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Indulge in luxury, seaside glamping at Cabarita Beach

Just a short drive from the Gold Coast.

With the warmer months comes inevitable weekend roadtrips, sunny weekends seaside and of course, camping in all it’s natural, laidback glory.

We’re big fans.

Perhaps you’re not a fan of the camping side of things, perhaps you don’t like packing your whole life into the back of the car including a makeshift house, cooking equipment, chairs, poles to hold up said makeshift house, all of the food, all of the things generally. We get it, it’s a lot.

No worries though because the answer has arrived and it comes in the form of glamping by the sea at a brand new boutique resort in Cabarita Beach.

It’s an Australian first called The Hideaway and it’s set to open in October amongst the natural bush surrounds of Cabarita and complete with balmy ocean breezes and views of the mountains in the distance.

As you’d no doubt know, the pretty little village of Cabarita is just a short 15-minute drive from the Gold Coast Airport, making it the actual perfect weekend getaway.

So The Hideaway is a boutique outdoor resort offering three styles of bell tents complete with Koala beds (the comfiest), lush lighting, soft furnishings and plush bath towels. There’s an array of open-air green spaces along with contemporary suite bathrooms and communal entertaining areas, built into shipping containers.

There are native plants placed all around, open fire pits perfect for gatherings with the gang and you may stay as a group with family or take your lover for a romantic little getaway close to home.

Now if you haven’t yet had the pleasure, Cabarita is a delightful little beachside town with award-winning restaurants and plenty of exceptional eateries and boutique stores to spend time wandering around in.

Perfection.

Of course there are plenty of outdoor activities to be enjoyed in the area too – whale watching (in season), surfing of course, picnics on the beach and the like.

All of lifes’ best things.

It’s pretty much the best luxe camping experience you can have and it’s right here on our doorstep.

Opening October 1st. How good.

LOCATION: Adjacent to Cudgen Reserve, Cabarita Beach

Words by Kirra Smith

6 bucket list destinations to visit from the Gold Coast

Roy's Peak by Felix Lam

The concept of an endless summer is somewhat of a reality to us Gold Coasters and while we’re all quite stoked to be living it, sometimes the beautiful chaos of the big city calls, or we get the urge to snuggle up by the fire with a glass of red and a blanket of snow outside.

Luckily, our little slice of paradise now has the world at our fingertips and it’s easier than ever to tick off a few of those life-changing bucket-list trips.

Perhaps you’re not aware of just how many epic international destinations you can get to from our sparkly shores. Well friends, we’re here today to enlighten you – you can explore all of Gold Coast Airport’s bucket list destination on their destinations page here.

Booking fingers at the ready.

New Zealand
Oh NZ how we love you.If you’ve not yet had the pleasure of spending time with our stunning neighbours, we suggest you move it to the top of the list.New Zealand is one of the most mind-blowing natural destinations in the world with its snowcapped mountains (and Instagram hot spot Roy’s Peak),exceptional eats and a vista desperate to be explored via campervan. It’s also home to the longest place name in the world! And only a four-hour flight away, get it on your bucket list, stat!

Japan
Where the city buzz meets harmonious countryside, Japan is a must-do experience and should sit amongst the top on your bucket list. If you’re on a mission to have a truly unique holiday, Japan is unmissable with its penchant for vending-machine-everything, wasabi-flavoured Kit Kats and the super colourful Kawaii Monster Cafe. Outside the frenzy of the cities you’ll find temples, abundant wildlife and of course, the towering majesty of Mount Fuji. The trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Hakone Open-Air Museum worth every piece of real estate on your social media feed. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

Singapore by Will Truettner

Singapore
Before setting foot in Singapore, one must make time to explore Changi Airport; it’s a world in itself! Eat, explore, sleep, repeat is the mantra of anyone and everyone who has ever set foot on the sparkly island state that is a world unto itself. It’s hailed as a rich tapestry of arts and culture, a foodie paradise, a mecca for both fashionistas and those who love locally made wares and THE place to go for nonstop thrills. Sign us up. Singapore is also known as a city in a garden so don’t go thinking you can’t stretch out in a lush green park when in need of a recharge. There’s also an incredible lineup of festivals and sporting events throughout the year making Singapore more than a stopover destination. What more could you want? Bucket list, tick!

Phuket
Phuket is full of some of the best-kept secrets in Thailand. At least they were a secret, until now! Sweeping white sand beaches leading to the clearest of turquoise waters are set amongst a backdrop of lush green rainforests. Not only physical beauty though, perfect Phuket is adored for its authentic, flavour-filled food including incredible curries and seafood dishes that pair perfectly with all of the beachside relaxing you’ll be doing. Hikers, climbers and waterfall lovers will be right at home as will adrenaline junkies who love white water rafting, kayaking and quad biking. If being horizontal is more your thing (yes, hi) beachside cocktails in the sunshine are always a good idea. Let’s go.

Kuala Lumpur
If the sweet, chaotic sounds of the city are calling your name, look no further than KL. It’s an eclectic melting pot of culture and class and if it’s not already on that bucket list of yours, stop right now and write it down. The city boasts a charm like no other having incorporated the flavours of the world into everything from the food to the architecture. Of course Kuala Lumpur also pays homage to its own rich history with countless galleries and museums dotted throughout for your exploring pleasure. The shopping is exceptional, the nightlife is electric and you might just find yourself on a worldwide adventure, all in the space of one holiday. A definite must-visit.

Seoul by Pauline Mae de Leon

Seoul
Seoul is a city bursting with unique charm and ready to be explored when direct flights launch in December from the Gold Coast. With all the colour and charisma of Buenos Aires, but culture and culinary delights of nearby neighbor, Japan, Seoul is very much a hidden gem. When in South Korea, one must try sweetened Soju, devour a Korean Cheeseburger (essentially barbecued meat wrapped in lettuce but oh, so yummy!) and get muddy at Daecheon beach – your skin will thank us later. And if you hold a foreign passport, take a detour to the DMZ, the demilitarized zone, and dip a toe into North Korea – an unforgettable day trip.

Impressive right? This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to must-do experiences around the world; you can of course get to pretty much anywhere on your bucket list from Gold Coast Airport these days including Europe, other parts of Asia and the USA.

Of course, once you’ve stamped all the pages on your passport, you can fly on home to the Gold Coast, a bucket list destination in itself.

What a place.

No doubt you’ve booked at least three holidays now and same, we’re all in this together.

To explore every bucketlist destination you can fly to from Gold Coast Airport, check out their destinations page here.

STORY SPONSORED BY THE GOLD COAST AIRPORT

10 road trip worthy restaurants

Paper Daisy restaurant located within boutique hotel Halcyon House, Cabarita Beach (image supplied by Destination NSW)
Paper Daisy restaurant located within boutique hotel Halcyon House, Cabarita Beach (image supplied by Destination NSW)

Every January the Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) bestows upon us its much anticipated Chef Hat Awards, a discerning and definitive ranking of culinary excellence. Aka, the foodie holy grail. For hardcore dining devotees, it feels a lot like Christmas morning. Our very own cheat sheet to work our way, hungry caterpillar style, around the most esteemed and decorated local destinations.

It leaves us with a lot to unpack and, in the case of our neighbouring Northern Rivers hat recipients, plenty of reasons to pack… our appetites and venture south, post-haste. Here are 10 of this year’s most road trip worthy restaurants.

Pipit, Pottsville (image supplied)
Pipit, Pottsville (image supplied)

Pipit
Founded by former Paper Daisy chef, Pipit owner Ben Devlin is no stranger to the art of crafting exquisite eats – nor has he pulled any punches when it comes to his first solo venture. And AGFG clearly agrees, with Pottsville’s Coronation Avenue darling taking out the coveted top spot among this year’s most noteworthy Northern Rivers Hat recipients.

Pipit’s near-perfect 17/20 score (an elusive 20/20 has never been seen in the award’s history) immediately propels it to pole position on the day trip priority list in our books, and also according to the AGFG ‘worth a detour’ designation.

Set aside a few hours and treat yourself to the revelatory set menu dining experience, a curated sequence of flavours, textures and ideas spanning over several hours, one which Ben likens to ‘a day trip around the Northern Rivers’ in and of itself.
Where: 8 Coronation Avenue, Pottsville

Paper Daisy restaurant located within boutique hotel Halcyon House, Cabarita Beach (image supplied by Destination NSW)
Paper Daisy restaurant located within boutique hotel Halcyon House, Cabarita Beach (image supplied by Destination NSW)

Paper Daisy
Halcyon House’s beloved Paper Daisy of course also earned itself a nod, with an honourable 14. The esteemed and elegant eatery, sitting pretty against Cabarita Beach’s stunning shores – is mostly reserved for sandy-footed in-house guests, but it’s not all bad news for locals.

If you’ve got an arvo to kill, we’re all invited to see what the fuss is about courtesy of the bar, open from 3pm, or for dinner. Led by Jason Barratt, the kitchen shoots for ‘sophisticated simplicity’, where you can expect to delight in inventive and delectable dishes like Toasted macadamia kangaroo tartare or Riverina lamb rump, served with eggplant, green mango.

We’d recommend packing your appetite (and your towel, because, y’know, Caba #phwoar).
Where: 21 Cypress Cres, Cabarita Beach

Raes on Wategos, Byron Bay (image by Madeleine Johnson / Sean Fennessy)
Raes on Wategos, Byron Bay (image by Madeleine Johnson / Sean Fennessy)

Rae’s Dining Room
Byron Bay institution, Raes on Wategos came in a close second, with a stellar score of 16, with the astute AGFG gang deeming it to be (very) ‘worth a detour’ – and yes, we did take some liberties with the parenthesis.

The chic, boutique retreat, an icon set amongst Byron’s idyllic beaches, delivers a fine dining experience in its Dining Room, headed by Executive Chef Jason Saxby. A culinary showcase of the region, curated with Mediterranean influences, the menu offers Caviar service, 3-course a la carte and 6-course Tasting Menu options.

A word of warning, though – after tasting dishes like Australian Bay Lobster (bug), glazed in fermented chilli, hand-rolled fregola pasta, and the Lemon Meringue Bombe, served with lemon aspen sorbet and lemon myrtle semifreddo, you might just want to move in.
Where: 6 – 8 Marine Parade, Byron Bay

Karkalla, Byron Bay (image supplied by Karkalla Byron Bay)
Karkalla, Byron Bay (image supplied by Karkalla Byron Bay)

Karkalla
Taking home one hat with an impressive score of 14, is Byron’s Modern Australian gem, Karkalla. Though the venue – proudly founded by First Nations chef Mindy Woods – is about so much more than serving tantalising bites alone.

Now AGFG’s first Indigenous Female Chef Hat Winner, Mindy’s cosy, Fletcher Street destination explores themes of culture and connection through native food and flavours.

Showcasing indigenous ingredients such as bush tomato, pepper leaf and wattle seed, the seasonal menu offers share-style, locally sourced bites, Australian wines, native infused cocktails and mocktails – including a lemon myrtle infused Virgin Margarita that’ll knock your socks off, designated day trip driver or not.
Where: 10/8 Fletcher Street, Byron Bay

Mcauley’s Road Beef, Tweed River House (image supplied)
Mcauley’s Road Beef, Tweed River House (image supplied)

Tweed River House
Murwillumbah’s aptly named Tweed River House, perched just a stone’s throw from its banks, also scored a hat – earning a rating of 14 for its gastronomic bistro and bar experience.

The venue, housed in a spruced up, century-old colonial-style mansion – offers a panoramic river vantage flanked by wraparound verandas, and elevated eats to match.

The luxurious and immaculately appointed interiors alone make it worth filling your tank, but decadent dishes like Confit tuna, brandy flambéd Australian Bay Lobster and pan-fried Spatchcock, served with Lyonnaise sauce certainly sweeten the deal.
Where: 131 River St, South Murwillumbah

Bistro Livi, Murwillumbah (image supplied)
Bistro Livi, Murwillumbah (image supplied)

Bistro Livi
Another noshery deemed to be one of the best in the Northern Rivers Restaurant category is Murwillumbah’s Bistro Livi, scoring the prestigious hat accolade with its total of 14.

A short 30km trek from Cooly and one of the fresher faces among its culinary cohort – if you’re yet to be acquainted with Livi, it’s an easy one to tick off the list when you’re looking for a low effort adventure snap you out of the Sunday lazies (or scaries).

Tucked within the arts precinct of the tight-knit Murbah community – the European-inspired venue radiates romance with rustic textures and an inviting, intimate ambience, while Spanish influences inform the menu. It’s certainly not just the AGFG critics that this regional gem has succeeded in winning over… #swoon.
Where: 1A 1-3 Brisbane St, Murwillumbah

Mavis Kitchen (image supplied)
Mavis Kitchen (image supplied)

Mavis Kitchen
Nestled in the foothills of Mt Warning, Mavis Kitchen & Cabins is a Tweed Valley culinary treasure, offering Modern Australian cuisine with a Middle-Eastern twist.

Set in an immaculately restored 120-year-old Queenslander and owned by Tindal Magnus and Sam McCormac – Mavis is the culinary pot of gold that awaits on the other side of a meandering day trip through the postcard-esque rolling hills of Wollumbin National Park.

Equally swoon-worthy are the signature bites, such as Grilled Kangaroo Loin and Tender Chickpea Gnocchi, crafted with love, and scoring the spot a commendable ranking of 12.
Where: 64 Mount Warning Road, Uki

Potager in Carool, in the Tweed hinterland (Liam Hardy Photography)
Potager in Carool, in the Tweed hinterland (Liam Hardy Photography)

Potager
Capitalising on Carool’s sweeping valley views, Potager – A Kitchen Garden has long been a favourite destination among locals and discerning visitors. The charming nosher is also somewhat of a teacher’s pet, earning a score of 13 for its Modern Australian style eats in this year’s Chef Hat Awards – along with a near-perfect 4.8 score on Google, might we add… and honestly, we’re not sure which is harder to pull off.

Set on a small 10-acre farm, the seasonal menu is informed by locally sourced produce, much of which is grown on the property. Dishes like the Macadamia & saltbush crusted Lamb backstrap, served with Stone & Wood pickled onion, are a testament to the community-minded culinary experience, while the Summer Stonefruit “Melba” Pavlova gets a mention, because #yum.
Where: 502 Carool Rd, Carool

Fins Restaurant and Bar, Kingscliff (image by Tweed Coast Guide)
Fins Restaurant and Bar, Kingscliff (image by Tweed Coast Guide)

Fins
Another ‘big fish’ in the Northern Rivers end of town, is Kingscliff’s seafoodie haven, Fins, which also earned another honorary hat for its rack with a ‘commended’ rating of 13.

Located by the beach at Salt, the Tweed Valley institution has been going strong for some 30 years now, netting a slew of awards along the way – officially Australia’s most-awarded regional seafood restaurant, if we’re getting technical.

Specialising in sustainably-minded ocean fare, the famed destination’s Degustation menu is a particular highlight, expertly paired with a curated selection of local and international wines and cocktails, of course.
Where: 5/6 Bells Boulevard, Salt Village, South Kingscliff

Harvest, Newrybar (image supplied)
Harvest, Newrybar (image supplied)

Harvest
Another Modern Australian nosher earning some serious cred is Newrybar’s garden gem, Harvest, awarded a hat, and an accompanying score of 13. Specialising in ‘simple and honest’ dishes with a focus on locally sourced, seasonal produce (are we sensing a theme here?) served with a side of spectacular surroundings.

Harvest’s whimsical, cottage garden residence falls right in the day trip sweet spot for those of us residing this side of the border – a scenic, one hour commute from Cooly, which is exactly enough time to work through a solid assortment of road trip bangers, if you ask us.

With everything from a hefty selection of Housemade digestif to Charred ballina prawns, served with prawn mousse & finger lime on the menu, you’ll want to take your ‘hat off’ to them, too.
18-22 Old Pacific Highway, Newrybar Village

Words by Kellie Leader.

Pipit Restaurant in coastal Pottsville, north of Byron Bay (image by Sabine Bannard)
Pipit Restaurant in coastal Pottsville, north of Byron Bay (image by Sabine Bannard)

The Pink Hotel

If you’ve ventured down Cooly way of late, you may have noticed something sweet (and very pink) going on and it’s something we are really quite pumped about.

The Pink Hotel, formerly Coolangatta Ocean View Motel, has had an epic revamp and some of the doors have recently swung open for our viewing pleasure.

The overhaul is the work of the Eddie’s Grub House team, along with Coakers Building Service and Loberg Interiors and what an overhaul it is.

The space has been absolutely transformed and we could not be more in love with the edgy, modern retro vibe that is now going on in downtown Coolangatta.

The hotel is made up of 17 rooms including six luxury suites, nine standard rooms, one balcony room and one artist suite complete with a grand piano. It’s the stuff of dreams friends.

The six suites all boast vinyl record players with a selection of records from Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Lana del Ray and Black Rebel Motorcycle club and the like. So you get the feel for what’s going on there right?

Good times is what.

One of the very best parts is a brand new rooftop bar, named Santeria, overlooking the ocean and perfect for intimate sunset cocktails. Which are obviously our favourite kind.

There’ll also be a piano/jazz-style bar, which is somewhat of a secret at this stage but how good.

The little reception section will also have a barista station so all your very important coffee needs will be adequately met and there’ll be a hair and tattoo space on the ground floor in case you need a touch up before hitting the town or some sweet ink to remember the absolute time you had at The Pink Hotel.

It’s all very rock ‘n’ roll inspired good times and Cooly is set to be reborn.

The room styles are a mash up of Danish, Swedish and mid-century inspired design but each is completely unique with custom poetry made into neon signs and artwork painted directly onto the walls by Coco Loberg, Jamie Peters and Mike Shankster.

Each room will include a sweet little bar and a Smeg fridge and you may also order room service breakfast and late night burgers from the boys at Eddie’s. How good.

It’s all a bit too exciting to be honest.

How good is summer on the rooftop overlooking the ocean with the option of rolling into bed in the coolest room you’ve ever laid eyes on going to be? Almost as cool as that non-sentence.

The official open date is November 23rd but there are a few lucky folks in there right now testing the goods. We would like that job please.

Stay tuned Coasties, this one’s an actual gamechanger.

LOCATION: 171 Griffith St, Coolangatta

Words by Kirra Smith

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