The Gold Coast is another popular tourist destination in Australia that offers warm weather and amazing beaches. In addition to spending 3 days in Byron Bay and 2 days in Brunswick Heads, I spent 3 days in the Gold Coast. But before heading to the Gold Coast, I stopped in Fingel Head for lunch and Springbrook National Park to check out some waterfalls.
Visiting Fingel Head
I checked out of my Airbnb right on time at 11 a.m. and began my journey to Fingel Head. The night before while I was watching the sunset at Brunswick Heads, this mystical women approached me. We chatted about photography and she gave me the recommendation to stop in Fingel Head on my way to the Gold Coast. But before driving out of Brunswick Heads, I snapped some pictures of the neighborhood to capture the serenity and lush landscape.
Fingel Head is about an hour outside of Brunswick Heads and one of the last shanty towns before hitting the big city. It was a Sunday on the day that I visited so there was a bunch of families snacking, drinking, fishing, boating, and jet skiing on the water.
The weather was so nice and I didn’t have any plans at all so I just parked where I could find a spot and did some people watching by the water. There was a nice view of the city far far in the distance and a bunch of homes up in the mountains.
Lunch at Sheoak Gallery Cafe
It was recommended that I go to the cafe at the end of the street, so I stopped by there before heading out. The cafe is called Sheoak Gallery Cafe and it had such a nice and cozy atmosphere. Majority of the seating is outdoors and the menu features a variety of food and drink choices. The decor was pretty eclectic with the artwork and mix of furniture.
I opted for the build your own toastie and chose salami, sun dried tomatoes and pesto. Although, it wasn’t very filling, it was really tasty.
Going to Springbrook National Park
My next stop before reaching the Gold Coast was Springbook National Park to see some of the waterfalls that Queensland has to offer. The drive through the national park was so pretty and peaceful with all the winding roads. The sun peeking through the trees really made it feel even more magical.
Purling Brook Falls was the first waterfall that I came across and there were a few families there with the same idea to do the circuit. I walked to a few different lookout spots that all had really nice views of the lush landscape and mountains.
Unfortunately the lack of rain affected this waterfall too, because there was pretty much nothing falling from the top. Regardless, I loved being able to enjoy the views and take a little walk through nature.
The second spot I wanted to check out before heading out was the Best of All lookout. It was a short walk from the car park and there was a small viewing area but with a grand view. There was a plaque explaining the history of the spot which was really cool to learn.
The view looks out to Murwillumbah, Brunswick Heads and the center of the old Scenic Rim Volcano.
Soon after I headed out of the park and towards my accommodation in the Gold Coast to make it before dark.
There are so many other lookouts and waterfalls that I didn’t have time to see so you would definitely need a good full day to really experience all of Springbrook National Park.
Arriving in the Gold Coast
After an hour drive, I made it to my Airbnb right as the sun was setting. The colors were so gorgeous that I literally stared out the window in awe. The place I stayed at was a high rise right in Surfer’s Paradise. It was on the 16th floor and facing the beach so the view was amazing.
Each room had huge sliding doors so there was a ton of light flowing into the all white space. I made sure to take photos the following day so you don’t have to try visualize it.
Once I dropped my bags off, I headed to the main strip to find some dinner. I noticed quickly how many of the stores were geared towards tourists and how many of the mom and pop ones were left vacant. It’s always sad when big corporations move in and take over everything.
Dinner at Betty’s Burger & Concrete Co
Lot of the food places didn’t look appealing to me and I really didn’t know what to trust so I ended up getting Betty’s Classic from Betty’s Burger & Concrete Co. The interior looked so fresh and aesthetically pleasing that I was drawn in regardless.
The burger was decent, but not my favorite burger ever. After having eaten so many burgers in my life, it’s always interesting to experience how many different ways a burger can taste.
After having dinner and showering, I headed to bed so I could wake up to catch my first Gold Coast sunrise.
Sunrise in the Gold Coast
I got really lucky with the Airbnb that I found, because the view in my room had SUCH a good view. It was facing the ocean, so nothing beats the fiery sunrise rising from the horizon.
The colors were so stunning, I tried to capture it but no photos really did it justice. My view was basically a panoramic of the city and each photo was only a snapshot.
After watching the sun rise, I laid in bed for a bit and then my first plan of action was to return my rental by 9 a.m. The place where I was staying was about 45 minutes from the drop off location near the airport.
My morning drive down the Pacific Coast Highway was a nice little drive and I loved seeing all the motels and cute accommodations. I really wanted to stop and take photos of every sight I saw but was on a time crunch.
Once I returned the rental, I set on foot to explore the Coolangatta area. There was a bunch of surf style shops, cafes and restaurants parallel to the beaches.
Visiting Gold Coast beaches
Later on, I ended up getting a bus pass to get around faster and found myself at Palm Beach. I spent a bit of time getting annihilated by the waves and watching surfers. The beach houses lining the beach were so nice and the view of the skyline looked so pretty in the distance.
I continued on foot down the Pacific Coast Highway and loved soaking in all the sights. There was a ton of high rise apartments that looked quintessential to the Gold Coast.
Eventually I made it to Tallebudgera Creek which quickly became my favorite spot in the Gold Coast. At the creek, the water is shallow and calm so you can enjoy being in the water without getting attacked by waves. There was a decent amount of people there, but in the summer it gets insanely packed.
The water looked too good not to dip into so I took a little swim in the water before continuing my walk. It felt so nice to wade in the clear blue water and just be in the moment.
Before catching the bus back to Surfer’s Paradise, I stumbled upon this Greek inspired building that boasted white stone, blue tiles, and pink flowers. I instantly fell in love and found out that it used to be a restaurant but isn’t anymore.
Lunch at Betty’s Burgers
When I got back, I ended up getting Betty’s Burgers again but decided to try the chicken burger instead. I enjoyed the chicken burger better than their cheeseburger but it still wasn’t my favorite burger ever. I will say that all the ingredients tasted fresh though.
Once I finished my lunch, I went down to the outdoor pool of the complex and read a book by the pool. My initial plan was to go for a swim, but I put one foot in the water and decided it was too cold for me especially with the breeze from the ocean.
Watching the Sunset
The sun set quickly after this, so I watched from my amazing bedroom view and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Although the sun sets on the other side of the mountain, the colors along the horizon were still really nice.
Being in the sun always makes me really tired, so I ended up turning in pretty early.
Visiting more beaches
Since Surfer’s Paradise Main Beach was a short 5 min walk from my Airbnb, I headed there first before heading farther from the center. Since it’s the main beach there was a bunch of people out there enjoying the day.
Burleigh Heads beach was on my list for this day so I headed straight there after checking out Main Beach. I brought my book with me so I just read and wrote in my journal while enjoying the sound of the crashing waves.
DIY Sunset Photo Walk
After sneaking in a little nap, I headed back towards Surfer’s Paradise by walking along the Pacific Coast Highway. The sun was starting to set making all the retro motels and homes the most perfect backdrop.
I’m so happy that I was able to capture all the cute little places that I had my eye on when I drove down the highway on my first morning in the Gold Coast.
I definitely liked the outskirt areas of Surfer’s Paradise more because it was less touristy and had a lot more character with the street art and architecture.
Once I made it to the transfer station, I hopped on the rail and went back to my Airbnb. My host invited me to have dinner with them so I got to enjoy a nice home cooked meal when I got back.
Shortly after I showered, edited some photos and went to bed early so I could get up for my final Gold Coast sunrise.
Sunrise at Surfer’s Paradise
I made a promise to myself that I would get up in time to join my host on her morning sunrise walk so at around 5:45 a.m. we were out the door.
There were already a few people out and about which was interesting to see so many people start their day so damn early.
We headed straight to the beach and walked along the shore as the sun started to peak from the horizon. The waves weren’t too crazy so there were boats in the distance and a few people paddle boarding. I’m sure the view from their perspective was insane.
The color was such a rich and vibrant orange making you truly feel the magic on this earth.
Breakfast at Bumbles Cafe
After returning from the walk, I showered, got ready and headed to Bumbles Cafe for breakfast.
This cafe was on my list of places to eat and luckily it was only a short walk from my Airbnb. It is definitely one of the cutest cafes that I’ve ever been to.
It’s nestled right in front of the canal with outdoor and indoor seating. There’s a bunch of different areas to sit in the cafe giving you a different mood depending on where you sit. It would be a great spot for a celebratory brunch or lunch.
I ordered one of my favorite breakfast options, eggs benedict, and swapped the bagel for sourdough bread. It tasted exactly how it should, so I was very satisfied with my breakfast.
Heading back to Melbourne
I had to leave for the airport shortly after so that ends my adventure in the Gold Coast. It’s definitely a good place to get away for the weekend being from Melbourne because of the great weather and pretty beaches.
Have you been to the Gold Coast? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading and stay hungry to learn, create and grow!