HOTA Gold Coast – a 7.5-hectare precinct of parklands, theatres, outdoor stage, green space and cross bridge – has a new voronoi-patterned jewel in its crown. The $60 million HOTA (Home of the Arts) Gallery has opened with an exhibition handpicked to reflect the Surfer’s Paradise backdrop and all its glam, with a name befitting the Goldie itself.
Solid Gold: Artists from Paradise showcases local artists for HOTA’s first ever exhibition offering. It’s a “Love letter to the Gold Coast,” says CEO Criena Gehrke, and there’s plenty to love at HOTA. Here are five of the best things to do and see during your visit to the Gold Coast.
Image credit: Image credit: Abbey McCulloch, The Mountains (2011). SOLD GOLD: Artists from Paradise, HOTA Gallery. Image courtesy the artists and This is No Fantasy Gallery.
See local art
From Abbey McCulloch’s contemporary paintings to Nicola Moss’ politically motivated collages, Jason Haggerty’s digital installation and ceramic sculptures by Claudia De Salvo, there are bold originals at every turn in HOTA’s ground-level hall. Permanent compositions from artists further afield also line the rest of the gallery’s walls, floors and spaces – including an interactive area, World Upside Down, that offers a space for kids to make their own art. For the true aesthetes, swing past the peek-a-boo window for a behind-the-scenes survey of stored pieces not yet on show.
Get an incredible view of the Gold Coast
Wander up the dark timber and gold-accented stairs to the very top. Level five at HOTA Gold Coast is the place to get your smartphone out and capture the perfect Insta opportunity to capture the view across to Surfer’s and the inlets around the Nerang. Bonus: grab a drink at The Exhibitionist Bar, take in the HOTA parklands below – including a birds-eye view to the outdoor stage – and spot the bridge, connecting you to the Surfers “mainland” via a 20-minute walk across the Nerang River.
Wander the gardens
Veer left as you head out the “back door” and be mesmerised by a different kind of creative space. The Judy Watson-designed garden, showcasing the Nerang River in a flow of ugari and muscle shells embedded into a concrete pathway, was developed working in collaboration with, and hugely influenced by, the local Indigenous community – The Kombumerri people of the Yugambeh language. It’s a space for coming together and according to one of the garden’s caretaker, Hugh, “you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else”.
Book a dinner
HOTA’s new Palette Restaurant is one of the Gold Coast's most exciting restaurants. Headed up by executive chef Dayan Harhill-Law, whose resume reveals time spent in the kitchen of Heston Blumenthal, the degustation menu offers up Fraser Island spanner crab and watermelon radish and dry aged Burrawong Gaian duck you won’t want to end. Then, literally eat art for dessert. A Little Cocoa chocolate tumbler coated in the voronoi pattern of the building outside is a colourful, white-chocolate cup of miso ice-cream, layered toffee and banoffee flavours that almost looks too good to crack into.
Watch a show
Beyond the gallery, the HOTA grounds have dedicated spaces to set up a picnic, grab a drink and listen to live music during the warmer months – Six Seconds of Summer are HOTA-bound come the end of this year. Head to the HOTA Theatre and see a show, or once you’ve explored the lot jump on the Hop On Hop Off (HOPO) ferry loop and take a ride all the way from Surfers to Sea World and back again.