HIP HOOD

Retro cool in Burleigh Heads

Australian Traveller - - Contents -

SORRY TO BURST YOUR BUB­BLE if you’ve only just dis­cov­ered this beau­ti­ful neck of the Gold Coast hood: the se­cret’s been out for a while. Hol­i­day­mak­ers have been flock­ing to Burleigh Heads for more than a cen­tury to em­brace its sun, sand and sea. Early vis­i­tors would travel by coach, cross the rivers by ferry and be trans­ported along the beach at low tide to ar­rive here. That’s ded­i­ca­tion. In the late 19th cen­tury, a rail­way line be­tween Bris­bane and South­port was built, eas­ing travel to the area and in­creas­ing its pop­u­lar­ity. It be­came so pop­u­lar, in fact, that in 1936 some 20,000 campers swarmed the fore­shore over Christ­mas, set­ting up a sea of tents that ex­tended all the way to North Burleigh. Though camp­ing on the fore­shore was later banned, Burleigh’s stand­ing as a favoured sea­side sab­bat­i­cal hasn’t wa­vered. In 1960, Par­adise Car­a­van Park opened and the fol­low­ing decade saw a string of hol­i­day units, mo­tels and lodges pop up. Burleigh’s surf cul­ture also gained mo­men­tum, with its point break draw­ing in surfers from far and wide. In 1965 the Burleigh Board­rid­ers Club was es­tab­lished, and lo­cal surf brand Bil­l­abong (then lit­tle-known) be­came a long-time sup­porter. Like much of the Gold Coast, Burleigh Heads con­tin­ued to pros­per into the ’90s. Sure, it didn’t com­pletely es­cape the wash of glit­ter from its brash neigh­bour on the not-so-dis­tant hori­zon (with a handful of high-rises dot­ted along its coast­line), but for the most part Burleigh Heads has al­ways been a wel­come antonym to Surfers Par­adise’s revelry. Fast-for­ward to to­day and the town still boasts a pre­dom­i­nately low-rise streetscape with throw­back ar­chi­tec­ture, an abun­dance of green space, quiet pock­ets of beach, and an un­pre­ten­tious vibe. And while there still is a part of Burleigh that is cling­ing to its past (par­tic­u­larly in the ac­com­mo­da­tion space), a re­cent in­flux of ex­cit­ing new places to eat, drink and shop means this long-loved beach­side town is well and truly emerg­ing from the good old days.

THE FISH HOUSE

Flown in daily from across the coun­try, the seafood at one-hat­ted The Fish House can­not be any fresher, and nei­ther can the breeze com­ing in straight off the ocean. The ev­er­chang­ing sea­sonal menu in­cludes de­li­cious dishes such as grilled oc­to­pus from Bal­lina; crispy fried whole baby snap­per from Port Phillip Bay, and live Rot­tnest Is­land scal­lops. the­fish­house.com.au

JIMMY WAH’S

This restau­rant is the re­sult of a five-week mo­tor­bike tour that chef Jake Coo­ley took around Viet­nam. Of­fer­ing a (pre­dom­i­nantly dairy- and gluten-free) menu of flavour­some modern Viet­namese fare like wok-seared squid, ong choy, chilli, crispy taro and lime; or half chicken, morn­ing glory, kaf­fir lime and co­conut cream, this lo­cal favourite takes its name from the Good Morn­ing, Viet­nam char­ac­ter, while mu­sic from the era plays over the pared-back din­ing room. jim­my­wahs.com.au

Green­house The Bath­house

Soak, steam, sweat and swim… a ses­sion at Green­house The Bath­house will have you feel­ing ut­terly re­ju­ve­nated. This com­mu­nal bath­house has hy­drother­apy spas, a steam room, sauna, mag­ne­sium plunge pool, mas­sage ser­vices and a sun deck to en­joy a plant­based lunch and kom­bucha af­ter­wards. (Cham­pagne is also on the menu… we’re just sayin’). green­house­the­bath­house.com

bon Sol

Dare we say this is Burleigh’s bestkept se­cret? On the sec­ond floor of an unas­sum­ing 1970s low-rise just min­utes from the heart of town bon Sol is an exquisite hide­away un­like any other in the area. This twobed­room, two-bath­room apart­ment has ev­ery­thing guests need: a full kitchen, liv­ing area, laun­dry and bal­cony, as well as the added lux­u­ries of a Bang & Olufsen sound sys­tem, and a fully stocked (and gor­geous) drinks trol­ley. But it’s the in­te­ri­ors – a di­vine as­sem­bly of bright colour, tex­ture and pat­tern – that have us swoon­ing. De­signed by the inim­itable Anna Spiro, bon Sol is a one-of-akind hol­i­day abode that you won’t want to leave. Rates start at $500 a night, which in­cludes a ‘starter pack’ of re­fresh­ments in­clud­ing vin­tage Cham­pagne. bon­sol.com

RICK SHORES

Lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion. This sleek award-win­ning restau­rant serves up pan-Asian flavours with front-row views of the rolling surf (bonus: the space’s tiered de­sign means there are no bad seats). The menu has a fo­cus on lo­cally sourced pro­duce, while the bar snacks – karaage chicken, bar­be­cue pork steam bun and the sig­na­ture fried bug roll – are per­fect to en­joy in the ca­sual al fresco seat­ing area with sandy feet. Book ahead; this place is buzzing. rick­shores.com.au

THE BEACH FUR­NI­TURE

A beach-lov­ing in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor’s dream, The Beach Fur­ni­ture is a be­spoke fur­ni­ture and home­wares store just out­side of town. Each piece of fur­ni­ture is hand­made, so no two are the same, and the home­wares – in­clud­ing cush­ions, throw rugs, wall art, bas­kets – are per­fect to cre­ate a light and airy coastal-in­spired abode. the­beach­fur­ni­ture.com.au

JUSTIN LANE

WHO DOESN’T LOVE A ROOFTOP BAR? SUN­DOWN­ERS, BALMY NIGHTS, A TIP­PLE UN­DER THE STARS… JUSTIN LANE COM­BINES ALL THIS WITH VIEWS OUT TO THE OCEAN AND SURFERS PAR­ADISE SKY­LINE. PART OF THE JUSTIN LANE PIZZE­RIA AND PASTA BAR ES­TAB­LISH­MENT, THE ROOFTOP BAR IS A CA­SUAL, CHILLED SPACE WITH WHITE UM­BREL­LAS, FES­TOON LIGHT­ING, MIST­ING TO KEEP YOU COOL IN SUM­MER AND HEATERS TO KEEP YOU COSY COME WIN­TER. JUSTINLANE.COM.AU

GOLOSI FOOD EM­PO­RIUM

Mean­ing glut­ton in Ital­ian, Golosi is an em­po­rium of all things de­li­cious. Pick up some good­ies for a pic­nic down at the fore­shore. Think freshly baked sour­dough from Mul­lumbimby, de­li­cious tape­nades from nearby hin­ter­land vil­lage Tyal­gum, creamy hand­made cheeses from South Aus­tralia, a ban­quet of mouth-wa­ter­ing sweet treats, and much more… try and stop us. golosi.com.au

The Vil­lage Mar­kets

Ev­ery month, on the first and third Sun­day, The Vil­lage Mar­kets is a col­lab­o­ra­tion of de­sign­ers, artists, food­ies, mu­si­cians and the like. Held at Burleigh Heads State School from 8.30am to 1pm, it’s an awe­some way to spend a slow Sun­day morn­ing brows­ing stalls of good-qual­ity lo­cal prod­ucts, sam­pling cheer­ful and cheap street food, and lis­ten­ing to home-grown tal­ent un­der the shade of sprawl­ing, leafy trees. thevil­lage­mar­kets.co

Burleigh Heads has re­tained a level of calm col­lect­ed­ness, form­ing a re­laxed coun­ter­point to Surfers Par­adise on the hori­zon.

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