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Light up your life at new Gold Coast festival

The Lights Water Fest is coming.

Festivals are a thing we don’t get too many of here on the Gold Coast so when we get word of a newbie, we feel it is our duty to share it with you quick smart. Which is exactly what’s happening right here, right now.

It’s no ordinary festival though, it’s something the likes of which we haven’t seen around these parts before and it’s going to be well, lit as the youngsters say.

It’s called The Lights Water Fest and it’s coming to the Coast in February of 2020 which will be here in about 20 minutes if things continue the way they currently are (and you know they will).

It’s a family-friendly festival so you may take the kiddies along if you have some, borrow someone else’s or just gather the crew and get ready for a really good time.

The experience is one that happens all over the world and it involves live music, excellent food and the sharing of personal wishes and goals.

You’ll get a personalised led candle lantern (with your dreams and wishes written onto it) that will be placed into the blue lagoon of hope creating a surreal ambiance, where time slows down as your single lantern floats with thousands of others.

It’s a magical moment watching your flame float away and fill the water amongst thousands of others and we’re pretty sure it’s one you’ll never forget.

Now in case you’re wondering, The Lights Fest is dedicated to leaving a positive impact on the environment and have a cleanup crew who focus on collecting lanterns after the event.

The lanterns are 100% biodegradable and the festivals ‘leave no trace policy’ ensures venues are in the same condition once the event is over as it was when it began.

So that is very good news.

The festival creators are passionate about creating a light-filled world and work with local charities in each city to give back. Also good news.

Basically attending The Lights Water Fest means you get to experience a night filled with light, love and live music while also giving back to the community and taking lots of fab Insta-snaps.

Ticket prices include entrance to event, parking fees, a lantern and a marker.

Amazing. Count us in.

LOCATION: 80 Ferry Rd, Carbrook (halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast)
WHEN: February 15th and 22nd, 2020

Words by Kirra Smith

14 tea-riffic spots for high tea on the Gold Coast

Afternoon Tea at The Langham, Gold Coast (image supplied)
Afternoon Tea at The Langham, Gold Coast (image supplied)

Without a doubt one of life’s greatest pleasures is sitting down in front of a multi-tiered tray, delicately filled with morish bite-size eats and paired with a cuppa. Or bubbles. Okay both.

In all honest-tea, here are 14 of the best high tea haunts here on the Coast. Bake a leg and get bready to tick them off your must-visit list, one by one. And go!

The Langham
Okay so technically this one is called an Afternoon Tea but same same. In a British nod to its namesake at The Langham, London where traditional English afternoon tea was served over 150 years ago, the stunning Palm Court restaurant inside the hotel pays tribute to its heritage. Serving a bespoke offering of the traditional Afternoon Tea crafted by culinary experts, it’s time to start practicing your tea drinking etiquette (no pinky!). Prices start from $79 per person.
Where: 38 Old Burleigh Road, Surfers Paradise

Pearls Bar
This eclectic fave with warm mood lighting for days invites us all to celebrate Spring with a decadent high tea! Infused with flavours inspired by the new season, we’re drooling in anticipation. From House-Baked Lavender Friands with lemon cream cheese to Pineapple Curd Tarts, you certainly won’t leave underwhelmed…or hungry. Complemented by the sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and tropical palms, it looks as decadent as it tastes. $64 per person.
Where: Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Seaworld Drive, Main Beach

High Tea, Le Jardin, Palazzo Versace (image supplied)
High Tea, Le Jardin, Palazzo Versace (image supplied)

Le Jardin
Palazzo Versace’s Couture High Tea brings a fashionable culinary experience to the perennial classic. Paired with your choice of freshly brewed coffee and tea, it’s served on timeless Versace China, alongside a glass of the sparkliest bubbles. There are two options to choose from (fancy and fancier) – depending on how bougee you’re feeling – starting from $99.90 per person. Or for a slightly less opulent experience, there are four Devonshire tea options for around $30 per person.
Where: Palazzo Versace, Seaworld Drive, Main Beach

The Fireplace
Located at the suave InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, the elegant High Tea Immersion menu at The Fireplace features the likes of Spanner Crab with saffron mayonnaise and tobiko, and Salted Caramel Choux with orchid vanilla tea cream and caramel sauce. The first hotel to feature globally renowned Tea Forté teas, your host will greet you with a Tea Forté infused towel and palate-cleansing iced tea piccolo. Upgrade to bottomless rosé or the signature ‘Pear-tea-ni’ cocktail. Yes please! Prices start at $57 per person.
Where: The Fireplace, Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove, Manor Circle, Sanctuary Cove

High Tea, Videre (image supplied)
High Tea, Videre (image supplied)

Local fave Videre does a high tea with panache. Including freshly baked scones, gourmet sandwiches and quiche plus an array of specialty sweets crafted by their in-house Chef de Patisserie, the quality here is unparalleled. Don’t forget the unlimited French press coffee and ‘Tea Drop’ tea and breathtaking panoramic views from the 21st floor. Prices start at $49 per person, with sparkling or champagne upgrades available.
Where: RACV Royal Pines, Ross Street, Benowa

QT Gold Coast
This is no ordinary high tea! The QT Gold Coast brings its signature quirkiness to its “very GC” High Tea. Traditional afternoon tea fare like cucumber sandwiches are replaced with Bacon Mozzarella Donuts and and Vodka & Beetroot Cured Salmon Blini’s. And don’t get us started on the sweets like Gold Leaf Almond Rochers and Raspberry Towers. Prices start at $55 per person with options to add Champagne or even jugs of Aperol Spritz to your experience. For something entirely different QT also offers the only Man Tea in Australia (no ‘tea’ involved). Think beer and bug rolls.
Where: QT Gold Coast, 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Teavine House (image supplied)
Teavine House (image supplied)

Teavine House
Set amidst lush rural surrounds with a motto “life is short, eat cake”, you can see why this is a local fave. Pretty as a picture, they serve European-inspired traditional high tea on an eclectic array of fine china lovingly sourced from around the globe. Indulge in a tantalising selection of exquisite sweet treats, petite savoury delights, and dainty ribbon sandwiches, all presented on beautiful vintage tiered trays. The perfect spot for your next girly catch up. $47 per person.
Where: 268 Tallebudgera Creek Road, Tallebudgera

Bon Appetea Teahouse
Nestled in leafy Mudgeeraba, the stunningly decorated and truly breathtaking Bon Appetea Teahouse exudes French charm and traditional elegance. Popular for bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays and basically any event you can think of, their Luxe High Tea is the definition of decadence. Think scones with homemade jam and cream and a selection of petite patisseries, organic sandwiches and savoury bites. Oh and if you’re on the hunt for a truly beautiful, quaint, spot to tie the knot, this one’s a keeper. $55 per adult.
Where: 7 Johns Road, Mudgeeraba

High Tea, Palette, HOTA (image supplied)
High Tea, Palette, HOTA (image supplied)

Every Sunday, locals and visitors alike flock to HOTA not just for their arty fix or a spot of market browsing, but to tuck into a delightful High Tea. Served in the critically acclaimed and ever-popular Palette restaurant, superstar Executive Chef Dayan Hartill-Law has curated the ultimate high tea experience. A couple of highlights are the Prawn Toast with fermented chilli mayo and sesame and for the sweet tooths, Davidson Plum and Marshmallow Pinwheel. Prices start at $65 per adult.
Where: HOTA Gallery, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise

Mecca Bah
Have you tried a Middle Eastern high tea yet and if you’re shaking your noggin, we’re about to open up a whole new world of d-lish. Boasting exotic sweet and savoury bites a-plenty, it will become your new normal to meet your mates here. Think Kataifi Kanafeh served with cream cheese and pistachios, and Halloumi and Eggplant Skewers, with unlimited barista made coffee and tea, and a sparking wine or mocktail on arrival. $69 per person and bookings are for a minimum of four people.
Where: 3 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach & 18/10 Santa Barbara Road, Hope Island

High Tea, Mecca Bah (image supplied)
High Tea, Mecca Bah (image supplied)

Village B&B
If you’re a sucker for a 112-year-old heritage-listed Queenslander (same), you cannot go past high tea at Village B&B. A Mudgeeraba institution, it oozes history and character and side note; is the perfect spot for a charming stay-cay. Enjoy their traditional high tea in the Heritage dining room or on the balcony with views to the hinterland, with mixed sandwiches and wraps, homemade quiche, and a delectable mini cake selection to name a few. Paired with unlimited premium teas and a barista made coffee or iced chocolate/coffee, and #lifemade. $44 per adult.
Where: 65 Railway Street, Mudgeeraba

Chapter and Verse
Located in the luxurious JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, high tea at Chapter & Verse is an unmissable resort tradition created by their esteemed culinary team. Using local ingredients, each homemade morsel is inspired by the echo of birds in the peaceful and tranquil environment surroundings. There are three adult versions to choose from: Traditional, High Seas, and High Cheese, plus a cute mini-me version for the little ones, Teeny Tiny Tea. Prices start from $39 per person.
Where: 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise

High Tea, Chapter & Verse, JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa (image supplied)
High Tea, Chapter & Verse, JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa (image supplied)

Tea and Niceties
The name of this gorgeous space reminiscent of a bygone era speaks volumes. Boasting a vintage inspired tearoom surrounded by enchanting gardens and peaceful rainforest, it’s pure grace, elegance and romance. Located on leafy Tamborine Mountain, pamper yourself with delicate petite fours like lemon meringue, mini butter cakes, brandy snap cones, freshly baked scones, sandwiches and warm savouries. Accompanied with your choice of tea from the extensive loose leaf signature collection, or barista coffee, juice, milkshake or soft drink, pop it on your ’must do’ list. Prices start from $59 per person.
Where: 32 Eagle Heights Road, Eagle Heights

With its pavilion backdrop, lush gardens, and tranquil setting, this centrally located secluded oasis is the home of high tea. To set the scene, you’ll be treated to the likes of mouth-watering Pork and Fennel Sausage Rolls, Porcini Mushroom Arancini, and Citrus Vanilla Pannacotta with raspberry coulis. Throw in a glass of French bubbles for an extra $12 because, just because. There’s also a separate vegan high tea and junior high tea so no-one misses out. $55 per adult.
Where: 8/6 Ashmore Road, Bundall

Words by Bianca Trathen.

High Cheese, Greendays (image supplied)
High Cheese, Greendays (image supplied)

9 breathtaking waterfalls around the Gold Coast

Curtis Falls waterfall in Tamborine Mountain, Hinterland (image suppled by Destination Gold Coast)
Curtis Falls waterfall in Tamborine Mountain, Hinterland (image suppled by Destination Gold Coast)

When it comes to impressing visiting family and friends, is there any better way than going on an adventure and chasing a waterfall — or two? Because beyond epic beaches, and one of the world’s most renowned surfing reserves, we also have world heritage listed rainforests and breathtaking surrounds literally right on our doorstep. And the best part about these fantastic places and mind-blowing natural spectacles is they are entirely free!

So we highly recommend you clear your schedule, pack your swimmers and embark on a fun-filled sojourn into the green behind the gold in search of large pieces of falling water. Set your phone to silent and let the serenity feed your soul.

Here are a few of our favourites, all within an hour or so from the Gold Coast.

Lip Falls
38.7km from Surfers Paradise
Just a 50-minute drive from Surfers Paradise and nestled amongst the Denham Scenic Reserve are the Beechmont rock pools — or Lip Falls as the locals call them. Once you park your car (on Doncaster Road), it’ll only take half an hour to make your way down to the falls. Be aware; these walking paths are steep and narrow and right next to deep gorges.
Where: 45-57 Doncaster Dr, Beechmont

Elabana Falls (image supplied)
Elabana Falls (image supplied)

Mt Tamborine
Cedar Creek Falls
44km from Surfers Paradise
Cedar Creek Falls are one of the better-known waterfalls on Mt Tamborine and a popular destination for locals and tourists alike (be warned – it can get quite busy). Your best bet is to explore the area via the Cedar Creek Circuit (3.2km), which will take you along all the cascades and rock pools.
Where: Cedar Creek Falls Rd, Tamborine Mountain – To get there, take Tamborine Mountain Road until you get to Cedar Creek Falls Road, just past the information map stopping bay on the left. From there, it’s only a short drive down a narrow road and across a small creek before coming to the Cedar Creek Falls section and the car park at its entrance.

Curtis Falls
39.2km from Surfers Paradise
It’s a short, beautiful walk through the rain-drenched Eucalyptus forest to the magical Curtis Falls. You’ll wander past towering trees and through a canopy of ferns, down to this miniature and photogenic waterfall. There are lots of cute creatures to spot along the way too, keep an eye for resident platypuses and wallabies. The walk should only talk half an hour or less to get down to the falls, but you will likely want to stay awhile and soak up the peacefulness. It’s just a 1.1km round trip, so you can knock it over in the early morning then stop for a spot of morning tea at the Curtis Falls Cafe.
Where: 16 Eagle Heights Rd, North Tamborine – Get there via Eagle Heights Road and park right at the entrance to the walk.

Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park (image supplied)
Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park (image supplied)

Lamington National Park
Elabana Falls
67.4 km from Surfers Paradise
Elabana Falls are certainly a hidden gem located amongst Lamington National Park close to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat (a great spot to grab a bite to eat after your waterfall adventure). Park your car at O’Reilly’s and make your way through the rainforest, past Picnic Rock and further downhill for another 400 metres until you reach the cascading falls. Make sure you refresh yourself with a snack or sit down before embarking on your way back up; it gets pretty steep!
Where: Lamington National Park Rd, Canungra

Springbrook National Park
Natural Bridge
47 km from Surfers Paradise
As you probably know, Natural Bridge is a heavenly cave-like rock formation at Springbrook National Park that is home to glow worms and a colony of tiny bent-wing bats – it’s also one of the most photographed spots on the Gold Coast. Start the short one-kilometre rainforest walk clockwise to the Natural Bridge rock arch to get down to the action.
Where: Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd, Springbrook – It’s super easy to find; just follow Nerang-Murwillumbah Road until you get to the car park signage at Bakers Road.

Purling Brook Falls, Springbrook (image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)
Purling Brook Falls, Springbrook (image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)

Twin Falls
40.6km from Surfers Paradise
Start your 4km journey through the sub-tropical rainforest from the Tallabana picnic area or Canyon lookout in an anticlockwise direction. You’ll reach a small bridge, flowing water and immense rock formations after a couple of minutes (perfect for an Insta snap). Keep hiking down the track until you come across two rushing waterfalls. At the base of Twin Falls — after a worthy hike — you’ll find a large rock pool perfect for a rewarding swim!
Where: Canyon Pde, Springbrook

Purling Brook Falls
NOTE: The Purling Brook Falls circuit is currently closed as a result of flood damage due to a severe rainfall event on Thursday 22 September 2022.
37km from Surfers Paradise
The Purling Brook Falls are immense, towering at over 100 meters in height and are naturally best visited after rainfall. Start your 2 hour hike clockwise along a scenic and elevated path into a subtropical gorge to view the amazing falls from below. Venture further down the track until you reach waterholes that are great for swimming. When you have had enough, prepare for a steady climb up through the rainforest, which will bring you back to the picnic area.
Where: 63 Gwongorella Parade, Springbrook

Minyon Falls lookout in Nightcap National Park. (Photo credit: Jimmy Malecki)
Minyon Falls lookout in Nightcap National Park. (Photo credit: Jimmy Malecki)

Northern NSW
Minyon Falls
113km from Surfers Paradise
Yes, we know the following two locations aren’t on the Gold Coast, they aren’t even in Queensland, but it will take you a short drive along what is probably the most breathtaking scenic drive, until you reach Nightcap National Park in Northern NSW. Make sure you come prepared because getting to Minyon Falls can be quite the journey (well worth it, though). We recommend you start with Minyon Falls Lookout, providing you with outstanding views before adventuring further downstream towards the base of the falls.
Where: Nightcap National Park, Newton Dr, Nightcap 

Killen Falls
108 km from Surfers Paradise
Killen Falls are undoubtedly one of the most epic waterfalls to dive into with its large swimming hole and rock pools. The rock has been eroded significantly behind the waterfall, forming an impressive cave. Ever wanted to take a waterfall shower? Well, at Killen Falls, that’s not a problem as you can swim across the pool and climb up the rocks just to sit right underneath the falling water.
Where: Killen Falls Dr, Tintenbar – Killen Falls are super easy to find, just minutes off the Pacific Highway near Byron Bay.

Twin Falls, Springbrook (Image from Destination Gold Coast)
Twin Falls, Springbrook (Image from Destination Gold Coast)

But it’s important to remember, whilst it’s tempting (and refreshing) to go for a swim in the rock pools and lagoons, it’s prohibited in some, so please adhere to any safety signs and be 100% sure it’s safe to swim before diving in. Also, be sure to pack closed-in shoes, plenty of water, mozzie repellent and sunscreen (the sun will still get you between the canopy).

Last but not least, take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints behind!

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Mermaid Waters welcomes a new, must-try Japanese eatery

Here we are again to discuss a few of our absolute favourite things –you guessed it – exceptional eats and interiors we would like to replicate in our own homes immediately thank you very much.

The latest combination of the two and our most recent eatery crush, can be found in a little place we (and everyone else) like to call Mermaid Waters, where many a great little venue lives and a spot we will now be visiting a LOT more regularly.

It’s called Project Tokyo and it’s an intimate space found in the precinct where Lucky Bao and Nude Sisters Kitchen also reside, bringing the aforementioned exceptional eats and interiors, Japanese-style.

It’s the work of Franz and Geoff, a hospitality guru and chef who have long wanted to open a venue of this variety and we’re pretty happy they did.

The interior is the work of one OJ Thompson, the genius behind Oi Izakaya, Goto Restaurant in Southport and Double Barrel Kitchen (to name a few). It’s made up of moody blues and natural wood with beautiful, authentic artwork painted onto the walls and flags marking the entrance.

It’s pared back, perfectly put together and exactly the type of space we Gold Coasters love.

Menu-wise you can expect modern Japanese dishes from snacks and starters including the always-loveable Edamame, Lotus Root chips and tasty salads to signature dishes and some absolute stunners off the grill.

The Fried Lotus Chips with Miso Kingfish and Salmon Tataki were a standout and one of Chef Misa’s creations so don’t miss out on that one.

We of course, recommend all of the sashimi – Seared Tuna, Kingfish and Seared Salmon, fresh and delicious, yes please. Next up, the Gyoza is some of the best we’ve sampled, so definitely choose a few of those too.

The Duck Harumake was a standout, a crispy little package filled with duck, carrot and wombok and served with sticky Hoi Sin sauce. Loved it.

There’s also sushi, some very delicious tempura dishes, chicken yakitori (skewers) and grilled scallops you’ll definitely want to taste.

For dessert don’t go past the Chocolate Fondant with Green Tea ice cream, it’s next-level.

In conclusion, you should probably try everything and maybe go back the next night to do it all again.

Project Tokyo is that good.

LOCATION: 90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters
HOURS: Open for dinner Wednesday to Monday and lunch Saturday and Sunday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

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