More recently the Gold Coast has been known for culture and has left the desert behind, a haven for foodies and artists alike. Still dotted with theme parks for fun and sprinkles of glitz and glamour for good measure, we recently discovered there is more to this destination than first meets the eye.

Digging a little deeper, we discovered an array of swanky international hotels, retro style eateries and bustling cultural precincts, from HOTA (home of the arts) to the beachside Burleigh Pavilion precinct.

The stylish Langham Hotel is an absolute beachfront property that is all about charm, beautiful both inside and out. The décor is threaded with soft pink hues, contemporary fittings, with fresh flowers and sculptures adorning the hotels foyer and gardens.

The Langham offers a range of dining options. From a decadent High Tea in Palm Cove to Cantonese fine dining in T’Ang Court and a sumptuous fresh seafood banquet at restaurant Akoya. There is a beachside sandwich and cocktail bar ’26 & Sunny’ and a sophisticated lobby bar, adding another dimension to the coasts burgeoning food scene.

The impressive Dorsett Hotel takes pride of place in the Star Casino precinct and opened last year, classic in style with pastel hues and modern trimmings, the hotel is both luxurious and affordable. Close to bustling Broadbeach, the hotel accesses, Isoletto pool club and the Casino’s array of eateries. The luxurious executive rooms include the lounge, high above on level 19, capturing stunning views across the coast and mountains.

QT Hotel is all about lifestyle and good times and recently added a clever accommodation option to its property portfoilo, in the form of locally designed tiny homes. The qtQT Cabins are located on the rooftop of level 2, reminisce of colourful bathing boxes-they are complete with fire pit, cactus gardens and al fresco dining spaces. Complete with baked goods, local teas, candles and skin care, the Cabins are the ideal place to relax by the sea.

The Tropic has an enviable position, above the bustling Rick Shores restaurant in Burleigh Pavilion, with arguably the best views of the ocean in town. A fresh seafood and local produce menu complement the lime green and white interiors and cute as a button, beachside booths.

La Luna Beach Club is the new kid on the Marina Mirage block, built on floating platoons with a Mediterranean style menu, two sparkling pools, poolside cabanas and the coolest pool bar to relax by.

The latest venture for the southern end of the coast is the retro chic Palm Beach Ave, in Palm Beach- a coastal restaurant with vibrant striped umbrellas, lush interiors and the sound of the ocean as the backdrop.

Along with Lucia Tapas Bar, a Latino inspired eatery in Tugun with a delicious share plate menu, cocktails, wine and local craft beer. it’s the ideal place for that special occasion with the dreamiest Tapas Garden by the sea.

Located on James Street, Burleigh Paloma Wine Bar is a European inspired local’s bar with a delicious tasting menu, curated by the owners of the award winning Restaurant Labart, you know you’re in good hospitality hands.

Further North is Palm Springs, a bustling café built into a stunning art-deco building with clean line interiors and Besser block exterior-adorned with a the most picturesque cactus garden.

Hyde Paradiso is a retro inspired eatery and cocktail bar located above Surfers Paradise beach in the stunning Soul Building. The place to be for sunset cocktails and the freshest of seafood, with chic interiors and expansive dining space, offering uninterrupted views across the ocean.

Head over to HOTA (home of the arts), centrally located at Evandale Park, Bundall, the brightly coloured cube building can be seen from all over the coast. HOTA is an interactive, arts space built for the people. There is an open-air amphitheatre that hosts regular live performances, with some of the hottest acts coming to town.

HOTA Gallery is home to the award winning, fine dining Palette restaurant, a showcase of fresh, seasonal and local produce, with a decadent Sunday High Tea. The Exhibitionist Bar is situated on the rooftop of HOTA and boasts views as far as the eye can see. The cocktails are inspired by the exhibitions at the gallery, with fine wine and food to suit.

Make time to explore all that’s golden on the Gold Coast, a nature-based destination with a burgeoning foodie and arts community-with desirable weather all year, its the perfect place to eat, stay and play awhile.

If you’re looking for the best travel blog and podcast on Gold Coast, Queensland-make sure to check out As a travel writer and podcast host, I’m dedicated to sharing the best travel experiences, tips, and insights. Join me on my adventures as I explore the wonders of this captivating region and beyond.

EAT- Paloma Wine Bar, Rick Shores, Lucia Tapas Bar

PLAY-Miami Marketta, HOTA