Last Updated on February 28, 2023
The Gold Coast, in southern Queensland, Australia, has long been renowned for its magnificent stretches of golden surf beaches. It is also the center for extravagant theme parks all grouped together. However, there is much more to explore in the Gold Coast area. Here are some other things to do.
1. Hinterland Tour
Pineapple Tours believes the best way to discover a destination is to use your taste buds. In an eight-hour small group tour of Tamborine Mountain in the stunning Gold Coast Hinterland, you will visit boutique, family-owned vineyards.
Mason Wines produce Unwooded Chardonnay. They also produce a popular Rosé, and we learned that it is a misconception that rosé is a mixture of red and white wine. Rosé is made by short skin contact with sweetness increased by using late harvest grapes.
Witches Falls Winery has the only winery producing wine on the mountain. All their red wines are vegan. While most of their grapes are grown in South Australia and shipped in whole bunches to Tamborine Mountain, they have recently replanted Pecorino grapes as birds do not readily eat them.
Generous tastings of 5-10 varieties are offered, accompanied by informative descriptions, in each winery visited. A two-course lunch is served at the historical Hampton Winery. Afternoon visits included the Tamborine Mountain Distillery and Granny Mac’s Famous Fudge.
2. Drink Wine With the Gardner
The beautifully restored historic Hamptons Winery building was originally the Infant Saviour Church transported from Burleigh Heads. Other building features include windows from a Catholic Convent, timber from a demolished bank, and the huge bar from the Treasury Casino. The fireplace was made of bricks from the last run of the Clayfield Brickworks. All these rescued historic components come together seamlessly to become a romantic venue for weddings and functions with views to the Gold Coast.
During a highly amusing, light-hearted repartee about the wines between our Pineapple Tours guide, Kenn Holmes, and the Hamptons Winery owner (who introduced himself as the gardener as he wandered in from tending the beautifully kept gardens), we learned about the wines produced for Hampton Estate. Two unpretentious recommendations were their Classic Red to make Sangria, and Shiraz Cabernet Merlot is ideal for steak.
3. Distillery Delights
Michael and Alla Ward started making liquors twenty-seven years ago in their distillery in Tamborine Mountain. It is the third oldest distillery in Queensland. It has won over three hundred awards in the last twenty-five years, making it the most awarded distillery in Australia.
Starting with a citrus orchard, they started the distillery to use their own produce. Still, their popularity soon rose beyond what they could grow. Testifying to the quality of their liquors, their Bells of St Clements won a medal against Cointreau.
Their most popular liquor today is their Toasted Wattle Seed liquor, using an Australian indigenous botanical. Another interesting liquor is their lemon myrtle vodka. You are asked to drink it in one shot, take a deep breath and think about the taste. It tastes exactly like childhood lemonade Icy Poles!
Today, under new management, Tamborine Mountain Distillery manufactures fine Liqueurs, Vodkas, Schnapps, Eaux-de-vie, Rum, Gin, and more.
4. Fudge, Famous Fudge
Located in the busy tourist street of Gallery Walk in Tamborine Mountain, Granny Mac’s Famous Fudge was established in 1997. Originally selling macadamia nut products, they now offer a cornucopia of old-fashioned confectionery. Walking in the door is like stepping back in time to your childhood lollie shop.
Working for 24 years in an old Queenslander building, formally the Post Master’s House transported from Beenleigh to its current site, they have created nearly 100 fudge flavors. Spoilt for choice, you can choose from about 42 flavors displayed temptingly in a glass case. You can even taste tests for free. Now, what to choose?
The delicious fudges are all labeled to indicate any allergens present. They also have special displays of confectionary for people with allergies such as gluten intolerance.
5. Make a Cocktail
You can impress your friends at your next party with your newly found mixology skills. Miss Moneypenny’s Restaurant in Broadbeach runs hands-on cocktail-making classes.
You will start with a glass of bubbly and snack on freshly made Napoli Pizza. You can choose your three favorite cocktails to make from a list of seven. At the end of this fun night, you will receive recipe cards for the cocktails you have made so you can make them again at home.
With a minimum group number of 10, it is ideal for a hen’s party or a celebration.
6. Drink & Dine
The Chef’s Seven Dish Signature Selection Menu is a curated selection of Miss Moneypenny’s Restaurant Broadbeach’s favorite signature dishes served progressively. This is a set menu of share plates. Each course is served in the middle for all to help themselves. Portions are generous and served with the exceptional culinary skill of renowned Executive Chef Adam Dundas.
With dishes like the Swordfish Ceviché, Wild Coral Coast Barramundi, or Darling Downs Wagyu Rump Cap (my favorite), the menu showcases local food from small artisan Queensland producers with an emphasis on quality, fresh seasonal produce.
Individually served Decadent Chocolate Fudge Cake is the perfect sweet treat at the end of an extravagant meal at a surprisingly reasonable price.
7. Fruit World
How would it be if you could eat a fruit that turned every sour fruit sweet? Tropical Fruit World grows “Miracle Fruit.”
Situated on the rim of the largest extinct volcano of the southern hemisphere, the farm benefits from the volcanic red mineral soil from Mount Warning’s caldera.
Robert and Valorie Brinsmead purchased the property in 1972 when it was a run-down small crop farm. Originally planting avocados, they then nurtured orchards of custard apples, bananas, mangos, lychees, guavas, macadamias, and papaya. The collection grew, and in 1983 they opened to the public as Avocadoland.
Now the farm boasts over 500 different fruits imported from all over the world, grown in areas divided by the regions where the fruit originated. You will find regions such as South America, India, or southeast Asia.
All the fruits are grown with the philosophy of sustainable horticulture. “More than a tourist attraction, more than just a working farm, this is like a botanical garden of irreplaceable value,” says owner Robert Brinsmead.
A range of tropical fruit-based beauty products, botanical essences, and food products are offered in the shop, and fruits in season are available in the market. You can enjoy a Tractor Plantation Safari with Fruit Tasting or a Wildlife Boat Cruise.
Overlooking the gardens, you can indulge in a tropical lunch such as jackfruit nachos. Unique and delicious.
8. Lorikeet Feeding
I will never forget a treasured childhood memory feeding the wild lorikeets at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Lorikeets are Australia’s most vibrant, multicolored parrots. Many generations of lorikeets have been fed here for seventy years. To watch the feeding is free, but a gold coin donation will get you right in the middle of the action as these cheeky parrots swarm in for a free feed from the bowl of food you are holding. They will land on the bowl, your arms, your shoulders, and don’t be surprised if they even land on your head.
Entry to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is not required for the lorikeet feeding that takes place every day at 8.00 AM and 4.00 PM. You can pre-book for the full-day experience at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
9. Get Your Pizza On!
Want to learn how to make the perfect Pizza?
In the hands-on pizza-making class at Salt Meats Cheese Gold Coast, we were taught the finer techniques of creating authentic Italian pizza from scratch. Then we enjoyed our own creations.
Of course, you can dine in on an impressive selection of traditional hot wood-fired pizzas cooked specially for you. Still, it tastes even better when you have cooked it for yourself.
10. Brunch With a Bunch
With plates such as Magic Mushrooms, Breakfast Bruschetta with Avocado, and Kransky Hash Stack, it’s not easy to choose your favorite dish for brunch at The Henchman. No matter what you choose from their iPad menu, you will be eyeing off your friend’s plates as they are doing to yours. It all looks and tastes so good!
Served in a large sheltered outdoor space, the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, with a waiter always not far away. By day, the space is welcoming for families, even with a huge swing in the middle. It is popular with mothers’ groups or for a quiet lunch.
However, at night it has a totally different atmosphere with theme nights such as Mechanical Bull Riding nights.
11. View the Gold Coast
Situated on the seventh floor of Rydges Airport Gold Coast Hotel, directly opposite the airport, it is unique. It offers spectacular panoramic views of both the runway and the ocean. Its proximity to the airport is a welcome, comfortable short walk after a long trip.
Salty Fox Rooftop Bar has quickly become a favorite of both locals and tourists. It can be busy on Friday and Saturday nights. With occasional live music or DJ, the bar offers a light tapas-style menu that is well noted with dietary needs and preferences.
12. Gold Coast Whales & Wild Mushrooms
Café dbar, across the road from the beach in Rainbow Bay, Coolangata, you can dine upstairs and enjoy a panoramic view of Point Danger headland and the Pacific Ocean. Named by Captain Cook in 1770, when he had to change his journey north to avoid coral reefs, Point Danger also indicates the border between New South Wales and Queensland.
Following their paddock to plate philosophy, the locally owned family business serves fresh ingredients sourced from the Gold Coast Hinterland and New South Wales’s Northern Rivers area. A popular place for brunch served from 7 AM, the menu is served with artistic flair. My Sautéed Wild Mushrooms were an interesting mix of unfamiliar mushrooms served on a thick slice of gluten-free pumpkin bread with a side of haloumi.
From May to September, you may be lucky enough to sight whales on their journey north.
Before you leave, make sure to visit the art gallery in the adjoining dbar House built in 1925. Here you can purchase an eclectic choice of local products by local artisans.
13. Tamborine National Park
Traveling just an hour from the coast takes you to Tamborine Mountain (named for the Aboriginal word for finger limes, an Australian citrus fruit grown in tropical Queensland, not the musical instrument as commonly thought). Known as the “green behind the Gold,” the lush rainforest of Tamborine Mountain is celebrated in the Tamborine National Park, the third oldest national park in the world. Covering over 620 hectares, the park is a refuge for many unique Australian animals and birdlife.
Clearly defined easy walking trails and bushwalks will lead you to refreshing waterfalls, cascades and swimming holes. Curtis Falls is the only waterfall that can be viewed from the bottom.
Whether you choose the panoramic coastal views and excitement of the Gold Coast or the tranquility of the hinterland, you will find plenty to do and dine on sumptuous local produce.