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The line-up for Big City Lights* is lit!

Big City Lights* 2022 - Ikonix Iridescence (image supplied)
Big City Lights* 2022 - Ikonix Iridescence (image supplied)

The wait is nearly over and no, we’re not talking about the release date for Part 2, Season 4 of Stranger Things. But similarly, it does involve epic audio-visual activations and large-scale digital works, just no sign of The Upside Down or Vecna and that is SO okay with us. We’re referring to BIG CITY LIGHTS*, a truly spellbinding four-night exhibition from Thursday 7th until Sunday 10th July, where Southport’s building facades and laneways will be transformed into hypnotic displays by leading local and national artists. Working in the fields of light, installation, architecture and digital design, these creatives are bringing art, music, innovation and a whole lotta cultural coolness to our CBD for free – and the line-up is LIT.

Big City Lights* 2022 - Kirsten Baade Big City Eyes (image supplied)
Big City Lights* 2022 - Kirsten Baade Big City Eyes (image supplied)

Delivered by Placemakers*, the masterminds behind the BLEACH* Festival, BIG CITY LIGHTS* is a BIG deal. To give you a taste of what’s in store, let’s start with Lilium in Southport’s Regent Lane. This cinematic mural re-imagines urban regeneration and invites citizens into a supernatural world inhabited by playful and energetic free-spirits, with looping visuals and a constantly changing soundscape.  The innovative masterpiece is the work of Peter Thiedeke (presented by Creative Arts Research Institute Griffith University and Queensland College of Art), Andrew Brown (Queensland College of Art) and John Ferguson (Queensland Conservatorium) and is the ultimate Mind=Blown spectacle.

Big City Eyes is a real eye-opener. Originally commissioned for BIGSOUND Music Festival, Kirsten Baade’s wall of winking, blinking neon eyes will watch your every move. If Coachella and Art Basel had a baby, it would be Human After All taking place in Nerang Street. The awesome light show fuses colour, movement and electronic beats, transforming a vacant carpark into a three-dimensional, shape-shifting kaleidoscope. We feel like cool, deep, arty types just thinking about it!

Big City Lights* 2022 - Michaela Gleave Fear Eats the Soul (image supplied)
Big City Lights* 2022 - Michaela Gleave Fear Eats the Soul (image supplied)

Do yourself a favour and pop over to Mr. P.P’s for Amos Gebhardt’s Small Acts of Resistance. Watch interconnected lifeways unfold across three large screens, centring non-conforming gestures of kinship and survival against a backdrop of social and ecological precarity. Also at Mr. P.P’s – and only on Saturday 09th July – is the awe-inspiring Thunderhead by Tina Havelock Stevens. You’ll be transported to Highway 54 in Texas where a natural supercell phenomenon loops eerily close to you. Not quite Helen Hunt in the ’96 classic Twister, but do expect to be ‘blown away’ by the multi-sensory magnificence of this experience.

Stop into Southport Town Hall in Nerang Street for Pulse / Connect, an immersive installation inviting you to see your pulse light up a building in real time, and we’ve never been so keen to strap on a heart monitor! And whatever you do, don’t miss Dancing Particle by Buchan in Regent Lane where YOU become the art! Infrared sensors will scan your body and project you loud and proud onto buildings around the precinct, and talk about stealing the spotlight!

Big City Lights* 2022 - Buchan Bug Hunt (image supplied)
Big City Lights* 2022 - Buchan Bug Hunt (image supplied)

And finally, for those who don’t want the festival to end (#us), head to Vinnie’s Dive Bar in Nerang Street on Sunday 10th July from 5pm for the Closing Night Party. For $11.75pp, this ticketed event will host local musos and showcase our achingly cool talent.

So, whatever you do, don’t miss the free ‘choose your own adventure’ fun of this celebration of light, design, installation and live performance. It’s the event on every Tom, Dick, Harry and socia-light’s list.

For the full event program and more information, go to https://bigcitylightsfestival.com.au/ 

Where: Various locations in the Southport CBD
When: Thursday 7th July – Sunday 10th July

Words by Bianca Trathen.


14 reasons locals love Southport

Mr PP's Deli & Rooftop Bar (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)
Mr PP's Deli & Rooftop Bar (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)

It may be home to the Gold Coast’s bustling business district but Southport can also boast a huge array of incredible eateries, culture and general good times.

We’ve rounded up 15 things locals love about the place and we reckon you might enjoy them too.

In no particular order, enjoy.

Southport Sharks
There is many a good time to be had at Southport Sharks including dining at one of the delicious dish-packed restaurants, drinking at Aviary Rooftop Bar overlooking the city, joining in on one of their classes at the Health + Fitness Centre or getting involved in one of their many good time events. The possibilities are endless. It’s the perfect spot for a family event or take the crew for a Sunday afternoon session. Happy days no matter what.
Where: Olsen Avenue and Musgrave Avenue, Southport

Southport Yacht Club
Waterfront dining is the name of the game at Southport Yacht Club with two venues to choose from and stunning scenes from whichever you choose. You’re also welcome to just sit back and kick up your heels with a cold beverage or two while gazing lovingly at one of the many beautiful yachts in the marina. It’s one of the Coast’s best locations and you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Where: 1 MacArthur Parade, Main Beach

Zero Latency
Zero Latency is a free-roam, virtual reality experience like no other. With up to eight players per game, you’ll have the BEST time fighting zombies, exploring mystical places and challenging your friends on space stations. All you need to do is put on the VR headset, strap into the backpack and pickup the controller. Get 10% off here. It really is so good.
Where: 34 Smith Street, Southport

Panezski Distillery
The Coast’s first vodka distillery opened in Southport a few short months ago and what a treat. The family-owned business are whipping up three types of vodka, two types of gin and even a couple of beers on the premises and you can pop in to grab a bottle to go, or you can sit down and enjoy a cocktail and a charcuterie board and spend a bit of time. Very cool. 
Where: Unit 7/55 Bailey Crescent, Southport

Vinnies Dive
Who doesn’t love a good dive bar. Particularly one that doubles as a live music venue and has a huge range of your favourite beers on offer (and some you may not have heard of). Head in there to discover some new music from both local and interstate bands and if you’re in the mood for a party, which we know you are, you can hire the space out for your next one.
Where: 44A Nerang Street, Southport 

Boudoir Lounge interior (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

Mr PP’s Deli & Rooftop Bar 
On the ground floor of the building you’ll find the deli section of the establishment, with an array of delicious meats and cheeses that will be brought together in platter form for your feasting pleasure. Upstairs, the rooftop bar boasts tasty cocktails, even more delicious eats and views across the city. It’s a real good time.
Where: 43 Nerang Street, Southport

Randy Wallhole
To put it bluntly, you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted a Randy Wallhole bagel. There are eight flavours to choose from which means you have multiple per day if you so choose. Go for the Pulled Bas first up, it’s got Smokey BBQ pulled beef, peri mayo and apple slaw. Wash it down with some of the best coffee on the Coast and be on your merry way.
Where: 4/21 Nind Street, Southport 

Boudoir Lounge
A newbie amongst the Southport bunch, Boudoir Lounge is the very best spot for a tasty brunch with the girls or simply a few cocktails after work. Found on Como Crescent, it quickly became the go to spot for those looking for some delicious eats, in a sweet setting and with unique sips of course. Inside there’s also a hair and beauty bar so you can get fabulous before you head out on the town. Perfect.
Where: 410/1 Como Crescent, Southport

Broadwater Parklands
Whether you’re four or 40, theres tons of fun to be had at Broadwater Parklands. For starters, you can sit and stare out at the yachts you’ll never set foot on. Then, there’s the bouncy pillow (maybe don’t go on there without a child), a kiddies train, a water playground and weekly events from theatre shows to foodie markets. See, fun.
Where: Marine Parade, Southport

D Point Ten
Oh donuts, how we love you. D Point Ten can be found on Stevens Street and, in keeping with the general donut vibe, is a little hole in the wall space pumping out the freshest of donuts we may have ever excitedly shoved into our greedy mouths. In all the best flavours no less. Go the Ferrero Rocher for sure.
Where: 6/1 Stevens Street, Southport

Cardamon Pod
The delightful folk at Cardamon Pod are serving up delightful dishes with a focus on clean eating but of the prettiest variety. They offer vegan and gluten free options for breakfast and lunch with a side of organic coffee and vegan desserts. All very delicious and it’s very hard to stop at just one thing or not to post on your Instagram.
Where: Brickworks Centre, 3/3 Brolga Avenue, Southport

Panezski Artisan Distillery (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

Gold Coast Aquatic Centre
Southport’s centre of swimming is something for all of us to be proud of. It’s as pretty as a collection of swimming pools can be and, as it was home to all the Commonwealth Games water activities, it’s world class. The architecture is sleek and there’s a training room featuring pits filled with foam for the divers to practice in.
Where: Marine Parade, Southport 

Escape Hunt
Imagine being wrongly accused of murder, chained to a wall and having to rely on your friends’ detective skills to free you. Who you gonna call? Welcome to Escape Hunt, Southport’s brain bending game guaranteed to test your problem solving skills like they’ve never been tested before. There’s a few scenarios you might be faced with, all of which involve solving a mystery with a set of intricate clues. It’s the most fun you can have inside a locked room. Make sure to take your smart friends. Grab 10% off here.
Where: 2/162 Scarborough Street, Southport

Brickworks Centre
Where to start. There are SO many excellent places to peruse at the Brickworks starting with Ferry Rd Market where you can nab yourself everything from beautiful flowers to the freshest breads, seafood and fruit and veggies galore. God it’s good. Within the Centre, there’s also stunning homewares, fashion and design stores and health and beauty services. Oh, there’s also always some really cool events.
Where: Ferry Road, Southport 

Words by Kirra Smith

Southport Aquatic Centre (Image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)

Southport Sharks Health + Fitness Centre

Karen Capper and Craig Eather in the cycle studio for Radical Fitness/TopRide
Karen Capper and Craig Eather in the cycle studio for Radical Fitness/TopRide
PT Taylor and her client Morgan
Craig Eather in the cycle studio for Radical Fitness/TopRide
Inner Athlete Program
Karen Capper and Craig Eather in the cycle studio for Radical Fitness/TopRide

Like it or not friends, the time has come to start shredding for summer if that is a thing you are a. into and b. willing to sacrifice baked goods for. No judgement over here if not.

If you could stand to shed a bit of winter weight, or you simply want to tone up a little ahead of bikini season, we’ve got good news for you. This Saturday August 25th, Southport Sharks Fitness Centre will host an Open Day and you can both join the gym for $0 and get your first month FREE.

That is an incentive if ever we’ve heard one. Not only that, you get a goodie bag filled with freebies and there’s a mini marketta with all your fave health and fitness brands slinging free samples (think Lorna Jane, Amazonia and ASN to name a few).

If there’s ever been a time to join a gym it is now. What’s so special about this one you ask? Many things Gold Coasters, many things.

Firstly, you can go at literally any time of the day (it’s open 24 hours). Feel like a little sweat session at 3am? Good for you and also, no problem, in you go.

If you’re the kind of person who’s only into the gym for the group fitness classes (same), you’re in luck. Southport Sharks Health + Fitness Centre has over 110 group classes per week so there’s definitely going to be something that’ll get your heart pumping.

Restorative Yoga is probably the fitness level we’re at, or maybe Body Balance or Meditation Yoga. That’s where it ends for us.

If, however, sweating is your jam, there are about a billion choices for you crazy one. Radical Fitness/TopRide is a good time because it’s cycling but with super loud tunes and instructors who are both very good and very encouraging (trust us) and will help you to forget the pain. Not only that, you get to go on three separate adventures throughout the class and the time actually passes super quickly. Which we think is important.

There’s a class called LesMills Sh’Bam and it’s a DANCE CLASS, how fun! Definitely going back for that one. The Zuu is a 45 minute workout based on primal movements and animal instincts including body weight exercises, cardio, strength building and agility. You can also take part in all the usual suspects including Abs, Butts and Thighs, Boxfit, Pump, Step, you get the picture.

The point is, there are so many unique classes to try that you’ll never get bored and by the end you’ll be a fitter, healthier version of yourself and yay for that.

If getting sweaty with strangers isn’t your cup of protein shake, why not try a personal training session? There are quite the array of trainers to choose, each with specific areas of expertise and all ready to whip you into the best shape of your life.

The Inner Athlete Program is yet another option, if you like support from other exercisers to get you through a session. You get body scans, a choice of 16 different sessions per week, workshops, seminars, nutritional advice and access to personal trainers. All for only $29.95 per week.

So you see, there are many, many ways you can get started on that shredding for summer stuff, just head to Southport Sharks Health + Fitness Centre this weekend to choose your fave.

We’ll be over here eating enough for everyone.

LOCATION: Southport Sharks, Cnr Olsen and Musgrave Ave, Southport
HOURS: Open 24/7


Words and photos by Kirra Smith

BIG things are happening in Southport

Monster Hot Wheels at Monster Machinery Day (image supplied)
Monster Hot Wheels at Monster Machinery Day (image supplied)

City of Gold Coast is pulling out all the free entertainment stops, and we’re Here.For.It! With two epic activations you need to put in your calendar stat, this confirms what we already knew – that we live in THE best place in Australia. But let’s not be coy because when we say Australia, we really mean the whole wide world.

CBD Sundown: Twilight Markets
No we’re not referring to really good looking vampires, we mean actual twilight – as in the soft, glowing light right before sunset. Just add a CBD location (Southport) and markets, complete with unique finds, delicious vegan eats and live entertainment, and it’s a winner winner (vegan) chicken dinner.

CBD Sundown: Twilight Markets (image supplied)
CBD Sundown: Twilight Markets (image supplied)

May’s CBD Sundown: Twilight Markets are penned for Friday 27th and this is your opportunity for a nosh up with the freshest and best vegan chook, beef and bacon courtesy of Queensland Vegan Markets. The perfect event for those wanting to give cruelty-free food a crack and learn the A to Z of veganism, whilst snapping up a bargain at a suitcase rummage. If you’ve not experienced this phenomenon, vendors bring a suitcase (or two) stuffed to the brim with treats and treasures. Selling all the things from vibrant vintage, artwork, bric-a-brac, clothing, books and jewellery to hand-made goods, shoes, records, cards and more, you may need a suitcase of your own to cart all your finds back to the car/the G. Think of it as a line-up of suitcase-sized op shops, and get ready to pop some serious tags #ImmaTakeYourGrandpasStyle. You can even bring your pooch!

So go and immerse yourself in the surprise and delight of creative pop-ups, live art, musicians, performers and local food and bars showcasing their talents. And we just gotta say, we love that culture is the GC’s new middle name! Find out more about the event here.
Where: 3 – 36 Nerang Street, Southport
When: 5pm to 9pm Friday 27th May (and last Friday of each month)

Pippas Pantry at CBD Sundown: Twilight Markets (image supplied)
Pippas Pantry at CBD Sundown: Twilight Markets (image supplied)

City of Gold Coast’s Monster Machinery Day
Calling all families on the hunt for something wheely great to entertain the ankle biters. Not only will the littlies have truckloads of fun, they’ll also be really tyre-d afterwards and isn’t that always the end goal? City of Gold Coast’s free Monster Machinery Day is back on Sunday 29th May at Broadwater Parklands and as a motor of fact, the big kids will love it just as much!

Now in its 18th year and supported by 102.9 Hot Tomato, this family friendly affair continues to be one of the Coast’s most popular annual events. In addition to giving the mini-me’s a truly memorable experience getting up close and personal with everything that digs, scoops, cleans and beeps, it also allows locals to see the fleet of machinery transforming and maintaining our city.

Little Fireman at Monster Machinery Day (image supplied)
Little Fireman at Monster Machinery Day (image supplied)

Inviting all attendees, big and small, to imagine themselves as a landscaper, lifeguard (sans Baywatch style slow-mo rescue run), beach cleaner, construction worker or dune protector, it’s tow-riffic fun. There are over 40 city vehicles on display, including excavators, tip trucks, road sweepers, beach tractors and even a flood boat, and literally every kid just spontaneously combusted with excitement.

There’s also a lot of free activities on offer, like live machinery demonstrations, a Hot Wheels display, a sustainability workshop, and the eternal kid crowd pleaser; a giant sand pit. Your all-time fave trucks – food trucks – will be there cooking up a storm to give you and your little diggers energy all day long. So gear up folks because it’s set to be one helluva ride!

Where: Broadwater Parklands Southern Lawn, Marine Parade, Southport
When: 9am to 3pm Sunday 29th May

Words by Bianca Trathen


Monster Machinery Day (image supplied)
Monster Machinery Day (image supplied)
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