48 Hours: Australia’s Gold Coast mixes challenge and inspiration for visitors

Posted October 17, 2017


The Gold Coast is a Queensland icon of Australia, known for its 70-kilometer coastline with some of the most popular surf breaks in the world. It was originally named as the South Coast, however, in the late 1940s, it became the place to buy and sell land in the post-war real estate boom. The local council thought that it was a perfect promotional name and the government proclaimed the name “Gold Coast” in 1959. The city also has a unique cultural heritage, shaped by Indigenous ownership, European settlement of the hinterland, followed by various of arrivals and developed the coastal strip eventually. For people who are passionate about water activities, the Gold Coast is always the first choice due to its No.1 surf lifesaving service in Australia to protect people on the beaches. The pleasant subtropical climate made millions of visitors come and embrace the natural attractions each year.


4:30 p.m. High Tea at Q1 Building

Sipping a cup of green tea (AUS$4.50) at Seventy7 Café + Bar, where locates at the 77th floor of SkyPoint Observation Deck, Gold Coast. Not just the waterway and beaches, you can have a 360-degress view of the city. If you have someone with you, the signature share platter Sky Tea for Two or Seafood Tower for Two will fill you. From the daytime to sunset, the different versions of skies and water are displayed through the super clean windows. The parking is free if you have a car, and the deck becomes an over 18s only time from 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

8 p.m. Glow Worm Cave

Found only in Australia and New Zealand, glow worms with distinct blue light is the best reason for people to go night hiking at Springbrook National Park’s Natural Bridge section. It takes 50 minutes to drive there from the city center. If weather permits, the park is one of the best spots to see the Southern Cross and the Milky Way. A bush-walking in nearly dark is breathtaking since your sense of hearing becomes more sensitively than your visions now. The path is surrounded by the sound of the stream and the smell of moss. In the end, step down to the cave, the entire rock inside is hang with blue “pearls,” depending on the season, you may also find some glow worms in the soil besides the walkways.


6:30 a.m. Sunrise Moment

Getting up early on Saturday morning, the stunning sunrise happens at the eastern-most point of Australia, Byron Bay. The lighthouse, cliff, beach and rain forest are combined together, even the whales or dolphins appears occasionally in lucky days. Local citizens love a morning jogging from the beach to the lighthouse, then stop for 30 minutes waiting the sunrise. The parking is limited and hard to wait even in low season, so please come earlier for a spot if you are driving with babies or elders.

8:30 a.m. Breakfast

Embrace a new day, the sunrise at Byron Bay (Photo by Chu Zhang).

Barleaf Café always creates a buzz in the morning. Coconut Quinoa Porridge could fresh the body entirely. For vegetarians, Breakky Greens or Falafel & Eggs & Sweet Potato Flatbread will amaze your taste buds. The healthy ingredients are not conflict with good taste there. Barleaf’s owner may have a random chat if you are interested in the story about the delicate decorations and tableware.

11:30 a.m. Get Tan on Surfers Paradise Beach

Take a nap on the Australia’s iconic beach. Throughout the year, people can’t stop get tanning on such soft and pure sand. You can rarely find rubbish although it’s next to the commercial district full of tourists. Public services including shower facilities and toilet are convenient to use along the sidewalk. If you are with kids, take them to a two-hour surfing class as a gift from the beautiful ocean. Whenever you wake up from the sunshine, you can see your children’s happy face playing with the waves. For couples, the Beachfront Market is the next stop for local souvenirs and snacks.

1:30 p.m. Dim Sum Time

Dim sum delivers a cozy Chinese cuisine brunch or lunch with family and friends. The small steamer basket or small plates of dishes are usually served in carts. Yum Cha at the Pacific Fair Shopping Mall has the great advantage in parking and shopping after the meal. The quality of food and atmosphere are middle-high end.

Take a rest and get tan on Surfers Paradise Beach (Photo by Chu Zhang).

Don’t be panic when the waitress arrives holding and introducing the dishes that just came out from the kitchen. It’s just the way that dim sum is served. Shrimp dumplings, shaomai, sweet cream buns, lotus leaf rice and phoenix claws are the first choices if you are trying dim sum for the first time. Whenever Chinese people eating dim sum, they treat it as a best reunion time. Make sure you order a pot of chrysanthemum tea or Pu’er tea, since it is the spirit of your time chatting with friends.


3 p.m. Shopping at Pacific Fair

It is the final destination for shoppers who pursue modern decorated shopping malls. Both indoor and outdoor designs are concise and pleasant. The central leisure area is semi-covered, which can offer a fresh environment to customers.

Enjoy the dim sum while chatting with family and friends (Photo by Chu Zhang).

The mall offers Australia’s largest collection of luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and international mega stores like Zara, Sephora, UNIQLO, and so forth. For gentlemen not interested in shopping, they can enjoy a cocktail or coffee in the small bar while waiting for the girls. In summer season, you may watch a three-person basketball game between local universities or schools in the leisure area. Parking is free for first five hours.

8 p.m. Dinner

Girls always seem to dream about romantic dinners. De Vito Waterfront in Southport owns a fabulous view of Nerang River and provides shows while people enjoying their meal. The main chef, David De Vito, plays a role as a singer, too. Fettuccine De Vito (pasta) in a rose sauce has the best review from customers.


4:30 a.m. Hot Air Balloon  

Take to the skies for a once-in-a-life experience. Plenty of adventurers and passionate travelers consider Australia as the best place to challenge themselves. The hot air balloon companies located in Gold Coast area are professional in providing pick-up service and in their safe flights. As you rise off the ground with a sound of firing-up, the steady journey takes you to various “pictures” of farms, lakes, pastures and forests. The 30-60 minutes of early-morning flight passed as the sky turns to bright from dark. After touching down, the packing task of the big balloon is a surprise for the guests.

9:30 a.m. Breakfast & Champagne at O’Reilly’s Vineyard

Morning sight-seeing from the hot air balloon (Photo by Chu Zhang).

The hot air balloon package usually contains the breakfast, but it is a free option when you reserve with the balloon company. The biggest vineyard O’Reilly’s, has become the top one on the lists. A hot buffet breakfast could drive away any cold from the early morning. After a glass of champagne with sausage, waffles, scrambled eggs, and fresh fruit, O’Reilly’s nature surroundings are a good place to take a walk.

11:30 a.m. Indoor Skydiving

Why not try a completely safe skydiving? It is possible. The iFLY indoor skydiving guarantees your safety and meets all expectations. The flying experience in a giant glass tunnel works well for beginners at any age. The coaches will teach the professional flying skills. Floating on the ground is especially attractive for children, which is the reason why iFLY offers junior iFlyer Club to kids ages 6 to 16 years old. The family and friends package also has a 20 percent discount.

If You Go:

  • Byron Bay Lighthouse: Lighthouse Road, Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia.
  • Barleaf Café: 2 Marvell St., Byron Bay, New South Wales 2481, 7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Phone: 26685-8900.
  • Yum Cha Cuisine: Pacific Fair, Broadbeach, Gold Coast, Queensland 4218, Australia, Phone: 75527-6888.
  • Pacific Fair Shopping Center: Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach, Gold Coast, Queensland 4218, Australia, Phone: 75581-5100.
  • IFLY: 3084 Surfers Paradise Blvd,Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland 4217, Australia, Phone: 30036-6364.