The Gold Coast shines all year long. Roadtrip anyone?
Summer may have left us, along with our summer bodies, rigid body hair maintenance and hot, balmy days to make you deeply resent that jobless guy you’re friends with on Facebook who uploads daily selfies with various beaches in the background accompanied by the hashtag #funemployment.
Here’s my feeling – why should this guy (who incidentally, somehow still manages to eat, pay rent and rock a wardrobe of RVCA) have all the fun?
I challenge you before February passes to take my best ever day trip to the Gold Coast to make some memories with your posse that’ll make even old mate jealous. All you need is a car.
Obviously my guide below can be chopped, changed and switched up to suit however you roll – I get that a sunrise wake-up doesn’t fit everyone’s MO. I’m also not sending you to hidden beaches or on three-hour treks – this is about a simple fun day with friends.
The basic premise is that it’s not about getting day drunk at some bar in Surfer’s and stumbling up to Macca’s before dark, but seeing some of the real Gold Coast, featuring kilometre after kilometre of uncrowded beaches and hinterland that combine to create one of Queensland’s most beautiful regions.
- Start your day at Froggies (aka Froggy and/or Froggy’s Beach). This is a little piece of heaven neatly spliced between Snapper Rocks and Point Danger (Google Maps Snapper Rocks for directions). This could be your first port-of-call at sunrise, or you could head here mid-morning after having breakfast at any number of awesome cafes on the coast (Think Paddock Bakery, Elk Espresso, Skull & Bones Espresso or Commune). It’s just next to gorgeous Rainbow Bay, which reminds me of Byron with its turquoise waters. Have a swim or a surf with the locals amongst the gently rolling waves, or jump into the sea baths set into Snapper Rocks as the sun comes up over Point Danger for the best view in the house. Sidetone – I’m obsessed with Sydney’s ocean pools – both natural and man-made) and have been forever fuming there were none in the Sunshine state but now I’ve discovered Gold Coast’s own roughly constructed ocean pool, well, Sydney, you can suck it.
- When you can tear yourself away from the gems of the Coolangatta region, it’s time to head to the Currumbin Valley for a little waterfall action. For the most beautiful cascading waterfall on the Gold Coast, head to the Cougal Cascades. You can find some information about getting there here or simply head to Currumbin Rock Pools as per the map here. Then, just keep driving until you reach the Mt Cougal National Park car park. It’s a tiny bit further to drive than the more popular Currumbin rock pools but completely worth it and just a short walk from the car park. Here you can sun yourself on the rocks, jump into the waterhole (at your own risk) or take advantage of the natural water slide formed by the falls like we did. Be warned, the last one is addictive and you’ll end up acting like kids on speed. Completely unavoidable.
- Next up, dry yourselves off and head to Tallebudgera Creek, the Gold Coast’s worst kept secret. A perfect spot for a swim, sunbake and SUP if you wish. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, make like the many thrill seekers gathered on the bridge and dunk yourself into the refreshing inlet waters.
- Once you’ve showered off the salt water, jump in the car to Burleigh and take a quick walk into the Burleigh Head National Park to take in one of the most scenic perspectives the coast has to offer at Tumgun lookout. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better ask someone from around where you can find Cock Rock (the name makes total sense when you see it) for an unmissable photo op.
- At this stage, you’re thirsty and starting to get hella hungry. It’s time to grab some ciders and a blanket (or a dry towel/sarong will do) and head to where the locals lay on Burleigh Hill for sundowners most nights.
Insider Tip: Sundays are packed so get there early with some nibbles if you’re here on the weekend. As you watch the sun go down, you can’t help but feel wistfully jealous of the laid-back GC lifestyle as you watch grommets skate by, bleached blonde fringes in their face, tanned teenagers strumming guitars and young couples treating themselves to a seafood picnic.
It’s right about now you’re feeling sun kissed (OK let’s be honest, you’re burnt) and sad about leaving, when rumbling stomachs interrupt your leaving arrangements. Yep, it’s time to kick on, and where else but Justin Lane? Luckily your OCD bestie knows the squad too well and made a booking, otherwise there’d be no chance of getting a pizza, much less a seat, in the packed rooftop mezzanine. Located just a block back from Burleigh beach, prepare for the best pizza of your life and make sure to include the James St Deli Ham and a
bottle glass bottle of pinot noir in the table’s order. You’re welcome.
Oh, and it’s been a long day. Eat, drink and be messy. And designated driver, my thoughts are with you.