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Get thee to the Gold Coast: What to do, what to eat & where to stay

Fat Mum Slim /

We didn’t holiday much as kids {the budget didn’t stretch that far} but when we did, just once mind you, it was to the Gold Coast. My parents piled us 4 kids into our Tarago and we drove the 16 hours to the sunny Gold Coast. I was so beyond excited, and wanted to remember EVERYTHING that I kept a journal of all the little details. Including how many stairs from the front door to our hotel room. Oh yes, that’s a kid who needs to get out more. I was always destined to be a blogger, wasn’t I?

Now that we live up north, the Gold Coast is just a short drive away, I’m loving it. We’re close enough to the theme parks, and there’s so much to explore. Last year we spent a weekend doing just that, and here are all the juicy details {minus the stair count!} below:

Where to stay

Get thee to the Gold Coast: What to do, eat & where to stay

I have to start with where to stay, because this place was so ‘me’. As soon as we walked in there was eye candy everywhere. SO MUCH TO LOOK AT, and that means SO MUCH TO PHOTOGRAPH! {Yes, shouty capitals are necessary!}. The staff at QT wear the coolest outfits, the girls at the check-in were perfect in powder blue jumpsuits, bright red lipsticks and manicured nails. I was far too excited and had to ask Hubby to, “come and check out the cute check-in girls!” I could rave on about this place forever so I’ll try and bridle my enthusiasm and keep it short{er}.

Things I love about QT: the decor, the staff, the free lemonade service {every afternoon the staff go around to the rooms and make complimentary REAL lemonade}, the vibe, the mini bar {we bought some gummy lollies and the pick-up sticks} and the price. I loved this place so much that I’ve since sent my sister there, and it’s one of the cheaper, luxury places to stay on the coast. I checked for last weekend {I wanted a night away} and on it was the most affordable out of all of them. I’m so excited that ProBlogger will be held here this year too, such a treat.

You can check out QT online here.

Get thee to the Gold Coast: What to do, eat & where to stay

On the second night of our weekend stay we moved to Peppers on Broadbeach, and if you asked me which I preferred – I actually couldn’t pick. While I loved the vibrancy of QT, I loved the luxury and peacefulness of Peppers just as much. We had an apartment so if you were staying for an extended period of time this would be the ideal choice, plus Broadbeach is just so beautiful and trendy. We were treated like VIPs with cold water on arrival {which we needed after a day in the sun at Dreamworld!}. Peppers is located in the heart of the activity at Broadbeach, with the Oracle Boulevard located just outside it’s doors. You can find Max Brenner, trendy cafes {for the coffee and cake lovers}, little boutique stores and more. The beach is a short walk away too.

You can find out more about Peppers Broadbeach here.

What to do

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There are a handful of fun parks to try out on the Gold Coast, on this particular weekend we tried Dreamworld. We also have annual passes to Sea World, Movie World and White Water World. Dreamworld is perfect if you have kids that aren’t interested in the scary rides {well, great for those too! But Lacey isn’t at that age yet}, so we explored the kid section which has The Wiggles, Madagascar, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda. There is also the wildlife section so you can hang out with the animals, feed some kangaroos and make your way back to the front of the of the park for a face paint. For lunch I recommend the Billabong Buffet Restaurant, where you can sit down in the cool air-conditioning and choose between roast meats, vegetables, canapes and salads. They also have a dessert bar which is worth exploring.

Check out the Dreamworld website for more information.

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You know life is tough when you’re struggling to decide between a facial and a massage, right? It was quite the dilemma I was faced with when offered a treatment at Spa Q. I sat in my fluffy white robe still pondering when my therapist came out to grab me. The good news? You don’t have to choose. They cater the treatment to you. So we did half and half, the best of both worlds. I have to say it was one of the best hours of my life, I walked out like a zombie, in another universe. So relaxed and preened, and blissed out.

Check out the Spa Q menu here.

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A few weeks before our Gold Coast trip, Lacey and her class had been on an excursion to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary so we let her play tour guide for our visit. She showed us around, introduced us to all the animals, escorted us on our little train ride to the park and was a proud little guide. Hubby likes to see me squirm so he insisted we watch the bird show, and because I like to make him laugh – I agreed. I sat through that show in complete anxiety. Those birds are big, and the thought of them landing on my head freaked me out. But they were great. It was really interesting to hear about how they live off the land. A word to the budget-conscious Currumbin Wildlife Park isn’t cheap. We visited complimentary, but when we eyed off the prices we were surprised {$164 for a family} so make sure you pack a picnic and make a day of it.

Visit the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary site here.

What to eat

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If you take just one thing from this post, I want it to be this: You simply must endeavor to eat at Bazaar once in your life. Please.

We all love a good buffet, right? Well, this buffet {which they call an Interactive Marketplace, because it’s a step-up from a buffet} is so good that people raved to me about it before I’d even had time to get excited. On my itinerary for the weekend it told me that we were eating there, but I didn’t Google it. I was mid-facial when my beautician asked where we were having dinner. “Oh, I hope you haven’t eaten all day!” she exclaimed. I didn’t know it was a buffet, but when I told Hubby he was thrilled.

This is like no other buffet I’ve met. The food is stunning, fresh and just beautiful quality. You want a wagyu steak? They’ll cook you one. My tip is to grab their tasting plate for the night. Ours had little pork buns, tuna tartare and other divine bits and bobs. You can get dumplings to order, eat from their fresh seafood bar, try one of their many dishes and salads, or do as you please. The salads were crazy. Full of flavour, and so fresh. I may have gone home and replicated some the next week. Just beautiful. And then there are the desserts – little bite-sized pieces of deliciousness. They also have an ice cream station, just like Cold Rock where Lacey had a little masterpiece created.

I took my sister and her boyfriend to Bazaar a week after we visited and they loved it. My sister was actually shocked that I knew about something so ‘hip’ before her. Puhlease.

Breakfast is just as beautiful. We visited last weekend and at only $25 each {plus Lacey is free}, it was a great morning out.

Find out more about Bazaar here.

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Back over at Broadbeach we were treated to fine dining experience at a restaurant called Moo Moo. It was located just metres away from Peppers, where we were staying, and was a whole lot of fancy. Lacey was the only child in the restaurant, but we’re lucky that she’s her best-behaved while we’re out {she keeps her naughty for when we’re at home}. Moo Moo’s specialises in meat, so we both order a steak {but different cuts} with a bunch of sides. Lacey ordered her all-time favourite, spaghetti bolognaise and gobbled it up quite promptly. Being a meat-lover, this was a big hit with Hubby. He raved about it. The atmosphere was relaxing. It’s a bit more upmarket, so wear something nice {by nice I mean no thongs!} if you plan to visit.

Visit Moo Moo’s website here.

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Just before heading home from the weekend away, we stopped into Oskars at Burleigh Heads for lunch. The views here are to die for, and the food is just as good. Think beautiful fresh food, perfect portions and taste that packs a punch. Just like Moo Moo it’s fine dining, but they cater for kids too. Lacey had a serving of fish and chips while sitting comfortably in a high chair.

I’ve been trying to find an excuse to get back to Oskars again. I said to Hubby over that lunch that I wanted my work Christmas party there, {work = me & him} but we had a hectic December and it didn’t happen. I think I can feel a birthday lunch coming up.

Visit Oskars on Burleigh for more details.

Where did you travel to as a kid? Have you ever been to the Gold Coast?

My family traveled as guests of Tourism Gold Coast {thanks for a fab weekend away}.

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  • Really sounds and looks like an awesome place. I would love to see it some day. Beautiful pictures.

  • MM

    We stayed at Peppers Broadbeach on our last trip too and loved it! How good is the park across the road! Our kids could not believe it, we do not get playgrounds like that in Victoria, it was like a theme park in itself! Also we discovered the most amazing coffee at a little coffee shop called No Name Lane, next door to Peppers between the 2 towers, near the Pizza shop

    • Yes, that park is crazy good. We didn’t get there this time – but we went there a few months back and it was insanely good.

      There’s lots of little places to find in that area… and it’s a bit funky too – which is nice. x

  • Kirsty S

    You got to a lot of my favourite places. 🙂 I really want to get to Moo Moo though, haven’t done it yet but it’s on my list… you know, for when I have a babysitter for the kids and cash left over. *lol* Oskar’s is awesome, but it’s also nice to just grab a coffee from Nook (to the right of the building) and walk up the headland, stretch out and enjoy the view. Not that you’d be the only one doing that, of course. 😀 We’ve been known to take a portable BBQ up to the shelter and cook lunch while we’re there. *lol*

  • Isn’t QT just amazing! We went there for our wedding anniversary in January and loved it. Bazaar was so delicious, I only wish I could have spaced it out over lunch and dinner to fit more of the food in!
    x Laura

  • I love living on the Gold Coast. Although the weather has left a lot to be desired for recently, it’s usually fantastic and the best thing about the GC is all the outdoorsy stuff to do – theme parks, regular parks, beach-side parks. I actually think a BBQ at the beach tops any of the fancy restaurants there are! Another favourite is the surf clubs – Kurrawa, North Burleigh or Currumbin are the 3 top picks for food/view. We stayed at Meriton Broadbeach once and that was fantastic – great location, very new and clean, just a short walk away from the mall. And we ate at Mecca Bah, at the bottom of Peppers, which is fantastic. So spoiled with all the choices on the Gold Coast!

    • Forgot to say, we take all our foreign visitors to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary because I think it’s the best place to get an upclose encounter with kangaroos and koalas.

  • Gosh I remember the first time my parents told us we were going to visit our relatives in Queensland, my sister and I were beside ourselves with excitement, until we realised we were going by car (actually it was by van the 2nd time, in which I suffered motion sickness. We did that long drive from Melbourne to Brisbane 3 times, gosh it was a long drive but I always loved visiting the Gold Coast, I have such fond memories of visits to the theme parks. This post is perfect timing, Sadie desperatly wants to pat a dolphin ( and I might want to as well), so we have started planning our next family holiday to the Gold Coast in November. Am going to jump onto QT’s site straight away, looks like my kind of place.

  • We are holidaying on the Goldcoast ATM, staying at turtle beach resort. I’m exhausted, so much to do up here. Today we had a great trip down to Byron Bay, theme parks last week, probably 1 more trip out there over the next few days

  • I went with friends on a much-too-short trip to Australia in 2004 – we’re from Sweden. We flew into Brisbane where we really just stayed the night (late arrival), then rented a car and drove south. We stopped for lunch and to wander along a few of the beaches during the first day but otherwise drove on until we reached Byron Bay where we spent three nights and loved it! Then headed further south, eventually hitting Sydney where we spent another week-and-a-half. Would love to go back one day and see a bit more, or a lot!! If I ever do, I’ll definitely remember this guide to the Gold Coast – it all sounds fantastic!

  • I live here. Best place on earth!

  • This looks like the best place on earth to holiday. I love the pictures you have put up and looking forward to visiting soon.

  • AussieCampervans

    I m proud to be a part of most loving, lively, colorful place with exciting destinations whose list never be fished.

    Viola @ Campervan Rental Adelaide

  • AussieCampervans

    Gold Cost region is a complete place of world’s best pizza, coffee, street food, adventurous sites . This place is the only which can be traveled with family in nominal range.It can be travel on the roads by Rick @ Campervan Hire Australia

  • Great post! I would agree if you say that Gold Coast is one of the loveliest City of Australia. Well it’s really lovely inside and out. I wonder how much spare time you have since you’re still able to count the stairs xx

  • Jessicarose

    Great place.Amazing local food. You must visit Osushi Broadbeach. My favourite Japanese Restaurant