He’s a world-renowned travel photographer and videographer who has created a career out of making epic content all over the globe. Not to mention Kyle Hunter is a Gold Coast local too.
We sat down for chat with Kyle about how life looks for him at the moment and his plan for travel throughout Australia once we get the all clear.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I have been a Gold Coast local for 23 years now, it’s where my family moved to when we immigrated from Scotland when I was five.
What do you love most about living here?
I love everything about living on the Goldy, in my opinion it’s the best place in the world to live. The beaches are incredible, the cafe and restaurant scene is so good, the weather is great all year round, you really can’t beat it here.
You’re a world-renowned travel photographer/videographer, how did that come about for you?
Back in 2015 my partner Hayley and I packed up our life and booked a one way flight to Europe where we spent two years travelling around in an old Ford Transit campervan! At first I wasn’t that interested in photography or videography but as we travelled more, I started to fall in love with capturing moments of our travel. Fast forward five years and I now do this as my full-time job and I couldn’t be happier!
How has the current state of the world, affected your work?
Our work has taken a pretty big hit since Covid-19, all of our travel related jobs have obviously been put on hold which is disappointing but very necessary, we still have been getting some work here at home which is good, but hopefully soon we can get back into the swing of things and start going back to normal. I think as the domestic borders start to open we will be working alot more with Aussie tourism boards which we are very excited about!
Where are you most looking forward to visiting once you’re allowed?
I would love to head back to America, we did a trip there last September and I honestly loved it so much. We would love to travel the Pacific North West to places like Northern California, Washington State and Oregon, some of the national parks there are incredible.
What have been some of your favourite campaigns to work on recently?
We recently did a campaign with Tourism Queensland which was a vlog of our guide to the Gold Coast which was such a fun job, getting to showcase our little slice of paradise here on the Goldy was a dream! We also did a two week shoot through Vietnam with Jetstar in February which was incredible, we got to visit some amazing spots and of course, eat the best street food in the world! Another awesome campaign was last year with Tourism Japan, we got to climb Mount Fuji which was pretty gruelling but so sick! The views from up there are nuts, we travelled to the North island of Hokkaido as-well which was beautiful.
You travel and work with your partner Hayley, what do you love most about that?
I think the best part about working full-time with Hayls is the experiences we get to share together. We have done some pretty incredible things over the past five years and having her by my side during those times is something I really cherish.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to shoot but haven’t had the chance yet?
Patagonia! I have always wanted to go but the opportunity hasn’t yet come about. Before Covid we had planned to possibly travel to South America but unfortunately now I can’t see that happening until 2021, fingers crossed!
What’s the plan for the rest of 2020 for you?
Who knows! Haha. Hopefully a lot of domestic travel, we have a few things lined up at the moment, so hopefully the borders will start to open up and we can get out there. A trip to the Northern Territory would be nice, I would love to see Tasmania also. We just have to wait it out at this stage but once we get the all clear we will be hitting the road which we are super excited about!
Any advice for someone looking to become a travel photographer?
Just have patience and be persistent. I have been using a camera for five years now and I’m still learning new things every time I go out and shoot. On the travel side of things, you need to have an open mind, know that sometimes things might not go the way that you had originally planned and that’s okay! Some of the best experiences of our travels have happened when things didn’t go to plan, it’s all part of the adventure 🙂
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Bar for drinks: Scottish Prince, Burleigh Pavilion or Palmy Surf Club
Café for breakfast: Highline, Commune Espresso, Good Day Coffee
Restaurant for dinner: The Collective, Light Years, Francies Pizza
How does your weekend usually look: Weekend is normally spent with lots of eating out, catching up with mates, heading down the beach and maybe a sneaky frothy!
We would venture to say Burleigh Heads is one of the most-loved places on Earth and for (very) good reason. A stunning coastline, world-class surf break, a breathtaking national park and, to top it all off, five star eateries. Plus, every single person there is wandering around with a big old smile on their face at all times – obviously.
And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, up pops a brand new venue to take the Gold Coast dining scene to a whole new level. Yes friends, Burleigh Pavilion is open and it is even more delightful than we could have imagined.
As of late December, the much-anticipated venue threw open their doors to hordes of absolutely thrilled locals (and many visitors) who it seems have been waiting for this moment their entire lives and same to be honest.
You can find the Pavilion at the base of Burleigh Hill, right on the sand and overlooking not only Burleigh beach but also the entire northern Gold Coast coastline. It’s the epitome of beachfront good times and perfectly at home in our beloved Burleigh.
You’ll enter up a set of stairs and, once inside, come face to face with the Chefs doing their thing for the good of hungry people everywhere. To your left is The Tropic, the sit down dining section of the establishment and, to your right, The Terrace, a more casual, walk-in-off-the-beach-with-sandy-feet style of venue. What a treat.
The Tropic is all pastel pinks, mustards and greens with stunning stone tables with plants popping out of rattan baskets a pink tiled bar that’ll see you taking Insta-snaps for days. Of course, a deck juts out over the ocean and, with fairy lights strung overhead and the calming lull of the ocean right below; you probably won’t ever want to leave.
Across the way, another open-air section backs onto the kitchen so you can either watch the Chefs at work or gaze out over the ocean through the big old windows while occasionally popping over to the Pavilion Bar for a refreshing tipple.
To the right, The Terrace is exactly that, an outdoor area (yes you can still go there if it’s raining) with big white umbrellas, stunning stone high tables and striped seating yep, all overlooking the ocean and with the Beach Bar at your back.
Each section boasts its own unique vibe but they all come together to create a vintage look that is also modern and sophisticated but relaxed and understated and pretty much pure perfection if you ask us. Big love.
Food-wise The Tropic is where you want to be for an à la carte, Mediterranean style feast with standouts like the Seafood Platter, Giant Octopus and Wood Fired Pig Doughnut (just try it) the absolute must-trys. In terms of cocktails, The Tropic are the masters of creative concoctions and we recommend The Palms and The Pineapple Plantation.
At The Terrace, you’ll indulge in more of a casual eating situation with burgers, wood-fired pizzas, nachos, fish and chips and the like the name of the game. Perfect for a feast after a day of salt water and sunshine, washed down with an icy cold beer of course. Oh and you can also get to The Terrace via a set of stairs on the Burleigh Hill side of the building so that’s useful if you can’t wait a second longer for said feast and icy cold beer. That’ll be us.
So there you have it, Burleigh Pavilion has graced us with its’ presence and we are absolutely here for it.
Long live summer on the Gold Coast, what a time to be alive.
The Tropic is taking bookings now so get on in there.
LOCATION: Goodwin Tce, Burleigh Heads (you won’t miss it)
HOURS: 12pm to 12am daily
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
Jack Connor is one half of Burleigh’s beloved Australiana bar, Rosella’s and one of the Gold Coast’s most talented mixologists. He began his career as a shit-kicker (same), went on to shake things up in some of Australia’s most impressive venues and now co-owns one of the best.
We sat down for a chat with Jack about his thoughts on making the perfect Martini ahead of Martini Week and the epic changes in the works for Rosella’s in 2020.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I was born in Melbourne but moved here when I was still a little baby at the age of 1. I’m getting old now… so been a local for a while ha.
What do you love most about living here?
Living here so long, its great to be on the Gold Coast having so many friends and family within a stones throw is pretty special. Also pretty good living in such a beautiful small and growing city.
You co-own Burleigh Australiana bar Rosella’s, how’d you come up with the concept?
The concept was sort of an evolution from a mix of other concepts that needed work. It was a great collaborative effort between myself and Jon (co-owner) to use only Australian products and to tie that in with the more nostalgia Australiana feel. I think it’s a great way to showcase the rapid growth of Australian cuisine and hospitality in a fun and super sustainable way.
What can someone expect if they’ve never been?
If it is someone who has lived in Australia for a long time, they should expect a trip down memory lane and to be very impressed with what Australia has to offer. If it is someone from overseas, they should expect the latter from the previous statement. It’s a very common surprise for guests to see how much we have to offer in terms of amazing cocktails, spirits, wine, beer and food.
Tell us about career before Rosella’s, what did you do?
I have been in this industry for 12 years now and on the Gold Coast. It all started when I was 19, finding a job after the GFC to get me through university. I landed a job as a bar back at Elsewhere. Slogging out the shit kicker jobs (which are still very much apart of every day work still to this day) for six months, I got myself into the bar tending drinks. After a good innings of bar backing, bartending and DJing, I moved to FIX Bar at the Hilton to find the more cocktail and service aspect of hospitality, which I fell in love with. This is where I worked my way up to a management role and have been managing venues ever since. I had a quick stint in Brisneyland where I managed The Charming Squire but found myself coming back to the Gold Coast. This is where I then started at Aloha Bar and Dining for three years before opening up little ol’ Rosella’s.
What’s your favourite cocktail on the menu right now?
My favourite on the menu right now would have to be Blinky Bill. It’s a cocktail using a lot of progressive techniques in order to create a very pleasing visual experience and something that is bloody delicious. Plus the customer is donating to a very good cause. With every Blinky Bill sold, $2 of that cocktail is donated to WIRES Wildlife Rescue Organisation, with our country copping one of the worst bushfire seasons to date, this helps those centres that were overwhelmed with injured native animals. This is also by far our most popular cocktail, which makes it so much sweeter! Super fun for us to make, giving to a good cause and bloody delicious…. WIN WIN WIN!
It’s Martini Week this week, talk us through making the perfect martini…
A perfect Martini, in my opinion, is the hardest cocktail for anyone to make. There are very few ingredients (2-3), with an incredible amount of room for error! My favourite martini however is a Half-Half Gin Martini. This means upping the vermouth so that you are using half gin and half dry vermouth. Low ABV… high NRG! My preference would be Never Never Southern Strength Gin (40mls), Regal Rogue Lively White Vermouth (40mls), stir in a mixing glass till perfectly diluted, garnished with a bush lemon coin! Delicious!
FUN FACT: Before the Vodka Martini was called a Vodka Martini it was known as a ‘Kangaroo Cocktail’! However with vodkas popularity in the 1940s and onwards, saying a Vodka Martini was a little more appealing than ordering a smelly, Australian marsupial.
Rosella’s has done a few collabs with local businesses, why is it important for you to support them?
I think collaboration in any aspect is hugely important for any business and more so, personal growth. From our Rosella’s Blend Rum with Bundaberg Rum to all our takeover nights with specific brands, winemakers and/or other local restaurants. It brings us together to work towards something that is in both of our best interests. Sharing ideas, tips and tricks, techniques, and the same vision helps both parties personal growth and brand awareness. This industry [hospitality] moves forward very quickly! It is imperative you move forward with it… or stay ahead!
An exciting fun collaborative initiative we are working on now is with Husk Distillers. In the coming months we will be releasing a collaborative bottled cocktail pack, where we have designed four different signature cocktails utilising the four main products from Husk Distillers.
What’s in the works for the rest of 2020 for you and Rosella’s?
The biggest project we are working on at the moment is our kitchen renovation. We have acquired some very special chefs (Hamish Penner-Wilson ex Sous Chef at Fish House and Angus McCombe ex Jimmy Wahs) on board at Rosella’s now, and want to represent that in our food offering. Another big focus for us is making everything very sustainable. Using all local ingredients and minimising waste and plastic. We have acquired some compostable cling wrap so now we can say we are 99% single use plastic free. We are also working on a project to have an urban garden on top of our coolroom and storage shed for little herbs for the kitchen and bar, while also using home gardens for herbs and David doing weekly/fortnightly foraging endeavours. We have an amazing team at the moment at Rosella’s, so expect an exponential growth over the coming months in all aspects!
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe for breakfast: Elk Espresso, Commune, Stable (if I’m awake early enough)
Coffee spot: Stable
Bar for a drink: Lockwood, Iku or Scottish Prince.
How does your weekend usually look: My weekend usually is a whole lot of work, sleep and coffee!
Pizza and puns are, without a doubt, two of the best things ever created. Oh and also wine and GUESS WHAT, you can get all of those things at Cooly’s new kid on the block.
In a move that quite frankly has skyrocketed Coolangatta into coolest suburb on the Coast status, Francie’s Pizzeria is bringing over 15 pizza flavours, their own range of wine and a whole lot of soul to the south and we are stoked (and also very full).
The intimate space has all your favourite things, a glossy white brick feature wall, a neon sign, perfectly placed greenery and vintage-style photographs depicting some of the coolest characters in entertainment history. You might even catch a glimpse of owners Claudia and Tony’s model-esque parents and grandparents.
The pair have dubbed their style of eats Neo-nepolitana which we’re pretty sure translates to super delicious and also aesthetically pleasing. All attempts at humour aside, the pair have done their research (tough gig). Prior to opening Tony travelled from New York to Philadelphia to gather ideas and inspiration including paying a visit to Pizzeria Blanco, who are apparently the cult leaders of the pizza world. Hence, the venue being a north American style of pizzeria.
On his travels Tony learnt that the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating big, bold flavours and thus friends, that’s exactly what he did.
Here’s your favourite part: the names of the pizzas are puns and what could be better in the world honestly.
The Pears Brosnan is made with pear, Gorgonzola, speck, thyme and fior de latte. The Fennel Countdown is house made fennel sausage, red onions, parmigano reggiano, tomato and a garlic crumb. The Kale Me Maybe is Tuscan kale, roasted chilli, buttered mushroom, garlic and aged cheddar. Too good.
Get this, there’s also an entirely vegan menu with seven pies, plus entrees and seriously, be still my heart.
Claudia and Tony make their own sourdough, lemonade, sweet tea and hummus (you’ll want to bath in it) and they’ve created something completely unique and perfectly befitting of Cooly’s super chill vibes.
Get it gang.
LOCATION: 102 Griffith St, Coolangatta
HOURS: Wednesday to Monday 11am until 2pm and 5pm to 9.30pm
Words and photos by Kirra Smith.