I love where I live! Burleigh Heads on the southern end of the Gold Coast in Queensland is one of the most picturesque places in the world with a warm climate nearly year round, just minutes from all the big city wonders, and with close access to the airport (15 minutes drive!) you simply cannot fault the place. No wonder I decided this would be my little corner of the world to return home to.
The Gold Coast is a popular travel destination, but not everyone ventures to the southern end, which is a huge mistake. Burleigh Heads is a great little community perched off the dazzling fringe of the glitzy tourist scene. I want to share a few locals secrets so that when you do make it to my little corner of the world you can soak it all in. These are three family friendly things you can do in Burleigh Heads over one day (or easily stretch it out to a full week) that are easy on the pocket too.
1. Get your walking shoes on
With glorious weather more often than not Burleigh Heads is all about getting outside and enjoying everything that Mother Nature has gifted us with. You can start your walk or ride along the Esplanade, gazing through the green foliage out over the crystal blue waters.
There are 5 playgrounds along the way so be prepared to stop and play. It is all flat (up until the headland) and paved with a very wide footpath so it is great for bike or scooter riding so strap up the kids and grab your cruiser (if you don’t bring your own you can easily hire one).
There is also plenty of open green space for running, playing and lounging on so pack a frisbee, a picnic blanket and a good book. There are also gym equipment stations along the way if you prefer, or if you hit the right day you can join in the free activities – like you might spot me doing yoga here on Saturday morning.
When you reach the top of the Headland pause and soak in the views of the coastline all the way back up to Surfers Paradise (you could actually walk there and beyond to The Spit if you wanted to – I think it is about 36kms). Gaze down on the surfers who frequent ‘The Point’ and then hike around the Headland through our very own National Park. It is an easy walk that you can take the whole family along on. If the track is dangerous, they will close the entry gates. This usually happens after storms when there can be rockfalls or mudslides across the track that they need to clear.
You can take the lower track for ocean views which is 1.2kms one way. At the end of the walk is Echo Beach, a secret beach hidden away behind the rainforest on the edge of the Tallebudgera Creek. It is a great spot for kids to splash in the flat waters and jump on a paddle board for a bit of a practice.
You can also follow the upper track which leads you through the rainforest for a 2.3km return walk. Whichever track you take, keep your eyes peeled for bearded dragons that sun themselves on the rocks, whales and dolphins, sea eagles and bush turkeys.
You can then head back down onto the beach to cool your feet off in the water, go for a swim or just crash out on your towel in the sun. If you don’t like to get the sand between your toes you can stay on the grass that stretches right up to the edge of the beach and just kick back and relax on one of the benches under a pandanus tree.
There is also a great spot to collect shells and explore the rock pools just off the lower lookout. We often spend hours here.
2. Grab a coffee or something to eat
There are a lot of restaurants and cafes in Burleigh Heads that you really are spoiled for choice no matter what your budget is. Sometimes we like to grab an ice cream from the freezer at the beach kiosk under the surf club; or a frozen yoghurt from James Street; or a fresh fruit juice from the back of the small fruit shop; an iced coffee from Borough is refreshing; a quick caffeine hit from Nook near the playground or head down the alley to Canteen for the really good stuff. And that is just the beginning!
The locals often refer to the Burleigh Heads shops as ‘The Village’ and they are worth a couple of hours of aimless wandering. ‘Six Things’ has to be one of my favourites but there are also op shops, surf shops, boutique clothing and so much more. ‘Dragonfly’ has gorgeous kids stuff and the kids will be entertained by all the novelties in ‘Urban Groove’.
3. Soak up the Atmosphere at the Local Markets
The Village Markets (TVM to the lcoals) are on just across the road in the Burleigh Heads State School grounds and feature boutique fashion, arts and creative stalls. They are only twice a month on the first and third Sunday morning (8:30am – 1pm). They usually have some live music and food stalls amongst the gems.
At the same location every Saturday morning from 7am – 12Noon the Farmers Markets has an abundance of fresh produce from our local farms along with some food trucks, collectables, entertainment and some crafts.
Then there are the Art & Craft markets in Justins Park along the Esplanade which are on the last Sunday of every month from 8am – 2:30pm.
While not markets, the atmosphere is great on Sunday nights when there are fire twirlers and drum players in Justins Park and all you have to do is grab some fish and chips and kick back on the grass. Sometimes the birds nesting in the pine trees here can be a bit noisy as they come home to roost for the night so be prepared to move on to a quieter spot.
A quick note on parking in Burleigh Heads: If you do drive, you can get free parking along the Esplanade and at the top of the Headland, however it is paid meter parking within ‘The Village’. It can be hard to find a park as this is a popular area but if you are lucky or patient you will be fine. And there is no such thing as a bad park because it all faces the Burleigh Beach Area and you will be in amongst it as soon as you step out of your car. If you park in the school grounds to go to the markets and walkover to the beach or shops, make sure you get your car out before the markets wrap up or you will be locked in.
This post was submitted to Kidspot’s ‘Put Yourself on the Map’ for #ShareAustralia
Have you ever visited Burleigh Heads?
Do you have any Burleigh Heads Secrets?
Do you love the sand beneath your toes or would you stay on the grass?