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Light up your life at new Gold Coast festival

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

12 spots for High Tea on the Gold Coast

High Cheese, Pearls Bar, Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort (Image supplied)
High Cheese, Pearls Bar, Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort (Image supplied)

Tiny little bites to eat are everyone’s favourite thing, and we believe it is because you can eat extra and not feel guilty. Well, that’s the reason for us anyway!

This is why High Tea is a good time. Plus, there’s often sparkling wine and bottomless tea and or coffee involved. What more could you want?

Here’s a list of the best spots for High Tea, High Cheese, High Coffee (and frankly any sort of High feast) on the Gold Coast next time you want to eat lots of tiny little things and also feel a bit fancy at the same time.

Pearls Bar
Less High Tea and more High Cheese is what’s up at Pearls Bar located inside Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort. Ignite your senses with a delicate selection of sweet and savoury treats. Indulge in the likes of Manchego with Turkish fig, Prawn Cocktail with spiced Marie Rose sauce, and a Strawberry and Rose Trifle to finish. Including a cup of tea or coffee, this exemplary summer High Tea is available from 12pm – 4pm daily and is $47.50 per head.
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
It’s a Couture High Tea at Le Jardin in the exquisite Palazzo Versace, bringing a fashionable culinary experience to High Tea. Featuring bright colours, bold textures and distinct out-of-the-ordinary flavour combinations, including dishes like Smoked Chicken with brioche and caramelised onion goats cheese. There are five differing high teas, each with their distinct level of decadence prices range from $28.90 – $199.90pp. Numbers are capped, so make sure to book in advance!
Where: Palazzo Versace, Seaworld Drive, Main Beach

The Fireplace
Indulge in High Coffee at The Fireplace, eating your way through three tiers of sweets and savouries inspired by and infused with rich Vittoria Single Origin Blend coffee notes. Take your High Tea to the next level with a decadent cocktail – our favourite options include the Espresso Martini (for obvious reasons) and the Smoking Hot Chocolate (because torched marshmallows). High coffee is served on Saturday and Sunday from 12.30pm and is $47pp, including tea and coffee. Availability is limited, so you’ll need to book in advance.
Where: The Fireplace, Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove, Manor Circle, Sanctuary Cove

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

Teavine House
Indulge in an irresistible selection of exquisite sweet treats, petite savoury delights, and dainty ribbon sandwiches, all freshly made in-house and served on beautiful vintage tiered trays at Tallebudgera’s Teavine House. Set amongst stunning greenery, this is one of the most beautiful High Tea’s you’ll ever experience with fine food, artisan tea and an elegant setting. Traditional High Tea is $45 per person (minimum two person booking), including all the goodies you know and love like mini croissants, sandwiches and quiches plus scones and mini sweet treats. We will see you there!
Where: 268 Tallebudgera Creek Road, Tallebudgera

Bon Appetea Teahouse
Nestled in leafy Mudgeeraba, Bon Appetea Teahouse offers a charming atmosphere along with a High Tea option you’ll absolutely love. You have multiple options to choose from, ranging from a Luxe High Tea with Scones, jam and cream, a selection of petite patisseries, organic sandwiches and savoury bites with tea or coffee for $50 per person, or perhaps the Deluxe High Tea with delectable savoury inclusions like Lobster and smoked salmon mousse priced at $60 is more your thing? There’s also an option for the kiddies if you want to take them along ($25pp) or even a completely take away Picnic High Tea, however, you must book with at least 24 hours notice!
Where: 7 Johns Road, Mudgeeraba

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

As if a remarkable and ultra-contemporary new art gallery weren’t enough for HOTA, they then decided to spoil us completely with the inclusion of a cutting-edge fine-dining restaurant: Palette. Led by superstar Executive Chef Dayan Hartill-Law, the restaurant not only delights with multiple course lunches and dinners but now they bring to the table a decadent high-tea — perfect refuelling after checking out all that art! Next level items include Mulled wine scones with native berry jam and Brisket pastrami sandwiches, and it’s a steal at only $60 per person with a $15 supplement for a bubbly glass of Veuve Cliquot.
Where: HOTA Gallery, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise

Runway Restaurant and Bar at Rydges Gold Coast Airport
Relatively new to the Gold Coast and one many people still do not even know about is the Runway Restaurant & Bar. But this is to your detriment, people! The venue provides excellent food, drinks and an opportunity for some High Tea action. And this is where it gets interesting. Because you can choose between your Traditional High Tea with delicious cakes and bite-size treats for $65 for two people, or you can select their Man T and celebrate a bromance with beef sliders, man-size cakes, and hand-cut chips, it’s $75 for two with a schooner of beer each or $75 with soft drinks instead. Who said high tea is just for the girls?
Where: Terminal Drive, Bilinga

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

Mecca Bah
A firm favourite on the bustling social scene in Broadbeach — and for good reason. Amongst bottomless brunches, banquets, and takeaway menus, you’re hard pushed to find a better taste of the Middle East. So, round up three of your friends (4 person minimum) and book in with 48 hours notice to taste the ultimate Middle Eastern High Tea experience, and you can enjoy the spoils of sweets like Turkish Delight and savoury temptations such as Kofte balls served with a mint yoghurt sauce. It’s $49 per person with a glass of sparkling on arrival and then unlimited tea and coffee afterwards! We are here for it!
Where: 3 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach

Village B&B
This 114-year-old Queenslander simply oozes charm and heritage with so much history and character behind every door. Book in and stay in any one of their three rooms or make your way there to enjoy yourself an old-style high tea with lashings of appeal. Available Thursday to Sunday 11am – 3pm for a lowly $39 per person; you can taste your way through homemade quiche, assorted sandwiches, homemade scones, unlimited tea and the option for a barista-made coffee or even an iced chocolate/coffee if the mood takes you. Bookings are essential, go on, head to Mudgeeraba for a high tea with history!
Where: 65 Railway Street, Mudgeeraba

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

Chapter and Verse
Located in the luxurious JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort and Spa, Chapter and Verse is the opulent all-day bar you can enjoy even if you’re not staying at the hotel. Amazing cocktails to one side; these guys really know how to push the boat out when it comes to high tea. There are three adult versions to go for: Traditional, High Seas, and High Cheese, and not forgetting a cute mini version for the little ones, Teeny Tiny Tea. Traditional is a snip at $64 per person with a glass of Chandon Brut or opt for the High Seas which is a sea-to-table experience you won’t want to miss and costs just $74 per person. With this you can expect all your seafood favourites like: oysters, prawns, Moreton Bay bugs, smoked salmon tartine with capers & dill and spanner crab sandwich. (Yessss, we are here for this one!) Ohh but if you like your cheese, ALL of the cheese awaits you with their High Cheese which is just $64 per person.
Where: 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise

When it comes to a secluded and withdrawn oasis to enjoy some alfresco dining action, then Greendays in Bundall should be very high up on your list of places to go. Renowned for the unique weddings and functions they throw, you’re also able to enjoy the space yourself seven days a week from 7am! And these guys don’t cut any corners. For just $45 per person, you can enjoy an assortment of housemade macarons, raspberry chocolate cheesecake and pork and chive sausage rolls and throw in a glass of French bubbles for an extra $10. There’s a separate vegan high tea, high cheese and junior high teas available also – so don’t stress, everyone will be looked after!
Where: 8/6 Ashmore Road, Bundall

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

Tea and Niceties
Found on Mt Tamborine, Tea and Niceties offers exactly that within a beautiful rainforest setting. Traditional High Tea is $49 per person and provides a selection of sandwiches and warm savouries, Scones with jam, cream and lemon curd and delicate cakes, slices and tartlets with tea from the signature collection or plunger coffee. Celebrations High Tea offers the same with endless tea or coffee and a glass of sparkling wine for $65pp, while the Wellbeing High Tea offers gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan goodies plus tea and coffee for $55pp. All High Teas are made fresh on-site, and bookings are essential. This all sounds pretty heavenly to us!
Where: 32 Eagle Heights Road, Eagle Heights

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

9 breathtaking waterfalls around the Gold Coast

Lookout, Curtis Falls (image supplied)
Lookout, Curtis Falls (image supplied)

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. Fancy a bite to eat? Natural Arch Cafe and restaurant is just a short drive up the road for that post-hike feast!
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.

Looking up to the top of Purlingbrook Falls (image supplied)
Looking up to the top of Purlingbrook Falls (image supplied)

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
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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