'I love the Gold Coast so much I stayed for an entire year. These are my top recommendations.'

Mamamia Must-Go is your insider guide on what to see, do and eat at popular holiday destinations. It's where you'll find honest recommendations from the women who've been there. So far we've explored Bali and Fiji. This week, Mamamia’s Branded Content Coordinator Alisa Bittner shares her Gold Coast recommendations.

Moving to the Gold Coast on a whim during the pandemic has undoubtedly been one of the best decisions I've ever made. 

For years, I thought the Gold Coast was the host to tacky nightclubs, schoolies week, and theme parks, which I had outgrown rather quickly. But, there is so much more to this balmy little paradise we have right here in our backyard. And, after spending more than a year calling it home – I can safely say it is brimming with vibey bars, some of the most stunning beaches I have ever seen, fun activities for all ages and a laid-back coastal vibe every city slicker needs to enjoy from time-to-time. 

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There is so much to see and do, but here are my top recommendations. 


Burleigh Heads.

If you're looking for a hot Australian getaway with a plethora of activities to indulge in, I cannot recommend Burleigh Heads enough (and yes, I might be slightly bias). 

Most days in the Gold Coast are sunny and warm, even during the winter, which makes the Burleigh Headlands walk an absolute must all year round. This non-strenuous walk stretches for an optional 1.2km or 2.5km, and can be enjoyed with a coffee in hand (I recommend Tarte Bakery and Cafe) and the kids in tow. Though not lengthy, the walk takes approximately 40 minutes to complete, allowing you to wander through lush rainforest and soak in scenic views of Burleigh Beach and Tallebudgera Creek. I highly recommend bringing your swimmers so you can hop in for a dip along the way. 

Vacays are meant for indulging yourself, because you absolutely deserve it! If you enjoy fine dining and delicious cocktails, you can't miss out on an evening at Rick Shores. This restaurant boasts a perfect beachfront location, and their Morton Bay bug rolls and fresh oyster are to die for. And, if you’re not into seafood there are plenty of options on the menu that will likely tickle your fancy. I strongly recommend booking in advance, as tables fill up quickly, especially on weekends. 

For those in the mood for a boogie, Burleigh Pavilion is an absolute must. I have spent numerous nights there, watching the sunset over the beach, drinking frozen rosés, and having a fabulous time. If you’d prefer a more laid-back atmosphere, bars like Justin Lane, Paloma and Rosella’s offer a vibey ambiance and are all walking distance from each other. 


Holidays can be expensive – I totally get it. If you're looking for a cheap and cheerful activity, nothing beats having a picnic on Burleigh Hill while enjoying the sunset with a crisp cider in hand. 


When the Gold Coast comes to mind, the image of towering skyscrapers in Surfers Paradise might be the first thing that pops up. However, if city living isn’t your jam, there are also peaceful and secluded areas like Currumbin, offering a quieter and more relaxed experience.

I recommend visiting Currumbin Creek, an idyllic location for kayaking, fishing, and stand-up paddleboarding. And, if you want to take a crack at surfing –  The Alley is the ideal place for beginners, with small waves that will have you standing up on your board in no time. I’d also recommend driving 15 minutes inland to the Hinterland where you’ll be surrounded by lush rainforest, beautiful bush walks and rock pools that are perfect for a refreshing dip. 

And, if your idea of a perfect holiday involves delicious brunches and hot girl walks, with a latte in hand (me too!), then you absolutely need to check out Stable and Salt Mill. These cafes offer up a delicious menu and coffee to please even the snobbiest of coffee snobs. 

While Currumbin is in a quieter part of the Gold Coast, there are a myriad of accommodation options, ranging from hotels and hostels to Airbnbs and camping choices. There are even unique stays like tiny houses and farm stays in Currumbin Valley. 


Image: Supplied


I'm in love with this little slice of the Gold Coast. It's a bit livelier than Currumbin but still has the same charm – with world class beaches, quaint cafes and restaurants.

Here you’ll also find Miami Marketta, a fantastic indoor and outdoor night market combined with a music venue. If you're a fan of live music, it's definitely worth checking the schedule to see who's performing while you're there – you might just stumble upon tickets to one of your favourite bands. 


Mermaid and Broadbeach.

If you’re in need of some relaxation, you simply can’t go past Soak Bathhouse located in Mermaid beach. This luxurious bathhouse has mineral baths, spas, cold plunges, steam rooms and a traditional cedar sauna. And, they also offer facials and massages. I could rave on and on about how much I love this bathouse, but it really is the perfect treat for couples, or friends who want some down time. And, the best part is, you’ll leave feeling zen –  and isn’t that what holidays are all about? 

At 24, I finally went to Draculas, and the little eight-year-old inside me who had begged her parents (and failed) to convince them to go – was thrilled. And, the wait was well and truly worth it. The costumes, the music, the comedy and the overall extravaganza of it all, made for a memorable experience. It's one of those things you'll love, whether you're six or 65. Yes, it's been around for years and isn’t the most unique recommendation, but if haven't been yet, I really think you should give it a go.

Writing this has made me feel nostalgic for my Gold Coast days, and honestly, I really miss it! So, if you’re heading up to the Sunshine State soon, can I come along too?

Feature Image: Supplied

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