I've never done a girls' weekend overseas, and after going to the Gold Coast with my friends Steph (also known online as Beauty Lust) and Kerri, I wish I'd done it sooner!
My friends and I had been tossing up getting a hotel in Auckland and having a big night out, but then there were flights to Gold Coast for NZ$200 so we thought, why not make a weekend of it?! Even though Gold Coast is not a place I've been in a hurry to go back to, after going on a family holiday and a couple's trip years ago and preferring a different style of travel nowadays, it has its merits.
What to do:
So many Kiwis go to the Gold Coast at some point for a cheap, fun getaway. Because we were only there for three nights, we decided to forgo the theme parks this time around, but they are very easy to get to and you could definitely squeeze at least one into your weekend. We were there for shopping and nightlife, with a bit of sunshine thrown in.
As the name would suggest, you can also surf at Surfer's Paradise. Sherpa, my favourite surf forecasting app, confirmed what the lack of surfers on the water suggested; conditions weren't great. Each day I thought it might improve but alas, it didn't. It would be a really neat place to learn though, and would be a really fun way to spend a morning with the girls!
Then there's the shopping. There are a few malls to choose from, as well as the shops of Surfers Paradise. We hit up the outlet stores at Harbour Town, where we scored some pretty good bargains. The sales are similar to what you'd find at Dressmart in Auckland, with maybe a few more designer brands in the mix. Then there's the recently upgraded Pacific Fair, which is a stunning mall. I hate spending too much time in malls these days, in spite of my past as a shopaholic, but Pacific Fair was so impressive and mostly outdoors, so I didn't mind too much.
We also went clubbing, and I think we could've branched out down to Broadbeach where it sounds like the clientele is a bit closer to our age, but we still had fun. We only went to Sin City (twice because they asked us to come in free of charge and offered a free drink) and Cocktails, because they were easy to locate and central. We also enjoyed drinks at the Islander but that closed pretty early.
What to eat:
One of the joys of being back in Australia is the range of food delivery services! We wanted to be lazy one night and eat in, especially because we loved our apartment, and ordered Chinese takeaways from Deliveroo. It's like Uber Eats, if you're not familiar. I've never found the food in Surfers Paradise to be amazing, but I did enjoy brunch both days. The first day we went to The Beach Cafe and the second day we tried Sandbar. Both were right on the main street with gorgeous decor, I preferred Sandbar because it had a better menu in my opinion; I had a delicious smoothie bowl (to try make up for all the alcohol I'd consumed).
Where to stay:
I was very lucky to be offered a discounted stay at the Mantra Crown Towers, right in Surfers Paradise for this trip and it was an awesome place to stay. The main area seems geared more towards families, with a fun outdoor pool area that resembled a fake beach.
We were so excited when we reached our apartment on the 32nd floor, the view was spectacular! We also had our own rooms (I took the one with the biggest bed, seeing as I'm about a foot taller than the others), with two full bathrooms, a large kitchen and open dining/lounge area, and a balcony looking right out to sea. One of the rooms had a mirror that took up the whole wall, which was perfect for when we all wanted to get ready together!
We had a lot of fun in that apartment, and the lighting was quite good so of course, we took many selfies! It was a really nice place to just relax as well, with a view of the whole Surfer's Paradise stretch, as well as the beach, it was the perfect spot to watch the sun rise and set.
Where to go:
I would like to throw in a special mention to Byron Bay. I guess it's not really a weekend on the Gold Coast if you visit somewhere that is over an hour's drive away and in a different time zone...but I would still highly recommend a trip to Byron Bay if you have time! Even though people say it's become far more touristy than it once was, I still fell in love, and it was a stark contrast to Surfer's. Along with the new modern chain stores for people who live beach-side, like Billabong and Tigerlilly, there are also really lovely boutiques, cute stores with retro themes and regular markets. Sadly we visited on a day with no markets, but there was still more than enough to explore.
Unfortunately I didn't get too many photos here, I was more focused on getting footage for my video (stay tuned for that!) and also trying to find a bargain.
What's your favourite thing to do in the Gold Coast? Have you ever visited Byron Bay?