Love it or hate it, I think almost every Aussie has visited the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches and tourism hub, Surfers Paradise, at least once.
Well known for its white sand, warm weather and friendly people, the area is a playground for tourists, schoolies, holiday makers, young families and now it appears, health and wellness enthusiasts.
For me, the Golide has never really been my destination of choice (stay with me GC readers). I’ve always been more a fan of it’s neighbours Byron, Yamba and Noosa; most probably because I find the high-rise buildings, strip clubs and theme parks that crowd Surfers Paradise a little overwhelming.
But despite this, this past Easter long weekend my man and I found our ourselves back near the strip seeking some sun, good food and a bit of R&R. And I’m super glad we did.
Our holiday started as any good trip does – making the most of free flights! Aaron was working from Brisbane for the following week, so we thought we’d make the most of his journey up there. We started off trying to book accommodation on the Sunshine Coast but Easter squashed our hopes of finding a decent place for reasonable coin.
With dreams of a beach vacation in mind, we ventured south and tried our luck on the shiny coast.
And it was surprisingly good! (Particularly for me because the trip became a mini-health adventure – I have a very patient and loving man).
It’s no secret that the Goldie sits nicely above the northern rivers and thus is home to some serious inner hippy, earth-goddess, my body is a temple vibes that I’m currently channelling.
In the wellness game, these vibes are flowing in abundance through the social platforms of those who have a good story to tell, and time and time again I’ve heard about fantastic movements stemming from this part of the country.
And once you’re there it’s easy to see where all this inspiration is coming from. At every health-inspired venue we visited (and there were A LOT!) the people were incredibly kind and humbly passionate about their work. It was so uplifting! And even better, around every corner there was always another wholefoods cafe, raw food restaurant or community market to try.
We used our hire car to frequent spots including Burleigh Heads, Mermaid Beach, Kirra and Southport for almost every meal. This is where Aaron’s patience and love for me really became obvious 😉
In fact, I found one cafe that made gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free and totally organic muffins. I got so excited that I bought a stash to last me the weekend. They were damn bloody good.
We stayed at the QT which was fun and colourful (most importantly it had a huge and comfy bed and spectacular views of the ocean). Our food indulgences included feasts from The Greenhouse Factory, BSKT, Marie Anita’s, Providore and Vivre A Vie. To fill the days we went to the beach in Surfers and Burleigh Heads, and visited The Village Markets on Sunday morning.
At the markets I met the most lovely lady who made beautiful aqua, blue and pink ceramic bowls. If I wasn’t fearful they would have broken on our flight home, I would have bought an entire dinner set! After confirming that I could check my baggage and carry a bounty of ceramic goodness with me on the plane, I settled for six bowls; five smaller pieces and a big aqua serving dish.
It was across the road from these markets that I found café ‘Marie Anita’s’. They had gluten-free, dairy-free, all-thing-bad-free hot cross buns. They were freakin delicious!
That same day I also had a raw sweet potato, turmeric and pineapple Pad Thai from The Greenhouse Factory that kicked-ass (featured above). This place is seriously impressive. Aaron had the raw vegan tacos and even (begrudgingly) admitted that he loved them too! (He says love is too strong of a word, but secretly I think he did).
The more time we spent there, the more obvious it became how beautiful this place is once you leave the main drag. The GC is also making some serious inroads on the health and wellness food scene which it gets major kudos for. Sydney – you have some serious catching up to do.
Of course this was all complimented by the incredibly warm weather (can you say 30+ everyday) which was wayyyyyy better than the duck pond that I believe Sydney became this Easter long weekend. The heat plus the time to just be and unwind made for the perfect mini-getaway.
While I’m not yet convinced I prefer the GC to the likes of Byron (do I sense a little state proudness?), I’m certainly looking forward to my next trip back up there (even if it’s just to get some more muffins and bowls..).