Tag Archives: Gold Coast

SWELL’s up at Currumbin Beach

Jellyfish tree by Melissa Hirsch

Jellyfish tree by Melissa Hirsch

For 10 days each September, Currumbin Beach comes alive with creativity and wonder at the annual SWELL Sculpture Festival.

It’s the perfect way to spend a blissful spring day, with over 60 sculptures stretching one kilometre along the beachfront at the southern end of Queensland’s Gold Coast. The only challenge is to pick your favourite.

Created by artists from across Australia and the world, the sculptures range from hugely spectacular to tiny but powerful, with some coming alive at night (in a good way). And each has a story…

Marie-France Rose has created Cirque du Ciel (Circus of the Sky). One of these gorgeously elegant trapeze artists definitely belongs in my garden.

Marie-France Rose has created Cirque du Ciel (Circus of the Sky). One of these gorgeously elegant trapeze artists definitely belongs in my garden.

Copyright: Louise Creely

Tidelines by Tessa Bergen – reflecting the Surfers Paradise skyline, this piece highlights the changing face of our surrounds and the resulting impact on the natural environment…

#thewall by Leonie Rhodes - we've been making wall art since the days of cavemen. It's a valid, expressive and communicative form of art (and I love it!)

#thewall by Leonie Rhodes – we’ve been making wall art since the days of cavemen. It’s a valid, expressive and communicative form of art (and I love it!)

Copyright: Louise Creely

Ghost fish, googlemon and King Coal hit the beach at Currumbin

Roo Shooter by Jimmy Rix:

Roo Shooter by Jimmy Rix: “Some people do it for sport and some people do it for a profession, but I would like to see our Skippy fighting back.”

Magnificient, a life size sculpture of a line by Ivan Lovett - all made out of chicken wire. It really is...magnificent

Magnificient, a life size sculpture of a lion by Ivan Lovett – all made out of chicken wire. It really is…well…magnificent

Ben Carroll does some quick repairs to his sculpture Relics from Atlantis, which won the SWELL environmental award

Winner of the SWELL sculpture aware, Lost and Found by NSW artist Ingrid Morley, reflects

Winner of the SWELL sculpture award, Lost and Found by NSW artist Ingrid Morley, reflects “the tension and final breaking of the rope and the implied loss as the ‘boat’ breaks away”. Morley says her work is “a metaphor for the significant turning points in life”.

I sea by Guiseppe Filardo

I sea by Guiseppe Filardo

Sea tunnel by Adrienne Kenafake

Sea tunnel by Adrienne Kenafake

These are just some of my favourites – but there are so many brilliant works, it’s impossible to choose. I think the last word has to go to Greg Quinton and his Hills Hoist sculpture: You should always know where your towel is.

always know where your towel is


Striking market gold at Burleigh Heads

Copyright: Louise Creely

The Gold Coast has long been known as Queensland’s glitter strip, but take a lazy Sunday stroll through The Village Markets at Burleigh Heads and you’ll get a very different view.

On the first and third Sunday of every month, the local state school is transformed into a marketplace with a perfectly chilled festival vibe. While the ubiquitous rows of stalls and food vans seem familiar at first glance, it’s soon obvious that TVM, as locals call it, is no ordinary market.

Founded in 2008 by budding entrepreneurs Marissa Bowden and Sarah Schoeller, this boutique fashion and lifestyle market showcases the work of local emerging designers, creatives and collectors. Clearly word gets around, because the markets are already busy just minutes past the 8.30am opening time.

The Weiner Haus, Hell’s Pocket and other retro vans are already doing a cracking trade, adding their sizzling street food flavour to the markets.

“These are too good, you have to have one,” one market goer says between mouthfuls of German sausage. Like most people here, he has an edgy style that falls somewhere between hippy and hipster.

The market-going fashionistas, many with boho babies and toddlers in tow, blend seamlessly with the artfully presented stalls offering unique fashion, accessories, art, stationary, homewares, vintage wares and even up-cycled furniture.

“There’s such a community feel and people are really positive about your work,” one stall owner says, adjusting her stunningly quirky jewelry pieces.

The tunes of a local musician drift across the stalls, drawing marketgoers towards the shade of the giant fig trees, where they kick back with their favourite street food and soak up the Sunday vibe.

The low-key muso stage is set up near a small play area, which means parents can take time out while their kids are happily occupied and always in sight. While it’s the perfect place to relax, the tolerant crowd tends to laugh and shrug when the occasional toddler invades their space.

Meanwhile, under the long sheltered walkway between classrooms, the monthly pre-loved designer and vintage rack sales are in full swing, as marketgoers avidly search for that elusive vintage gem.

“This is the best market anywhere on the coast,” one local says, her hand resting on a fringed suede jacket on the rack. “You just don’t get this quality and great energy at other markets.”

It’s no surprise then that TVM was named as Gold Coast’s Best Market in this year’s Gold Coast Bulletin poll. It really is the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday morning on the coast. No bling required.

Copyright: Louise Creely


Discover Burleigh Heads

Most of us are pretty adventurous when we’re travelling but, back home, we do the same old same old – and wonder why we’re feeling stuck and uninspired. We’ve decided to discover some of the places that, while not too far away, often remain a mystery. This week, it’s Burleigh Heads, just 10 minutes up the coast from where we live…

Copyright: Louise Creely

One of our favourite restaurants is in the heart of Burleigh. The Fish House is a place where the view is spectacular, the food is always delicious (the fish soup and Patagonia tooth fish are amazing), and the wine list is a journey of discovery in itself.

But we tend to indulge (slowly) then run, so this time we’re going to hang around and see what’s happening here.

copyright: Louise CreelyOur first stop is the Burleigh Village Markets – and what a surprise.

Forget kitschy stuff, these markets are arty, vintage, classy and fabulous. They’re on the first and third Sunday of every month at the Burleigh Heads State School from 8.30am – 1pm. 

I’ll admit I’m a little skeptical about markets, but these are up there with the best I’ve been to – and EB is soon carrying some extra baggage (not something he’s accustomed to…multiple market purchases are a rarity with me!).

copyright: Louise Creely

copyright: Louise Creely

copyright: Louise Creely

copyright: Louise Creely

Copyright: Louise Ralph

copyright: Louise Creely

The markets are a great place to hang out on a lazy Sunday… but there’s only so much ‘lazy’ EB can handle, so we soon join the gaggle of joggers, power walkers, cyclists and fellow wanderers who manage to share the pathway with that ‘coasty’ minimum of fuss.

To our surprise, the pathway leads to the Burleigh National Park. Now there’s something that, in a built-up, high traffic area we’ve driven through often enough, we just do not expect. And it is brilliant.

Copyright: Louise Creely

The path winds up and around the headland, through coastal rainforest where vines hitch a ride up towering fig trees to the sun-bathed canopy, and the sound of thundering surf echoes in the pandanus groves.

Finally we reach Tallebudgera Creek, where we come across gorgeous secluded coves and beaches where the water looks inviting, even on this cloudy, chilly day.

Copyright: Louise Creely

The pathways are wheelchair-friendly and there’s even an assisted wheelchair fishing pontoon…Copyright: Louise Creely

To say we are impressed with Burleigh Heads is an understatement. And we know we have barely scratched the surface…

You can’t always get away for a weekend, but what if you don’t have to go too far for a great experience? What will you discover near your place?


Striking gold on the coast

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Surfers Paradise from Kirra Beach

There’s a quote I’ve loved since giving up some tired ideas in my thirties…

If in the last few years you haven’t discarded a major opinion or acquired a new one, check your pulse. You may be dead.” (Gilett Burgess)

Confession time… I’ve always avoided Queensland’s Gold Coast if I could, passing through (quickly) on my way to my favourite beaches in northern NSW or heading out into the hinterland which was wilder and calmer…

Not an earth-shattering opinion I admit, but one that grew from a seed germinated when I was just a kid and I’ve never really questioned it.

It started with my friend in Grade 4. She would arrive back at our school in Sydney after Surfers Paradise holidays with her bling-bling parents, proudly displaying postcards and snaps of Meter Maids, the ‘glitter strip’ and crowded golden beaches in the shade of ever-looming high rises.

I should have been awestruck but I was already a confirmed freak for nature.

My idea of bliss was our camping holidays in the bush or at the beach – and the postcard-perfect Gold Coast looked anything but natural to me.

Well, so I thought.

When we moved to northern NSW last year, I didn’t think about the Gold Coast as anything more than another bottleneck on our Brisbane commute. When we got home it never crossed our minds to visit the area.

But recently we’ve been exploring – and I’ve discovered why people love it.

There’s more to this place than the ‘glitter strip’. Yes, there’s always something going on, but it’s not all about glitz and glam.

It has that kick-back feel all year round, the beaches are endless, and it’s greener than I expected.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Coastal walk at Kirra Beach

It helps that most of us, these days, are less likely to cut down every tree or shrub that blocks our ocean views.

And because we are all switched on 24/7, we want to get back to our roots…to remind ourselves there is more to life than busyness. To walk and cycle and run – or just soak up the Vitamin D.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

In search of the perfect wave…off Point Danger

I think I’ve struck gold here, forty-five minutes from where I lived in Brisbane for thirty years.

I’ve just checked my pulse and yep, it’s racing. In a good way.

Who would’ve thought?

Copyright: Louise Ralph

View from Point Danger to Kingscliff