Now the Commonwealth Games have come to an end and the competitors have left the Athlete's Village to return to their respective homes around the world, is there any reason to care about the Gold Coast?
The answer: Hell yes there is.
The Games netted the area a huge amount of foreign and local investment dollars, especially in the areas of entertainment and luxury tourism. It’s already changed quite dramatically, and with more development planned over the next few years, the Gold Coast is set to evolve into one the most interesting and exciting cities on the east coast.
There’s plenty to do. And while we could focus on the great culture and arts scene, or on the fantastic restaurants you could visit (like Rick Shores, where you can’t leave without trying the Balmoral Bug roll. It’s phenomenal), we’re thinking something a little more… exhilarating. Not that a quiet weekend with the missus isn’t a terrific idea – you should definitely do it. But right now, we’re keen on flexing that adventure muscle and given what’s on offer, the Gold Coast is an ideal setting for an action-fuelled weekend away with the boys.
Here’re our picks.
Image: Drive Ride Race, Norwell Motorplex
This October 19 to 21 the Gold Coast 600 will be roaring off the grid with the intensity that only V8 Supercars can bring. You have time to plan this one properly, and tickets are still available from the website.
But why just settle for the sidelines when you could be in the driver’s seat? Check out Drive Ride Race at Norwell Motorplex. Run by experienced professionals, the Drive Ride Race experience will train you up enough to get behind the wheel of some seriously high-performance cars (you can choose either Ford or Holden, too, so everyone's happy). See if you can beat your mates around the 2.1km track, with the spoils – bragging rights and a beer from Burleigh Heads Brewery – to the victor. Check out their website for more info.
Image: Jetpack Adventures
This is harder than it looks, but also heaps of fun. See if you can get up on the water-propelled jetpacks, jet boards and jet bikes (yes, that’s actually a thing) at Jet Packing Adventures. It’s a great way to get out among the water and once you get the hang of it, it’s very, very addictive.
More info on Jetpacking? Click here.
Burleigh Heads Brewery
Image: Burleigh Heads Brewery
While the glitter strip is fun and all, Burleigh Heads offers a slightly more… hip side to the Gold Coast experience, without the pretention of similarly cool spots in Sydney and Melbourne (I'm looking at you Surry Hills).
A down-to-earth and super relaxing finish to a hectic day spent at the racetrack or strapped to a jetpack. Plus, while you’re there, you’ll realise that it isn’t only the beaches on the Gold Coast that are nice to look at.
For live music, food and local brews, check out the Burleigh Heads Brewery website.
The Star Gold Coast Hotel and Casino
Image: The Star Gold Coast
No trip to the area is complete without checking out what the Casino has to offer. They’ve just recently injected $345 million dollars into the Star for an expansion that opened back in March.
The new tower, known as The Darling, is the Coast’s first six-star hotel comprising spacious suites and rooms while also showcasing new signature bars and restaurants (including the rooftop restaurant Nineteen), private gaming rooms and butler service.
Six food and beverage offerings, 596 refurbished hotel rooms and a luxury poolside experience are among the newly-released features at The Star, which also boasts highly popular dining experiences at Kiyomi, Cucina Vivo and Garden Kitchen & Bar.
It is the first phase of a proposed $850 million upgrade and expansion of the property. The second phase will feature a 200m tower with 700 4.5-star hotel rooms and apartments. Further plans, if approved, could see an additional four towers eventually being constructed on the Broadbeach Island site.
Go and channel your inner Bond at the blackjack tables or check out one of the many entertaining shows on offer. Click here for more info.