Take a stroll through the Coast’s history.
Take a stroll through the Coast’s history.
Not only is walking a convenient way to get from A to B, apparently it’s also a great way to learn a thing or two about the city you reside in and gawk at some sweet scenery along the way.
While there are many picture-perfect places to stroll around our beloved Gold Coast, for the purposes of this article we’re going to focus on the latest one.
Surprise, it’s The Commonwealth Walkway which was created for both locals and visitors to embark on a marked, 10km stroll around the Coast while at the same time learning about our city’s unique heritage. Just delightful.
There are 37 markers along the way (bronze, because we’re fancy like that) starting at the Southport Chambers and finishing up at the Evandale Council Chambers.
Along the way you’ll come across incredible stories like that of the Yugambeh people, upon whose traditional land the Gold Coast was built.
A few stops down is the Southport Pier, where the Coast’s first jetty constructed in the 1800s when SoPo was a booming holiday destination.
Moving onto Surfers (we’ve skipped ahead a few steps), you’ll stop at the Gold Coast Meter Maid sign to discover the 1960s origin of the glitter girls and why locals used them to keep tourists coming back.
You’ll say g’day to Matey the dog, a Surfers legend who used to walk patrons home from a long night at the pub, cross the Chevron Island bridge, make your way past the Surfers Paradise Rowers Club (perhaps pause here for a hard-earned frothy) and, eventually, find yourself at the Council Chambers.
Of course, there’s plenty more but what’s the fun in spoiling the surprise.
If you thought the Coast’s history was all 1960s surfers and beach shacks you’d be right but there’s much more to it than that and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t find out exactly how our city came about.
Don’t forget, there are plenty of bars and eateries along the way because there’s no need to deprive yourself of the things you love.
Grab your walking shoes and get to it.
LOCATION: Starts at Southport Chambers, 56-58 Nerang Street, Southport
Words by Kirra Smith.
Life hey, sometimes it’s rainbows and lollipops and sometimes it’s reality TV binging and becoming way too acquainted with Ben & Jerry (tell ‘em we say hi).
In our (extremely well researched) opinion, escaping your day-to-day life every once in awhile is key for a reality check and attitude reset. Particularly if you’re able to get outside and treat your senses to some sweet natural goodness.
As you may have guessed, we’ve found a few spots (yes we know there are more) you can do exactly that and BONUS, they’re right on your doorstep. Happy escapism friends.
No not on a Sunday arvo with an esky full of beers and your way-too-dressed-up-for-grass-sitting squad. We’re talking a walk around the headland and up to the top of the actual hill itself (who knew right). From there you can bask in the beauty of the epic views and think about exactly how lucky you are to live on the Gold Coast. Beers are acceptable afterwards if you must.
Where: Burleigh Hill (you probs won’t miss it)
Ahh, sweet rocky serenity. Seriously though, this place is the goods if you’re keen for some alone time in a world heritage listed rainforest with incredible views (yes, hi). Wear your walking shoes because it’s a 3.5km walk through the rainforest to get there but once you do, perch yourself up on the rock with a ham and salad sandwich and marvel at the magic of mama nature.
Where: Drive to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat (Canungra) then take the Border Track until you see the Picnic Rock turn off
Gold Coast Botanic Gardens
It’s not a place we locals often visit but it should be if you’re in need of a quick nature hit without having to travel too far. There’s 31 hectares of uninterrupted greenness to wander about in plus there’s a sensory garden so you can get up close and personal with the plants. Oh, and there’s a butterfly garden AND a rose garden and if you don’t leave feeling all chilled out and in love with life we will eat our hats.
Where: 230 Ashmore Road, Benowa
Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area
So it seems there are some absolutely stunning wetlands to the north of our delightful city and we’re sorry we haven’t brought this to your attention sooner. There are over 1,200 hectares (that’s big for those playing at home) of wetlands, eucalypt forest, salt marshs and mangrove habitats and you can just go on in there and wander around. Get up close and personal with native wildlife, go for a trail run or simply just sit back and watch the birds. Mind blown.
Where: Shelter Road, Coombabah
The Wishing Tree Track
Not sure about you, but the name of this track takes us back to our whimsical childhoods and that’s pure escapism if ever we saw it. Anywho, the adventure to the wishing tree itself is all downhill (lovely, until you gotta go back up again) and there’s all kinds of native delights to discover. Once you’ve found the tree you can keep going into Glow Worm Gully (stop it) or just chill there and make some wishes. Bye.
Where: At the Green Mountains below O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Canungra
Currumbin Rock Pools
A well known spot amongst Gold Coast locals is Currumbin Rock Pools, about ten minutes west of the Gold Coast Hwy on Currumbin Creek Rd. It’s the perfect place for a family picnic, a relax in the tiny rapids or a dip in the waterhole. Watch out for kids big and small jumping from the rocks above and be sure to take your camera to secure some sweet snaps.
Where: Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Valley
Oh hey no biggie but we found heaven and it comes in the shape of a pool of water at Springbrook. It’s a peaceful little swimming hole sheltered deep in a rainforest gully with views up and down the valley and honestly, when can we move in. You’ll also find a couple of other rock pools to try out should you get sick of Warringa (you won’t) and how good is fresh water.
Where: From the Settlement day-use area in Springbrook National Park, take the path to the Purling Brook Falls lookout
Yes we understand that a dam is a manmade structure but it can still be found in the midst of nature up Springbrook way so here it is on the list. Hinze Dam is a big old thing so you can cruise around and find a spot to chill that tickles your fancy. We particularly like the dark, dense trees that grow directly out of the water – perfect for pics – and if you get right down near the water you can (and should) go on a mini frog hunt. Tried and tested good times. You can also grab a cuppa and a tasty treat from View Cafe while you’re there.
Where: Advancetown Road, Advancetown
Words by Kirra Smith
When it comes to impressing visiting family and friends, is there any better way than going on an adventure and chasing a waterfall — or two? Because beyond epic beaches, and one of the world’s most renowned surfing reserves, we also have world heritage listed rainforests and breathtaking surrounds literally right on our doorstep. And the best part about these fantastic places and mind-blowing natural spectacles is they are entirely free!
So we highly recommend you clear your schedule, pack your swimmers and embark on a fun-filled sojourn into the green behind the gold in search of large pieces of falling water. Set your phone to silent and let the serenity feed your soul.
Here are a few of our favourites, all within an hour or so from the Gold Coast.
38.7km from Surfers Paradise
Just a 50-minute drive from Surfers Paradise and nestled amongst the Denham Scenic Reserve are the Beechmont rock pools — or Lip Falls as the locals call them. Once you park your car (on Doncaster Road), it’ll only take half an hour to make your way down to the falls. Be aware; these walking paths are steep and narrow and right next to deep gorges.
Where: 45-57 Doncaster Dr, Beechmont
Cedar Creek Falls
44km from Surfers Paradise
Cedar Creek Falls are one of the better-known waterfalls on Mt Tamborine and a popular destination for locals and tourists alike (be warned – it can get quite busy). Your best bet is to explore the area via the Cedar Creek Circuit (3.2km), which will take you along all the cascades and rock pools.
Where: Cedar Creek Falls Rd, Tamborine Mountain – To get there, take Tamborine Mountain Road until you get to Cedar Creek Falls Road, just past the information map stopping bay on the left. From there, it’s only a short drive down a narrow road and across a small creek before coming to the Cedar Creek Falls section and the car park at its entrance.
39.2km from Surfers Paradise
It’s a short, beautiful walk through the rain-drenched Eucalyptus forest to the magical Curtis Falls. You’ll wander past towering trees and through a canopy of ferns, down to this miniature and photogenic waterfall. There are lots of cute creatures to spot along the way too, keep an eye for resident platypuses and wallabies. The walk should only talk half an hour or less to get down to the falls, but you will likely want to stay awhile and soak up the peacefulness. It’s just a 1.1km round trip, so you can knock it over in the early morning then stop for a spot of morning tea at the Curtis Falls Cafe.
Where: 16 Eagle Heights Rd, North Tamborine – Get there via Eagle Heights Road and park right at the entrance to the walk.
Lamington National Park
67.4 km from Surfers Paradise
Elabana Falls are certainly a hidden gem located amongst Lamington National Park close to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat (a great spot to grab a bite to eat after your waterfall adventure). Park your car at O’Reilly’s and make your way through the rainforest, past Picnic Rock and further downhill for another 400 metres until you reach the cascading falls. Make sure you refresh yourself with a snack or sit down before embarking on your way back up; it gets pretty steep!
Where: Lamington National Park Rd, Canungra
Springbrook National Park
47 km from Surfers Paradise
As you probably know, Natural Bridge is a heavenly cave-like rock formation at Springbrook National Park that is home to glow worms and a colony of tiny bent-wing bats – it’s also one of the most photographed spots on the Gold Coast. Start the short one-kilometre rainforest walk clockwise to the Natural Bridge rock arch to get down to the action.
Where: Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd, Springbrook – It’s super easy to find; just follow Nerang-Murwillumbah Road until you get to the car park signage at Bakers Road.
40.6km from Surfers Paradise
Start your 4km journey through the sub-tropical rainforest from the Tallabana picnic area or Canyon lookout in an anticlockwise direction. You’ll reach a small bridge, flowing water and immense rock formations after a couple of minutes (perfect for an Insta snap). Keep hiking down the track until you come across two rushing waterfalls. At the base of Twin Falls — after a worthy hike — you’ll find a large rock pool perfect for a rewarding swim!
Where: Canyon Pde, Springbrook
Purling Brook Falls
NOTE: The Purling Brook Falls circuit is currently closed as a result of flood damage due to a severe rainfall event on Thursday 22 September 2022.
37km from Surfers Paradise
The Purling Brook Falls are immense, towering at over 100 meters in height and are naturally best visited after rainfall. Start your 2 hour hike clockwise along a scenic and elevated path into a subtropical gorge to view the amazing falls from below. Venture further down the track until you reach waterholes that are great for swimming. When you have had enough, prepare for a steady climb up through the rainforest, which will bring you back to the picnic area.
Where: 63 Gwongorella Parade, Springbrook
113km from Surfers Paradise
Yes, we know the following two locations aren’t on the Gold Coast, they aren’t even in Queensland, but it will take you a short drive along what is probably the most breathtaking scenic drive, until you reach Nightcap National Park in Northern NSW. Make sure you come prepared because getting to Minyon Falls can be quite the journey (well worth it, though). We recommend you start with Minyon Falls Lookout, providing you with outstanding views before adventuring further downstream towards the base of the falls.
Where: Nightcap National Park, Newton Dr, Nightcap
108 km from Surfers Paradise
Killen Falls are undoubtedly one of the most epic waterfalls to dive into with its large swimming hole and rock pools. The rock has been eroded significantly behind the waterfall, forming an impressive cave. Ever wanted to take a waterfall shower? Well, at Killen Falls, that’s not a problem as you can swim across the pool and climb up the rocks just to sit right underneath the falling water.
Where: Killen Falls Dr, Tintenbar – Killen Falls are super easy to find, just minutes off the Pacific Highway near Byron Bay.
But it’s important to remember, whilst it’s tempting (and refreshing) to go for a swim in the rock pools and lagoons, it’s prohibited in some, so please adhere to any safety signs and be 100% sure it’s safe to swim before diving in. Also, be sure to pack closed-in shoes, plenty of water, mozzie repellent and sunscreen (the sun will still get you between the canopy).
Last but not least, take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints behind!
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
It’s almost time for the history buffs and sticky beaks among us to revel in the secrets of the Coast’s most historic and (usually) close to the public buildings. That’s right, Gold Coast Open House is upon us once again.
Many people, locals and visitors alike, believe the Coast town is made up of weathered shacks and glass high rises but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of our beautiful buildings date back to the late 1800’s and this is your chance to check them out!
Here’s six must-sees at this years Gold Coast Open House.
1. Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre
The brand new multi-purpose facility is made up of two sporting halls connected by a beautifully appointed pedestrian walkway. Created for the Commonwealth Games, the world-class centre will host badminton, weightlifting and wrestling competitions while doubling as a training centre for athletes. Don’t miss this one, the architecture is stunning.
2. KDV Golf & Tennis Academy
Take a self-guided tour through this modern, state of the art sporting complex. The Academy provides high quality golf and tennis coaching in an elite facility using the latest technology for improved performance. It’s a fascinating set up and one you’ll definitely want to check out.
3. Hill Avenue Residence
Located on a scarily steep site with street access from both the top and bottom, this unbelievable home is an absolute must-see. The design focuses on views to the ocean and distant city skyline on each level and the architecture is both beautiful and awe-inducing. You’ll want to move in asap – race ya.
4. Hinze Dam
The Hinze Dam is your local drinking water supply station and seeing it in the flesh is pretty spectacular. It is an un-gated dam, meaning that when it reaches 100 per cent capacity, water flows over the spillway and safely out of the dam, something everyone should witness at some point in their Coast-dwelling lives.
5. Art Deco Tour
Join a guided tour and learn more about the Art Deco buildings of Southport’s CBD. Admire the architecture, learn about our local history and be introduced to some of the buildings that line Scarborough and Nerang Streets. Often buildings such as these beauties are overlooked but we truly do have some stunning buildings in our midst.
6. Gold Coast Desalination Plant
Not sure about you, but this big guy was somewhat of a hidden Gold Coast gem before today. Found not too far from the beach in Tugun, the plant supplies water to the South East Queensland region and, unsurprisingly, it is huge. Definitely worth a look and you might learn a thing or two aswell.
There you have it, this is an event for both the inquisitive and architecturally inspired, or those simply interested in learning about the Gold Coast’s unique history.
Words by Kirra Smith