Suburbs like Burleigh and Surfers Paradise steal most of our city’s spotlight but the northern end of the Gold Coast’s city limits offer plenty to see and do, too.
The Gold Coast is Australia’s theme park capital and all of them can be found in the same general vicinity. Driving south, into the Gold Coast, the hard-to-miss Giant Drop at Dreamworld is enough to get any child – or child-at-heart – excited, and by the time they spot the enormous DC Rivals Hypercoaster at Warner Bros. Movie World just a few kilometres further down the motorway, they’ll be begging you to pull over. Adventure calls Coomera and Oxenford home, and you could easily spend a few days exploring the big four theme parks here – Dreamworld, White Water World, Movie World and Wet’n’Wild – without ever getting to down to the Gold Coast’s city centre. That’s because all four theme parks promise more than just a thrill (although they certainly offer plenty of those, too), with roaming movie and TV characters, wild animal experiences, delicious food, exhibitions and live entertainment that will have you lingering until they close their enormous doors. Stay after dark for special events on select dates – like Dreamworld’s Winterfest on July 6 and Movie World’s ‘Fright Nights’ in October – to keep the fun going all day, and night, long.
If you’re looking for an authentic V8 supercar experience, you’ll find it a little further north-east at Norwell. V8 Supercars Gold Coast is owned by long-time race car driver Paul Morris and is the only experience of its kind that’s officially endorsed by the sport – essentially, it’s the closest rookies will get to actually racing. Burn laps around the track, either as a passenger or behind the wheel yourself, learning how to master the art of braking, turning and steering 360+ horsepower from the pros.
But, if tearing around a racetrack isn’t exactly your speed, take it a little slower at one of the many golf courses in the Gold Coast’s northern suburbs. Making the most of the expansive surrounds and pristine ocean inlets, Hope Island and nearby Sanctuary Cove have become two of the most coveted golfing greens on the Gold Coast, and both ranked amongst Australia’s 100 best golf courses in 2018. Further north, Pimpama’s Gainsborough Greens Clubhouse course is well worth a visit – if not for the greens themselves, then certainly for the Sunday sessions at the on-site restaurant.
You’d be hard-pressed finding a food icon in these parts bigger than Yatala Pies. Yatala Pies has been a landmark in Yatala for more than 130 years. From humble beginnings as a small pie shop on the Pacific Highway, the company has relocated to large, modern, landscaped premises nearby (exit 38 Yatala North off the M1) and employs 70 staff. From modest sales of about 200 pies a day a little over a decade ago, the company now sells more than 3500 pies a day, as well as hundreds of sweet pastries. Our hot tip for Yatala Pie newbies? Go beyond your plain steak or steak-and-mushie tradition and opt for a Lamb Coconut Curry pie. With a side of the best hot chips on the M1. Delish.
Westfield shopping centres are more than just shopping hubs – they are lifestyle destinations. The new Westfield Coomera and its sister centre Westfield Helensvale are both exactly that. At Westfield Coomera, think 140 speciality stores, a Fresh Food Marketplace, outdoor dining precinct and an entertainment precinct that includes Event Cinemas, the first iPlay Adventure Family Entertainment Centre in Australia as well as The Park Coomera which is “a tenpin bowling and mini golf meets beer garden” space. You can easily lose a day there – in the best possible way!
For those who love to squeeze every cent out of a dollar, when is outlet shopping ever a bad idea? You can indulge your outlet shopping requirement at Harbour Town (at Biggera Waters). With more than 240 stores including brand-direct outlets and clearance stores, as well as a host of speciality retailers and delicious alfresco dining options, this is another way to spend a blissful day shopping on the Goldie. Just like their tagline, Harbour Town is a ‘friend with benefits’. Credit cards at the ready, people!