This weekend I was able to explore around the Gold Coast area a little more, and went on some very fun adventures!
Cruising Through Life
On Saturday morning, a friend and I took a Sea World cruise, departing at Southport, with the destination of Marine Sanctuary Cove. Fun fact, Sea World Australia is not associated in any way with the American SeaWorld Company. They have very similar marketing and architecture, but are not the same company.
The cruise was about an hour and a half each way, and we lucked out because it was a pretty empty boat that day, so we got to spend the entire time on the top deck of the 3.5 million dollar cruise yacht! We traveled through the Coomera River passing Wavebreak, Ephraim, Sovereign, and South Stradbroke Islands, with crew announcing information on the surrounding plants and wildlife. While Gold Coast is known for its tourism and vacation destination reputation, Hope Island, and specifically Sovereign Island, is home to the some of the wealthiest individuals in Australia. One house we passed by was the 13th house of the richest man in Australia, and for his daughter’s 14th birthday she received a private yacht fully equipped with crew. Smaller homes lining the edge of the water sold for $600-900,000, while other larger homes were priced in the range of $9-15 million. Ironically, a few homes mentioned were actually bought and then foreclosed, selling at a second time for a much lower cost (for example, somewhere in the range of $12 original to $5 second sale). Would hate to be the first buyer there!
View of Sovereign Islands, featuring the house and yacht mentioned above
View from the top deck of the boat
The boat stopped at Marine Sanctuary Cove for lunch, and we had a great time exploring the little island of cafes, shops, and waterfront views of the beautiful harbor. We ate lunch at The Covenant, a reasonably priced restaurant with gourmet food. If the descriptions don’t sound gourmet, take my word from the pictures!
Boardwalk to get fresh fish straight off the boat
Espresso crème brûlée, house-made pistachio and macadamia biscotti, and pistachio Persian fairy floss
View of the boardwalk and Marine Sanctuary Cove harbor
On the return from the harbor, we were able to spot a kangaroo in one of the grass fields, as well as a Dugong just past Wavebreak Island. This animal is a medium-sized marine animal, and is one of four species in the Sirenia order, including three species of Manatees. It’s closest modern relative is the Sea Cow, and looks very similar to a Manatee. The season for sighting is just starting, however our crew speaker informed us that it was only the second time she had ever seen one on that cruise route, so it was lucky! They are relatively non-invasive creatures that tend to stay grazing on the sea floor, and usually only come up to the surface for air. Since they move slowly, staying near the surface would unfortunately increase their risk of getting hit or injured by boat or other marine vessels moving quickly through the waters. After the sighting we headed back to port, and onto our next adventure for the day.
A local Australian singer was doing an EP launch at Café Catalina, which coincidentally was just a short drive from where we were. The artistic, Jacob Lee, is currently on Spotify after spending time performing on WillIAm’s team on The Voice. We spent some time at the café listening to quality music, then walked around the area, which was just off of the beach. We walked right through a park-like area, and down the pier to see the lovely lookout, then walked left through a patch of mangroves. Then we headed home, and got ready to head out for the evening.
That evening we checked out Miami Marketta, a food and music venue. I would definitely say that it surpassed my expectations! The venue is an old warehouse, with murals painted all along the walls and lights hanging from the ceilings. When you enter, there is a stage with live music to the right, and a more permanent restaurant/bar on the left, next to a boutique shop. The first half of the area is seating, and the entire back half has food stands lining each side. There is also a room specifically for just dessert, and a few small seating rooms. Whatever food you are in the mood for, I guarantee you can find something! I got a Mediterranean flatbread sandwich of black beans and feta, as well as coconut gelato later on.
The food was fantastic, the atmosphere lovely and upbeat, and we decided we would definitely be returning with all of our other friends the next weekend! From there we went to explore the Broadbeach nightlife, and returned feeling like it was quite a successful day!
Lights of Miami Marketta
Dinner with friends
SkyPoint Observation Deck
After a morning of catch-up and travel planning on Sunday, I was able to spend another day exploring Gold Coast. I found out that downtown Surfer’s Paradise is very cute during the daytime. Despite the crowds, there are many shops and cafes, and even a street market that is held by the beach. One very fun stop was the Q1 tower, at the SkyPoint Observation Deck. This is Australia’s only beachside observation tower lookout. At 230 meters above the ground, you are able to see a 360 degree view North to Brisbane and South to Byron Bay. There is even a restaurant and live music to enjoy while you check out the view. It takes just 43 seconds to ride elevator up to the 77th floor, and they even have a video screen on the ceiling of the elevator to watch as a live camera films the movement of the elevator car. I would highly recommend a visit to this beautiful lookout point!
View off the SkyPoint Observation deck
Full North side view off the SkyPoint Observation deck
Burleigh Heads Lookout
Later in the day we went to check out the lookouts in Burleigh Heads National Park. While some of my friends were hoping to do a sunrise hike in this area at some point, it ended up being a much shorter hike than I anticipated. We walked by phone flashlight up to the northern lookout, which was a little small but allowed you to see the coastline lit up all the way to Surfer’s. From there we walked to the larger southern lookout, where again you can see all along the coastline lit up during nighttime. With the perfect temperature, peaceful water, and bright moon, it was the perfect way to end a weekend of adventures!