Dis­cover Main Beach

Where Gold Coast - - Contents - BY JANE HODGES

JUST NORTH of the busy throng of Surfers Paradise, you’ll find Main Beach—a re­laxed mix of cafés, restau­rants, bars, re­sort shop­ping and a choice of calm or surf beaches. It’s also home to Ma­rina Mi­rage and Mariners Cove Ma­rina—the jump­ing-off points for all man­ner of wa­ter-based tours.

THINGS TO DO

Main Beach beaches are a lot less crowded than Surfers Paradise’s iconic stretches of sand. For calm, pro­tected beach swim­ming head for the in­side beaches of The Spit—a per­ma­nent sand spit that sep­a­rates the main­land and South­port Broad­wa­ter from the Pa­cific Ocean.

On the other side of The Spit are life­saver-pa­trolled surf beaches with flagged swim­ming ar­eas—the Se­away Beach (pa­trolled Novem­ber to April), Sea World Beach (pa­trolled on week­ends and school hol­i­days) and Sheraton Beach and Main Beach (both pa­trolled all year round). You can walk, run or ride along the Gold Coast Ocean­way, a 37-kilo­me­tre net­work of coastal path­ways stretch­ing from the Gold Coast Se­away (The Spit) to the Point Dan­ger Light­house (Coolan­gatta).

En­joy a fam­ily day at Sea World— one of Main Beach’s top at­trac­tions. It’s the per­fect day out with dol­phin and seal shows as well as the chance to see sharks, st­ingrays, pen­guins and po­lar bears. The Storm Coaster and an ac­ro­batic jet ski show will keep ev­ery­one happy!

There’s so much to do on the wa­ter— go whale watch­ing (hump­backs cruise past from June to Oc­to­ber) with Gold Coast Whale Ad­ven­tures; do a four-wheeldrive buggy and Seg­way tour of South Strad­broke Is­land; sail, jet ski, jet board or stand-up pad­dle­board on the Broad­wa­ter, take a thrill ride with Paradise Jet Boat­ing or see it all from the skies with a he­li­copter ride over the high­rise sky­line, the coast and is­lands with Gold Coast Heli­tours— all leave from Mariners Cove Ma­rina. You can even learn to surf at The Spit with Get Wet Surf School.

WHERE TO EAT

You can mix it with the lo­cals and ex­pe­ri­ence some of the coast’s best bars and din­ing on Ted­der Av­enue. When your watch says cock­tail o’clock, start with a Mar­garita or a lo­cal Burleigh Brew­ing Co. beer at Bistro Chico. Set­tle in for some share plates from chef Dar­ren Baranello’s Mediter­ranean, Asian and Mid­dle Eastern­in­spired menu, or wan­der down the Av­enue to Shuck for some se­ri­ous peo­ple watch­ing and some of the Coast’s fresh­est seafood— the sand crab lasagne is sen­sa­tional!

For won­der­ful wa­ter views, join the lo­cals for a sun­set drink at South­port Yacht Club. Get a ta­ble over­look­ing the moored yachts and as the sun fades you’ll see the lights of the Gold Coast twin­kling over the wa­ter. The meals are great too!

For ca­sual fish and chips or freshly caught lo­cal prawns and crabs, head to Peter’s Fish Mar­ket. Out­side tables over­look the fish­ing fleet or find a spot across the road on Main Beach.

Right next door is Palazzo Ver­sace Ho­tel—of­fer­ing high tea at Le Jardin, ca­sual wa­ter­front din­ing at Vie Bar & Restau­rant or a gas­tro­nomic ad­ven­ture to re­mem­ber at Van­i­tas.

Glass Din­ing & Lounge Bar is known for its suc­cu­lent steaks; Omeros Bros for supreme seafood in stylish sur­rounds; and Ris­torante Fellini for the finest Ital­ian fare. The best bets for break­fast are Provi­dore Ma­rina Mi­rage or lo­cal favourite Lark Café and Gro­cer on Main Beach Pa­rade.

WHERE TO SHOP

High-end cen­tre Ma­rina Mi­rage of­fers more than 70 spe­cial­ity stores (fash­ion, art and de­sign, home­wares and even a pooch boutique). Visit Mar­i­ora for unique jew­ellery fea­tur­ing Aus­tralian Opals.

For de­signer shoes, bags and ac­ces­sories you can’t go past Maryon’s on Ted­der Av­enue. They stock in­ter­na­tional de­signer la­bels in­clud­ing Emilio Pucci, Kenzo, Marc by Marc Ja­cobs, Marni, Ni­cholas Kirk­wood and So­nia Rykiel.

GET­TING AROUND

Travel around the area via the G:link, the Gold Coast’s easy to use light rail net­work. It runs fre­quently be­tween He­lensvale sta­tion in the north via South­port, Main Beach and Surfers Paradise to Broad­beach near Pa­cific Fair Shop­ping Cen­tre at its south­ern-most point. Visit ride­theg.com.au or down­load the My G: App.

HOME TO SOME OF the Gold Coast’s most fa­mous surf­ing spots, re­laxed Coolan­gatta is lined with white sand beaches flanked by tall Norfolk pines.

It was named af­ter the schooner Coolan­gatta, wrecked there in 1846, and is the most south­ern sub­urb of City of Gold Coast shar­ing the bor­der with New South Wales.

For some of the Gold Coast’s best surf­ing con­di­tions, head to Kirra Beach, Snap­per Rocks or Rain­bow Bay, but you might also want to try throw­ing in a line to catch snap­per, bream or tai­lor. There’s also plenty of whale watch­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties from the heights of Point Dan­ger.

With all that sand ac­tiv­ity you will work up an ap­petite. You won’t have to leave the wa­ter views to en­joy a feed if you claim a spot on the huge beach­front bal­cony of the Coolan­gatta Surf Club. It’s a great spot for whale and dol­phin watch­ing and also per­fect for a week­end break­fast. The restau­rant fea­tures lo­cal pro­duce with a range of steaks, seafood and sal­ads. Fin­ish your meal with au­then­tic Ital­ian gelato and en­joy their free Wi-fi. The club was awarded Best Din­ing in Queens­land at the Clubs Queens­land Awards for Ex­cel­lence 2016.

At the trop­i­cally-styled Xe­nia Grill you’ll dis­cover de­li­cious, fresh Greek food cre­ated us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of tra­di­tional cook­ing meth­ods and fam­ily recipes. Choose from share plates filled with fried sar­dines or char-grilled oc­to­pus and baby cala­mari, all in­fused with the flavours of Greece. Pick up an or­ganic The Daily Ride cof­fee roasted in nearby By­ron Bay and you’ll have plenty of en­ergy to en­joy one of Xe­nia’s oc­ca­sional Zorba the Greek dance ses­sions.

For an Ital­ian Trat­to­ria ex­pe­ri­ence, try Brad Nas­cone’s Delizioso @ the Strand. Along with favourites from his Bris­bane restau­rant at Bulimba, Delizioso at Coolan­gatta pumps out a large range of Ital­ian stan­dards along with new and in­no­va­tive dishes us­ing a stone hearth pizza oven. The ex­ten­sive pizza menu is com­ple­mented by a wide se­lec­tion of risotto and pasta, but you can also tuck in to Dar­ling Downs wagyu and porchetta served with truf­fle mashed potato, ap­ple puree and gor­gonzola cream.

Po­si­tioned on al­most a block of beach­front land with sweep­ing views over Coolan­gatta Beach, The Strand of­fers one-stop din­ing with a range of dif­fer­ent cuisines, price ranges and din­ing styles. There’s Asian, Mex­i­can, Ital­ian and tapas-style restau­rants, cool bars and some of Aus­tralia’s most sought-af­ter dessert op­tions in­clud­ing Nick Palumbo’s first Gelato Messina ice-cream­ery in Queens­land and choco­latier Max Bren­ner.

The glass-lou­vered fa­cade of The Strand’s restau­rant zone runs the length of the build­ing, max­imis­ing the beach­front views. Look out for Gold Coast chef Daniel Ridge­way’s Bin 72 eatery, Black Sheep Espresso Baa’s lamb salad, Grif­fith Street Larder’s hand-cut chips and crumbed zuc­chini slid­ers and Pas­sion­tree Vel­vet’s mac­arons and cake.

When you are fin­ished din­ing and re­lax­ing you’ll want to make the most of the glo­ri­ous stretch of beach that has etched Coolan­gatta into the hearts of many. If you want to make sure that your body is beach ready, Es­teem Medi Spa have a team of spe­cial­ist laser tech­ni­cians, highly qual­i­fied reg­is­tered nurses and skin spe­cial­ists to help you on your way. More than a day spa, Es­teem Medi Spa of­fers a blend of med­i­cal ap­proaches to com­mon is­sues.

There’s so much to en­joy at Coolan­gatta—it’s sure to steal its way into your heart as a re­turn des­ti­na­tion.

Ma­rina Mi­rage. Photo: Des­ti­na­tion Gold Coast.

Photo: Tourism and Events Queens­land.

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