Enjoying a short break in the Sunshine State? Make sure you try a few of these Gold Coast insider picks from our Travel Insiders.
A water vista always ups the romance quotient and a citrus-spiked Percuoco family Neapolitan Kiss aperitif will get the party started, or impress high-maintenance dates with Krug at $39 per glass. You can always salvage your budget later by ordering one of a trio of six-course degustations for two, value at $70-$90 per person. A bustling open kitchen delivers mod-Italian fare - big, balanced flavours such as chilli, lemon and pepper-pressed spatchcock; or a tender, roasted lamb loin, split and filled with wilted spinach and pine nuts served alongside rosemary-redolent tomatoes. Icing sugar-dusted cannoli guarantees a sweet finish.
Open: lunch & dinner daily. Licensed. Mains $AUD29-$AUD39.
Vie, Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast
Situated over the water and accessed by a deck, Vie is tucked away behind Palazzo Versace, but has a character distinct from the grand hotel. This smart modern restaurant is less triumphal and one of the best places to enjoy seafood on the Gold Coast. Umbrella-shaded tables are perfect for the climate, plus the sleek dining room is air-conditioned. Try the finely sliced Hiramasa kingfish with green onion and coconut ceviche, or perhaps nori-salted tuna. Vie has a well-regarded wine list, but for those expansive moments it’s good to be able to draw on the truly magnificent cellar of Vanitas, Vie’s formal dining sibling.
Open: lunch & dinner daily. Licensed. Mains $AUD32-$AUD42.
Bazaar at QT, 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
At QT Gold Coast’s Bazaar Restaurant they take the concept of “plenty” very seriously, blending the best of a traditional food marketplace with 21st-century design. You’re invited to peruse the world of flavours and watch on through the floor-to-ceiling windows as your meal is prepared. With wood-fired pizza, classic pot roast and an entire cool room of premium meats and seafood to choose from, you’ll have to remember to pack your appetite.
Open: breakfast, lunch & dinner daily. Licensed. Mains $69. Breakfast $32.
Insider tips from Keith McCutchen, owner of fashion and homewares stores Casa Guardi and Emporio Guardi
The Grand High Roller Martini (vanilla vodka, Galliano, Grand Marnier, Remy Martin and orange juice) at Glass Dining and Lounge Bar at Marina Mirage is the best. Perlé at Circle on Cavill, in the heart of Surfers, is a bar/restaurant that pumps on weekends for the 25-45s. Skypoint (formerly Q Bar) on the 77th level of the highest building on the Coast has predictably fabulous 360-degree views of the Gold Coast, its hinterland and south to Byron Bay. Go for pre- or post-dinner drinks. There’s great lounge music and a DJ at the weekend.
The renowned Art Galleries Schubert closed last year, but former staff have established Anthea Polson Art at Mariners Cove. The gallery showcases some of Australia’s best emerging and established contemporary artists, such as Peter Smets and Samantha Everton. An exhibition of works by each of the gallery’s represented artists continues until the end of this month.
The Gold Coast Art Centre has contemporary and historical art works documenting the Gold Coast history and lifestyle. The Gold Coast Art Centre Cinema shows art-house and foreign films in intimate and comfortable surroundings. Good for a laugh are the stand-up comedians on Friday nights at The Basement at the Gold Coast Art Centre.
Insider tips from Qantas presenter and Gold Coast local David Whitehill
"The points of Burleigh Heads and Snapper Rocks are world-class, but get ready for the crowds. Alternatively, the beach breaks right along the coast offer good, consistent fun. There are uncrowded waves north and south of the main tourist traps. For families and people not too confident in the ocean, make sure you stick between the flags."
"Tallebudgera Creek and the Burleigh Heads National Park are gold mines on the coast. Weekends are a little hectic with beach-going families, but during the week you won’t have a more uplifting morning walk or swim.”
QT Gold Coast, 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
The newly refurbished QT Gold Coast, with its playful and colourful design, fits in perfectly with the local atmosphere: informal but luxurious. From the cheeky pop art-inspired room features to big, bold custom lighting, each aspect of the new hotel seems to be created to surprise and delight.
Palazzo Versace, Main Beach, Gold Coast
The wow factor of the Palazzo Versace hotel is immediate. In the opulent lobby an antique chandelier that once hung in the Milan State Library dangles from the vaulted, gold hand-detailed ceiling. Bespoke circular couches and colourful plush armchairs from the Versace Home Collection sprawl across the imported marble floor. The enviable waterfront setting overlooks the marina on the Gold Coast’s Broadwater, next to the upmarket Marina Mirage shopping centre.
Qantas The Australian Way October 2009, February 2010, December 2010; Gold Coast gospel; Q&A: Qantas presenter David Whitehill