercup Coffee has some stellar coffee and of course some delicious treats you can share with your furry mate. Perfect. Puppacino, anyone?
Where: 16 Frank Street, Labrador and 201 Ferry Road, Southport

Parc Bah Espresso
Opposite an awesome dog park, this Southport cafe welcomes your four-legged furry friend while you dine. There are even special doggie treats to keep your best friend occupied while you catch up with your human-friends.
Where: Shop 4/5, 19 Alicia Street, Southport

Cafe Catalina
Cafe Catalina is located along the picturesque shores of the Broadwater Parklands and is the absolute perfect way to end a walk of your furry friend around the parklands. Sit on the deck and watch as the world passes you by both on land and sea!
Where: Broadwater Parklands, 10/11 Gold Coast Highway, Southport

Roller Door Espresso
At the heart of it, this hole-in-the-wall nook is incredibly easy on the eyes. After you’ve managed to peel your gaze off all of the incredible interior goodness, it’s down to business with fine baked treats and welcome arms for you and your doggo.
Where: 2/85 Ashmore Road, Bundall

Palm Springs
What these guys don’t know about coffee isn’t worth knowing. With the freshest looking aesthetic around, this new Burleigh Heads hangout is a great place to bring your pooch grab a coffee and just watch the day drift by. Plus, with surroundings as good as this, how could you not want to do a quick photoshoot of your pup?
Where: 1878 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Wildflower Distillery & Bar is dog-friendly (image supplied)
Wildflower Distillery & Bar is dog-friendly (image supplied)

Wildflower Distillery
Seems every man and his dog is making craft spirits these days, and we couldn’t be more thankful for it if we tried. Wildflower is the place to round up your crew and go sample some great gins, and now fantastic vodka. Don’t forget to take your furry friend as well because they are made most welcome!
Where: 2/486 Scottsdale Drive, Varsity Lakes

Alfred’s Diner
Home to one of the Coast’s best breakfast burritos and all of the cool kids from Mermaid Beach this chilled garden space off the highway is a dog-friendly nirvana. Alfred’s Diner has also recently extended their trading hours, you can now even take the pup along with you for dinner! No more leaving them at home on date night!
Where: 2389 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

BSKT Cafe
BSKT Cafe makes taking your dog out for a date easy, as you won’t need to remember to pack water as they have plenty of dog bowls placed in the outside area. So you can sip on your favourite juice while your furry companion keeps hydrated too!
Where: 4 Lavarack Road, Nobby Beach

The Henchman
The big Miami beauty boasts plenty of space for all of your daily dose of tail wagging. Who knows what can happen when there are opportunities for your pooch to make new friends? Grab yourself some tasty eats and kick back in a hammock at The Henchman while the dogs have a play date.
Where: 8 Henchman Avenue, Miami

Paddock Bakery
Arguably one of the hottest breakfast spots on the Coast, Paddock Bakery is a stylish weatherboard cottage with a leafy garden that welcomes you and your four-legged friend any day of the week. Dippy eggs + doggos = good idea.
Where: 18 Hibiscus Haven, Miami

Paddock Bakery Puppy (image supplied)
Paddock Bakery Puppy (image supplied)

Lakeview Cafe
Lakeview Cafe is a hidden Burleigh Waters gem and an absolute favourite amongst the locals (not only humankind either). You can buy doggie treats and have your dog join you in the spacious outside area.
Where: 100 Burleigh Street, Burleigh Waters

Commune
Your favourite Burleigh local has a huge outside area with plenty of shade for you and your pup to enjoy. Weekend brekkies just got that much better!
Where: 1844 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Street Corner Espresso
The family-run lower Gold Coast Highway cafe has great food, great service and a spacious outside area that any dog will love to lie down and soak up the sun in. Sounds like paw-fection!
Where: 1/1840 Lower Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Espresso Moto
Tried and tested many a time, Espresso Moto is as pup-friendly as they come. There’s a bowl for doggo drinking water and, if you’ve got a very good boy (or girl) on your hands, they may be lucky enough to score a treat. Fun for everyone.
Where: 2/1389 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach or 1/88 Markeri Street, Mermaid Waters

Portside Coffee
Portside Coffee is an entire family-friendly cafe in Currumbin’s industrial area. When we say ‘entire family’ we mean your fur baby too. It’s an entirely outdoor area so there’s plenty of space so you can soak up some sunshine while you’re getting caffeinated.
Where: 42 Currumbin Ck Road, Currumbin Waters

The Salt Mill
Merely steps off the beach, this popular hole-in-the-wall has seating and will often have a congregation of dogs mingling with each other as their owners sip coffee and enjoy one of the coast’s best acai bowls. Once you’re done, slip onto the sand and take your puppy for a paddle!
Where: 785 Pacific Parade, Currumbin

Barefoot Barista (Image supplied)
Barefoot Barista (Image supplied)

Le Vintage Boutique Cafe
This VERY popular little spot found in beautiful Worongary is serving up some of the best coffee around. And they’re all about the doggo’s too. It’s a unique little spot, once you’ve found it, and one you’ll want to lock in to visit again.
Where: 1 Kurilpa Street, Worongary

Parkway Coffee
The newest of the bunch is Parkway Coffee, a sweet little garden hideaway by the gals at Third Base Coffee, Palm Beach. There’s great food, great coffee and the best thing of all, pups are of course welcome!
Where: Robina Quays, 16b, 361 Robina Parkway, Robina

South East Cafe & Bar
This southern extremity is bringing great food and even better coffee to the beachy back streets of Coolangatta. Better yet, when you’ve come off the sand and have salty hair swing by here for the best dog-friendly vibes.
229 Boundary Street, Coolangatta

Barefoot Barista
This laid-back Palm Beach institution dishes up amazing food and consistent quality coffee, best of all – they’d love you to bring your dog along.
Where: 15 Palm Beach Avenue, Palm Beach

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

9 adorable Gold Coast animal encounters

Mountview Alpaca Farm (image supplied)
Mountview Alpaca Farm (image supplied)

Without a shadow of a doubt, Gold Coasters have a strong affinity with the animal kingdom. From our four-legged furry friends joining us for coffee dates to the abundant wildlife everywhere you turn; all creatures great and small are inherently a part of our coastline, and therefore most people’s lives here.

It turns out there are many other charming creatures around these parts and you can share an experience with some of the cutest and mightiest of them! So whether you’re a local or enjoying the Gold Coast short term, here are our recommendations on how you might find yourself on the furry/feathered/scaly end of an endearing animal encounter.

Tiger Island Dreamworld
Get up close and highly personal with some of the animal kingdoms most majestic creatures. Tiger Island is a true one-off as you’re able to watch daily shows — before the next minute finding yourself side by side and patting the big cats themselves for a photo opportunity like no other!
Where: Dreamworld, Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera

Mountview Alpaca Farm
How does meandering your way around a vineyard with a glass of wine and your very own alpaca in tow sound? Be careful though; there may be some confusion around who is walking whom! These guys can be found at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard, where you can pat and feed them to your heart’s content.
Where: 852 Lamington National Park Road, Canungra

Lorikeet feeding at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (Image: © 2017 The Undercurrent)

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the best places for anyone on the Gold Coast to experience wildlife since 1947! There’s a long list of animals to find yourself involved with here, from crocodile feeding, bird shows, and having your picture taken with a koala. If you haven’t been in a while, there’s a relatively new section that opened three years ago called Lost Valley. The highlight is one of the southern hemisphere’s largest aviaries, where you’ll mingle with red pandas, tamarins, and ring-tailed lemurs!
Where: Tomewin Street, Currumbin

Spirit Whale Watching
As whale watching season is just upon us (May — November), you’ll be hard-pressed to see the spectacular sight of migrating whales from a better location than the sunny waters right off our coast. Spirit Whale Watching tours will take you right into the action as groups of whales make their way north around the Whitsundays to give birth before then returning south later in the year. The operator has a history of getting their guests wet with whales breaching and tail slapping the water from proximity. And if you don’t see any whales, they’ll take you on another trip free!
Where: 60-70, Sea World Drive, Main Beach

Australian Outback Spectacular
Saddle up for the night of a lifetime at Australian Outback Spectacular. A hot tip is to arrive early to get photos with the dogs and horses, the stars of the show! Once inside the arena, you’ll then get a three course dinner. Followed then by one of the most spectacular shows you’re likely ever to see, filled with animals, Aussie songs, and a guaranteed few laughs as riders frolic about on stunning steeds — all while you look on in awe. Expect stunts, special effects, and not forgetting a tasty meal. Making for a night, you’re unlikely to forget!
Where: Pacific Motorway, Oxenford

Sea World's Penguin Encounter (image supplied)
Sea World's Penguin Encounter (image supplied)

Sea World
As far as aquatic encounters go, this is your one-stop place to see and learn about a plethora of water-based animals. From Polar Bears to penguins, seals to sharks, there is guaranteed to be an animal that will captivate everyone’s imagination. If this isn’t enough, you’ll come across a selection of shows where splashing around and seeing these magnificent creatures do their thing will leave you speechless, or maybe a dolphin encounter is more your thing: spending time in the water with these animals and their trainers!
Where: Sea World Drive, Main Beach

Paradise Country Aussie Farmyard
Sometimes there are so many adorable animals, yet so little time. From native Aussie wildlife to farmyard animals and even an animal nursery, you’ll be spoilt for choice at Paradise Country. If you’ve never been to a farm, this is the perfect place, only minus the hard work! It’s a great weekend adventure if you need to escape city life. And news just off the press tells us they will soon be expecting their own little mob of meerkats — making your decision to visit, simples.
Where: Pacific Motorway, Oxenford

Paradise Country Animal Encounters (image supplied)

Crazy Cat Café
This feline-orientated experience is purrfect if you like mixing coffee and cats. If you’re not a fan, you can still tag along, as the café section is separated by a window that allows you to look in on the cat lounge while its inhabitants leap around, swat each other, and generally enjoy their cat castle. If you must get involved, don’t panic, you can join them for a play and a quick snap or two.
Where: 63 Centre Arcade, 3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

David Fleay Wildlife Park
Right in the heart of Burleigh is an intimate, heritage-listed wildlife sanctuary home to a vast array of animals — and most people drive past without even realising! Wander around at your own pace and soak up the serenity or go on a guided tour and learn all about everything from Dingoes and Rock Wallabies to Bilbies and Owls. There are shows throughout the day too; so be sure to carve out a good chunk of time for a visit.
Where: Loman Lane, Burleigh Heads

Words by Alex Mitchenson.

David Fleay Wildlife Park (image supplied)
David Fleay Wildlife Park (image supplied)

5 Gold Coast hikes to get your blood pumping

Natural Bridge

Hiking. It’s an acquired taste but if walking long distances for the sheer joy of it floats your boat, where better to indulge than the picturesque Gold Coast. Particularly at the height of summer.

There are many places to trek around outside the comfort of your Netflix binge zone and here are five of them (from a literal walk in the park to the mother of all hiking adventures, in that order). Don’t forget water bottles and snacks.

Apple Tree Park Tracks
Sounds delightful doesn’t it. The park itself is actually a possible starting point for entry onto The Great Walk but allows your tired bones a bit of respite if 54km of walking is slightly out of your comfort zone (yes, hi). You can pretty much walk as far as you like, for as long as you like and then turn around and walk back for a picnic in the park. Take healthy foods so your walk doesn’t feel like it’s in vain.
Start: On Springbrook Rd next to the Springbrook Mountain Chalets

Natural Bridge
No doubt you’ve (at least) seen snaps of the stunning little spot that is Natural Bridge. A literal rock bridge in the middle of the rainforest complete with a sparkly waterfall and so much beautiful greenery and fresh air and relaxing wilderness noises. It’s a stunner and a fairly cruisy downhill walk to get there (bit slippery on the bridge so watch your step) and through the trees. Obvs it’s uphill on the way back but you won’t even notice you’ll be so chilled out. Make sure you’ve got a camera to capture the magic.
Start: Follow the signs towards Springbrook and then you will see signs for Natural Bridge on Natural Bridge Rd

Springbrook

South Stradbroke Island
Saying you’ve circumnavigated something is, quite frankly, a dream that’s always been somewhat unattainable. Until now. It’s possible to walk the entire way around South Straddy and, while it might take you awhile (it’s 21km long and 2.5km wide) it’s well worth it for the breathtaking views. Walking from the western side to the east will only take you around an hour so that’s quite relaxing. All the way around will take you at least a day so ensure you pack provisions. Once you’re done you should definitely stop in at McLarens Landing (the pub) because a hard earned thirst needs a big cold beer.
Start: Take the ferry from Hope Island and start your walk from wherever your little heart desires

Toolona Creek Circuit
Keen for a day of walking? Neither, but there are some folks who might be. To those people we say, get on board the Toolona Creek Circuit. The first part will take you to Picnic Rock and along the Toolona Creek to the falls. From there you can detour to the lookout for a rest and gaze lovingly out at the Tweed Valley, Mt Warning, Byron Bay and Straddy (hi hiking friends). Sounds chill enough except the entire track will probably take you around seven hours too. Prepare before you go and if it gets too much, turn yourself around and head home. Good luck.
Start: Head to Canungra and follow the signs to Lamington Plateau, Green Mountain Car Park aka O’Reillys.

The Great Walk
Go hard or go home right. This one’s a doozy and you might want to carve out a good chunk of time for the 54km trek. It’s best to start at Lamington National Park and finish at Springbrook and they say to allow three days to complete the walk (sheer joy remember). You’ll skirt around the rim of the Tweed Volcano and pass through the ancient lands of the Yugambeh people. Maybe put in a bit of practice with the walks below before you set out on this little adventure, it ain’t for the faint hearted. Take plenty water, camping gear and ensure you’re equipped for all weather possibilities.
Start: From the Pacific Motorway, take the Nerang exit (exit 69 from the north, exit 71 from the south) and follow the signs to Lamington National Park.

Words by Kirra Smith

South Stradbroke Island
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