When my partner recommended a break from Melbourne to the southern beaches of the Gold Coast, I have to admit it created a degree of scepticism. Conjuring up mental images of Dubai-esque manmade geographic features. As we flew in to Gold Coast Airport the landscape was spectacular with a golf course in the foreground, mountainous Queensland hinterland in the background, and terracotta roofed Aussie dwellings toward the town. I was impressed.
In Palm Beach we stayed at the quite special Surf Horizons apartments. A low-rise apartment block which backs on to the beach. 'We bring the Whales to you' says Gary the manager. I can see how! The rolling surf peels in here right next to your bedroom. And there are mysterious vistas of the distant ultra modern Gold Coast city skyscrapers and only peaceful wide open beaches in-between you and it. It really does look a cross between Star Trek and Hawaii 5-0.
Palm Beach town was also a surprise, with a booming artisan community vibe, including organic cafes. We found many bistro style restaurants and collective art & clothes boutiques (such as The Apparel Collective) all nestled between the usual chain stores, banks and bottle shops. Everyone here was super friendly and pretty hippy. The hosts at Surf Horizons have an open policy to use their herb, salad and chilli gardens grown in handy self-watering tanks (powered by solar of course) right next to the BBQ. You can really get back to nature here.
Beautiful beach side balconies at Surf Horizons Apartments, Gold Coast
For accommodation we recommend the three-bed two story apartment at www.surfershorizons.com.au. They also have plenty of smaller options for a tighter budget. Dining out there's so much choice, but Pablo Pablo is quite excellent.