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13 reasons locals love Tweed Heads

It’s got everything you Tweed and then some!

Point Danger (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Point Danger (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

Okay so technically it’s New South Wales but you can’t blame us for wanting to claim it as our own when you see the treasure trove of goodies we’ve found that are local approved.

If you haven’t been down there lately then we’ll let it slide this time, but Tweed Heads brings a bit of everything to the table. It’s got all you need from Coast to Creek to Hinterland, so you have myriad opportunities to commune with nature while tucking into some of their signature nosh.

Come south of the border with us for guaranteed good times and even better food.

Riverland Kitchen, Tweed Heads (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Food at Riverland Kitchen, Tweed Heads (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

Riverland Kitchen
Fresh on Tweed’s foodie scene is Riverland Kitchen, a creekside haven bringing big foodie flavours to our favourite border town. If you like big buns and you cannot lie – burger buns that is – then their dedicated burger menu has your name all over it, with 10 to work your way through. But don’t be fooled, it’s not just a ripped burger joint. They’ve got all the café classics to fill the carb-shaped hole in your tum.
Where: 45 Kennedy Dr, Tweed Heads

Still & Barrel, Twin Towns (image supplied)
Still & Barrel, Twin Towns (image supplied)

Still & Barrel
If you’re in the spirit for a seriously insta-worthy cocktail you’ll want to whis-key yourself away to one of the newest speakeasy style bars to hit Tweed’s nightlife scene. While the cocktails might be old fashioned by name the art deco interiors are anything but. Think luxe velvet finishing bringing the 1920’s to the 2020’s for a sultry, 007-esque vibe. We’ll take our martini shaken, not stirred in this case.
Where: Twin Towns, 2 Wharf St, Tweed Heads

Ivory Waterside exterior (image supplied)
Ivory Waterside exterior (image supplied)

Ivory Waterside
Overlooking Terranora Creek and the Ivory Marina, Ivory Waterside is the perfect spot to soak up some Vitamin D while you get ready to tuck into a hearty feed – and maybe a cocktail or two. The menu is brimming with options no matter what you’re craving, with loads of share-style options so you can treat yourself to a bit of this and a bit of that, along with pub-style classics like fish and chips for something a little heartier.
Where: 156 Wharf St, Tweed Heads

Baked at Ancora, Tweed Heads (image supplied)
Baked at Ancora, Tweed Heads (image supplied)

Baked at Ancora
You know, we’ve never met a baked good we didn’t love, so you can imagine how we feel about Baked at Ancora. Not only do they deliver on the best of the best pastries, but they also whip up a mean coffee. And what’s more brew-tiful than a mug of liquid gold to wash down one of their signature baguettes while you take in river views? Newsflash – nothing.
Where: 118 Wharf St, Tweed Heads

Fresh oysters and buckets of prawns, The Oyster Shed (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Fresh oysters and buckets of prawns, The Oyster Shed (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

Oyster Shed
What’s better than farm fresh oysters, shucked on-demand? Knocking back a dozen farm fresh oysters with a panoramic view of the Tweed River, clearly. Don’t be shellfish with your selection because there’s plenty to go around, and we really mean it, because Oyster Shed over looks their very own oyster farm in Birds Bay. Feeling thirsty? Shuck it, a Bloody Mary oyster shot should do the trick, or wine-not pair with your favourite glass of white.
Where: Birds Bay Dr, Tweed Heads

Delightful by Deluxe (image supplied)
Delightful by Deluxe (image supplied)

Delightful by Deluxe
A delightful and delish take on the classic deli-style sandwich, Delightful by Deluxe have made a name for themselves with sando’s known for being loaded with not just fillings but flavour. Obviously they’ve curated an epic selection of combos for you to get ready to grab and go but if you want to let the creative juices flow then try your hand at creating your own, one of a kind flavour sensation.
Where: 25 Stuart St, Tweed Heads

Interior, Rob Roy Deli & Drinks (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Interior, Rob Roy Deli & Drinks (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Rob Roy Deli
Well, hello there to the geniuses behind Rob Roy Deli because it’s like they knew we were missing the ultimate collab between deli goods and wine, and we’ll never not be grateful for them bringing this little haven to life. How did we not realise we needed a one stop cheese, charcuterie and cocktail stop until now? It turns out it’s the best thing since sliced deli meats. Not only are the European style deli subs deli-cious, they’ve got grape wines on offer – name a more iconic duo… we’ll wait.
Where: 20 Bay St, Tweed Heads

Donuts at Bread Social, Tweed Heads (image supplied)
Donuts at Bread Social, Tweed Heads (image supplied)

Bread Social
In the wise words of Taylor Swift, are you bread-y for it..? Or it goes something like that anyway. Bread Social is the name and hand-crafted baked goods are the game, because a slice of sourdough a day keeps the hunger at bay. Their bread and butter is – unsurprisingly – bread, but they dough-nt stop at just that, they also nail pretty much every baked good you can think of like you know, pies, pastries and of course the humble sandwich.
Where: 12 Bay St, Tweed Heads

Surfers catching a morning wave at Duranbah Beach, Tweed Heads (image supplied by Destination NSW)
Surfers catching a morning wave at Duranbah Beach, Tweed Heads (image supplied by Destination NSW)

Whale Watching
Whale, whale, whale – we’d forgive you for thinking there’s not much more to the Tweed than seriously good food, but did you know it’s also one of the best spots to catch the Humpback Highway in action? Yep, this stretch of coastline has sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean where you can catch a glimpse of the annual whale migration up and down the East Coast. Winter is when you’ll want to pick your place to get the best view while you watch adults and their calves splash around in the sea.
Where: Point Danger

Coolangatta-Tweed Tenpin
Fancy letting your competitive side out? Then Coolangatta-Tweed Tenpin will be right up your alley. Come with a little or a lot of time to spare because they’ve got 16 full-sized bowling lanes for you to live life in the fast lane. We guarantee hours of fun for the whole fam, but bonus points for the fact they’ve got a licensed bar because a tipple always helps us up our lane game.
Where: 55 Wharf St, Tweed Heads

Gallura Italian interior (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
Gallura Italian interior (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

Gallura Italian
Say ciao to a taste of Sardinia with Gallura Italian’s authentic fare, think handmade pasta and local produce that’s big on flavour but low on fuss. If you want to see your meal come to life then take a seat at the Chef’s table so you can get in all the behind-the-kitchen action. Our picks are the local chargrilled octopus and sardo tasting plate to kick things off, with the 8 hour slow cooked wild board pappardelle a crowd favourite for good reason. Of course the wine list is graced with Italian drops and we’re partial to a bottle of Chianti if we do say so ourselves. Grazie!
Where: 1/20 Stuart St, Tweed Heads

Jack Evans Boat Harbour (image supplied by Destination NSW)
Jack Evans Boat Harbour (image supplied by Destination NSW)

Jack Evans Boat Harbour
Get in loser, we’re going picnic-ing! Perch up on the promenade at Jack Evans Boat Harbour for the ultimate picnic spot where the sun meets the sea. There’s loads of space to spread out and let the kids run wild, with a giant playground to keep the fun going. It’s also home to the Waterfront Markets that pop up on the 1st Saturday of the month so you can get your hands on farm fresh produce, artisan foods, boutique fashion and handcrafted goodies.
Where: 6 Coral St, Tweed Heads

Woman tying up roller skate (Image by freepik)
Woman tying up roller skate (Image by freepik)

Epic Skate Rink
We can see why Epic Skate Rink got its name because it’s exactly that. Get the crew together for a free-range skate sesh or if you want to up the ante, book a learn to skate session with a master of the roller rink for a wheel-y good time. If the little ones can’t get enough of tearing up the rink why not book it in your next kids party to keep the good times rolling?
Where:  23 Enterprise Ave, Tweed Heads South

Words by Jacqueline Bojanowski

Views and Brews

Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

How good are sequels from our favourite haunts? Before we’ve even set foot in the door, we know our tastebuds are in for a treat. Couple that gastronomic good standing with a ripper of a spot, and you’ve got D-bar’s dinki-di new caffeination destination, Black Dingo Cafe.

Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

Brought to us by a man with a talent for several things – including sniffing out a pearler of a spot – Black Dingo Cafe is the brand new chapter for Cooly Breeze chef-restauranteur, Marcondes Almeida Neto.

Tucked beneath the iconic lighthouse, find Coolangatta’s latest lurking mere meters from where sand meets sea, overlooking Point Danger’s sweeping outlook. Off the back of a couple’a superb new contributions courtesy of Brisbane’s Gambaro Group, Pipi’s Restaurant and Awaken Café, foodie prospects in Rainbow Bay’s little slice of paradise have certainly been on the rise in recent times.

Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

A little farther up the road on Griffith Street, you’ll also find Marcondes’s original fine dining destination, Cooly Breeze Rooftop Restaurant & Bar – consistently delivering epic eats and stellar views to southern folk since 2021. With sweeping views to the southern coastline and Tweed River surrounds, the panoramically-blessed duo’s 13th floor big sis boasts a pretty swell vantage of its own. Hailing from the UK and spending some 16 years bouncing around Europe honing his craft; it was a stint in Italy cheffing along the stunning Mediterranean coast that led Marcondes to fall for all things coast and sea.

Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

Infusing those now-trademark Mediterranean influences into Black Dingo’s menu, beach goers can now refuel with next-level cafe fare like Lamb Shoulder Baguette, made with 12h slow cooked lamb, swiss cheese, wild rocket and tzatziki sauce, or prosciutto, confit tomato and buffalo mozzarella stuffed La Bella Focaccia’s.

Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

How’s that for beach bites – you can’t take the fine dining out of the man, huh! #IsItLunchTimeYet? Frosty treats like Gelato, Smoothies and Açai Bowls will be a hot commodity on those scorcher salty sessions. Along with pooch-friendly Hugo’s Ice Creamery option for our furry friends, and freshly brewed Coffee going down a treat any day ending in ‘y’.

Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

Drawn to the new location for… obvious reasons… Marcondes wanted his second venture to capture that same ‘invigorating energy of the beach’. With a killer spot procured, Marcondes set about creating a carefully-crafted menu inspired by the coastal lifestyle and using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, with a special focus on creating a welcoming, pet-friendly destination for the whole community can enjoy.

Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

The Black Dingo moniker, meanwhile, was chosen to honour the heritage of Duranbah Beach. Named after the SS Duranbah that ran aground there in 1919, Marcondes shares that the cafe’s name is a nod to the area’s traditional name – known to the Gudjinburra-Minyangbal people of the Bundjalong nation as Moy Ngagamb, or ‘Black Dingo Beach’.

Coffee at Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Coffee at Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

Creating a venue that ‘celebrates the beauty of the ocean and the joy of sharing it with loved ones’, there’s certainly more to Black Dingo than meets the tastebuds – though the allure of an especially tantalising all-day eats selection sure won’t hurt the cause in the slightest! Enticing D-bar perambulators daily with portable morsels like B&E Rolls, Bug or Smoked Salmon stuffed Bagels and Pork Belly Baguettes, there’s plenty here to keep locals coming back for more.

Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

We’re onto something pretty darned spesh with this one, Gold Coasters!

Where: 1 Tweed Terrace, Coolangatta (Point Danger lighthouse)
When: Monday to Sunday from 6am to 4pm

Words by Kellie Leader
Images by Mathilde Bouby

Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

Hooked on Cooly’s seaside sensation

Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)
Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)

Big things have been afoot on the southern foodie scene of late. The surge of bar-raising venues for border residents shows no signs of slowing anytime soon, as Cooly welcomes Pipi’s Restaurant – a gush-worthy new seafood venture for Brisbane’s culinary big guns, the Gambaro Group.

If you haven’t yet caught murmurs of Cooly’s panoramically-blessed gem now presiding over Point Danger, let’s just say the much-anticipated arrival has foodies giddy with glee for very good reason.

Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)
Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)

If you’re a fan of lazy, beachfront sessions studded with Caviar bumps, Chargrilled Squid and Crudo… prepare to fall, hard. After all, Cooly’s newcomer boasts some sea-rious pedigree. Counting Caxton Street mainstay Gambaro Seafood Restaurant, Black Hide Steakhouses and Italian restaurant Persone among its peers, Pipi’s officially marks the first foray this end of the M1 for esteemed eats juggernaut, the Gambaro Group.

Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)
Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)

Aside from a packin’ a whole lot of culinary cred, the Euro-inspired 100pax stunner brings a sophisticated, Mediterranean seafood destination to Cooly’s formerly rather bare Boundary Street block, courtesy of the newly constructed Awaken Complex development.

Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)
Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)

Flaunting breathtaking views inside and out, the enchanting, coastal-style fit out was a collaborative undertaking between BYculprit. x S.SHYNE.

At its heart, a sprawling open kitchen and bar connects the dining spaces – flanked by 180-degree glazed views to the surf, soft lines and swoon-worthy, millennial pink finishes for days #drool. A nod, we’re told, to the colours and textures of the pipi shell – though no doubt luring hapless, blush-pink-obsessed 80’s kids is just an added bonus.

Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)
Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)

Leveraging sweeping views of the beachfront that stretches from Snapper Rocks across to DBar, Pipi’s vacillates between laid-back and luxury. Infusing a taste of theatrics to Cooly’s dining scene, the sophisticated spot boasts some unapologetically boujee inclusions like an open flame Josper grill, private dining space and feature Oyster display, while maintaining the welcoming, relaxed vibe of its ‘hood.

Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)
Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)

The menu offers contemporary Mediterranean-inspired eats, with a distinct focus on ocean delicacies – though Pipi’s is certainly not a one trick pony. You only have to go as far as the entrées to see what we mean, where specialties like zesty, salsa verde drizzled Chargrilled Squid and King Fish Tartare, served with green apple & radish, mingle with Marinated Chicken Souvlaki and Roasted Cauliflower finished in vinaigrette and hazelnuts.

Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)
Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)

Pipi’s selection of Oysters, Sides and Snacks such as the Swordfish Skewer and Crispy Prawn Roll, served drizzled in tarragon aioli, offer a tantalising prequel to the main event – while the mains are where that Josper grill really comes into its own. With dishes such as the Chargrilled Spatchcock, made with Australian olives, preserved lemon & parsley, set to steal the show – if you can go past the Handmade Lobster Linguine, that is.

Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)
Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)

Hoo boy, Coolangatta… we might just catch ourselves some feelings here if we’re not careful.

Where: 275 Boundary St, Coolangatta
When: Wednesday – Sunday from 11:30am – 3:00pm, Wednesday – Thursday 5:30pm – 9:30pm, Friday – Saturday 5:30pm – 10:00pm, Sunday 5:30pm – 8:00pm

Words by Kellie Leader.

Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)
Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)

7 FREE whale watching spots from the shore

Burleigh Heads (Photo by Caleb Russell on Unsplash)
Burleigh Heads (Photo by Caleb Russell on Unsplash)

As we saw from that viral video of swimmers getting up close and personal with a Humpback at Snapper Rocks it’s officially whale watching season! In case you missed it, keep scrolling as we’ve included it below. Every year from May to November we are blessed to have thousands of Humpback Whales passing through the Gold Coast’s warm waters.

Everyone knows the magical feeling of spying one of the majestic mammals from afar so, in the spirit of sharing, we’ve found the top seven spots to see them (for FREE) from the shore.

Cabarita Beach (Image: © 2023 Inside Gold Coast)
Cabarita Beach (Image: © 2023 Inside Gold Coast)

Cabarita Headland
Just south of the border, one of our top whale-watching spots is Cabarita Beach’s headland. Take a little hike up the steps to Norries Headland for some seriously expansive coastal views. The elevation makes whale spotting a breeze. And, pro tip: swing by George’s Deli in Kingscliff to pick up a donut or coffee for the walk.

Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Black Dingo Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

Point Danger Lookout, Coolangatta
This iconic spot sits right on the NSW-QLD border, boasting breathtaking panoramic views. Directly below lies Duranbah Beach (D’bah to the locals), a prime surfing hotspot. For those looking to relax with a coffee or a bite to eat while whales breach in the distance, Black Dingo Cafe offers a vantage point that won’t disappoint.

Kirra Hill, Kirra
Just a little further north is Kirra Hill, another picturesque piece of land. You can drive or walk up (be warned, it’s quite steep) and then enjoy the view, it’s pretty special! Once you’re done, head back down and check out one of the eateries with a view along Marine Pde. Our hots tips are Siblings or Kirra Beach House.

Tumgun Lookout (Image: © 2019 Kirra Smith Photography)
Tumgun Lookout (Image: © 2019 Kirra Smith Photography)

Tumgun Lookout, Burleigh Heads
Sitting atop the Burleigh Heads National Park is Tumgun Lookout. It’s higher than Burleigh Point and gives you a different angle all together (on a clear day you can see all the way to Coolangatta). Put on some activewear, run up Tumgun Lookout through the National Park and enjoy the breathtaking view, and keep a lookout for the BIG SPLASH!

Burleigh Hill (image courtesy of Destination Gold Coast)
Burleigh Hill (image courtesy of Destination Gold Coast)

Burleigh Point, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Point is paradise, the most peaceful place on earth, not to mention a perfect picnic spot. It’s easy to spend a whole day here and not get bored. What a coincidence that it’s also one of the best whale-watching vantage points on the Coast. When hunger hits, continue the whale watching from The Tropic or Burleigh Pavilion.

Whales close to shore (image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)
Whales close to shore (image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)

Miami Hill, Miami
Located between North Burleigh Surf Club and Miami Surf Club is the Miami Hill lookout. The all-wooden verandah stretches around the headland and offers great views to the north and south. We suggest going up in the afternoon for whale watching and staying ’til dusk to see the sunset over the hinterland. Then take an easy walk down the hill and pop in for a cocktail at Sandfire.

The Spit, Main Beach
The Spit may not be the highest lookout on the Coast but it surely is closest to the action as it stretches way out to sea. It’s a great place to take your doggo for a walk and enjoy the scenery (go for a swim if it’s warm enough – we dare you!).

If you want to see the whales up close and personal jump on a whale watching cruise with Spirit of Gold Coast or Kokomo Cruises.

Words by Belinda Symons.

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