The Gold Coast has changed. Although still a perfect year-round destination for sun seekers, theme parks fans and the extended family, it’s now a cultural powerhouse too.
From an array of vibrant art galleries to multicultural restaurants that strive to push the culinary envelope, and a diverse events calendar that fills the city streets in a riot of colour, creativity and sound at every possible opportunity, this is the new Gold Coast you need to discover.
A splash of street art here, a dash of pop culture there.
The Gold Coast is home to a spirited artistic scene, with a pool of creatives all leaving their stamp on the city. You only need to stroll the streets to see this in action, but there are some venues worth seeking out, such as 19 Karen Contemporary Art Space in Mermaid Beach, which represents over 100 artists of various genres and styles, and the exceptional Boomerang Art Aboriginal Fine Art Gallery in Southport.
However, if there’s one place that truly showcases the breadth of the Gold Coast’s artistic talent, it’s the newly revamped Home of the Arts (HOTA). Set in a beautiful parkland with the Surfers Paradise skyline rising in the distance behind it, HOTA is a sprawling arts and cultural precinct that encompasses a gallery, theatre, outdoor stage, arthouse cinema and a whole lot more.
Another essential reason to revisit the Gold Coast is its diverse events scene – it’s not just race cars and the Coolie Gold. These days the city’s events calendar is positively booming, taking in everything from live musical performances to titillating cabaret and burlesque, sculpture festivals that hug the shoreline, and comedy shows that’ll split your sides with laughter.
The Pink Flamingo Spiegelclub in Broadbeach is one of the newest must-visit attractions. The swanky club features slick and sassy burlesque performances, Cirque du Soleil-esque aerial arts, flamboyant Las Vegas-style costumes and fierce dancers slaying in killer heels.
If you’re in the mood for a larger scale affair, you’re in luck. There’s BLEACH* Festival, which showcases a mix of contemporary art, theatre, dance, live music and storytelling at multiple sites across the coast; Cooly Rocks On in June, a celebration of rock ‘n’ roll, swing and rockabilly music; the sensational Blues on Broadbeach and a whole lot more.
Image credit: The Pink Flamingo
The Dining Scene
Of course, it’d be wrong to not mention the city’s delicious, multicultural dining scene too. You can read about some of our favourites here, but we’ll also throw a few more winners into the ring such as Balboa Italian in Palm Beach, Etsu Izakaya (order the karaage chicken), and Rick Shores on the waterfront in Burleigh Heads. The Tropic is also worth checking out too.
French, Brazilian, Persian, Japanese, Indian… you name it, it’s probably available on the coast. From casual eats and takeaway to sophisticated degustation dining with paired wines that tickle your taste buds in all the right places, the hardest decision is just settling on where to go next.
A city of arts, a city of culture, the Gold Coast is more than just a one-trick pony. Whether it’s your first or 15th time amid its sun-kissed streets, there’s always something new to discover.
Main Image: ‘Superegg’ sculpture by Jaco Roeloffs at Swell Festival 2019