We heart the Gold Coast. Obviously.
And even though we’d never betray this chunk of paradise by leaving it permanently, we must admit that there’s a bunch of other places we’re in lust with. Not love, guys. Just lust.
This means that if you throw us the keys to a car with a full tank of petrol, some tunes, an adventure-loving friend or lover, and a couple of empty, plan-free days, we’re likely to jump on the road and get exploring.
Where to? Well, we’d start with these five weekenders to take around the Gold Coast.
This little gem of a town has long been overlooked for its bigger, more touristy southern sister, Miss Byron Bay—but as Bob says, the times they are a-changin’. And while we’re stoked people are getting acquainted with this unpretentious fishing village, we’re crossing our fingers it doesn’t get too popular ‘cause we’ve pretty much fallen for its relaxed, quiet vibes. So, what should you do when you’re in town for the weekend? For caffeine kicks and a croissant brekkie, stop by Jones & Co. And if you want a really special night out, be sure to book a table at Fleet; the wine, the food, the cocktails—holy smokes!
Hardly a secret, Bangalow is the Byron Shire town errybody wants a piece of. And who could blame them? If your ideal weekend is made of browsing boutiques packed with stunning homewares and sipping tea at cute cafes that sprawl onto footpaths, then pass everywhere until you see the off ramp with this town’s name on it. Hit list for your spending pleasure: for stunning home necessities try Our Corner Store, for threads hit Island Luxe, and for a photo-worthy morning or organic lunch you can’t beat Woods.
Alright, before you get on your high horse about how far away 1770 is, we know. We’ve been there. BUT, when you’ve got a whole weekend up your sleeve, what’s a six-hour (or so) mission each way with good tunes and good company?! Embrace the full meaning of FriYAY by hitting the road as soon as the clock strikes “weekend”. You’ll be up there in time for a nightcap at one of the waterside restaurants, then the fun that comes with trying to set up your tent in the dark while tipsy. Yes, beachfront camping is the way to go in this teeny town. Then, come Saturday, you’ve got the whole day to check out the open beaches around neighbouring Agnes Waters (maybe even get a surf), hike to lookouts, and just basically get your “relaxing” on. Got a sneaky couple of extra days and cash hangin’ about in your back pocket? Jump a boat to Lady Musgrave Island. You won’t regret it.
The “other coast” has woken from its semi-slumber over the past few years, to make way for an onslaught of cool new cafes, characterful breweries and world-class restaurants. We don’t even know where to start. So we’d suggest you book your place at one of these epic Airbnbs on the Sunshine Coast, then start trawling through the guides to this nature-lovin’ surfer’s hub over at our sister site, Urban List Sunshine Coast. Haven’t made the trek up to the SC in yonks? Well, we reckon your best bet is to get re-acquainted through the likes of Padre Coffee, Locale, and Bonsai Brewhouse.
Straddie—the daddy of Queensland’s southern islands has a loyal holidayin’ fan base, and it’s not hard to see why. Cute-as-a-button beach shacks for rent or beachfront campsites, surf or calm waters, it’s pretty much the island for everybody. AND it’s easily accessible via ferry from Cleveland in Brisbane. The beauty of North Stradbroke Island, along with its, well, beauty, is you don’t need a grunty 4WD to makes tracks, as sealed roads run between the main townships. Score! Transfer tickets are a little exxy for a day trip from the Gold Coast, so count this as an option when you’re taking an “unexpected” extended weekend, if you know what we mean. *cough*
Photo Credits: Claire Plush for Metropolist, Woods, Jones & Co., Ross Finlayson