I only just got back to New Zealand after a week over on the Gold Coast in Australia, and it was ridiculously tropical, beautiful, and colorful – pretty much the opposite of New Zealand. As much as I love my mountains here, sometimes you just gotta warm up. And now there are easy direct flights over from Queenstown, so I reckon I’ll be over there heaps!
Back to the Gold Coast!
Queensland, Australia is my home away from home. And actually it’s the home away from home for so many kiwis, so I just fit right in (or I pretend I do anyways). There is so much to explore in this region I never get tired of it.
But this time I was on the Gold Coast for round 2 of our Travel Bootcamp – my very own travel conference that I helped launch this year to teach people like you guys how to build a career in travel. While we were there, my partners Lauren and Georgia and I had time to explore the Gold Coast ourselves and had so much fun bonding and winding down after the event in a stunning place.
I’m drawn to colors when I am traveling and have written a fair bit about it here. In fact, on my very first trip to Queensland I wrote a color guide to it because I was so impressed by how bright and colorful this region is. It has stunning beaches, tropical forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, koalas, what’s not to love? And can we just talk about how much my photography has improved since then? Shivers.
I was last on the Gold Coast almost three years ago on a super fun project in Broadbeach but this time I was in Surfers Paradise. Because we were there for a week, I really felt like I had the time to get to know the area, especially with Lauren as a local with us!
With so many colors, sunrises and rainbows, I just had to share.
So I thought I’d go ahead and share my little guide to colors of the Gold Coast this time around in the hopes it might inspire you to visit too! Enjoy!
The blue Gold Coast
So if I had to chose a color to describe the Gold Coast, it ironically wouldn’t be gold. It would be blue. But let’s be fair, the Blue Coast doesn’t sound nearly as good.
HOWEVER, the Gold Coast is home to the most stunning shades of blue I’ve ever seen. From the tropical turquoise waters to the blue waterways to the clear blue skies, it’s just a rainbow of warm blues, and I love it.
Obviously the best way to admire the blues from the skies, preferably by chopper.
That bright white supermoon
We were lucky enough to be over there for the latest supermoon craze. I’ve never really photographed the moon before so I thought I’d give it a shot. Lauren’s balcony was next to mine, and she is a much better photographer than I am so I was yelling over to here trying to figure out what settings to use. I’ve got a list of all my gear here for those of you who are curious.
Didn’t turn out half bad hey? Though I think it looks suspiciously like a normal moon. What was all the fuss about?
Though it was pretty special to watch it rise over the ocean from our rooms and the fact that I could shoot it from the balcony in my pajamas. Winning.
White sandy beaches and glowing golden skyscrapers of Surfers Paradise
Surfers is the heart of the Gold Coast, and it’s home to the high rises and iconic skyline we know and love.
Surfers Paradise is fun, energetic and bubbly, and it’s a place that makes you smile. It reminds me so much of the beach towns on the east coast USA where I grew up. Can I get a hair wrap please?
Hot pink donuts at breakfast the QT
We based most of our trip in Surfers Paradise at the QT hotel, which is quite possibly, the coolest hotel I’ve ever stayed in – and that is saying A LOT, you know, because I basically live in hotels.
It was so quirky and cute and had a million little unique touches that made me squeal.
But the best part? The QT Gold Coast has THE BEST HOTEL BREAKFAST OF ALL TIME. Now, no arguing please. This is a fact. There is a donut menu. There is a juice bar with red stripey straws. There is an ice cream machine. End of story. It’s the breakfast buffet of dreams.
Orange curries at Burleigh Heads
The Gold Coast has some great dining! And drinking.
Man do I love a good Asian fusion restaurant and Rick Shores in Burleigh Heads does not disappoint! The fried bug roll is a must!
Making friends with the rainbow lorikeets at Currumbin
I love Australian wildlife, especially the birds. Queensland is home to beautiful tropical birds and parrots, and the rainbow lorikeets might be my fave. If you love wildlife, one of the best ways to experience them in Australia in an ethical way is at an official ecosanctuary like Currumbin on the Gold Coast.
Arrive early at Currumbin and you might get some lorikeets getting up close and personal! Also you’ve been warned, there are quite a few ridiculous photos of me with birds forthcoming. Watcha!
Lush green rainforest at Oreilly’s in Lamington National Park
Yes, the Gold Coast has an amazing rainforest. I didn’t know this, so don’t be ashamed. It’s its best-kept secret I reckon! All you have to do is head inland for about an hour and half and you’ll be in dense sub-tropical rainforest in Lamington National Park filled with birds, waterfalls and magical trees for as far as you can see. And mini kangaroos.
At the end of an adventurous winding mountain road you’ll arrive at the heart of the hinterland – O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, the kind of place you’ll want to base yourself for a week if you have the time.
Famous for its treetop walk, we headed up into the canopy in the early morning, and it was really special. My favorite part was a beautiful red parrot who followed us from tree to tree the whole way, until finally when I jokingly stick my finger out to her, she jumped on to say hello. It was so magical!
Mary Poppins or what?
Blushing pink sunset at Morans Falls
Morans Falls is an iconic waterfall in the national park that I was dying to see. An easy walk, we arrived at sunset with bubbles in tow to take some shots as the hills turned from gold to pink to red to blue.
A steep plunge waterfall, you can walk around the top bit and it’s easily accessible from O’Reilly’s – if you know where to look. This was the absolute highlight of the trip for me, and I would go back again in a heartbeat.
The canopy of the rainforest went as far as the eye could see, and as the sun began to set it turned the mountains the most brilliant colors and made you feel like you were in a world all by yourself. It was truly special, and even more so because it was something I wasn’t expecting.