In the last few weeks it has felt like Australia has begun to come alive again and it’s a very good feeling.
On the Gold Coast we’ve had new venues popping up all over the place, cultural festivals back on with more scheduled over the next couple of months and we are absolutely thrilled about all of it.
One thing we can also do is travel throughout the country again (well, most of it), which is great but since the Gold Coast is the most beautiful place of all, we completely understand if you’d rather stay put.
Luckily, we’ve got the best of both worlds in the form of something new down Bilinga way and you may have noticed it going up in recent months (built by Gold Coast contruction company Condev Constructions).
It’s Rydges Gold Coast Airport Hotel and it’s an absolute stunner Gold Coasters.
Just a two minute walk from the airport and five minutes to the beach, it’s the perfect spot to pop into for a layover drink, while waiting to be picked up, or for a little staycation if you have a rudely early flight out.
There are many impressive things about our airport’s first onsite accommodation including the poolside Runway Restaurant and Bar, The Salty Fox Rooftop Bar, stunning local inspired artworks, a fitout to perfectly match the surrounds and 192 brand new rooms, some of which offer 180 ocean views.
It’s very exciting.
Now of course, you can stay overnight should you wish to (and it’s lovely, we highly recommend you do) but if not, you absolutely need to head into Runway Restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner to sample some tasty eats.
For breakfast we’re talking dishes like a Pork Belly Croissant, Belgian Waffles and a Bacon & Egg Brioche Bun to name a few.
At lunch and dinnertime you’ll have choices like slow-roasted pizzas, a variety of fresh salads, Saltwater Barramundi, Wok Tossed Mussels, a Flame Grilled Beef Burger and a range of high quality steaks.
All of which can be washed down with a very extensive drinks menu made extra enjoyable by the sparkly 25 metre pool you’ll be seated next to.
In the next few weeks, The Salty Fox will open and it’s the rooftop bar of your dreams.
Overlooking the ocean and the city from seven stories up, it’s the perfect spot for an afternoon of sipping with your favourites.
Again, you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy. And as more flights return to our fair city, we suggest when waiting for a mate’s flight to land, rather than the usual loop around the block, you chillax on the rooftop with a bevvy and have your guest meet you at the bar.
Epic views included.
There’ll be a tasty tapas menu too and we think you’ll be entertained for quite some time watching the planes takeoff and land (maybe it’s just the kid in us).
For now though, head into Runway Restaurant for some delicious eats and we’ll report back on The Salty Fox specifics soon.
Happy days friends.
LOCATION: Gold Coast Airport, Bilinga
Coolangatta is our southernmost suburb and an uncomplicated little town. Apart from when in summer (and outside lockdowns), you can travel between two time zones — by simply crossing the street!
Time travelling aside, Coolangatta has long been loved for its laidback, beachside vibes and of course, pumping surf when the elements align and the swell fills in. These days, there is a multitude of reasons to visit other than amazing beaches and world-class waves. These include outstanding food venues, lively bars and a few other businesses worthy of your attention. So here are some worthy reasons for a nip into Cooly town.
Have a beachside coffee at Vanilla Lily
Quite possibly Coolangatta’s prettiest cafe, Vanilla Lily is serving up solid coffees and fresh eats in a beautiful setting opposite Greenmount Beach. Chill with the local community who love this hangout and enjoy the delectable fare. Our pick is the Avocado Toast with sliced radish, dried chilli flakes, pomegranate and drizzled with raw honey and lemon on a slice of sourdough.
Where: Shop 2, 110 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Drink a beer at the Coolangatta Hotel
The Cooly Hotel is an absolute must-do. This well-known bar is opposite the town’s main stretch of sand and is often the place folks find themselves towards the latter part of the day. The attractions are world-class live music and great vibes aplenty. Pull up a chair and make an afternoon of it with salt-licked breezes blowing and uninterrupted beach views.
Where: Corner Warner Street & Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Enjoy some good food at Choofas Smokehouse & Seafood
Conveniently located on the town’s main street, the guys at Choofas offer some exceptional fresh and cooked seafood alongside BBQ style smoked meats, ribs, buffalo wings, burgers, steak, chicken and salads able to fill all hungry-bellies. The BBQ smoked meats are rubbed with Choofas own dark dry rub, then cooked long and slow to ensure tenderness and flavour. Choofas Horn Bar is also stocked with over 60 top brand rums, otherwise enjoy a cold beer on tap while overlooking Coolangatta beach as the sun goes down.
Where: 150 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Grab a pie from the Coolangatta Pie Shop
This iconic Gold Coast pie shop has been around for over 50 years, so it’s no wonder they’re serving up some of the tastiest pies around. You can also get some outrightly delicious caramel slices while you’re at it. Perfect for a mid-morning fuel up or after a big afternoon session of surfing. Fun fact: they’re open 24 hours on weekends.
Where: 50 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Eat pizza at Francie’s Pizzeria
Francie’s is some of the best pizza you’ll ever sample, so without hesitation, it quickly became the local’s favourite pizza bar. As purely a walk-in and no reservations style venue, swing by ahead of the crowd for delicious and inventive toppings. Our pick is the Pears Brosnan: Gorgonzola, pear, Prosciutto, and Mozzarella. YUM.
Where: 2/102 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Take a stroll through The Strand
The Strand at Coolangatta is a great respite from all the action at the beach. Filled with all you retail needs (ALDI, Woolies etc), dining (the views from the upstairs restaurants are outstanding) and entertainment (hello Timezone and Cooly’s only cinema). Spend some time strolling around the boutique shops in the air-con; you’re sure to find something you love here.
Where: 72-80 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Scoop your way through all the flavours at Ottimo
Ottimo serves up great coffee and makes all of their moreish gelatos in-house, but why are their plethora of dazzling flavours so damn good? Likely because the owner and head gelato maker Davide is Italian and has studied for a diploma from the Gelato University of Carpigiani — we didn’t make this up, it’s true!
Where: 18/52 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Release your inner child at Timezone
Have the heavens opened up? Or are you simply up for a bit of fun? Timezone Coolangatta features full-sized bowling lanes, over 200 video games, dodgem cars and laser skirmish. Not just one for the kids!
Where: Level 1, 72-80 Marine Parade, The Strand, Coolangatta
Start your day with brekky at South East Espresso
A Cooly favourite for a tasty breakfast and excellent poured Paradox coffee, find South East Espresso tucked a block back from the majestic Rainbow Beach. It’s the ideal spot to satisfy those early morning hankerings, and if you fancy visiting again (which you will after a surf), they’re open for lunch too.
Where: 5 Dutton Street, Coolangatta
Indulge in an Italian feast at Little Cooly
Little Cooly is serving up some mind-blowing handmade pasta alongside a 100-strong Italian wine list that reads like a love letter to Italy itself. If it’s date night, look no further — and if you’re desperate for great pasta, well they have you covered on all bases. In an ode to the local area, dishes have been named after Gold Coast icons and suburbs and shine a light on local produce, for instance The Snapper Rocks features Tweed River prawns, mango, cashews and avocado or The Greenmount features Bangalow bacon, spicy chorizo, a fried egg and mozzarella.
Where: Level 1, Shop 120/72-80 Marine Parade, The Strand, Coolangatta
Get your art on at Maverick Hair & Art Studio
Pop into this tucked away gallery for a fabulous hair spruce up or to enjoy some fresh local art including that of Cooly local Byron Coathup. You’re sure to find sweet, locally designed souvenirs to take home. Your favourite local brand, The Undercurrent is stocked here too. Grab a Cooly tee to remember your time.
Where: First Floor, 1/17 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Take in the view at Greenmount Beach Surf Club
With unsurpassed views in a northerly direction, you can take in everything overlooking the spectacular Greenmount Beach right up to the skyline of Surfers Paradise and, on some days, beyond. If the surf is good, you can also be entertained by surfers as they jostle with each other and generally tear waves apart — the level here is high. Our favourite is an icy schooner in hand and an amber sunset: perfection.
Where: Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Eat a burger at Eddie’s Grub House.
Rock ‘n roll meets fried chicken, burgers and whiskey: does it get any better than that? Get a mouthful of naughty but nice American classics in this soul food dive bar. They regularly have live music and karaoke nights and are one of the best spots to catch up with mates before a night on the town.
Where: 171 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Shop local at Cooly’s Beachside Markets
On every second and fourth Sunday of the month, Queen Elizabeth Park comes alive with plenty of local traders selling anything from raw produce to clothing and accessories. The perfect place to take a stroll with a coffee in hand and the sun on your face — be prepared to spend some money.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta
Have a sunset cocktail at Moxy’s Rooftop Bar
This Griffith Street rooftop bar is always packed with sunset and weekend revellers sipping on cocktails living their best lives, and this should include you. Regular DJs and insta-worthy drinks mean this venue is a top place to see in the weekend or alternatively help you get over a hump day from hell. Either way, head upstairs and let the good times roll.
Where: 2/152-154 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
If it feels like a lifetime since you’ve kicked your heels up beachside with a frosty beverage in hand and sand absolutely everywhere, you’ll be thrilled to know that wait is over Gold Coasters.
Coolangatta’s new Bo’teku is bringing those beloved, laidback Bali vibes to us and who needs to travel anyway right?
It’s the work of local lad Matt Burke and the crew behind Bondi Grill’e and it’s one place you’re going to absolutely love.
The vibe is very much a relaxed, meet-your-friends-for-drinks in the sunshine situation and you’ll feel very much at home there with a cocktail in hand and a delicious dish or three on the way.
Taking up space where George’s Paragon used to live on Marine Parade, Bo’teku is a bohemian inspired bar and eatery decked out in bright pops of colour, including an eye-catching orange Chesterfield couch and a neon sign that reads “you are exactly where you need to be”, which you indeed will be once you’ve set foot inside.
Pops of greenery are dotted throughout and you’ll have a choice of low and high tables, overlooking the ocean to get stuck into the impressive menu.
Which we will now discuss.
The share-style menu is absolutely packed with a diverse range of dishes, with the freshest of seafood making up a large portion.
For lunch, there are exceptional delights like Kingfish Ceviche with lime, chilli, mint, dill, grapefruit sesame dressing, crispy parsnip and black truffle sourdough (probably the best you’ve ever sampled), BBQ King Prawns with a ginger ponzu and smoked aioli and Tuna Tartare with avocado, black caviar, ponzu and crispy sourdough to name a few.
At dinnertime you’ll be choosing from Mozarella Croquetas with a blue cheese sauce, Salt and Pepper Cuttlefish with basil, chili and smoked mayo, Crispy Pork Belly with a sweet seeded mustard sauce and shaved apple and Black Angus Rump Steak served with Tagliata with crispy shallots, salsa verde and juse.
For dessert, a Salted Caramel Cronut with Vanilla bean ice-cream and toasted almonds will fill the spot. Yes.
It’s all mind-blowing honestly, try everything.
Matt procures seafood from a local Tweed supplier daily so you know it’s all the freshest possible quality available.
To drink (no we haven’t forgotten about you), there is an extensive and very good cocktail menu to get involved in with sips like a Lychee Apple Martini that will change your life, an array of delightful margaritas and share-style jugs that are probably the most affordable (and delicious) you’ve ever come across – Watermelon Punch anyone? Yes, hello.
The Bo’teku, is known a place where alcoholic beverages are sold, serving as a meeting place for “bohemians” looking for a good drink, great food, appetizers and a relaxed conversation. And indeed it is all of that friends.
There’s a DJ on Sunday afternoons from 2pm spinning relaxed beats so there’s pretty much nowhere else you need to be.
Get excited about this one Gold Coasters.
LOCATION: Shop 6, 110 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
HOURS: Monday to Thursday 5pm until late, Friday and Saturday 12pm until late and Sunday 2pm until late
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
Balmy, outside-all-day weather is upon us once again Gold Coasters and how good is it to feel like things are almost as they should be again. Now as we all know, this delightful weather also means eating out more, grabbing eats to go between extensive beach sessions and of course, all of the coffee to keep our energy up.
Luckily, there are many local cafes supportive of such a lifestyle, the latest of which opened recently in Coolangatta, right opposite the beach and boasting fresh, welcoming vibes you’re absolutely going to want to get involved in.
It’s called Vanilla Lily and it can be found on Marine Parade, just steps from the beach where Raw + Rice once lived. A deck at the front looks out over the street and the beach beyond offering plenty of sunshine and salty sea breezes.
Inside it’s all polished concrete walls with hanging pendant lights and handmade wooden tables with the bench at the front the piece de resistance. It’s made of rose quartz and imported from Brazil. It’s sparkly and stunning and we would like it in our house please.
Now once you’ve taken in the beautiful interior you might notice a familiar face or two behind that fancy bench. Vanilla Lily is owned by Dean and Lisa Saul who also own Café Kirra down the road, a firm favourite amongst locals and now with a sophisticated little sister.
You can also expect the same good vibes and the lovely community atmosphere that generally comes with a family owned business.
The menu is fresh and filled with dishes that have a modern, healthy take on all your favourites. There’s Avocado Toast with sliced radish, dried chilli flakes, pomegranate and drizzled with raw honey and lemon on a slice of sourdough.
The Lily Nourish is a nutrient-packed dish filled with sauteed greens, roasted chickpeas, dukkha crusted roast pumpkin, avocado and turmeric hummus and there’s also the Vanilla Lily Granola, Eggs Benedict and French Toast to name a few.
To sip, there’s Byron Bay Coffee and a sweet selection of smoothies including Banana, Green and Berry varieties – all made using vegan protein powder.
Excitingly, Vanilla Lily (named after a native plant) will soon also be a bar serving up beachside sips and tapas-style dishes including an epic cheeseboard and fresh oysters.
Bring that on.
Head on down to Vanilla Lily to soak up some of those laidback, beachfront vibes we all know and love.
LOCATION: Shop 2, 110 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
HOURS: 6am until 2pm daily and from 4pm when the bar opens
Words and photos by Kirra Smith