© Kara Rosenlund
Burleigh Heads, on Queensland’s Gold Coast, is one of my favourite quick escapes down the highway from Brisbane. About an hour from home, I love how this coastal stretch has visual remains from a different era.
Much of the former charm of the Gold Coast is a homage to the golden age of Americana, from the glittering suburb names like Mermaid Beach and Surfers Paradise, to the suntan oiled tourists on the beach, the nostalgia is everywhere.
I head to the Gold Coast regularly on editorial assignments to shoot stories for travel magazines and also for pleasure visits, escaping to the beach. Each time I visit I can’t believe the quality of the restaurant and bar scene and how much great food is on offer. It really is on the rise.
If you’re visiting the Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games, here are the top 5 things you can’t miss while you are there….. and even if you aren’t heading there for the games, keep these tips up your sleeve for when you are next in the seaside hood.
1. Eat Breakfast at Commune
This bustling little café is tucked away on a slip lane off the Gold Coast Highway. I love looking out for the old low-fi surf shacks while finding a park in the back streets. Lots of friendly staff and vintage vibes here.
Everything tastes great from the menu, if you are after something healthy, yet hearty, order the green bowl of avocado and eggs, with a side of bacon for your pre-swim sustenance.
2. Go For a Swim at The Beach
Head to the beach first thing in the morning while the surf is still calm and the beach isn’t too packed.
Afterwards, duck into the Burleigh Surf Life Saving Club beach kiosk on the sand and grab a cool drink. I always support this incredible organisation and give over any loose change I may have on me. And remember, be beach safe and always swim between the flags!
3. Go to Rick Shores and Order a Moreton Bay Bug Roll with a Cold Glass of Rosé
I love this restaurant and always try to arrive for 12pm when they open their doors. This hive of activity fills up fast, as the food is fantastic and the beach views from each table makes this restaurant a local icon.
I always grab a table outside as they are usually available. You can sit in the sunshine, hear the waves and people watch with the sand between your toes. Otherwise, make sure you book well beforehand if you would like to sit inside. The place goes off most days.
Hot tip, one bug roll is never enough, they are so addictive! A soft brioche roll with a crispy battered Moreton Bay Bug, gem lettuce and sriracha, heaven, with a cold glass of rosé.
4. Coastal walk up Burleigh Headland
After you’ve had lunch at Rick Shores, you will need to walk all those bug rolls off, so head up to the beachside path of the Burleigh Headland, a wild and natural headland in the heart of Burleigh.
Take in the rolling blue waves in between the iconic pandanas and the black rocky foreshore. You can sometimes see migrating whales in spring.
5. Stay at An Old-School Motel for a Dose of Nostalgia or Go Luxury and Stay at Bon Sol
You can go high or you can go low. Either way the accommodation offerings at Burleigh are in close proximity to the beach.
Sometimes it’s fun to go low-fi and stir fond memories of family holidays in daggy motels. Or, go high and stay at bon Sol, a luxury beachfront apartment with interiors by Anna Spiro Design.