Many would have considered this unassuming suburb as just somewhere you zipped through on your way to the airport a few years ago, but oh my, how things have changed. Now, overflowing with the kind of beachside village vibes that are highly sought after these days — and a decent collection of cafes, eateries and other reasons to part with your hard-earned cash — Tugun has well and truly come into its own. And we think you deserve to be in on this action.
So, whether you live near or far, we encourage you to give this locale some devoted time. To assist you in doing this, our gathering of reasons locals love Tugun should be more than enough incentive to make your way to this quiet and much-loved corner of our Coast.
Craft House Restaurant & Bar
Beer is the star attraction at the Craft House — the reason being there are a whopping 20 on tap. You’ll find a kaleidoscope of beer variety at your fingertips, with some exciting and not so often found guest ales displaying interesting flavours and sizeable ABVs! The relaxed pub atmosphere is the perfect spot to while away an evening with live music and great share style plates.
Where: 445 Golden Four Drive, Tugun
Niche & Co
If you’re a fan of acai bowls in any shape or form, then we implore you to take a visit to this oh-so-cute hole-in-the-wall-style café. We don’t mind saying it — these guys dish up some of the best bowls on the Coast. Period. Not just this, the precious little space boasts healthy and delicious meals, cold press coffee, raw and vegan treats. Get in there for good vibes and Insta-opportunities stat.
Where: Shop 4/449 Golden Four Drive, Tugun
Good Day Coffee
It’s always a good day when you’ve got a Good Day Coffee in your hand! Starting out as the prime pit-stop-grab-coffee and go kind of spot, locals now flock habitually here to caffeinate themselves for a big day ahead. You can expect all of the lip-licking goods — particularly their toasted-to-perfection toasties and one-of-a-kind Bacon & Egg Smashes — if you know, you know.
Where: 2/476 Gold Coast Highway, Tugun
If vintage furniture and funky interiors are your things (and we know they are), look no further than Found. They specialise in imported Danish and mid-century furniture as well as one-off collectables and some contemporary homewares thrown in for good measure. We say pop in if you’re in the market for a piece that’s certain to make you the envy of all your friends.
Where: Shop 2, 471 Golden Four Drive, Tugun
House of Hubert
Sustainable, seasonable and farm to fork are words that usually describe a restaurant that produces culinary gold — and House of Hubert is no exception. Chefs take only the best local produce to create nourishing, tasty eats that are an absolute must-try. When it comes to coffee, they consistently pour the goods —always served with a smile. And as for the space, it kind of feels like home (but with better food).
Where: 5 Toolona Street, Tugun
The Welcome to the Gold Coast mural
Mural art is finding itself a steadily growing home here on the Gold Coast. Iconic pieces are helping nurture an identity beyond theme parks and beaches — and we’re all here for it. Renowned creative and mural artist Kiel Tillman is behind this wonderous heaven-sent artwork on the side of Tugun Supermarket. His skills have created a bold and iconic piece: greeting tourists arriving from the airport and something the locals are proud of.
Where: Tugun Fruit Market, Gold Coast Highway, Tugun
Made Barber & Barista
Finding a great cup of joe beyond noon can sometimes be an impossible feat. Well, no more. Find yourself in Tugun and Made Barber & Barista is the place to pop into up until 3pm on weekdays for a guaranteed stellar cup of jitter juice and a chance to catch your breath. Being a barbershop set up as well, if you’re a guy out there who feels like their hair needs some love, then you’ve found the best place to receive it. Let the talented Britt do her magic on your locks — you won’t look back!
Where: 2B/417 Golden Four Drive, Tugun
Tugun Fruit & Flowers
If you’re yet to experience the sensory extravaganza that is Tugun Fruit & Flowers, you might want to rectify that quick smart my friend. The space has been making Tugun smell pretty since 1975 by offering the very best in beautiful flower arrangements along with a plethora of fresh juices, acai bowls, and other gift-style goods you will simply want to get your hands on.
Where: 4/467 Golden Four Drive, Tugun
First things first — when you decide to visit this den of divine food, we suggest you book a table. It’s so popular should you walk in and expect a table, you are likely going to be sorely disappointed. The Thai menu offers all the classics but with an ever-so-slight Australian twist, meaning all the authentic, fresh fragrant flavours are there along with local ingredients and plentiful servings. One aspect you shouldn’t overlook at this venue is their capacity to make first-rate cocktails. A Thai restaurant that makes terrific cocktails?! Yes, we know — must try!
Where: Shop 7, 443 Golden Four Drive, Tugun
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
Oh Burleigh you little beauty, what’s not to love right? Since the dawn of time (or the dawn of the GC at least) Burleigh has been one of the most-loved suburbs amongst a slew of strong contenders.
Sure, the beach is beautiful and James Street boasts all the best eats and acai bowls galore but it’s more than that, Burleigh has a soul of its own born of cruisy, barefoot, salty seabreeze vibes you simply won’t find anywhere else.
Gushing aside, here are 20 solid reasons why the locals love it and you should too (or else). And yes, we understand there are many more, hold your horses for list 2.0.
The fine dining venue is only a couple of years old, but in that time has become one of the Gold Coast’s premier dining destinations. Tucked away on West Street, the five-star, seasonal produce-led restaurant is an absolute must-visit and your dining experience there is one you won’t long forget. The produce is sustainable and the wine list is filled with some of the most stunning natural wines in the world. The service is impeccable too, but in a fun, not-too-formal way. We LOVE.
Where: 2A/8 West Street, Burleigh Heads
It’s the good time, slightly fancy Australiana bar of your dreams and it is perfectly at home in Burleigh Heads. Rosella’s very quickly became a firm local favourite when it opened last year and with both a drinks and food menu made up entirely of Australian produce, we are in love. There are cocktails made with Nutri Grain, some of the tastiest toasties around and all the very best Aussie beers. It’s refined, beautifully decked out and created by a couple of absolute legends. Love.
Where: 6/1734 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Yum, contemporary Cantonese food, we love you. Mr Hizola’s is dishing up the goods in the form of tasty share-style dishes and we are here for it. Particularly the sizzling steak dish that is all kinds of delicious and an array of epic cocktails to match. Mr Hizola’s is by the gang who brought you Hideaway Kitchen and Bar, Nightjar (see below), Bine, Soho Place and Nightcap, so it’s fair to say they know what’s up.
Where: 1730 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Well hasn’t this simple little piece of Mother Nature become a local legend. No matter the day of the week (but particularly Sunday arvos) “the hill” as it’s affectionately known is packed with picnic rugs, ball games and groups of revelers basking in the sunshine. Looking out over the ocean and with the city in the distance, it’s the perfect spot for a late afternoon lemonade or early morning coffee date with the crew. If you’re feeling energetic, take a stroll around the hill to Talle Creek for some Insta-worthy scenery.
Where: The south end of The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads
It’s the good old-fashioned party bar Burleigh has welcomed with open arms and there’s absolutely no doubt that all the best things go down behind Nightjar’s spray painted roller door. Inspired by wanderluster Sailor Jerry and with very few rules, the back alley bar is home to epic live jams, crazy cocktails and guaranteed good times.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
Iku Yakitori Bar
Yakitori translates to chicken on a stick, simple enough to describe, but much more intricate in nature. As for Iku, ask the crew when you stop in. Also found in Burleigh’s bustling back alley, Iku is even better than you’d imagine it to be. Skewers are the name of the game and no part of the chicken is left behind. There’s also veggo ones and some ridiculous edamame dip and plenty of tasty cocktails too.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
The stunning space offers incredible Vietnamese dishes inspired by Head Chef Jakes’ trip through Vietnam and a desire to eat some of the very best street food in the world every single day. Same. It’s a refined style of dining paired with mouthwatering cocktails and a sleek, paired back vibe. Jimmy Wahs is one of the Gold Coast’s most impressive eateries and we are big fans.
Where: 1724 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Sean Scott Boutique
Gold Coast local Sean Scott is a world-renowned surf and nature photographer and his gallery on James Street is filled with his stunning images and the coolest of clothing and accessories. The gallery has been open for five years and is the perfect spot to stop in for some creative inspo or grab yourself a piece of Sean’s incredible art. Read our interview with the man himself here.
Where: 21 James Street, Burleigh Heads
Literally opening out onto the sand at Burleigh beach, Rick Shores is loved (not only locally) for its stunning sunset views and those tiny little taste sensations otherwise known as Bug Rolls. If you’ve never tasted one, you’ve been wasting your life, make a booking RIGHT NOW and order them all. Wash them down with one of Rick’s signature cocktails and you’re a bonafide Burleigh-ite.
Where: Shop 3, Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Bowls Club
A relaxing little beachside club loved by young and old alike, Burleigh Bowls has been around since 1937 and is certainly a prime piece of real estate these days. Barefoot Bowls roll on from 12 to 5pm every Sunday and it’s a measly $5 per person including coaching and bowls (AKA ball whipper snappers). Live music can be heard on Sunday arvos from 2 to 6pm. Get down and support your local while sipping on a schooner.
Where: Connor Street, Burleigh Heads
The Village Markets
Our beloved boutique fashion and lifestyle market, The Village Markets, is home to hundreds of local makers and has helped to launch the international careers of countless creatives. Head down for an early morning coffee and breakfast while wandering through the stalls until it’s time for lunch. Oh and there’s always live music if you need a breather. It’s the best way to spend a sunny Sunday
Where: Burleigh Heads State School, Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
The baked goods that come out of this friendly little bakery are honestly something else. Owners Geoff and Lisa are passionate about baking and opened Burleigh Baker to provide us with the best tasting and most nutritious Artisan Sourdough and boy do they deliver. They use only the finest ingredients and the traditional process of fermentation. Do not buy bread anywhere else. You’re welcome.
Where: 13/50 James Street, Burleigh Heads
Freedom Float Centre
Floating in an enclosed tank of water may not seem like the most freedom-inducing activity in the world but trust us, it is. It’s the perfect place to experience the deepest of relaxation for the mind and body and literally involves floating weightlessly in a concentrated salt solution in a specially designed lightproof and soundproof pod. You’ll be shut off from the entire world. Sign us up!
Where: 105 West Burleigh Road, Burleigh Heads
Justin Lane Rooftop
Don your finest frock and rally up your girlfriends for a Sunday session and a spot of people watching on the roof at Justin Lane. With cocktails in hand and a balmy breeze blowing in through the windows, you need never go anywhere else again. After a few hours, pop downstairs for one of Justin’s famous pizzas and that’s your Sunday sorted.
Where: 1708 – 1710 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Absolute beachfront views and balmy ocean breezes aside, Burleigh Pavilion is a real treat. The interior is all pastel hues with greenery dotted throughout, two distinct sides including a sit down restaurant (The Tropic) and a more casual beach bar-style situation (The Terrace) for the best of both worlds. There are tasty eats on both sides and many a refreshing cocktail. Not to mention their new baked goods-filled van. Get involved in all of that.
Where: Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
The OG of giant, gourmet burgers, Ze Pickle’s Burleigh Heads store is all the best burgery things. Opened by friends Joey, Nathan and Aaron in 2012, the concept has spread around Australia and is now loved nationwide. Paired by your favourite local craft beer or a tipple of primo tequila and you’ve got yourself a good time.
Where: Corner Park Avenue and Connor Street, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Farmers Markets
Everyone’s favourite Saturday morning market adventure. Get up early, grab your basket and set out in search of fruit, veggies and of course, your first coffee of the weekend. These days the farmers market also boast locally made clothing and homewares, flowers, meat and seafood and delicious breaky and lunch options. There’s also live music and plenty of laughter floating around. Happy days.
Where: Burleigh Heads State School, Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
David Fleays Wildlife Park
Nestled in the heart of Burleigh Heads, David Fleay’s is a wildlife park with a difference. Stroll through the tranquil surroundings to experience some of Queensland’s most iconic natural habitats and meet the resident wildlife — all in just one day. Explore the park solo or join the dedicated Park Rangers at the daily wildlife shows.
Where: Corner of West Burleigh Road and Loman Lane in West Burleigh
Burleigh Brewing Co.
If there’s one thing Burleigh deserves (the big legend), it’s a brewery and Burleigh Brewing Co. certainly delivers. After opening in 2006, Burleigh Brewing Co. has produced nine delicious drops with delightful names such as ‘My Wife’s Bitter’ and ‘FIGJAM’ – perfectly Burleigh. Get a sixer for Netflix and chill or head into the brewery from Wednesday to Sunday afternoons to get amongst it. There’s live tunes too, what a combination.
Where: 2 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads
A somewhat hidden little speakeasy in the heart of Burleigh Heads, Lockwood Bar specialise in all of the very best varieties of whiskey along with many a local tipple transformed into tasty cocktails. It’s a laidback, jazz bar kind of vibe, low lit, often with live music and once you’re inside, you likely won’t want to leave. We dig it.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
Words by Kirra Smith
Over the past couple of years Palm Beach (or Palmy as it’s affectionately known) has been transformed into the Coast’s king of cool.
With new bars and eateries filling every unoccupied space, quiet(er) beaches and some of the best boutique shopping around, Palmy is moving on up in the world.
As is customary, we’ve compiled a list of the top 17 reasons locals love the place.
A sweet coffee spot underneath Sable Palm Beach, Watson Bloom is serving up exceptional brews along with plenty of plant-based treats including raw goodies and banana bread made in-house plus pastries and never-ending good vibes. Pop in for an early morning brew and a chat.
Where: Sable Palm Beach, 2/1073 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
The newest burger crew around are Patty Smiths who are serving up VERY tasty burgers, made with hand-pressed patties along with loaded fries, some of the most epic thickshakes around and just general deliciousness everywhere honestly. Perfect for beachside dinners or if you feel like something yummy but can’t be bothered cooking (us, always).
Where: Shop 15A Pavilions Shopping Centre, 6 Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach
Overlooking the ocean with the perfect pastel palette, Las Palmas is bringing Latin America to Palm Beach with a share-style menu, made up of mouthwatering flavours and a fresh cocktail list to match. Head in there for a Sunday arvo session or long lunch with your loves. It’ll be your new summer fave for sure.
Where: Level 1, 1097 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
The Scottish Prince
Tucked away, all moody low-lit with wild times written all over it, The Scottish Prince, sister venue of The Cambus Wallace and is one of the best drinking holes we have here on the Coast. It’s primarily a whisky bar boasting over 300 varieties of the tasty tipple plus a perfectly complementary menu including charcuterie boards, meatballs, Scotch Fillets, fish and chips and the like. All the very best things. Get in.
Where: 1176 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Sisterhood brings community-inspired good vibes to the people of Palmy. It’s the work of two local gals who are serving up impressive brunch dishes made with local produce and some of the yummiest there is. Sisterhood is bringing the coffee culture back down to earth, not charging for milks that aren’t of the full cream variety and are generally creating something pretty lovely down south Palmy way. Highly recommend.
Where: 1099 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
The Gold Coast is home to many an impressive farmers market and one of our absolute favourites can be found in Palmy on Saturday mornings. From 6am at Palm Beach Currumbin High School you’ll find fresh local produce, artisan foods, specialty coffee, epic doughnuts, flowers, dog treats, the lot. The perfect way to spend a weekend morning.
Where: Thrower Drive, Palm Beach
Margaritas and Mexi-eats are some of our favourite things and happily, they’re on offer at Palmy’s delightful upstairs space, Frida Sol. There’s a chilli margarita that’ll knock your socks off and if you perch outside on the deck, a balmy ocean breeze – the combination of which will remind you exactly why you live on the Gold Coast. The perfect time.
Where: Level 1, 1176 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
No doubt you’ve already set foot inside The Collective more than once and why wouldn’t you with five restaurants to choose from? Open for lunch and dinner, you can stay all day and, as it’s a communal dining setting, you’re bound to make some new friends along the way. So, if you’re in the mood for pizza and tacos, head to The Collective, order both and wash it all down with a cocktail at the rooftop bar.
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Barefoot have been a Palmy favourite since they swung open their doors in 2011. They offer the kind of nourishing, healthy homestyle eats you’d expect when you visit your fanciest friend for breaky. Think house-smoked Miso Cured Salmon and Wellbeing Porridge packed with goodness. The crew at Barefoot also serve a mean coffee, one of the best on the Coast in fact and you, friends, can purchase the tasty single origins beans to make your own.
Where: 10 Palm Beach Avenue, Palm Beach
Calling lovers of all things vintage, there’s a new kid in town and you’re going to want to head in there to peruse the goodies ASAP. The entire store has a bit of a rock ‘n roll, western vibe, reminiscent of owner Sylvie’s (enviable) style and you’ll find everything from clothes, vintage records, a few homewares, posters and the like. It’s all been carefully sourced and is in very good condition.
Where: 1/1142 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
The Pirate Park
Those with little ones will attest to the fact that the Pirate Park is up there with the best on the Coast. Located right near the water, the park far exceeds anything you ever got to play on as a kid with a pirate ship stuck in the sand and upended wine barrels perfect for all day climbing. If you don’t have any babes, Dune Café is close by as is the sparkling ocean and a dog beach on Currumbin Creek that’s always good for a laugh.
Where: 945 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach (on the left before the Currumbin Creek bridge)
It’s every local boho babe’s dream come true. Opened in 2013, White Bohemian stocks all your favourite hippy-esque labels including Byron Bay labels SPELL and Arnhem and locals like Mahiya and Lokoa. It’s possibly the only place on the Coast gals can go to stock up on the bohemian trend that has literally taken over the world. There’s homewares too so, you know, prepare to spend up.
Where: Cnr Seventh Avenue and Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
It goes without saying that if you’ve ever driven through Palm Beach, you’ve definitely laid eyes on Balboa Italian. The beautifully appointed double-storey brick building is in a class of its own serving classic Italian dishes with modern interpretations and the freshest of flavours. It’s worth a visit just to experience the fitout, complete with overhead Vespa and exposed brick walls. The cocktails are unique and the wine selection varied. It’s all good to be honest, get down there.
Where:1069 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
It’s a cafe crossed with a motorbike workshop and the home of the best banana smoothies on the Gold Coast. That’s right, the best. There is not a single thing not to love about Espresso Moto from their very delicious breakfast goods (the brekky burritos are the bomb), to their use of All Press coffee and the ever-friendly staff who always say g’day. There’s also a communal dog bed and the beach is right around the corner. So yeah, it’s the best.
Where: 1389 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
A somewhat secret cocktail bar, tucked away on the Gold Coast Hwy, Suga specialises in rum and good times and if you’re keen on either or both of those you should absolutely get down there. They have an impressive cocktail menu plus plenty of epic wines (pet nats, yes please) and beers so no matter what, you’re gonna love it.
Where: 1142 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Ritual Yoga & Pilates
Found upstairs in a sunlit space oozing chill vibes is Ritual Yoga & Pilates. Owned by sisters Rose and Sophie, Ritual is only a couple of years old but has already become a favourite amongst both Palm Beach locals and those who reside in surrounding suburbs. If you’re in need of some rest and relaxation (or a solid sweat session), Ritual is calling your name.
Where: 9b Palm Beach Avenue, Palm Beach
One of Palmy’s sweetest coffee spots is Highline, a stunning little space decked out in pastel hues and serving up some of the very best coffee on the Coast. The menu is the goods too, boasting fresh, locally sourced produce-filled dishes like jaffles, ferment bowls and even a life-changing apple pie. Great.
Where: 5/1132 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Words by Kirra Smith
If we were asked to name some of the world’s most-loved culinary combinations, tacos and tequila would be at the very top of that list. Well pretty much any Mexi-eats and all of the salty, mouthwatering margaritas we can get our hands on, to be specific.
Luckily, we have once again been blessed with our foodie dreams coming true thanks to a brand new Mexican eatery and tequila bar by the name of Caracara Cantina.
The newbie opened last week in the space that was formerly home to Hidden Wine Bar and Café and it’s the work of two people who gave us beloved Burleigh bar, Lockwood. Brenden Yeo and Zac Wright opened the secretive speakeasy almost exactly two years ago and now they’ve launched an equally impressive space into the Tugun dining scene.
Caracara is made up of two sections – the first, at the front, is a sweet shade of peach with white wooden tables and cactuses of all shapes and sizes strewn throughout. Perfection.
At the back, the tequila bar is moody and lowlit bringing the Lockwood vibes we know and love with quite the impressive array of tequila stacked on bar shelves. Both high tables and corner spaces are made for intimate, late-into-the-night chats soaked with quality tequila. The best kind.
The menu starts with tasty, flavour-packed dishes like Spiced Bean Dip, Padron Pepper, Ceviche and Charred Corn Cob and each is an absolute must-try.
Moving onto tacos, they’re the authentic, charred, melt-in-your-mouth variety with options like Spiced Pumpkin, Caracara beans, Pulled Pork or Fish and we recommend eating at least one of each, they’re all that good.
Of course, there’s a Giant Burrito and a Roasted Sweet Potato Salad made up of a whole, oven-baked sweet potato and topped with a fresh herb and chilli salad, corn salsa and salsa verde. Much delight.
As you’d imagine (having no doubt visited Lockwood many a time), the cocktail list is a special one with five margarita varieties including the Classic, Breakfast, Tommy’s, Chilli and Coconut.
There’s also a couple of tipples that include both tequila and lager and we’re obviously big fans of those.
If you’re keen to get involved in both tacos and tequila tastings, we suggest a Mexi-feast at the front (accompanied by a margie or two to warm you up), then an after-party in the back bar where the good times will definitely be rolling.
It’s happy days for Tugun Gold Coasters, Caracara is going to be an absolute hit.
LOCATION: 455 Golden Four Drive, Tugun
HOURS: Open 5pm until late Wednesday to Saturday and midday until late Sunday
Words and photos by Kirra Smith