The best places for human and fur baby Santa snaps.
The best places for human and fur baby Santa snaps.
It’s that time again Gold Coasters (unsure how but what can you do). Christmas is here or it may as well be, since there are decorations everywhere and you may now pop down to see the big guy for a snap.
That’s right, it’s time to book in your Santa portraits pals and here’s the lineup of where you can do exactly that around the Coast. Hip, hip hooray, after a couple of years of socially distanced snaps, sitting on a stool a little way away from the big man, we’re back to sharing a big chair, the way we all remember it.
Visit Santa’s Golden Palace filled with golden treasures for all to enjoy until Christmas Eve. Pacific Fair hosts Santa photos for everyone including pet photos for pictures with your fur babies, and Sensitive Santa, an experience with dimmed lights and no crowds. Plus, every child that visits Santa will receive a special surprise! Book here.
Where: Santa’s Golden Palace, Ground Floor outside Myer, Broadbeach
Santaland at Myer
Embark on a magical Christmas journey at Santaland! Jump on the Santaland Express, create festive art with Santa’s helpers, send wish-lists to the North Pole, and cherish the moment with Santa for an enchanting family photo. Plus, don’t forget your furry friends! Santa Paws welcomes your four-legged family members for a festive snapshot with Santa. Book here.
Where: Santaland, Myer near the Toy section, Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Broadbeach
Stockland Burleigh Heads
Get your portraits taken at Stocklands Burleigh Heads from Saturday 2nd December until Christmas Eve. There’ll be times for Paws & Claus, Sensory Santa and even traditional Santa photos. You can book online here.
Where: Santa’s Beach Shack, outside Aldi, West Burleigh Rd, Burleigh Heads
Capture a magical photo moment with Santa every day from Thursday 30th Novmeber until Christmas Eve. As a special festive reward, they are offering a *FREE Santa photo when you spend $20 or more at Australia Fair or Metro! Terms and Conditions apply. Plus, every child who visits Santa will receive a free gift! No bookings required.
Where: Ground floor, outside Coles, 42 Marine Parade, Southport
Mark the annual Christmas tradition with a photo with Santa at Sanctuary Cove. Meet Father Christmas with your little ones (and fur babies too) inside Santa’s igloo and capture the moment to remember for years to come. The Santa photo booth will be open from 10am-2pm on Friday 8th December, then 11am-2pm from Saturday 9th – Monday 11th December. Pet sessions are available on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th from 1pm-2pm. No bookings required, but find more information on Santa photos and Sanctuary Cove’s other Christmas activities here.
Where: Masthead Way, Sanctuary Cove
Visit Santa at Tweed Mall this Christmas and every child will receive a free gift from Santa. Times are 10am-2pm (NSW time) Friday 1st December to Friday 15th December, then 10am-4pm (NSW time) from Saturday 16th December to Christmas Eve. Pet photos are available on Tuesday 13th and Thrusday 15th December from 3pm-8pm. Sundays are when you can experience ‘Surfy Santa’! Surfy Santa Photos will be on offer, FREE for the first 40 customers each Sunday. More details here.
Where: Centre Court near Target, Tweed Mall, Cnr Wharf and Bay Streets, Tweed Heads
Gold Coast Santa Beach Photos
Gold Coast Santa Photo Sessions are 5-10 minutes per shoot with Santa, your family and your pets! Depending on your session you will receive 4-10 high resolution digital images per session. Please read the full terms and conditions before booking. Available on various December dates on the beach at Main Beach, Miami and Currumbin. These photo shoots are super popular, with over 75% of spots are already filled. They have a brand new Candy Land Theme this year as well as Grinch photoshoots in the park (not for the faint hearted)! You can book your Santa Beach photo here.
Robina Town Centre
Meet Santa in his magical Enchanted Forest from now until Christmas Eve. There’s also an option for a Sensitive Santa experience in a low-stress, sensory-friendly environment that can be enjoyed by all, without the crowds, queues and noise (from Monday 20th November) and special Baby’s First Santa photo packages. Book here.
Don’t forget the Awkward Christmas Portraits! Grab your best Christmas sweater, 90s scrunchie or leave it to the team who have a bunch of props on hand. It’ll be the most cringe-worthy portrait of the season! Check out the times and dates here.
Where: Outside Myer and Kookai, Robina Town Centre, Robina
Tis’ the season to be making magical memories. Create a Christmas memory and book your photo with Santa at Westfield Coomera from now until Christmas Eve. This year, Westfield is offering a range of photography sessions to suit everyone, including Sensitive Santa, My First Christmas, Pet photography and Auslan Santa. You can book online here.
Where: 103 Foxwell Rd, Coomera
Dreamworld Night Markets
Santa has made Dreamworld Night Markets his Ho-Ho-Home! Throughout December the Dreamworld Night Markets are going all out on Christmas. They have some of the GC’s biggest names performing all throughout December, as well as Christmas movies, a beautiful new stage show: Frosty the Snowman, and Santa photos. Make Christmas memories with professional Santa photos priced from $14.95. Parents are also free to take their own snaps. There;s no need to book.
*Price does not include entry into Dreamworld Night Markets.
Where: Dreamworld, Dreamworld Pkwy, Coomera
Okay friends, we need to talk.
Its officially December, which means there are very few sleeps until Christmas day and yes, our heart started pounding too. Firstly because it’s legit our favourite time of the year and secondly coz crap, we need to get our rears into gear and sort presents stat.
If you’re like us and running a wee bit behind in this department (every.darn.year), here’s a roundup of inspo to help you get a wriggle on.
Being the proud Gold Coasters that we are, each of our suggestions are based in our ‘hood, coz #supportlocal will forever be our favourite hashtag (and we do love a good hashtag, in case you hadn’t noticed).
Here we go….
Spirits and Beer
Get in the spirit this Christmas – quite literally! Who doesn’t love a tipple so a pressie from one of these local booze-bosses, you’ll be the golden child/friend/niece/nephew/co-worker…you get the gist.
If you’re searching for a gin on the northern GC, look no further than Biggera Waters’ White Oat Distillery. A relatively new player on the ever-growing distillery scene, these gents sure know how to hand craft a cracking drop, like their London Dry Gin. Or hit up another newbie which has also been attracting attention for all the right reasons, Arundel’s Winchester Distillery, where we highly recommend their limited-edition Passionfruit Gin (you’re welcome).
If you’re closer to the west, Cauldron Distillery on Tamborine Mountain is offering a limited edition Five-To-Five Christmas Gin, and while we’re talking specially distilled festive flavours, Tamborine Mountain Distillery has produced a range of Christmas Liqueurs with the likes of Gingerbread Liqueur. One for them, two for us…
Turning to the Burleigh power players, Capricorn Distillery does a mean Spiced Rum, while Wild Flower’s award-winning Wildflower Signature Gin is sure to put smiles on dials. Meanwhile Granddad Jack’s in Miami will sort you out with an extra special Christmas spirit in the form of Pavlova Gin and this is exactly how we like our dessert.
For the beer enthusiasts, you just can’t beat Burleigh Brewing Co. (the Burleigh Twisted Palm Tropical Pale Ale is the shiz), Burleigh Barrels (give the award-winning Hill Vibes Session Lager a crack), or Lost Palms who BTW, are doing $5 shipping right now (YAS!). Black Hops (and Black Hops II in Biggera Waters) never disappoint, nor does their recently launched Foreverland Grapefruit XPA. Fortitude Brewing on Tamborine Mountain’s award-winning Summer Ale is perfect for a GC summer Christmas, or if an authentic Belgian brew or two is on someone’s wish-list, it’s all about Ashmore’s Madlocke Beer Brewing Company.
Like booze, we all love threads so when in doubt, look to these local legends!
PJ’s are a go-to for a well-received Chrissie gift and Homebodii specialise in thoughtfully created, elegant sleepwear which, bonus, can be personalised.
Shop the comfiest and coolest loungewear for women and kiddos at Momi Babie, or head for Rhythm in Burleigh for the coastal surfy vibing missus or mister.
For the ultimate #supportlocal nod, you cannot go past The Undercurrent. Stocking men’s and women’s unique, high quality tees, singlets and caps designed exclusively by Gold Coast artists who share a passion for our city’s culture, it’s the perfect stocking filler.
Music Merch Collab Program
Now this one is spesh, and you’ll gain extra points for thinking a little outside the box! City of Gold Coast played ‘matchmaker’ pairing 12 talented local musicians with equally talented artists, providing each duo with a $5000 grant. These immensely successful collabs have resulted in some mic drop worthy merchandise guaranteed to knock the (corny Christmas) socks off any lucky recipient on your Chrissie list. We’re talking Gold Coast musos like Rae Leigh, Clovo, and Life is a Myth, joining forces with local artists like Isaac Hough, Beau Worsley, and Corinne Thorne – and that’s just the very beginning. Not only has this initiative produced some super cool merch, but it’s helping grow our local musical and visual artists’ profiles, and has provided another revenue stream for these creative geniuses. Check it out here.
We all love homewares (verified fact) and Kira and Kira in Miami stock the highest quality, timeless homewares, décor, artwork, and furniture.For beautiful wall art, wallpaper and planners, Mint Art Co have endless gorgeous options, and for linen lovers (AKA e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e), I Love Linen has a long list of goodies for the bedroom, the kitchen, and beyond.
For the greenery enthusiast, pop into Greenfolk Botany Shop in Burleigh for plants, cacti, succulents, pots, home and garden wares.
Now these guys aren’t strictly Gold Coaster’s (hailing from just over the border) but we reckon Clubbies Prints Gold Coast surf series are so spesh they need to be included #soznotsoz.
Simple Sunday Designs is your go-to for linen beach bags and yes, this.is.a.thing! Every Gold Coaster appreciates a lush, premium quality beach or bath towel, just like those at Mayde Towels and no-one does plant-based, organic and vegan skincare like Cedar and Stone.
Uggs are the quintessential Aussie must-have and the genuine, original version are crafted right here on the GC at Ugg Australian Made. Our tip: personalise your Ugg for a truly unforgettable gift! Small-batch, ethically crafted gold and silver jewellery from Merchants of the Sun is a great stocking filler, as is luxury hand-made artisan chocolate from Little Cocoa.
Last but not least, if you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, settle petal because The Village Markets in Burleigh always deliver amazing, well, everything. And, Burleigh’s Damn Good Store houses unique, locally created giftware, with everything from art, food, and drinks, to candles, stationary and self-care.
Words by Bianca Trathen.
It’s almost that time again Gold Coasters and if you’re anything like us, whipping up a Christmas lunch or dinner is the absolute LAST thing you feel like doing after sinking a few (too many) champers and opening all those pressies.
But never fear, we’re here to round up the local faves taking the hard yakka out of the jolliest time of year, so that you enjoy your food coma sans the prep and post feast clean up.
The Star Gold Coast
Who better equipped to handle our merry munches than the veritable recreation wonderland that awaits at The Star – we mean, they literally spend 365 days a year honing their impeccable hosting skills.. and an atmosphere primed for fun and frivolity is kind of their whole schtick.
Check out the epic array of soirees on offer here for the ‘star’ on the top of a tree-mendous Chrissy Day. Pssst, there are even gourmet hampers available for stress-free hosting.. (feel free to steal all the glory, our lips are sealed).
Where:1 Casino Dr, Broadbeach
Novotel Surfers Paradise
This Dec 25, have a cracker of a (carefree) Christmas Day with all of the cheer and none of the tears, and lock in a spectacular seafood buffet lunch at Novotel Surfers Paradise.
Find all the deets here to secure your spot – and score yourself a sneaky Chrissy morning sleep in while you’re at it – aka cut out the crack-of-dawn pilgrimage to the prawn trawlers altogether.. now that’s a Merry Christmas!
Where: Novotel Surfers Paradise, Cnr Of Surfers Paradise Blvd, Hanlan St, Surfers Paradise
Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach
Assemble your nearest and dearest for a delicious ripper of a Christmas celebration at the Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach this year. The Sofitel’s stunner trio of venues are set to transform for the occasion, on offer will be three enchanting experiences: a ‘Grand Ballroom Gingerbread House’, a jolly gastronomic journey for those who fancy their Christmas with a side of French indulgence, and sumptuous seafood and hot carvery buffet. Go here for all the delicious details.
Where: 81 Surf Parade, Broadbeach
JW Marriott Gold Coast
We’re more spoiled than a kid on Christmas morning with the array of delectable dining experiences on offer at JW Marriott. As experts in exquisite eats, their annual yuletide events always sell out.. so get on it like an empty parking spot in December, guys.
This Christmas, we’ve got four spectacular events to choose from. Citrique is gearing up to deliver a luxurious lunch (sold out) and dinner celebration, with a festive twist on their famous seafood buffet for $279 pp + BF, children starting from $49 (under 2 free).
The signature seafood buffet experience will also be hosted in Grand Ballroom, for a luxe lunch including live cooking stations, a three hour premium beverage package with Champagne, live entertainment, face painting and a visit from Santa. Tickets $339 pp + BF, children starting from $159 (under 3 free).
Alternatively, choose to celebrate at Chapter and Verse with the ‘Festive Feast of Seafood and Sweets’ Christmas Lunch, from 12.30pm – 3.30pm – a selection of mouth-watering morsels all set to satisfy, including seafood on ice, raw bar, cheese and charcuterie, tapas and dessert. Tickets $249 pp + BF.
Where: 158 Ferny Ave, Surfers Paradise
QT Gold Coast
Families looking to converge for some magical (and mouthwatering) Christmas mems, look no further than the luxe QT luncheons – both the Ballroom and Bazaar (dinner also available) will be abuzz with 3-hour beverage packages, a sumptuous spread of roasted meats, fresh seafood and decadent desserts. Christmas cheer also comes courtesy of a festive cocktail on arrival, and for kids under 12, a gift from Mr Claus himself.
Alternatively, avid foodies can treat themselves to an exquisite gastronomic experience at the adults-only Christmas Lunch at Yamagen. Get in the spirit with a meticulously crafted 7-course menu, a masterclass in Japanese dining with a showcase of seafood dishes with a Christmas twist. Tickets from $299 pp + BF, including an arrival cocktail and curated wine pairings.
(Pssst – Santa called, he said you should go ahead and upgrade to the Premium Whisky/Wine/Sake Pairing, it is Christmas after all).
Want to bring the QT home with you this Christmas? Indulge in the epitome of festive luxury with a QT Gold Coast curated opulent hamper. Crafted to delight 4-6 people, this lavish banquet features culinary treasures like the iconic Moreton Bay bug & prawn roll, slow-roasted suckling Berkshire Porchetta with crackling, locally caught tiger prawns, Sydney Rock oysters and Tasmanian smoked salmon. From $649 per box with 20 dishes to unwrap.
Where: 7 Staghorn Ave, Surfers Paradise
RACV Royal Pines Resort
Another festive contender for your consideration – round up your kin and revel in the Chrissy day array at RACV Royal Pines, for an indulgent spread hosted within the impeccable surrounds of the Royal Benowa Ballroom.
Kicking off from from 12:00 pm, this years proceedings include a 3-hour beverage package along with all the traditional festive fare – delight in fresh Australian seafood, carved meats, and a selection of hot dishes, salads and desserts. Tickets start from $51.00 for children aged 2-4 (ages 0-2 free) up to $297.85 per adult (+ booking fees).
Where: Ross St, Benowa
The Langham Gold Coast
Are you and/or the fam fans of the finer things? Then look no further than The Langham for your December 25 festivities, friends. As a destination with a rep for all things luxury, our unofficial dealers of decadence are especially equipped to deliver a swanky soiree.
This year, their swoon-worthy spread includes fresh local seafood, a crudo and oyster bar, live barbeque with premium meats such as wagyu steaks (feat. sausage sizzle for the littles) salads, desserts and more. Their stellar shin-dig kicks off from 12:00 pm, with tickets ranging from $148 per child (ages 0-4 free) to $468 per adult inc. premium beverage package.
Where: 38 Old Burleigh Rd, Surfers Paradise
Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove
Offering two decadent dining experiences, spend your Christmas Day situated among Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove’s stellar surrounds and get amongst some fanciful fare to mark the occasion in the most delicious of ways.
If the thought of festive fine dining sparks a whole lot of joy for you – we present to you, option numero ono: the long, and lavish – Degustation Lunch. Secure your spot at this little advent affair for an all-inclusive experience hosted at The Fireplace, and prepare to sip and savour your way through your Christmas Day for $449pp + BF.
If you’d rather take the night off following a jam-packed day of festivities (aka keep the arvo open for a very necessary nap) the Seafood Buffet Dinner option will be enticing on every level. With two convenient seatings available at 5 pm and 8 pm, get cosy at Cove Cafe and sidle up to a mouthwatering spread of traditional Christmas fare fused with modern Australian flavours. Tickets from $209 per person, children aged 5 to 12 are priced at $89 per child (ages 0-4 free).
Where: Sanctuary Cove, Manor Cir, Hope Island
Sadly for fans of the legendary Sharks seafood buffet lunch, this event has already sold out for this year #tear – though if the thought of this leaves you languishing, tickets to the Festive Buffet Breakfast are still available. On the bright side, this means we can bring forward our scheduled smorgasbord proceedings – and frankly, feasting sooner is never a bad thing in our books.
Start your Christmas day with a classic brekkie banquet fit for a ‘Kringle’, complete with all the morning mainstays – tasty rashers of bacon, delicious eggs, juicy sausages, sides of mushrooms and tomatoes, hotcakes with warm butter or sweet syrup (both, obvs), piles of pastries and so much more. Tickets for this very merry morning start at $15 for kids (ages 0-3 free) up to $55 for adults + BF, with 90 minute seatings available from 7:30am – 10am.
Where: Corner Olsen and, Musgrave Ave, Southport
This year, Surfers’ stellar pozzy, The Island, is poised to throw not one but two tantalising Christmas day events – take your pick of the Family Buffet in the Glasshouse – or the all-inclusive Buffet & Beverage Package in the Penthouse.. either way, yule be left feeling rather jolly indeed.
From 11am – 2pm, prepare to tuck into all the traditional festive provisions and trimmings – savour hot and cold seafood, succulent roast meats, seasonal roast vegetables, wholesome summer salads and decadent desserts.
Tickets for the Family Buffet event start at $89 for kids (ages 0-3 free), through to $179 for adults (+ booking fees) – with drinks available at the bar throughout the day. While the Penthouse Buffet & Beverage tickets are $229 pp + BF including 3-hour beverage package – which we might add, includes Christmas sangria and spritz, bc it would be rather Rudolph us to omit this very important detail.
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise
voco Surfers Paradise
We need not spend days toiling away in the kitchen, offload the preparations (read: stress) and let the voco pros handle your Chrissy day proceedings. Indulge in a banquet of iconic Christmas Day fare, such as fresh seafood, summer salads, succulent roast carvery, a variety of hot and cold dishes – complete with a mouthwatering dessert bar for your feasting pleasure. Plus, face painting and a sneaky cameo from the big man in red, for some extra special Christmas magic for the kiddos.
This little Chrissy extravaganza will set you back $289 per person, with children from $130 (ages 0-4 free).. and simultaneously deliver max satisfaction and zero stress in the process.
Where: 31 Hamilton Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Words by Kellie Leader.
The clock is a-ticking folks with roughly 6.5 weeks till Christmas, and we are NOT okay. Still so much to do and plan for our favourite day of the year and as we mentally scroll through our never-ending to do list, we feel panicky. Plus, it’s our turn to host Chrissie lunch this year and srsly, we’re kinda done with that ‘ole chestnut. If we’re being honest (we are), we just want someone else to do the heavy lifting so we can kick back with a mimosa and soak up all the festive feels. Well, The Star Gold Coast is giving us the greatest gift of all; some tree-mendous Christmas day dining options – sans the hard yakka – and bloody (Mary) oath, let’s dance this dance shall we.
Now we would tell you about the cracking festivities planned at Cucina Vivo, the Event Centre Ballroom, and Garden Kitchen & Bar, however they’ve already sold out and once again, we are NOT okay!! But crisis averted because there are still Christmas shenanigans to be had at Harvest Buffet, and at everyone’s fave Uncle’s, Uncle Su. Plus, there’s an elfin awesome option to suit those of you who have committed to hosting (us), but can’t actually be stuffed. Cue the anticipation…and keep reading….
I mean, it’s a Christmas themed buffet and is there anything better in life? Whether you’re celebrating with a lunch time nosh up or a dinner feast, Harvest has you covered with an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet and a three-hour beverage package. Think Sydney Rock Oysters and Garlic Butter Bug Tails, along with Beef Bourgeon from the grill. Pop by the carvery for classics like Roast Turkey and Stuffing, nom Mediterranean faves like pizza and pasta, and tuck into a selection of delicious salads. To finish, sweet tooths rejoice with a vast selection of desserts including the signature Crème Brulee. Sip on beverages like Talking Point Shiraz Cabernet, 821 Sauvignon Blanc, Hahn Lite and a variety of soft drinks. There’s even a Christmas Eve option for those who like to celebrate the night before! Christmas Day buffets start at $220 per adult.
Focusing on highlighting traditional flavours, ingredients and cooking styles from different regions of China, internationally trained Executive Chef of Asian Cuisine, Chef Song Yao Su, has developed a super spesh festive banquet…and we’re drooling. Starting with an appetizer of Chicken and Water Chestnut San Choy Bao to set the tone, you’ll then be treated to a Dim Sum Platter with the likes of Baby Spinach Crabmeat Dumpling. Slurp on a Minced Beef Egg White and Coriander Soup and devour delectable mains like Filet Mignon with King Mushrooms in Shao Zhi Sauce. For the clincher, there’s a Coconut and Mango Mousse with Egg Custard Tart and did we mention we were drooling?! $169 per adult.
Okay we LOVE this for us, and no one needs to know we didn’t make it all ourselves, right? Pick yourself up a delish takeaway hamper on Christmas Eve, complete with festive favourites like smoked ham, roasted turkey breast, Tasmanian salmon and more. Plus, you can make this Christmas extra special with optional seafood and salad upgrades as well as some exclusive beverage add-ons. Umm, yes to all of the above! Hampers can be purchased for either two people or six and can be ordered until Friday 16th December at 2pm. Oh and heads up – the prep of some hamper items requires basic cooking facilities and equipment (ie. stove, oven, pot) and yeah, I think we can manage this. Prices start from $260 per hamper.
Whichever option lights up your Christmas tree, you better book yesterday before they sell out too and LBR, Christmas FOMO invites total resting grinch face.
The Star Gift Cards
Now this is a Christmas present we can get behind! The Star Gift Card can be used across the board. We’re talking hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes and premium retail partners. One of these babies is guaranteed to have you topping the list as best gift giver. Order online and choose to receive a physical card or receive a digital card instantly #lastminutegift. Let me hear that Christmas cheer!
To purchase a Star Gift Card go here.
For more information or to purchase tickets for any of The Star’s Christmas activations, go here.
Words by Bianca Trathen.
STORY SPONSORED BY THE STAR GOLD COAST
The Star practises the responsible service of alcohol.