Magic has arrived on the Gold Coast friends and it comes in the form of hundreds of illuminated jellyfish just casually doing their thing.
How can jellyfish be magical you ask? Well, through said illumination of their tiny, transparent bodies by changing coloured lights, put simply.
The experience goes a little something like this. You walk into a dark little area and follow the “oh wows” coming from around the corner. Once there you’ll see what all the fuss is about.
Hundreds of Moon Jelly’s (the most common type of jellyfish) of all shapes and sizes are moving about in a huge tank that changes colour every second or so. Because they’re transparent, it seems as though the jellies themselves change colour, and because they move so slowly, it’s like they’re performing a graceful little Moon Jelly dance just for you.
In a word, mesmerizing.
The incredible creatures have made themselves at home at Seaworld in Main Beach recently as part of a brand new exhibition that will both delight your eyeballs and teach you a thing or two thanks to the first-of-its-kind research laboratory on site.
The Griffith Sea Jellies Research Laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility, placing Griffith University at the forefront of jellyfish research internationally. The jellies exhibit allows you to catch a glimpse of leading research being undertaken into the world of sea jellies, right there at Seaworld. How good!
Not only Moon Jelly’s though, there is an incredible little tank literally pulsing with Upside-down Jelly’s (the greatest name for any animal ever), who live down low in the coral and actually look a little bit like coral themselves. Because, camouflage.
The Mauve Stingers are all spindly arms (legs?) and though they GLOW IN THE DARK, they will also inflict quite the painful sting should you get too close.
Last but not least, is a corridor type situation with cylindrical tanks filled with bigger jellyfish that also change colour but at different times so you are surrounded by colourful creatures and it’s like you’re under the sea but there’s pretty lights and it’s really something else. Long sentence but all of the excitement over here.
Obviously, we’re quite the fans of magical, animal adventures and no doubt you will be too.
Gather the gang and make a day of it, those little jellies will light up your life for real.
LOCATION: Seaworld, Seaworld Drive, Main Beach
HOURS: 9.30am until 5pm daily
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
Over the last few years, a lot of attention has been cast around our city by way of new up-and-coming eating precincts and suburbs with hospo prowess to rival our southern neighbours. One such stretch of the Gold Coast which has always been a hotspot for good dining experiences is Main Beach. Sure, it may have been a little in the shadow of other areas in recent times, but we certainly believe there is still a serious collection of great restaurants deserving of your hard-earned eating-out budget! Plan ahead, people: start blocking out next weekend and booking tables, as we run through our picks of the suburb.
Omeros Bros Seafood
If you’re in the market for fresh, first-class seafood, Main Beach is where it’s at: and more specifically, it’s at Omeros Bros Seafood at Marina Mirage. A multi-award-winning venue with the most fabulous to-die-for seafood platter around. It’s called Omeros Indulgence, and it’s a mix of hot and cold seafood and possibly the most decadent dish you’re likely to find in the city. Do you know what else goes well with quality seafood? Quality beverages. You’ll find a superb drink offering here to match the food also.
Where: Shop 55/74 Marina Mirage, Seaworld Drive, Main Beach
Main Beach Fish Grotto
New to Tedder Avenue dining scene is this luxe adaptation of a humble fish and chip shop worthy of anyone’s attention. This nautical-themed and whitewashed eatery serves only the best seafood alongside crispy chips and a wisely sized selection of wines and beers. There’s ample reason to stay and dine in with comfort, but if you do decide to takeaway, a drink or two can’t hurt whilst you wait.
Where: 20-22 Tedder Avenue, Main Beach
Terraces – Sheraton Grand Mirage
Should a 5-star experience be on the cards for your break from the kitchen, then strip off your apron and make a beeline for this Main Beach culinary gold mine. You’ll be spoilt with a luxurious setting overlooking the renowned Sheraton Grand Mirage swimming pool and grounds before you even take your first glance at the food. A deluxe buffet-style arrangement means you’ll have a sophisticated ocean to plate favourites hand-delivered to your table, so you can focus on all the coastal tranquillity this fantastic property has to offer.
Where: 71 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach
This Main Beach institution has been around since 2001, and affection for the cleverly named venue has only grown in that time. The team pride themselves on sourcing the outright freshest seafood; so much so their Crab Lasagne is absolute proof, and out of this world! Take in the tranquil tree-lined street of Main Beach while you enjoy your dishes and wash it all down with an icy glass of Chardonnay — or two.
Where: 20 Tedder Avenue, Main Beach
Glass Dining & Lounge Bar
Another Main Beach restaurant, another mind-blowing view. Glass Dining & Lounge Bar is found at Marina Mirage overlooking the water and serving up fine dining treats and some pretty sweet cocktails too. The menu uses only the best quality produce, meats and fresh local seafood, and it’s long been a local favourite. We highly recommend the Tempura Battered Bugs marinated in garlic and chilli served with mayo and grilled lemon. Just wow.
Where: Level 2, Marina Mirage, 74 SeaWorld Drive, Main Beach
Fisherman’s Wharf Tavern
Picture the scene: the sun is dipping behind the hinterland, the last light is caressing the still water over the Broadwater, and you’re sat soaking it all in with some fantastic food. Sounds too good to be true, but, at Fisherman’s Wharf, it’s yours for the taking. Right on the water, the casual setting is unflawed when it comes to relaxing over eats whilst enjoying drinks and taking in some wonderful regular live music.
Where: Shop 40, 60-70 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach
Southport Yacht Club
Overlooking the sparkling Broadwater, Southport Yacht Club is the ultimate in epic views and affordable eats for not just you but the entire family. It’s a casual eatery open for breakfast (weekends only), lunch and dinner! Or why not just head in for a drink to overlook one of the most beautiful stretches of water (and yachts of course) you’re going to find in Australia.
Where: 1 MacArthur Parade, Main Beach
An utterly remarkable European dining experience is found behind the golden doors of Palazzo Versace by way of Vanitas. A five-star dining setting with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients that make up some of the most stunning dishes you’ve ever sampled. If you needed any more convincing, Vanitas has won a multitude of awards over the years and can boast of A-list celebrities, from far and wide, enjoying the deluxe dining experience regularly.
Where: Palazzo Versace, 94 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach
Domanis Café Restaurant & Bar
For nearly a staggering 30 years, the team at Domanis have been serving up good times and even better food — and it shows in the hordes of people constantly streaming in and out. Their pizzas are award-winning and putting it simply: epic. Perched on the corner of Tedder Ave, it’s the perfect spot for a frosty cold ale and relaxing lunch or dinner. Try it for yourself, and you’ll see what all the fuss is about.
Where: 1/19-21 Tedder Avenue, Main Beach
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
It may be home to the Gold Coast’s bustling business district but Southport can also boast a huge array of incredible eateries, culture and general good times.
We’ve rounded up 15 things locals love about the place and we reckon you might enjoy them too.
In no particular order, enjoy.
There is many a good time to be had at Southport Sharks including dining at one of the delicious dish-packed restaurants, drinking at Aviary Rooftop Bar overlooking the city, joining in on one of their classes at the Health + Fitness Centre or getting involved in one of their many good time events. The possibilities are endless. It’s the perfect spot for a family event or take the crew for a Sunday afternoon session. Happy days no matter what.
Where: Olsen Avenue and Musgrave Avenue, Southport
Southport Yacht Club
Waterfront dining is the name of the game at Southport Yacht Club with two venues to choose from and stunning scenes from whichever you choose. You’re also welcome to just sit back and kick up your heels with a cold beverage or two while gazing lovingly at one of the many beautiful yachts in the marina. It’s one of the Coast’s best locations and you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Where: 1 MacArthur Parade, Main Beach
Zero Latency is a free-roam, virtual reality experience like no other. With up to eight players per game, you’ll have the BEST time fighting zombies, exploring mystical places and challenging your friends on space stations. All you need to do is put on the VR headset, strap into the backpack and pickup the controller. Get 10% off here. It really is so good.
Where: 34 Smith Street, Southport
The Coast’s first vodka distillery opened in Southport a few short months ago and what a treat. The family-owned business are whipping up three types of vodka, two types of gin and even a couple of beers on the premises and you can pop in to grab a bottle to go, or you can sit down and enjoy a cocktail and a charcuterie board and spend a bit of time. Very cool.
Where: Unit 7/55 Bailey Crescent, Southport
Who doesn’t love a good dive bar. Particularly one that doubles as a live music venue and has a huge range of your favourite beers on offer (and some you may not have heard of). Head in there to discover some new music from both local and interstate bands and if you’re in the mood for a party, which we know you are, you can hire the space out for your next one.
Where: 44A Nerang Street, Southport
Mr PP’s Deli & Rooftop Bar
On the ground floor of the building you’ll find the deli section of the establishment, with an array of delicious meats and cheeses that will be brought together in platter form for your feasting pleasure. Upstairs, the rooftop bar boasts tasty cocktails, even more delicious eats and views across the city. It’s a real good time.
Where: 43 Nerang Street, Southport
To put it bluntly, you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted a Randy Wallhole bagel. There are eight flavours to choose from which means you have multiple per day if you so choose. Go for the Pulled Bas first up, it’s got Smokey BBQ pulled beef, peri mayo and apple slaw. Wash it down with some of the best coffee on the Coast and be on your merry way.
Where: 4/21 Nind Street, Southport
A newbie amongst the Southport bunch, Boudoir Lounge is the very best spot for a tasty brunch with the girls or simply a few cocktails after work. Found on Como Crescent, it quickly became the go to spot for those looking for some delicious eats, in a sweet setting and with unique sips of course. Inside there’s also a hair and beauty bar so you can get fabulous before you head out on the town. Perfect.
Where: 410/1 Como Crescent, Southport
Whether you’re four or 40, there’s tons of fun to be had at Broadwater Parklands. For starters, you can sit and stare out at the yachts you’ll never set foot on. Then, there’s the bouncy pillow (maybe don’t go on there without a child), a kiddies train, a water playground and weekly events from theatre shows to foodie markets. See, fun.
Where: Marine Parade, Southport
D Point Ten
Oh donuts, how we love you. D Point Ten can be found on Stevens Street and, in keeping with the general donut vibe, is a little hole in the wall space pumping out the freshest of donuts we may have ever excitedly shoved into our greedy mouths. In all the best flavours no less. Go the Ferrero Rocher for sure.
Where: 6/1 Stevens Street, Southport
The delightful folk at Cardamon Pod are serving up delightful dishes with a focus on clean eating but of the prettiest variety. They offer vegan and gluten free options for breakfast and lunch with a side of organic coffee and vegan desserts. All very delicious and it’s very hard to stop at just one thing or not to post on your Instagram.
Where: Brickworks Centre, 3/3 Brolga Avenue, Southport
Gold Coast Aquatic Centre
Southport’s centre of swimming is something for all of us to be proud of. It’s as pretty as a collection of swimming pools can be and, as it was home to all the Commonwealth Games water activities, it’s world class. The architecture is sleek and there’s a training room featuring pits filled with foam for the divers to practice in.
Where: Marine Parade, Southport
Imagine being wrongly accused of murder, chained to a wall and having to rely on your friends’ detective skills to free you. Who you gonna call? Welcome to Escape Hunt, Southport’s brain bending game guaranteed to test your problem solving skills like they’ve never been tested before. There’s a few scenarios you might be faced with, all of which involve solving a mystery with a set of intricate clues. It’s the most fun you can have inside a locked room. Make sure to take your smart friends. Grab 10% off here.
Where: 2/162 Scarborough Street, Southport
Where to start. There are SO many excellent places to peruse at the Brickworks starting with Ferry Rd Market where you can nab yourself everything from beautiful flowers to the freshest breads, seafood and fruit and veggies galore. God it’s good. Within the Centre, there’s also stunning homewares, fashion and design stores and health and beauty services. Oh, there’s also always some really cool events.
Where: Ferry Road, Southport
Words by Kirra Smith
Without a shadow of a doubt, Gold Coasters have a strong affinity with the animal kingdom. From our four-legged furry friends joining us for coffee dates to the abundant wildlife everywhere you turn; all creatures great and small are inherently a part of our coastline, and therefore most people’s lives here.
It turns out there are many other charming creatures around these parts and you can share an experience with some of the cutest and mightiest of them! So whether you’re a local or enjoying the Gold Coast short term, here are our recommendations on how you might find yourself on the furry/feathered/scaly end of an endearing animal encounter.
Tiger Island Dreamworld
Get up close and highly personal with some of the animal kingdoms most majestic creatures. Tiger Island is a true one-off as you’re able to watch daily shows — before the next minute finding yourself side by side and patting the big cats themselves for a photo opportunity like no other!
Where: Dreamworld, Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera
Mountview Alpaca Farm
How does meandering your way around a vineyard with a glass of wine and your very own alpaca in tow sound? Be careful though; there may be some confusion around who is walking whom! These guys can be found at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard, where you can pat and feed them to your heart’s content.
Where: 852 Lamington National Park Road, Canungra
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the best places for anyone on the Gold Coast to experience wildlife since 1947! There’s a long list of animals to find yourself involved with here, from crocodile feeding, bird shows, and having your picture taken with a koala. If you haven’t been in a while, there’s a relatively new section that opened three years ago called Lost Valley. The highlight is one of the southern hemisphere’s largest aviaries, where you’ll mingle with red pandas, tamarins, and ring-tailed lemurs!
Where: Tomewin Street, Currumbin
Spirit Whale Watching
As whale watching season is just upon us (May — November), you’ll be hard-pressed to see the spectacular sight of migrating whales from a better location than the sunny waters right off our coast. Spirit Whale Watching tours will take you right into the action as groups of whales make their way north around the Whitsundays to give birth before then returning south later in the year. The operator has a history of getting their guests wet with whales breaching and tail slapping the water from proximity. And if you don’t see any whales, they’ll take you on another trip free!
Where: 60-70, Sea World Drive, Main Beach
Australian Outback Spectacular
Saddle up for the night of a lifetime at Australian Outback Spectacular. A hot tip is to arrive early to get photos with the dogs and horses, the stars of the show! Once inside the arena, you’ll then get a three course dinner. Followed then by one of the most spectacular shows you’re likely ever to see, filled with animals, Aussie songs, and a guaranteed few laughs as riders frolic about on stunning steeds — all while you look on in awe. Expect stunts, special effects, and not forgetting a tasty meal. Making for a night, you’re unlikely to forget!
Where: Pacific Motorway, Oxenford
As far as aquatic encounters go, this is your one-stop place to see and learn about a plethora of water-based animals. From Polar Bears to penguins, seals to sharks, there is guaranteed to be an animal that will captivate everyone’s imagination. If this isn’t enough, you’ll come across a selection of shows where splashing around and seeing these magnificent creatures do their thing will leave you speechless, or maybe a dolphin encounter is more your thing: spending time in the water with these animals and their trainers!
Where: Sea World Drive, Main Beach
Paradise Country Aussie Farmyard
Sometimes there are so many adorable animals, yet so little time. From native Aussie wildlife to farmyard animals and even an animal nursery, you’ll be spoilt for choice at Paradise Country. If you’ve never been to a farm, this is the perfect place, only minus the hard work! It’s a great weekend adventure if you need to escape city life. And news just off the press tells us they will soon be expecting their own little mob of meerkats — making your decision to visit, simples.
Where: Pacific Motorway, Oxenford
Crazy Cat Café
This feline-orientated experience is purrfect if you like mixing coffee and cats. If you’re not a fan, you can still tag along, as the café section is separated by a window that allows you to look in on the cat lounge while its inhabitants leap around, swat each other, and generally enjoy their cat castle. If you must get involved, don’t panic, you can join them for a play and a quick snap or two.
Where: 63 Centre Arcade, 3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
David Fleay Wildlife Park
Right in the heart of Burleigh is an intimate, heritage-listed wildlife sanctuary home to a vast array of animals — and most people drive past without even realising! Wander around at your own pace and soak up the serenity or go on a guided tour and learn all about everything from Dingoes and Rock Wallabies to Bilbies and Owls. There are shows throughout the day too; so be sure to carve out a good chunk of time for a visit.
Where: Loman Lane, Burleigh Heads
Words by Alex Mitchenson.