My 9-day road trip to Queensland Region of Australia!
Guest blog by Instagrammer @GirlEatWorld
There is nothing more I love than tasting local food as well as experiencing the beautiful nature on my own terms, without being limited to public transport availability. As such, I have always been a huge fan of road trip as it allows you to explore an area whenever and wherever you want.
I flew from Singapore down under in mid-April, so the weather was just perfect. We were treated to mostly clear blue skies and temperature of 20-25°C. It’s also not humid in most of the areas, but not too dry as well. However as someone who came from a hot and humid tropical temperature like Singapore, I would still recommend bringing a light jacket or hoodie as well as some moisturizers and lip balm.
During my trip, I explored Gold Coast, Brisbane and The Sunshine Coast region. I flew out from Singapore to Brisbane on a direct flight with Emirates. As Brisbane is an international hub, it is very easy to get to. There are many other airline choices for direct flights (especially from Singapore!). Then, we drove down to Gold Coast, then up to Sunshine Coast and Noosa.
1. Gold Coast
Gold Coast was the first point of visit during this trip, and an exciting one at that. Gold Coast is known as a mix of Miami and Las Vegas - They have surfing, parties, shopping and casinos. If you are more of a relaxed person and nature is more of your thing, they have that too! I had a lot of fun exploring the region for 3 days.
Where to eat:
(1) Elk’s Espresso - known for amazing brunch, as well as the place Orlando Bloom frequented when he was dating Miranda Kerr!
(2) Addiction Food & Coffee Shop - Centrally located at Broad Beach, they serve all the brunch staples including the Aussie must-have - smashed avo toast with feta cheese.
(3) Betty’s Burger - This is a local Queensland burger joint chain. Aside of trying the classic Betty’s burger, I also highly recommend trying their vanilla thickshake!
(4) Charis Seafood - Fresh seafood by the beach for reasonable prices. Get the Tasmanian Oysters and the fish and chips!
(5) Night Quarter Market - Words can’t express how excited I was when I stepped into this lively night market. There was a lot of food, local artist shops and activities everywhere, as well as live entertainment.
What to do:
(1) Coolangatta - just a half hour drive from Broad Beach and next to the Gold Coast airport, Coolangatta is a laid back suburb of Gold Coast. It borders New South Wales at Point of Danger, where you can see a monument marking exactly where the border is. I recommend going to Kirra’s Point or Snapper’s Rock during sunrise or sunset for an excellent view.
(2) Pelican feeding at Labrador Beach - Get up close and personal with these large birds as they are getting their share of fish scraps from Charis Seafood.
(3) Take the G-train to Surfer’s Paradise, then walk down south to Broad Beach
(4) Currumbin Alley Rocks - a natural rock pool. Great for families and small children.
(5) Currumbin Beach - a famous beach for surfing, as it includes large waves for experienced surfers as well as a sheltered area for swimming and paddleboarding.
(6) Take a Surfing Lesson - experience the waves by taking a 2-hour surfing lesson. I only managed to stand up for probably a microsecond, but it was a very fun experience. I have tons of respect for surfers now.
(7) Hike up Mount Warning - this is an excellent point for sunrise watching, but requires a few hours of hiking. Also, check if the roads are accessible since it was closed when I was there due to the cyclone.
(8) Tamborine Skyforest
Next, we headed up to Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, for one night. The one thing I immediately noticed about Brisbane is how bike and pedestrian-friendly the city is, making it very easy to explore on foot.
Where to eat:
(1) Riverbar & Kitchen Restaurant
(2) Brew - a cool underground coffee and pub at the end of Burnett Lane.
(3) Regatta Hotel - This one is a bit off the CBD, but worth visiting on a good day. The hotel caught my eyes as we were driving due to its Victorian black and white design, and turns out it’s a heritage-listed hotel built in 1886. The food was also cheap (relative to Australia standard) and tasty.
What to do:
(1) GOMA (Gallery of Modern Arts) for some arts. Check their website for any exhibit that’s currently ongoing https://www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/
(2) Tower Clock and Museum of Brisbane - Located in the middle of Brisbane’s financial district at King George’s Square, the museum is pretty small but there is a tour that lets you go up the clock tower. The tour runs every 15 minutes, but get there early as there are limited space and they tend to run out.
(3) Walk along the river of Brisbane, which includes Botanical Gardens, QUT campus, the Brisbane letter sign, a man-made beach, among other things.
(4) Burnett Lane for street arts and murals. At night, the place transform into cool restaurants and cocktail bars.
(5) Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
3. Sunshine Coast Hinterland
From Brisbane, Sunshine Coast Hinterland is just a short drive out, but totally different world. If you like beaches, you would be spoiled for choices along the coast. If you are more of a mountain person, heading in is only an hour drive.
Where to eat:
(1) Maleny Mountain Wines - This isn’t so much “where to eat” as “where to drink”. Their choice of food is quite slim and they may run out of ingredients if you arrive later in the afternoon, but their choice of beverage are top notch. I recommend trying their Maleny Rose, which are made from locally grown grapes. If wine isn’t your favorite, you can also try their home-brewed ales.
(2) Maleny Dairy Farms - They have farm tours running a few times a day, but even if you missed those, I still highly recommend you visit this farm just because it’s so beautiful.
What to do:
(1) Maleny - Given that all my recommendations on where to eat is in Maleny, I think it’s obvious that this little town should not be missed. It can seem a bit out of place on the map, but trust me, it’s worth it. Aside of wine tasting and the dairy farm, you can also go for a short walk at Gardner’s Fall.
(2) Drive through to Montville - From Maleny, drive to the direction of Montville. The route is very scenic and beautiful.
(3) Eumundi Market - This is a huge market every Wednesday and Saturday. You can find anything from coffee, heritage food to clothing here.
(4) Australia Zoo - I didn’t stop by as going to the zoo is not high on my priority list, but this should be interesting for families with small children.
(5) Glass House Mountains - Glass House Mountains is a series of hills just a short drive off brisbane. I recommend staying at a lodge near the mountain, and check out Glass House lookout for sunrise / sunset or even just stargazing at night.
(6) Take a scenic drive by the coast on David Low Way - This is for the beach lovers - a totally scenic drive from Maroochydore up to Noosa Head (or vice versa). Along the way, stop by Coolum Beach Park and Point Perry which is great for surfer watching and just generally chilling by the beach.
If Gold Coast is all about glitz and glamor, Noosa is quite the opposite of that. It’s still a beach town, but Noosa exudes a vibe of cool sophistication. That said, it’s also a great option of families with the amount of activities you can do around here.
Where to eat:
(1) Laguna Jacks - Great for burger, fish and chips and steak.
(2) Blended Health Bar - for coffee, smoothies and cool healthy blended bowl like Acai Bowl (a true instagram star) and Pitaya, a blended bowl made of hot pink dragon fruit.
(3) Aromas Cafe - for brunch and coffee. Their Smashed Avo and feta is out of this world.
(4) Betty’s Burger - If you missed Betty’s in other areas, you can try them here too! I did see a long queue in this joint during dinner time though, so try and avoid peak hours.
What to do:
(1) Day trip to Fraser Island - Once you are up here, this is a must not miss. Fraser Island’s aboriginal name is K’gari, which means paradise, and it is named so for a good reason. The entire island is made of sand, but is able to sustain an ecosystem similar to a rainforest. Taking a dip in freshwater lake that looks like a sandy beach was one of the highlights of the trip for me.
(2) Hasting Street shops - The city centre of Noosa, which really is just a short street that is a few meters away from the beach and packed with cool cafes and chic local labels of beach wears and casual clothing.
(3) Noosa National Park - From the main beach of Noosa, the National Park is just a short walk away. They have a variety of trails, ranging from a very easy 30-min walk to 3-hour hike.
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