Heading to the Gold Coast for the 2018 Commonwealth Games? Here are five winning holiday rentals, from beachfront, hinterland and high-rise retreats to a luxury yacht and a canalside villa.
5 bedrooms; sleeps 13 | $$ From $1000 per night (minimum four nights)
Relaxing in the master bedroom of this Hamptons-style holiday home (aptly named Hamptons Beachfront) you could be forgiven for thinking that you’re on Long Island. Crisp white interiors heighten the drama of cerulean water stretching to the horizon, while crashing waves provide the soundtrack. The only question is: where to take in the show? From the plush king bed positioned under the pitched roof or the freestanding bath – large enough for two – in the gleaming marble ensuite? Occupying the entire upper level and featuring floor-to-ceiling glass windows that magnificently frame the ocean, the bedroom is the pièce de résistance of the property. But there’s much to like on the other floors, too: a vast living room that opens onto an outdoor deck, for instance, or the heated lap pool and spa.
Swimming, surfing and snoozing are perfectly legitimate options when staying at the Hamptons, which has direct access to Main Beach. It’s a creamy strip of sand with warm waters about five minutes’ drive from Surfers Paradise but well away from the crowds. Families should consider a trip to nearby Sea World – the starting point of aerial tours operated by Sea World Helicopters. A 20-minute flight to the Currumbin Valley takes in the hinterland’s stunning rainforests and waterfalls before skimming the coastline for bewitching views of the cityscape.
Enjoy the open-plan kitchen/dining area with striking stainless-steel lamps and a long antique-oak dining table at Hamptons Beachfront or hit the restaurant precinct on nearby Tedder Avenue. Local & Co. Espresso Bar is the place for zucchini-and-quinoa breakfast fritters, while seafood restaurant Shuck serves a menu of crab lasagne, Tasmanian salmon and King George whiting.
Sub-penthouse at Soul Surfers Paradise
3 bedrooms; sleeps 7 | $$ From $1300 per night
Finding a calm spot in tourist-packed Surfers Paradise might seem unlikely but it’s possible when you’re 63 floors above sea level. Located on the Esplanade, Soul Surfers Paradise has more than 200 apartments – all with uninterrupted vistas. Our pick is the three-bedroom sub-penthouse (No. 6301), a lavish retreat with leather couches and taupe walls. Sliding glass doors open onto the main balcony, making the most of the ocean-facing aspect, while the second balcony offers a bird’s-eye view of the Gold Coast’s canal estates and hinterland in the distance.
Guests have access to all resort facilities, including two pools and a sauna, steam room and spa. Also set aside time to explore the newly revamped Pacific Fair in Broadbeach, a short drive from Surfers. The mall has more than 400 retailers – Tiffany & Co., Bally, Chanel and other high-end brands – and a plethora of dining options, such as Italian restaurant Rivea.
For fine dining, make a beeline for the hatted Seaduction Restaurant + Bar on the second floor of Soul Surfers Paradise. With fully retractable glass walls, it offers indoor and outdoor seating, uninterrupted ocean views and chef James Fiske’s daring menu. Expect pickled beets with dried, smoked trout and slow-cooked lamb belly with saltbush. If you want to further explore the Gold Coast’s hospitality, head to Cocoon, a chic, all-white lounge bar and restaurant on the other, quieter end of Cavill Avenue. Snag a cabana on the outdoor deck before tucking into posh pub grub such as beer-battered fries with Japanese mayo, chicken skewers sizzling in yakitori sauce and arancini with prosciutto, parmesan and brie.
6 bedrooms; sleeps 19 | $$ From $690 per night (minimum three nights)
Beyond the buzz of Surfers is the Gold Coast Hinterland, with its lush mountains and forests, serene waterfalls, serpentine roads and stately homes. Perched on a hill in the tranquil suburb of Tallai, about 20 minutes’ drive south-west of the Goldie, the two-storey Panorama is set on three hectares of sloping grassland – a favourite hangout for kangaroos and the odd sleepy koala. An entrance with high ceilings and a polished timber staircase welcomes guests and all six bedrooms are awash with light. But it’s the first-floor deck where The Panorama makes the most of its location. The vast outdoor area is surrounded by eucalypts and offers stunning views of the Gold Coast strip. Take in the spectacle at sunrise, when the first rays dance across the ocean’s surface.
Explore the verdant surroundings on foot, with views of Hinze Dam on one side and the city on the other. Or sign up for a Tamborine National Park excursion with Southern Cross 4WD Tours. The half-day package includes a guided rainforest walk among towering gums, cascading waterfalls and placid rock pools, as well as a wine-tasting.
Seclusion is this location’s strong point so don’t expect cafés, bars or restaurants nearby. Instead, put the open-plan kitchen to use. Or take advantage of My Holiday Concierge, a local company that can arrange an in-house chef to prepare a multi-course meal or deliver breakfast, lunch and dinner hampers packed with inclusions such as fresh pastries and breads from Bisou Bakery and a jalapeño-infused cashew dip by Botanical Cuisine.
4 bedrooms; sleeps 8 | $$ From $4990 per night
With sporty lines and sea-blue accents, the 80-foot Crystal Blue slices its way through the Gold Coast’s waterways, passes beneath its bridges, slips into isolated coves and even ventures into the open ocean, offering ever-changing perspectives of the skyline, islands and beaches. The yacht’s four state-of-the-art bedrooms feature a porthole, flat-screen TV and an ensuite. There’s a swank galley kitchen, too (but no need to lift a finger, as the charter includes two crew members).
Crystal Blue Yacht Charters offers bespoke itineraries. Spend the day fishing in the Broadwater (or on the outer reef for a big catch) or swim and snorkel in the sheltered bay off Wave Break Island. Alternatively, you could just plonk yourself on the bow as the skipper takes you for a spin around Paradise Point, a neighbourhood dotted with extravagant waterside mansions. A champagne cruise sees the Nerang River by evening, all the way to Chevron Island, where the glassy skyscrapers turn orange in the glow of the setting sun.
All meals and drinks are included in the charter, with the aft of the boat doubling as an alfresco dining room. Dinners are a three-course affair that kick off with a generous platter of oysters and Moreton Bay bugs. Other meals are more casual – big serves of freshly chopped fruit for breakfast, for example, and barbecued salmon or beef with sautéed greens for lunch.
2052 The Circle
4 bedrooms; sleeps 10 | $$ From $4700 per week (minimum seven nights)
Did you know the Gold Coast has nine times more canals than Venice? While there are no historic bridges or gondoliers who serenade, there’s something marvellous about a boat ride along these winding waterways. Set on one such canal in Sanctuary Cove – a gated community on Hope Island, about 30 minutes from the city – is 2052 The Circle, a four-bedroom house with water features and its own jetty. Gordon Ramsay was once a guest here; every imaginable device can be found in the cutting-edge kitchen. A pool wraps around the alfresco area and the upstairs master bedroom boasts canal views and a spa bath in the ensuite.
Two golf courses are within teeing distance: the 18-hole Pines and the Ross Watson-designed Palms, which offers access to non-members. Hop into a buggy – there are two parked in the garage – and make your way past immaculate lawns and charming villas until you reach the lake-dotted greens. Even the nearby shopping precinct of Marine Village is accessible via buggy. Soho Girl is ideal for relaxed resort wear and dresses, while Latitude Clothing Co. is the place to go for men’s fitted shirts in vibrant prints.
Marine Village offers a multitude of dining options, from the twice-cooked pork-belly burgers at Anchor Buoy Cafe & Bar to the wood-fired wheels of mozzarella and pepperoni at George’s Paragon Pizza & Wine Bar. But nothing beats the casual elegance and vibe of Jonez on Food, where the walls are lined with books and the smoked salmon is paired with yuzu mayonnaise.