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A Weekend Exploring Nature Around the Gold Coast

A Weekend Exploring Nature Around the Gold Coast

Alex looking off towards the beach in the Gold Coast

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Unwinding in the relaxation mecca of Australia: A weekend exploring nature around the Gold Coast

Take things back to basics and slow down a notch as South East Queensland dishes up the best in bucolic serenity. Introducing your go-to guide to a glorious weekend exploring all the natural wonders the Gold Coast has to offer — just follow in our travel writer Alex Mitcheson’s footsteps.  



What better way to start the day than at one of the city’s many great café spots? My morning caffeine intake is a serious affair, and thankfully I was in good hands at Currumbin’s Refinery Coffee. This whitewashed ex-industrial warehouse is perfect for sliding into and enjoying sensational coffee beside tasty and well-executed breaky favourites – my go-to is always their Chilli Scram and Avocado on Sourdough with Picked Heirloom Tomatoes.  

The iconic chilli scram at Refinery Coffee / Photography Credit: Refinery Coffee
The iconic chilli scram at Refinery Coffee / Photography Credit: Refinery Coffee

Then it was off to Burleigh Headland. Burleigh Headland is one of the country’s smallest national parks and a natural cocoon of tranquillity to the outside world. Bordered by Burleigh Beach, Tallebudgera Creek, and the Pacific Ocean, the thick green canopy and nearby glistening teal waters are natural drawcards on any given day. The area holds huge cultural importance to the Kombumerri people, and an added facet is the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre, where you can learn about the ancient history of this area and the people who call it home.

Credence from the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre showing the AWOL team around the Gold Coast
Credence from the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre leading our Walkabout tour.

Take part in one of their regular Walkabout tours and absorb the undeniable synergy and continuing connection the Kombumerri people have with country and the natural environment for thousands of years. 

I’m of the belief that brunch after a beautiful morning in nature is the way to go. Period. Combine great food with excellent shopping options and that’s a figurative bullseye in my eyes.

Photography Credit: Stable
Photography Credit: Stable

Cornerstone Stores is a fabulous red brick collective of boutiques, a salon, a yoga studio and one of the Southern Gold Coast’s best cafés, Stable. I joined locals — and a brigade of cute dogs — and dug into a scrumptious special at this opportune brunch pitstop.


After checking in at Tessa’s on the Beach, there was no better way to spend my early afternoon than relaxing at this newly renovated beach motel. Think: ’70s beach chic meets Palm Springs.

Alex checking out the view from Tessa's On The Beach in the Gold Coast

And there’s the added bonus that I’m just steps away from the squeaky white sand of Bilinga Beach. I grabbed a drink and headed poolside to relax and soak up the easy-going atmosphere. 

I was keen to see the afternoon out at Surfers Paradise from a completely different viewpoint with GoBoat Gold Coast. These fun-filled electric vessels meant me and my friends could hop aboard and cruise the many quiet canals and tucked-away waterways.

Group of people on a GoBoat tour around the canals in the Gold Coast

With the hinterland on one side and the irrepressible skyline on the other, this was a great way to take time out and see the Gold Coast from a lesser-known perspective.  



As an açaí bowl fanatic and vegan breakfast enthusiast, I rejoiced at discovering Tugun’s Niche & Co. — there’s nothing better than delicious food and brilliant coffee. This nook right off the beach is a prime Sunday morning hangout and kept my tastes satisfied with an inventive menu and ever-smiling staff.  

Photography Credit: Niche & Co
Photography Credit: Niche & Co

Then, it was time to head towards Currumbin Valley. 20 minutes down the road and I was passing paddocks of grazing cows, gurgling streams, and endless green fields. At the end of this winding scenic drive, Cougal Cascades are a series of natural rock pools and streams originating in nearby Springbrook National Park, where forest bathing is taken to a whole new level.

Alex looking up at the Cougal Cascades

There was a little walking involved: but it was worth it to remove phone reception, find my designated water hole, submerge myself, and unwind. Paradise found. 

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After enjoying the utter calm of Currumbin Valley, I wasn’t in such a rush to leave. Once my quota of rock scrambling and being immersed in crystal clear water was fulfilled, food was on the brain. Pasture and Co. have long been a local’s haunt for morning coffee and superb fare.

3 people at brunch at Pasture & Co

After an outstanding recent expansion, the venue now boasts multiple seating areas inside and out with cute corners and leafy spots, some great ways to spend an hour or so.

Following lunch, I left the greenery behind and made use of the free bike hire at Tessa’s on the Beach, and headed for Coolangatta.

Man leading bike onto path by the beach at the Gold Coast

Riding the Gold Coast Oceanway past Kirra headland — where you can regularly catch glimpses of dolphins and whales — was bliss. I ended the ride at Point Danger, catching sublime vistas across the New South Wales border towards Fingal Point. 

What better way to round off the weekend than with beachside dining at its best with a reservation at Siblings on Kirra Beach?

Siblings Kirra
Photography Credit: Siblings Kirra

With a northerly outlook back towards the heart of the Gold Coast, I enjoyed an unrivalled golden hour underscored by a contemporary and smart Italian meets modern-Australian menu.

Siblings Kirra, Food close up shot
Photography Credit: Siblings Kirra

It’s a fantastic spot if there is an evening flight home on the cards, as the Siblings is conveniently located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Gold Coast Airport. 

Find out what else the Gold Coast has to offer at Destination Gold Coast.

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