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  • Written by Maddison Tanner



Picture this; exactly 12 months from now 6600 energetic and very hungry athletes and officials will fly in from 70 countries around the globe as the clock strikes “go” for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Where will they stay (when their event is over)? What will they eat? How will they play? Our latest list has the Gold Coast covered, dishing up the newest eateries shaking and stirring the dining scene, the reimagined hotel icons and the best ways to play after a big day at the Games.

Eat

The Collective, Palm Beach

Three-hundred seats, five restaurants and cuisine straight out of the kitchens of Mexico, Italy, America, Asia and Australia. Now add in two grand bar areas and you can see why The Collective is a post office transformed. Here, the rustic décor and rooftop bar take on a city-slicker appearance, underpinned by a laidback beachside ambiance. www.thecollectivepalmbeach.com.au

Balboa Italian, Palm Beach

Think exposed brick paired with grand chandeliers, a glass charcuterie cabinet, a wood-fired pizza oven and aromas that demand salivation. Balboa Restaurant seats 120 diners over two-stories and brags dough balls smeared in Nutella. No flash in the pan, these owners also headline Avvia Restaurant in Palm Beach. www.balboaitalian.com.au

8th Ave Terrace, Palm Beach

Hamptons-style décor where beach views come with alfresco dining. The menu is a modern take on a range of classic dishes, like quail quartered with smoked beetroot puree and goats cheese mousse. If you love their other eatery, Espresso Motto in Palm Beach, then you'll love this, too. www.8thaveterrace.com.au

Mr Bengel, Palm Beach

The latest establishment by food-treprenuer Adam Haralampou, and part-owner Justine Tompsett, this bright, white, open-plan space seats 80 people, with an all-day menu of simple but well-done dishes. Feeling healthy? Then tuck into the raw treats like lemon and coconut cheesecake. www.instagram.com/mrbengel

Wildernis Café and Bar, Palm Beach

Owners Andy Canfield and Josh Bailey are construction workers turned entrepreneurs, combining their backgrounds to create this rustic alfresco-style eatery, with food and cocktails that delight the senses. www.wildernis.com.au

The Blue Door, Palm Beach

Local produce is at the heart of this restaurant and to keep the menu fresh and ever-changing Head Chef Dylan Cashman regularly forages for produce along the farm trails between Brunswick and Stanthorpe. Test your stomach and your geography with dishes like Ipswich Suckling Pig or Ballina King Prawns. www.thebluedooron5th.com

Harry's Steak Bistro & Bar, Burleigh Heads

Holding true to their mantra of Beef, Booze and Banter, Harry's Parisian-inspired menu offers the finest cuts of beef and a cocktail list to boot, set in a fresh fit-out that's an 'it' spot to be seen with your mates. This is the brainchild of Adam Haralampou of local hotspot Justin Lane Establishment and Mr Bengel. www.haryssteakbistro.com.au

Espresso Bonsai, Chevron Island

Set around a grand Poinciana tree, this café is Urban Finca's first physical shopfront. Urban Finca own a coffee plantation in Columbia and they source and distribute green beans to local coffee roasters on the Gold Coast. www.urbanfinca.com

Lucky Bao, Mermaid Waters

The only thing that could possibly tops Lucky Bao's Lucky Nuts is their signature pillow-soft baos. This is Singapore street food cooked to be shared; and it's all served up from the Gold Coast's coolest Asian Block in Mermaid Waters. www.luckybao.com.au

NXT Door, Broadbeach

The Gold Coast's first superfood cocktail bar was opened by the owners of wholefood café Grocer & Grind, literally next door. The menu is a mix of healthy street food and share plates, with superfood-element cocktails minus the sugary substances, and wine that is vegan, organic and sustainably produced. www.nxtdoor.com.au

Fire Cue, Nobby Beach

Owners Adam and Katharina Dundas-Taylor are behind the award-winning Barbacoa restaurant in Bali. Fire Cue is a Latin-American charcoal restaurant, with share plates and little bites at the helm of their chargrilled menu that is packed with flavour. www.firecue.com.au

Fingers and Bones, Mermaid Beach

London-born Dennis Duncanson has worked alongside super chef Jamie Oliver at his Jamie's Italian restaurants for more than 10 years. Together with his wife Leigh, they bring a fresh and hearty menu to the Gold Coast, with some food made for eating with fingers. And for the truly keen,the duo also run cooking lessons creating fresh pasta from scratch and curry with the trimmings. www.fingersandbones.com.au

The Kitchens, Robina Town Centre

An urban marketplace precinct that brings people together through their shared love of food. With a variety of local food specialists and boutique brands, The Kitchens brings an international offering of top-quality food and flavours, with an emphasis on local produce. Cooking classes are also offered, along with live music and entertainment. www.robinatowncentre.com.au/the-kitchens

Studio Surf, Burleigh Heads

The founder of renowned surf label Rhythm, and the founder of handcrafted surfboard and apparel brand Maywood, have teamed up to create this new retail, coffee bar and design space in the heart of Burleigh Heads. www.studiosurfshop.com

Pepe Italia, Burleigh Heads

Authentic Italian with a range of lesser-known and favourite dishes, such as crumbed and fried olives stuffed with pork, beef and chicken, arancini, pizza and pasta. www.pepeitalia.com.au

That Blue House, Coolangatta

From Moorooka to the sandy shores of Cooly, this restored 1940's cottage houses a three-bedroom holiday rental with a cute café perched out the front, serving great coffee with delicious brunch dishes. www.thatbluehouse.com.au 

Steampunk, Surfers Paradise

Steampunk Surfers Paradise will be the nation's first authentic Steampunk-themed venue, redefining the Gold Coast's flourishing bar scene and promising a retro experience set to fascinate, engage and quench the thirst of the city's boutique bar hoppers. Steampunk pays homage to the retro-futuristic subculture that is inspired by the 19th Century's steam-powered Victorian period and serves out-of-this-world molecular cocktails. www.facebook.com/steampunksurfersparadise

Sleep

The Star Gold Coast, Broadbeach

The renowned Jupiters Hotel & Casino completed a $75 million revitalisation of almost 600 rooms, including its new Superior Deluxe Rooms, late last year in one of Australia's most extensive hotel refurbishments. In tandem, the hotel is in the midst of constructing a new six-star all-suite Star tower at the front of the property, to be unveiled on March 31, 2018 just days ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, bringing total investment to $345 million. www.jupitersgoldcoast.com.au / www.jupiterstransformation.com.au

The Island, Surfers Paradise

Out with the old! Gold Coast icon and home of wild pyjama parties in the 1960s, 'The Islander Resort', has been revamped, rebuilt and redesigned to within an inch of its laidback life. Newly dubbed 'The Island', this classic located in the heart of Surfers Paradise now boasts an extended tropical rooftop bar, fast becoming the new favourite for coastal cheer, and 150 rooms with seaside chic interiors that feel like a modern take on the classic Gidget movie.  The Island is owned by the Bickle Family, noted for some of Brisbane's hottest hospitality offerings including the fantasy like Cloudland in Fortitude Valley and Bunk Backpackers. www.theislandgoldcoast.com.au

Shop

Pacific Fair, Broadbeach

The iconic Pacific Fair Shopping Centre in Broadbeach underwent a $670 million redevelopment in 2017, now boasting more than 400 stores including high-end designer labels, an alfresco-style dining precinct and revamped cinema. www.pacificfair.com.au

Trader Trove, Miami

Two kilometres north of Burleigh is Miami's Trader Trove where you can unearth handpicked homewares sourced globally and often boasting a vintage, middle-eastern influence. www.tradertrove.com.au

Play

Holoverse, Southport

Welcome to Holoverse. It's billed as the world's first holographic entertainment centre and most futuristic theme park – promising a family-friendly outing like no other. Located at Southport on the Gold Coast, this alternate universe serves up 40 state-of-the-art hologram rooms offering visitors a variety of experiences. Users don special glasses, a waistband and wand as they trek through the jungle; spear apples; pat animals made of light; dive under holographic water to swim with turtles; fly over mountains; and walk through solid walls. In mid-December, a new experience is being added enabling visitors to soar over the Gold Coast and between Surfers Paradise skyscrapers. www.holoverse.com.au

Heart of the Gold Coast Tour, Burleigh Heads

The Jellurgal Cultural Centre, Kayak the Gold Coast and David Fleay Wildlife Park have partnered to introduce a 'Heart of the Gold Coast' half-day tour transporting visitors from the subtropical Burleigh Headland all the way back to Queensland's Dreamtime. Starting at the Jellurgal Aboriginal Information Centre, a local Indigenous guide leads guests up the Dreaming Mountain to discover the origin of Ochre and the importance of local flora, before stopping for a jaw-dropping view of Palm Beach to Coolangatta. Next, kayak along the Tallebudgera Creek wetlands and arrive on the banks of wildlife's front door for encounters with koalas, kangaroos, platypus and nocturnal creatures at the David Fleay Wildlife Park. Running on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the half-day tour is priced at $119 for adults and $99 for kids. http://www.kayakthegoldcoast.com.au/heart-of-gold-coast-half-day.html

Lego Store, Dreamworld

Little people of the Gold Coast and beyond can now interact with the little people of LEGO land at Dreamworld. Ten life-size Stormtroopers and a seven-foot Hulk guard the flagship store, while 20 'brick specialist' employees assist in customising your own LEGO set. The range equates to two Olympic swimming pools full of LEGO, and is home to a two by three metre LEGO mosaic, stations for kids to make their own minifigures, and the world-famous LEGO 'Pick a Brick' wall. This is the first official LEGO Store in Australia and the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. The new stand-alone precinct features a Jelly Belly store and The Park Patisserie & Grill, and can be accessed via the theme-park and externally. www.dreamworld.com.au

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