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Love bites: delectable Valentine’s day feasts await!

Make your plus one's heart skip a beat at The Star Gold Coast.

Valentine's Day at The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)
Valentine's Day at The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)

If you’re trying to woo the human of your dreams or earn big-time brownie points, let The Star Gold Coast play cupid this Valentine’s Day. Give the servo roses and Quality Street choccies a miss, and trade up to a dining experience they’ll never forget. With tastes to satisfy any palette, everyone is leaving with a full belly, and a fuller heart.

Cucina Vivo
Italians wrote the book on romance so head to the Pegasus of Italian restaurants, Cucina Vivo, and steal a pizza of their heart! The five-star authentic goodness will have you saying arrivederci to hunger as you explore the sumptuous a la carte menu. Come and spaghe- me!

Pizza at Cucina Vivo, The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)
Pizza at Cucina Vivo, The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)

Feast on mouth-watering options like Buffalo Mozzarella and fella’s – the way to a woman’s heart is definitely via cheese (you’re welcome). Heat things up with the Spicy Wagyu Spaghetti, adorned with herb and garlic meatballs, or share a Gamberetto Pizza topped with Mooloolaba prawns and zucchini pesto but really don’t – keep it all for yourself. Being the John Aikens of food, we recommend ending the evening on a sweet note with the decadent Chocolate Cannoli. Coz calories don’t count on V Day.

Valentine's Day dessert at Cucina Vivo, The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)
Valentine's Day dessert at Cucina Vivo, The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)

Wasa-bae? Kiyomi is calling, promising a top-notch romantic evening with a side of decadence and intimacy. Let the world-class chefs guide your Valentine’s Day culinary journey with a set menu for $165 per person, complete with optional wine and sake pairings (#YesAndYes). Or, if you know what you want what you really really want, then the infamous a la carte menu is perf for all the ‘ramen-tics’ out there.

At Kiyomi, lovey-dovey dining isn’t confined to the 14th as throughout February, you can indulge in the special Kuro Mori dessert featuring Dark Chocolate, Roku Gin, Davidson Plum, and Umiboshe. It’s official – this is the place to sweep your ‘soymate’ off their feet.

Valentine's Day dessert at Kiyomi, The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)
Valentine's Day Kuro Mori dessert at Kiyomi, The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)

Uncle Su
Bao chicka wow wow! If the object of your affection yearns for Cantonese flavours and the freshest live seafood, Uncle Su (AKA Uncle Luuurve) will make them sweet (not sour) on you. How about twice the romance with a double date and a specialty banquet menu starting from $78 per person (minimum of 4 people). Or, dive into the ever-popular a la carte menu with simply irresistible options like Snow Crab, Mud Crab, Australian Lobster, and Abalone.

Uncle Su, The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)
Uncle Su, The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)

Garden Kitchen & Bar
For a night that blends relaxation with refinement let Garden Kitchen & Bar be the heartwarming backdrop for your Valentine’s celebration. As the perfect conclusion to your night, we wholeheartedly endorse the irresistible Ice Cream Sandwich, adding an extra layer of sweetness to the enchanting experience. Because, let’s be honest, an ice cream sandwich is always a good idea. Cheers to love and delightful desserts!

Chocolate Fountain, Harvest Buffet, The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)
Chocolate Fountain, Harvest Buffet, The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)

Harvest Buffet
Buffet buffs, listen up! Turn your Valentine’s Day into a family affair at Harvest Buffet. Indulge in a lavish spread of fresh seafood, including oysters, prawns, crab, and mussels, accompanied by an unbeatable roast carvery. And for the grand finale, immerse yourself in a dessert wonderland with a flowing Chocolate Fountain because it’s just not V-Day without a flowing chocolate fountain!

All you need this Valentine’s Day is love….and The Star Gold Coast. For more information or to book, click here.

Where: The Star Gold Coast, 1 Casino Drive, Broadbeach
When: Wednesday 14th February. Various times depending on restaurant.

Words by Bianca Trathen.


The Star practises the responsible service of alcohol. Guests must be 18 years or over to enter the casino. BET WITH YOUR HEAD, NOT OVER IT. Gambling Helpline 1800 858 858

Schedule a swoon-worthy staycay

Revamped penthouse, Novotel Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
Revamped penthouse, Novotel Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

Gold Coasters – be it calendar, diary, or organisational app – get your preferred mode of planning at the ready. Novotel Surfers Paradise has just taken their R&R game to a whole new level of luxe, unveiling a lush refurbishment of their two top-level Penthouses. And trust us, it’s the kind that will make you want to find as many reasons as possible to schedule a stay, stat.

Revamped penthouse, Novotel Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
Revamped penthouse, Novotel Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

Now don’t get us wrong, Novotel Surfers Paradise has always been a premier destination for all things accom here on the GC. And with those sweeping panoramic views of the iconic Surfers Paradise skyline, what more could we really want or need when it comes to revelling in some maxo-relaxo vibes, you ask? Well, hold on to those sun hats, and set those expectations sky-high.

Revamped penthouse, Novotel Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
Revamped penthouse, Novotel Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

In conjunction with its comprehensive refurbishment, Novotel Surfers Paradise has recently revealed the swoon-worthy new look for its four bedroom, three level penthouses… along with some seriously exciting additions. If the fresh new look of the chic, open-plan décor that screams sophisticated beachfront living at its finest doesn’t hook you – just wait till we drop four, very sweet little words.

Private rooftop plunge pool.

Rooftop pool at Novotel Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
Penthouse Rooftop pool at Novotel Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

Yep, the Level 36 total transformation includes the addition of private plunge pools to the rooftop terrace, and we can think of no better way to soak up those aforementioned views of the sparkling Surfers Paradise surf.

Okay, perhaps also a sparkling in hand, if we’re being really picky here – and with an adjoining outdoor dining area, it would be rude not to oblige in a few sundowners, no? Never-ending happy hour, come at us.

We can practically already hear the fizz of waves crashing (and Mimosa’s pouring) from here.

Revamped penthouse, Novotel Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
Revamped penthouse, Novotel Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

The spacious Penthouses span across three levels, including four bedrooms designed to accommodate up to eight adults in supreme comfort. Each bedroom is fully decked out with king beds and large LCD TV’s – ideal for gathering your nearest and dearest for a rejuvenating getaway, no? And yes, the Novotel Surfers Paradise Penthouses should absolutely be your go-to for getting the extended fam together for some vacay or staycay action, but hear us out – luxurious girls weekend of beachside pampering, anyone? #sorryfambam

With your stake claimed on your choice of room (word to the wise, the master has a soaking tub #rundon’twalk) – all that’s left to do will be to choose between unwinding in the spacious lounge area overlooking the rolling surf, or taking it straight to the rooftop to soak up some glistening, poolside rays (perhaps after a quick call to room service to rustle up some specialty cocktails, lbh).

Revamped penthouse, Novotel Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
Revamped penthouse, Novotel Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

And yep, anyone else suddenly in the mood for a getaway… like yesterday?! The (literal only) downside? With only two of these primo Penthouses on offer, dates for these high-roller vibing suites will book out fast (we really were not messing around when we said you’d need those calendars at the ready).

So whether it’s a milestone, special occasion, celebration… or simply just to *treat ‘yo self*: next time a truly boujee beachside getaway is in order – schedule your elevated escape at Novotel Surfers Paradise (sooner rather than later).

Where: Novotel Surfers Paradise, Cnr Of Surfers Paradise Blvd and Hanlan St, Surfers Paradise

Words by Kellie Leader.


Five Sunday drive destinations

Sunflowers (image Courtney Cook via Unsplash)
Sunflowers (image Courtney Cook via Unsplash)

Sundays are reserved for one of three purposes; chilling with the fam and getting prepped for the week ahead, sneaking in a little Sunday sesh to delay Monday as long as humanly possible, and our fave, a spot of road trippin!

We’re lucky on the GC as we’re inundated with scenic drive options, and only need to travel an hour or two to find lots of beautiful, unique sights and activities.

We’ve broken it down to five destinations and provided a small snapshot of what you can find at each.

Toot toot!

Cauldron Distillery (Image: 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Cauldron Distillery (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Mt Tamborine

Gallery Walk
A trip up the mountain isn’t complete without a stroll along Gallery Walk. It’s a melting pot of eclectic finds, with over 70 shops in the one block. You’ll find everything from fashion, jewellery, arts and crafts, cellar door outlets, chocolate, fudge, food outlets, cafes…and even a cuckoo clock shop. If you’re looking for something unique or need to buy that friend who has everything a gift, chances are you’ll find something here.
Where: Long Road, Tamborine Mountain

Curtis Falls
Enjoy a beautiful walk through the rain-drenched Eucalyptus forest to the magical Curtis Falls. Wander past towering trees and through a canopy of ferns, down to this miniature and photogenic waterfall. The 1.1km 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. Top it off with a spot of morning tea at the Curtis Falls Cafe. Lovely!
Where: 16 Eagle Heights Road, North Tamborine – Get there via Eagle Heights Road and park right at the entrance to the walk.

Curtis Falls (image supplied by Tourism & Events Queensland)
Curtis Falls (image supplied by Tourism & Events Queensland)

Cauldron Distillery
This 18-acre working distillery is the darling of the Scenic Rim. A Prohibition-style space with an established vineyard, lush rolling meadows and of course, a generous gin and cocktail bar, there’s a lot to love. Settle in for a bev or a feed, or BYO picnic rug and chill amongst the vineyards. You can partake in complimentary lawn games if you so desire, and they’re pro pop here so Fido can come too!
Where: 89-123 Hartley Road, Tamborine Mountain

The Glow Worm Caves
Take a guided half-hour walk through lush rainforest to a purpose-built cave, filled with thousands of shimmery glow worms! Everyone can get up close and personal with a glow worm here without damaging delicate wild habitats #CueApplause. And the best part? It’s conveniently located in the Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery, you can enjoy a tipple pre or post tour…or pre and post tour!
Where: Cedar Creek Estate, 104-144 Hartley Road, North Tamborine

Mountview Alpaca Farm (image supplied)
Mountview Alpaca Farm (image supplied)


Mountview Alpaca Farm
Located in O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard, you can meet alpacas and drink wine and srsly, life made. Choose between 15 and 60 minute alpaca experiences where you can walk and feed these cute creatures, or go all out with an alpaca picnic, alpaca devonshire tea, or a wine, cheese and alpaca package (#us). Set in a boutique vineyard and historic Queenslander homestead, it’s as picturesque as it is fun.
Where: 852 Lamington National Park Road, Canungra

Farm & Co Restaurant (image supplied)
Farm & Co Restaurant (image supplied)


Farm & Co.
No doubt Instagram has informed you there is a field of sunflowers just a short 25 minute drive away where you can frolic, take selfies, pick said sunflowers and generally pretend you don’t have a care in the world. There’s also a coffee shop where you can sink into an oversized lounge chair while gazing at the sunflowers and contemplating a new career in farming, live music of a weekend, a tasty array of brunch eats and fresh veggies you can take home too.
Where: 529 Cudgen Road, Cudgen 

The Chindy
Check out restful riverside town Chinderah, stopping in for a refreshment and snack at The Chindy. Also known as Chinderah Tavern, The Chindy boasts a big old deck overlooking the widest river in the world (not a fact) and supplies all the cold beer, wine and tasty eats you could wish for on a Sunday afternoon. There’s live music, sunsets if you time it right, and just general non-city good times. Right next door is Cubby Bakehouse you can get yourself some dessert for the drive home.
Where: 156 Chinderah Bay Drive, Chinderah

The Farm, Byron Bay (image supplied)
The Farm, Byron Bay (image supplied)

Byron Region

The Farm Byron Bay
A must visit for everyone (especially anyone with a little person in tow), The Farm is a destination in itself. See how the farm operates and say hi to the animals, and meet the infamous mascots Braveheart the Scottish Highland cow and Bobby the rooster. Collect macadamia nuts from the macadamia trees, have a meal at Three Blue Ducks restaurant, or grab a little something from The Bread Social to eat outside on a picnic rug. There’s a playground for the anklebiters and plenty of beautiful open space to explore.
Where: 11 Ewingsdale Road, Ewingsdale

The Crystal Castle in Mullumbimby
Instagood alert! Sit in an ancient amethyst cave, pose with rare and amazing giant crystals, and wander five hectares of subtropical, crystal-filled Shambhala Gardens and rainforest. You can even touch the World Peace Stupa, a project blessed by the Dalai Lama and join in Crystal Sound Healings at 12pm and 3pm! Grab a bite with a stunning hinterland view at Lotus Café and let the kids run amok in the playground.
Where: 81 Monet Drive, Montecollum

Shambhala Gardens, Crystal Castle (image supplied)
Shambhala Gardens, Crystal Castle (image supplied)

Hotel Brunswick
The heart of beautiful Brunswick Heads, swing in for a drink or a feed at this classic Aussie pub. Somewhat of an institution and a fave far and wide, relax under the beautiful Poinciana trees in the beer garden and soak up the ambience. Always busy on Sundays, if you can push the friendship and stay on till the early evening, you’ll generally be rewarded with live music and an even more awesome vibe. Pub grub at its best.
Where: Mullumbimbi Street, Brunswick Heads

Newrybar Merchants
A collective of creative local artisans and curators of fine goods who are passionate about what they do, this is our jam! Honouring the space and the essence of the Byron Bay Hinterland, Newrybar Merchants enables customers to experience rustic charm effortlessly blended with sophistication within a beautiful and unique retail space. Shop everything from faaarshion, to homewares, to wellness products and everything in between, it’s a must.
Where: 16 Old Pacific Highway, Newrybar

Ivory Waterside (image supplied)
Ivory Waterside (image supplied)

The Tweed

The Ivory Waterside
Barely over the border but for the northern GC folk, it’s a Sunday drive to Tweed Heads so we’ll let this one fly. Recently undergoing a bit of a nip and tuck and overlooking the adjoining marina and picturesque Terra Creek, it’s the ultimate in casual waterside dining. The food is consistently delish and guys, you can even get your rad on with tons of vintage arcade games in Benny’s Arcade. Talk about a one-stop-good-times-shop! Add it to the list.
Where: 156 Wharf Street, Tweed Heads

Wollumbin National Park
This World Heritage-listed national treasure is well worth a look. Previously known as Mt Warning National Park, lose yourself in some of the largest and oldest tracts of sub-tropical rainforest on Earth. Wollumbin, which rises from the park to a height of 1,157 metres above sea level, is a remnant central vent of an ancient volcano and yep, that’s a drawcard right there. Note the Wollumbin (Mount Warning) summit track and the Aboriginal Place remains closed.
Where: About 12km south-west of Murwillumbah off Kyogle Road, Mount Warning

River Terrace, Tweed River House (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
River Terrace, Tweed River House (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Tweed River House
This one is special! From the vantage point of the verdant riverbanks, settled at the tropical foothills of the Tweed Caldera in Murwillumbah, this century-old riverside plantation house has been lovingly restored to maintain its original character and charm. The elegant yet relaxed renovation creates a unique space that reflects the gentle pace of the Northern Rivers, oozing 1930s style with a French twist. They’ve even been nominated for a Chef Hat Award by the Australian Good Food Guide so if the aesthetics aren’t enough to get you there, the nosh will be!
Where: 131 River Street, South Murwillumbah

Baked at Ancora
Another one that’s close by when you’re a bit strapped for time is Baked at Ancora. Believers that sweet treats and waterside picnics go hand in hand, we concur and we can’t get enough of this Parisian style café bakery. From their signature croissants and traditional classics like pain-au-chocolat, to the more unique and inventive flavour combos, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in actual Paris. Well worth the waistline damage.
Where: 118 Wharf St, Tweed Heads 

Interior Wine Wall, Rob Roy Deli & Drinks (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Interior Wine Wall, Rob Roy Deli & Drinks (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre
There’s always something new to discover at the Tweed Regional Gallery, housed in a large, modern, architecturally award-winning building with views to Wollumbin/Mount Warning. Don’t miss the opportunity to see Claude Monet’s painting Meules, milieu du jour [Haystacks, midday] 1890, currently on loan from the National Gallery of Australia (NGA). While you’re there, a meal at the new in-house eats haunt Apex is an absolute non-negotiable. With a stunning outlook and design to reflect the vista, indulge in a unique combo of rustic French patisserie goodies and modern cafe plates with a very ‘now’ pan-Asian twist. Add a cocktail and instant happy place.
Where: 2 Mistral Road, South Murwillumbah

Husk Farm Distillery
Just a hop, skip and a jump over the border, a sneaky visit to the lush Husk grounds is certainly one of the more low effort, high reward outings Gold Coasters have at our fingertips. Our recommendation? Take your tastebuds on a very smooth sip around the signature Husk offerings with a tasting paddle to start. Not only have they mastered treats of the thirst quenching variety, the Husk Farm kitchen offers up a selection of top notch eats to rival their signature spirits selection.
Where: Dulguigan Rd, North Tumbulgum

Words by Bianca Trathen.

Dining room at Apex Dining (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Dining room at Apex Dining (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

10 of the best Gold Coast picnic spots

Picnic at Burleigh, The Undercurrent (image supplied)
Picnic at Burleigh, The Undercurrent (image supplied)

On the Gold Coast we are blessed with pretty spectacular weather year-round, which means picnics are high on the agenda. Thankfully we have no shortage of pretty spots to throw down a blanket for a spot of cheese and biccies with friends.

Here’s a list of 10 of our favourites.

Hinze Dam, Advancetown
This underrated hinterland destination will be your new favourite picnic spot. There are several parks that surround Hinze Dam, so take in the stunning scenery, sip on a cold glass of bubbly and generally enjoy the company of family and friends. There’s a BBQ area, kids playground and even a small cafe in case you need fresh supplies. Make sure if you’re taking the pooch to one of the designated areas, they’re kept on a leash to preserve the wildlife.

Cedar Creek Falls, Mt Tamborine
Mt Tamborine is a picnicker’s paradise and has more picnic areas than a year has days, Cedar Creek Falls being by far one of the best. Driving up the winding roads and taking in the scenic beauty is almost enough entertainment, but that’s not all. Cedar Creek Falls are located just metres from three waterfalls and countless walking tracks, making it the perfect place to spend your next Sunday.

Cedar Creek Falls (image supplied)
Cedar Creek Falls (image supplied)

Macintosh Island, Surfers Paradise
This little oasis nestled in Surfers Paradise (most commonly used for getting around the GC500 every year) is great for picnic dates of all sorts. The tranquil setting with cascading water running through the park is home to many birds (including peacocks), so don’t forget your stale bread. There’s also that super fun bridge previously built for the Indy in 2007.

Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Benowa
Hard to believe that this beautiful little piece of paradise is just a mere 10 minute drive from Surfers Paradise. Take the whole family or soak up some solo serenity, it’s the perfect setting for both and anything in between. There’s even a butterfly garden for your gazing pleasure.

Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Benowa (image supplied)
Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Benowa (image supplied)

Cascade Gardens, Broadbeach
Cascade Gardens can be found between Surfers and Broadbeach and there are plenty of barbecue and undercover picnic shelters. This peaceful riverside sanctuary is the perfect date spot and with a huge area to run around, it’s also popular for families wanting to keep the kids entertained for hours (hopefully not on a date).

Burleigh Hill, Burleigh
In unsurprising news, Burleigh Hill is probably the most popular picnic spot on the Coast. You can’t beat the Insta-worthy views overlooking the Surfers Paradise skyline. If you want to get a good spot on a Sunday get there early `cause the whole Gold Coast likes to unite here to see and be seen.

Picnic on Burleigh Hill (image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)
Picnic on Burleigh Hill (image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)

Ed Hardy Park, Miami
Next to North Burleigh Surf Club the park offers great people watching and a few BBQ areas perfect for that Sunday arvo picnic with the gang. Walk up Miami Hill and take in the views or have a sneaky swim in the ocean. There’s a takeaway bottle shop across the road if you need to stock up on sips.

Tallebudgera Creek, Tallebudgera
The battle between which side to choose continues. But no matter which is your go-to, Talle Creek won’t disappoint as favourite picnic spot. The calm creek waters are perfect for a little splash before devouring your mobile buffet. Beware the hungry bush turkeys!

Tallebudgera Creek (image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)
Tallebudgera Creek (image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)

Long Tan Park, Currumbin Valley
Not many people know about this pretty but somewhat hidden picnic spot in Currumbin Valley. It’s the perfect spot to get away, relax by the creek and pop in for a dip. There are no toilets or BBQ stations and uninhibited nature is purely the theme here, so go prepared. Drive along Currumbin Creek Road and take a right turn at Bains Road, the park is situated just over the bridge.

Kirra Lookout, Coolangatta
Kirra Lookout is the Burleigh Hill of Coolangatta, just not as busy and with more parking opportunities (we like the sound of that). You can either drive or walk up, but be warned, it’s quite steep, you’ll burn off your picnic before you make it to the top. Enjoy the view whilst nibbling on some crackers and sipping on an icy cold one, it’s pretty special!

Words by Kirra Smith.

Picnic (image via Unsplash)
Picnic (image via Unsplash)
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