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‘Tis the season for the most spectacular Christmas celebration

Jingle All the Way to GCCEC's Christmas Bash!

GCCEC Christmas event (image supplied)
GCCEC Christmas event (image supplied)

Christmas is right around the corner! We’ll give you a minute for the inevitable “where did the time go” freak out. Ok, now that we’ve cracked open that Santa sack, let’s talk about how to make this season extra merry and bright. Those wishful letters to the North Pole are great, but we need something a bit more… substantial. And before you accuse us of jumping the gun a bit with talk about Christmas this is one event you need to know about way ahead of time.

Enter the annual Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (GCCEC) Christmas extravaganza (with its free-flowing drinks. More on that later). Arguably the hottest ticket in town. And one that is guaranteed to sell out- consider yourself warned.

GCCEC Christmas event (image supplied)
GCCEC Christmas event (image supplied)

If you’re new in town, let us introduce you to the GCCEC’s tradition of hosting the Gold Coast’s most magical Christmas event. They’re like the Martha Stewart of throwing Christmas parties, without the insider trading. Year after year, the GCCEC finds new ways to sleigh their advent event, surpassing expectations and leaving attendees awestruck.

Is anyone else taking notes? We could all use a few tips to make our own holiday celebrations as festive and fantastic!

GCCEC Christmas event (image supplied)
GCCEC Christmas event (image supplied)

Whether you’re rounding up friends and fam or toasting another year of toiling with some corporate-style cheer for the work crew, the GCCEC Christmas event needs to be on your radar as you ponder the perfect festive season celebration for your fellow comrades. It’s been almost two decades since their first iconic event, and the city’s favourite Noel party has only grown in popularity, completely selling out tickets for the past five years—even over COVID!Needless to say, they are quite the spectacle.

This year’s theme is ‘Deck The Halls’, and we can assure you, no cookies or milk have been left on the table.

That’s your queue to book the babysitter —we have festivities to attend to.

GCCEC Christmas event (image supplied)
GCCEC Christmas event (image supplied)

Get set for a night of unforgettable Christmas merriment that’ll make even the North Pole jealous! A sumptuous four-course dinner and 4.5 hours of free-flowing premium refreshments sets the stage for an evening of festive delight. The dance floor awaits with your favourite decade hits from Stu Campbell and Magic Carpet Ride followed by live entertainment to keep the good times sleighing into the night.

Santa’s elves have nothing on the party planners here at GCCEC—it’s inevitable the evening will be packed with more cheer than a sleigh full of presents.

GCCEC Christmas event (image supplied)
GCCEC Christmas event (image supplied)

All this for a very jolly $195 per person! I think it goes without saying that just like Santa on Christmas night, these tickets don’t stick around long. But don’t get your tinsel in a tangle! Tickets are still available, but they won’t be for long. Don’t miss out on the chance to jingle all the way to a night of holiday magic! The jolly man himself has even awarded this event 5 stars (credible stuff).

Grab your tickets here.

Where: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, 2684-2690 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach
When: Saturday, 14th December 2024

Words by Chelsea Ipsen

STORY SPONSORED BY GOLD COAST CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE

Deck the Halls, GCCEC Christmas event 2024 (image supplied)
Deck the Halls, GCCEC Christmas event 2024 (image supplied)

Your new home(stead) away from home

The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (image supplied)
The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (image supplied)

Nestled among the lush backdrop of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, The Homestead is a jack of all trades because not only is it one of the prettiest new venues here on the Gold Coast – and trust us, we’ve seen our fair share – it also doubles as the ultimate spot for a bite to eat while you get at one with nature.

Food at The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Food at The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

It’s also the biggest investment the crew at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary have made to the precinct in over 75 years, so we guess you could say it’s kind of a big deal since the Sanctuary is one of the Gold Coast’s most-loved and awarded tourism precincts within the city. They know a thing or two about how to create a ripper experience.

The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (image supplied)
The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (image supplied)

The venue is a celebration of all things Australiana with inspiration taken from our iconic Outback to blend modern design with the charm of a traditional Queensland homestead. The Queenslander-style home is where all the action takes place, with the perfect blend of modern and rustic finishes making it the perfect place to host your special day, whether that be a wedding or corporate event.

The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (image supplied)
The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (image supplied)

Not getting married anytime soon? Neither, but not a problem because we bet you’re still in need of a feed at some point, right. Well, we know a place. The Homestead is also the new home of casual dining for visitors to the Sanctuary, making it the only spot to perch up for a bite during your day of sightseeing.

What could beat tucking into a mean Outback Sandwich while visiting Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to cuddle a koala? Spoiler alert: NOTHING.

Food at The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Food at The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

Australian food takes pride of place for good reason, with The Homestead setting out to capture the essence of our homegrown hospitality and that’s exactly what they nail. And there’s something about being among the trees and wildlife while you tuck into some great food that’s got us fighting back the urge to let out a big old ommmmm.

Celebrating the best of our homegrown food and flavours, with things like the Wattle Seed Damper and Coral Coast Barramundi alongside ingredients like native herbs and bush tomatoes bringing a taste of our authentic tucker to your favourite meals.

Food at The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Food at The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

Local produce is a common theme across the paddock to plate style menu with everything from vegetables, herbs and even seafood found from our own backyard – literally, some are even grown onsite.

The darling of the menu is without a doubt the Darling Downs Black Angus, sure to be a favourite for the meat lover in your life. It brings 200grams of marbled goodness to the table and since we’ve never met a potato we didn’t like – it’s the unsung hero of the vegetable world in our opinion – the duck fat kipfler potatoes are a bonus.

The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (image supplied)
The Homestead, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Currumbin (image supplied)

The Homestead’s refreshing spin on casual dining has quickly made it a winner in our books, plus your purchase means the team at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary keep getting to do their amazing animal conservation work – talk about putting your money where your mouth is.

Where: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, 28 Tomewin Street, Currumbin
Open for lunch 10.30am – 3.30pm daily
Weddings and events available on enquiry

Words by Jacqueline Bojanowski

10 Christmas in July celebrations on the Gold Coast

Christmas in July (image supplied)
Christmas in July (image supplied)

When we say Christmas on the Gold Coast, what comes to mind? Fireplaces, hot and hearty food with mulled wine and piping hot eggnog to warm us from the inside out, and (cringe) matchy-matchy pj’s to warm us from the outside in? Sleigh whattttt? Oh soz, our bad – we left out a couple of key words: Christmas on the GC… IN JULY.

So ho-ho-hopefully you’ve been saving room for a feast (or ten) because we’ve found a tree-mendous amount of Christmas in July options that would keep even the big guy in red’s hunger at bay. Get rid of that resting Grinch face because we’re not pudding up with it when there are this many options to treat yo’elf with, go on.. yule want to check them out.

Christmas in July High Tea at Bon Appetea Teahouse, Mudgeeraba (image supplied)
Christmas in July High Tea at Bon Appetea Teahouse, Mudgeeraba (image supplied)

Bon Appetea Teahouse
Fancy a Christmas inspired high tea in a 1900s building with garden tables and a huge sprawling veranda? Yeah, us too! Returning for another year our favourite Hinterland hideaway is bringing Christmas in July high tea back with Christmas carols, live music, mulled wine (eee), little pressies for guests (double eee) and loads of fairy lights. It’s pure Christmas (in July) perfection! Tickets are $80 for adults + $10 for a sneaky glass of bubbles (treat yourself, after all Christmas only comes around.. twice.. a year) and $30 for the kidlets.
Where: 7 Johns Road, Mudgeeraba
When: Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th July

Christmas in July at D'arcy Arms (image supplied)
Christmas in July at D'arcy Arms (image supplied)

D’Arcy Arms
There are three things in life that are certain… Death, taxes and D’Arcy Arms are going to put on one hell of a Christmas in July celebration. So if one Christmas celebration isn’t enough (it’s not), get your festive on all July long at D’Arcy Arms Irish Pub! Once again transforming their digs into a festive wonderland with all the Chrissy feels, there will be a roaring fire, succulent Christmas roasts, homemade sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and Oh-HO so much more. Tuck into a 2-course festive feast for $50 per adult and $25 per child.
Where: 2923 Gold Coast Highway, Surfers Paradise
When: Throughout July

Spaghetti & Jazz
Spaghetti, Jazz and Christmas in July? Name a more iconic trio… Nothing says cosy, festive feast like a 4-course Italian feast while you listen to the sweet sounds of live music from crowd favourites Tabatha Ashmore and Ivan Fisher. A Christmas-themed cocktail on arrival is mandatory and probably necessary because the team at Spaghetti & Jazz say dancing shoes are a must. Get ready to get your jingle bell rock on.
Where: 30-34 Commerce Drive, Robina

When: 12.30pm, Sunday 21st July

Aviary Rooftop Bar’s Christmas in July (image supplied)
Aviary Rooftop Bar’s Christmas in July (image supplied)

Aviary Rooftop Bar
Get ready to jingle all the way to Aviary this July! They’re decking the halls and frosting the walls with three fabulous festive events you simply can’t miss.

From 12pm on Sunday 7th July, indulge in a Festive High Tea with high tea towers loaded with sweet and savory festive treats and live music. Elevate your experience (to rooftop level status) and enjoy Aviary’s signature authentic Italian pizzas that are sure to be more lit than a Christmas tree.

On Saturday, 20th July, from 1pm to 3pm, enjoy Sessions: Christmas in July Edition with a two-hour food & beverage package featuring yuletide-themed canapés, a festive grazing station, an eggnog cocktail on arrival, and a roving assortment of Aviary’s signature Italian pizzas (suddenly the stretchy red trousers make so much sense). Guys, tickets are just $65pp + bf… so we suggest you gift yourself a good time and book!

On Friday, 26th July, from 4pm for the White Christmas Party, where you can get your festive fashion on for the ultimate shindig! Dress in white, bask in the glow of UV lights, and enjoy a visual feast. And the best part? Entry is completely free!
Where: Aviary Rooftop Bar, 5 Melia Court, Southport
When: Various dates throughout July

Festive High Tea, Aviary Rooftop Bar, Southport (image supplied)
Festive High Tea, Aviary Rooftop Bar, Southport (image supplied)

Edgewater Dining
It would be rude-olf us to miss this waterfront gem off the list (if only Santa would bring us stunning water views this good on Christmas morning). Put a big ol’ circle around Thursday 25th July in your calendar this faux festive season and partake in a 4-course feed, Christmas-themed share-style dinner with paired wines for $110pp. To get the festive spirit going, start the night with mulled wine. Don’t forget there’s also prizes on offer, we’re talking proper wine and dining vouchers here folks. Get into the spirit with Secret Santa for an extra $10 and in case you needed an excuse to bring out the Christmas ‘fits, there’s a comp for best dressed. Bring your friends, bring your family, bring your appetite.
Where: Shop 3 G7, Capri on Via Roma, Isle of Capri, Surfers Paradise
When: Thursday 25th July

Drag Bingo, Miami Marketta (image by Drag Queen Bingo)
Drag Bingo, Miami Marketta (image by Drag Queen Bingo)

Drag Queen Bingo at Miami Marketta
Secure your Christmas packages and hold on to your jingle bells ‘coz the famous Drag Queen Bingo is back at everyone’s fave night market, Miami Marketta…Christmas style. Sleigh Queen! It doesn’t matter if you’ve been naughty or nice, this enchanting winter wonderland is an all-inclusive affair serving up endless lols. Featuring a lineup with names as big as the hairstyles – Scarlett Fever, Ivyy Monroe and Kathy Pacific, this night will be the gift that keeps on giving #it’sgiving. Don’t be ‘elf-ish and tell your friends! Tickets start from $39.99pp.
Where: 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami
When: 6.30pm Saturday 27th July

The Collective
Tis the season (well, sorta kinda) and while technically this isn’t a Christmas in July theme, it’s Canadian so we’re going to go ahead and say it qualifies. Celebrate all things North America with The Collective’s Canada Day celebrations, the wintery themed Apres Ski festival is being good vibes and great tunes with a live DJ on the decks, and of course classic Canadian fare like Poutine and Chicken & Waffles to keep toasty and warm. Get in the spirit with their exclusive Grey Goose cocktail menu or snow cones for a taste of white Christmas. Entry is free, snow you won’t want to miss out.
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
When: 6.00pm Monday 1st July

Greendays, Bundall (image supplied)
Greendays, Bundall (image supplied)

Greendays
Welcome to Christmas in July, Bali meets GC style (wow, these are really getting niche). Because who couldn’t use a little mid-year merriment and it’s scientifically impossible have a bad time situated in tropical surrounds with enough fairy lights to make the set of Mamma Mia! blush (unless of course you’re the Grinch, in which case, this may not be the list for you) #hohohoe into delicious food and drinks as Greendays transforms themselves into a winter wonderland with Christmas decos that would make David Jones jealous. Bust out your favourite Christmas attire and get ready for a jolly good time for $106.14pp.
Where: 8/6 Ashmore Rd, Bundall
When: 6.00pm Saturday 27th July

Fox & Hounds Country Inn, Wongawallan (image supplied)
Fox & Hounds Country Inn, Wongawallan (image supplied)

Fox & Hounds
There’s nothing quite like Christmas in London but we’ve found the next best thing, and that’s the Fox & Hounds’ Christmas in July lunches. Tamborine’s wintery, hinterland feel makes you feel like you’re tucked in a pub in the English countryside. There’s a reason people travel from near and far for a seat at the South East’s favourite English Pub. Cosy up by the fire and tuck into a classic roast of turkey and beef and don’t forget to save room for dessert because it’d be sacrilege to not have a taste of Christmas pudding and custard to finish the feed. Served daily and from $40, it’s a whole lot cheaper than a flight to the UK. Thank us later.
Where: Cnr Oxenford Tamborine Road & Elevation Drive, Wongawallan
When: Throughout July from 11.30am, bookings essential for groups

Christmas in July (Image by Tim Douglas from Pexels)
Christmas in July (Image by Tim Douglas from Pexels)

Café Metz
This cute little café in Canungra is famous for its homemade pies and cakes and now, their Winter in July! The fireplace is cranking and the wintery decorations have found the place, ready to turn this spot in a winter wonderland that locals can’t get enough because there’s snowplace like Café Metz. The locally sourced traditional roast ham will warm you up from the inside out along with soup-erb flavours with savoury mince and hearty soups already guaranteed to be crowd favourites. You might still be on the Gold Coast but their spiced mulled wine is giving apres ski so you can relax get cosy by the fire minus you know, the physical activity #winning.
Where: 37 Christie Street, Canungra
Where: Throughout July, from 5.30am to 3pm

Words by Jacqueline Bojanowski

11 soul satisfying pasta dishes on the Gold Coast

Lasagne, Tommy's Italian, Currumbin (image supplied)
Lasagne, Tommy's Italian, Currumbin (image supplied)

As the weather is getting colder we think it’s a fair time to enjoy some heartier and soul-satisfying dishes, and nothing quite ticks those boxes like handmade pasta goodness — with ALL of the cheese naturally. The Gold Coast has many fine Italian eateries, so we painstakingly undid a notch on our belts and to compile a list of the very best. Because we’re nice like that.

We dare you to finish this list and not be tempted to attempt a GC pasta crawl for the ages (0/0 cardiologists recommend)

Spaghetti al Gamberi, Gemelli Italian, Broadbeach (image supplied)
Spaghetti al Gamberi, Gemelli Italian, Broadbeach (image supplied)

Gemelli Spaghetti al Gamberi
The Gemelli twins are known for creating an authentic Italian experience and all their dishes, including mouth-watering pasta, are made fresh inhouse daily. While it’s near impossible to narrow our fave down to just one, if you twisted our arm we’d choose the Spaghetti al Gamberi every day of the week. These guys combine prawn cutlets, zucchini, chilli, garlic and olive oil in the best possible way.
Where: 2/2685 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach

La CalabreseGnocchi Sorrentina
Sorry pasta purists, we simply cannot help ourselves whenever these fluffy little hand-crafted pillows of deliciousness are concerned. Again, not technically a pasta but we can all agree, if it’s a big ol’ bowl of comfort food you’re in the mood for, no one can gnocc the magical properties of Wood-fired homemade potato gnocchi, tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, parmesan cheese & basil coming together for one big party in your mouth. Even though cake gnocchi by the ocean doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, this still might be even better yet.
Where: Level 1, Meriton Surfers Paradise, 86 Esplanade, Surfers Paradise

Gnocchi Sorrentina  , La Calabrese (image supplied)
Gnocchi Sorrentina  , La Calabrese (image supplied)

Cucina Vivo – Spaghetti Carbonara
Cleverly denoting rustic and traditional Italian restaurant vibes whilst being located in the very modern The Star Gold Coast; the dining is certainly reminiscent of any local restaurant you’re going to find in Rome. The house-made Fettucine Carbonara is served in a rich, creamy sauce, pancetta, egg, cracked pepper and pecorino cheese. We implore you to go try it.
WhereThe Star Gold Coast, 1 Casino Drive, Lobby Level, Broadbeach

Dining at Cucina Vivo, The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)
Spaghetti Carbonara, Cucina Vivo, The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)

Glenelg Public House – Truffle Gnocchi
Ok ok, so gnocchi isn’t technically a pasta. But folks, hear us out. The kitchen at The Glenelg Public House is home to some of the Coast’s finest culinary steak wizards so when we say you have to swing by Mermaid Beach to savour their Truffle Creamed Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms and air-dried Pecorino Cheese, don’t even question it!
Where: 9/2460 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

The Glenelg Public House Truffled gnocchi (image supplied)
The Glenelg Public House Truffled gnocchi (image supplied)

Justin Lane – Pappardelle, Pork + Veal, Bolognese, Grana Padano
Few things in life are certain, but we all know that you’re guaranteed a great feed at Justin Lane. We LOVE their pizza, but their pasta game is also strong so you should probably try them all. Our pick of the bunch is the Pappardelle Pork + Veal Bolognese. Just like Nonna used to make. Eat, drink and be messy y’all.
Where: 1708-1710 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Pappardelle, Justin Lane (image supplied)
Pappardelle, Justin Lane (image supplied)

Balboa – Roasted Lamb Cannelloni
Oh, Balboa you aesthetically pleasing thing you. Their fit-out, complete with a glamorous chandelier and bright red Vespa, is reason enough to visit. The pizza is outstanding, but most importantly their pasta is to die for. Do yourself a favour and try the Roasted Lamb Cannelloni. With porcini bechamel and  truffle mushroom jus this dish is what dreams are made of.
Where: 1069 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Roasted Lamb Cannelloni, Balboa, Palm Beach (image supplied)
Roasted Lamb Cannelloni, Balboa, Palm Beach (image supplied)

Ioesco – Spaghetti Marinara
As the ancient probverb goes: Knee’s weak, Mom’s spaghetti (okay so meme, technically) And the only spaghetti worth ditching Mum’s for, is the Spaghetti Marinara at Ioesco. We think even she’d agree that you can’t compete with local seafood perfectly finished in white wine, garlic and just a touch of tomato. Bringing their modern take on authentic Napoli eats to Sanctuary Cove, a trip to Ioesco is a treat for the tastebuds, and the marina views certainly aren’t bad on the eyes either.
Where: 3a Masthead Way, Hope Island

Mozza Mozza – Cacio e Pepe
Here’s a philosophical question for you: Is cheese wheel pasta, or Cacio e Pepe as it’s traditionally known, just Mac and Cheese for adults? Hopefully we’ve offended no purists with this potentially blasphemous #showerthought. Either way, roll on down to Mozza Mozza and get your cheese and carb fix all in one – for some wheel-y good value, grab two for $50 on Thursdays #yescheese
Where: Cnr. Olsen & Musgrave Ave, Southport

Cacio e Pepe, Mozza Mozza, Southport (image supplied)
Cacio e Pepe, Mozza Mozza, Southport (image supplied)

Sofia’sCacio e Pepe
Okay so since we wheeeelly love them that much, we couldn’t choose just one cheese wheel pasta. Might we suggest trying both to determine the ultimate Cacio e Pepe champion, y’know, for science? Plus, if you haven’t yet been to check out Sofia’s gorg new digs that were upgraded late last year, this one goes straight to the top of the priority list #shesa10but.. #thereisnobut #shesjusta10
Where: The Oasis Shopping Centre, Victoria Avenue, Broadbeach

Cacio e Pepe, Sofia's Broadbeach (image supplied)
Cacio e Pepe, Sofia's Broadbeach (image supplied)

Radici Pasta House – Tagliatelle Tartufo E Porcini
Flying under the radar down on the southern end of the Coast, Radici is an Italian family-run restaurant who decided to make sunny Coolangatta home 5 years ago. This dish epitomises why Italian cuisine is so damn good. Take black truffle pesto marry it up with imported pork and fennel sausage and then smother it over handmade tagliatelle. That folks, is one of the finest dishes of pasta you will have south of Sicily.
Where: 99 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Tommys ItalianRigatoni allamatriciana
Last stop on our virtual pub pasta crawl (but, avert the eyes cardiologists because, well firstly, are you lost – but does anyone else have the sudden urge to try this IRL). Who wouldn’t be satisfied after a hearty bowl of the god-tier cylinders that are too good to be tube, doused in a whole lot of red sauce, pecorino and crispy guanciale. If this is rigatoni, we don’t want to be right.
Where: 818 Pacific Parade, Currumbin

Words by Kellie Leader.

Rigatoni all’amatriciana, Tommy’s Italian (image supplied)
Rigatoni all’amatriciana, Tommy’s Italian (image supplied)
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