A weekend in Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast

The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words ‘Gold Coast’ is probably not Burleigh Heads. I’d bet my left kidney it’s ‘Surfers Paradise’, don’t lie. If I’m being completely honest with you I couldn’t think of a worse place to go on holidays.  After living on the GC for 4 years I think I’m nearly qualified to have an opinion on the place.

Now just because Suffer’s Parasite Surfers Paradise is off the table, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a million other beautiful places you absolutely have to see on the Gold Coast. The number 1 spot that I will always recommend for you next GC trip will always be…

Burleigh Heads!

Ask any Gold Coast local and they’ll tell you that Burleigh Heads is where the magic happens. One of the Coast’s few beach side precincts with a distinctive hub; with James Street at its heart, a devout café and breakfast culture, fashionable retail and weekend markets, all bordered by forested Burleigh Heads National Park; creating a cool coastal pocket with a sense of community and nonchalant vibe. What’s not to love? So I have curated (fancy word) a few of may fav things to do in my fav part of the coast.

Burleigh Headland National Park Walk

The southern end of the Gold Coast feature’s such a variety of landscapes & seascapes. Within minutes you can be in tropical rain forest or viewing the Gold Coast in both directions from an elevated vantage point without paying a cent! Just a little sweat and exercise…. Burleigh Headland National Park has become a very popular walk over the last few years, especially for serious runners and walkers. The Headland features lush rain forests, turquoise waters and golden beaches. Just thinking back at it makes me so homesick!

     Access points

  • Southern access is near Tallebudgera Bridge, just south of Jellurgul information centre
  • Northern access is from the top of Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads

  • Rainforest circuit – 2.3km return
  • Ocean view walk – 1.3km one way

The Village Markets

These are hand down my favourite markets in Australia! They are gorgeous Sunday markets on every first and third Sunday of the month at the Burleigh Heads State School. They highlight local designers, makers and collectors, with fashion and lifestyle stalls and lots of live music. Perfect way to start your Sunday. Get up early for a stroll along the beach before heading to the market at Burleigh State School. Grab a coffee and some delicious brekky and sit in the grass listening to some music before browsing the stalls of unique handmade jewelry, artists and illustrators selling originals and prints, divine home wares (candles, cushions, rugs…) and incredible clothes.

The Village Markets Burleigh Heads. what to do on the gold coast
Photo Courtesy of The Village Markets

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Do your darndest to look coordinated while stand-up paddle boarding on Tallebudgera Creek. An awesome swimming spot in its own right, it’s also popular for stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). SUP is the latest new water sport sensation, and one you can learn very quickly and is suitable for people of all ages and sizes. It’s also one of my favourite sports now I’ve mastered the art of standing up somewhat ‘gracefully’.

Miami Marketta

‘It could be the back streets of Thailand, Barcelona or New York City but it is right here in Miami on the Gold Coast.’

A short ride from Burleigh Heads to Miami you will find the Miami Marketta. Open Wednesday and Friday 5pm – 9pm and Saturday 4pm-11pm, gorge yourself on delicious street foods from all over the world while listening to live music and sipping on a few cheeky cocktails. They also have paid gigs here some nights. More info here!

Drink Good Coffee

Coffee goodness isn’t just delegated to Melbourne. Canteen Coffee is Burleigh’s destination for anyone who appreciates a good latte. The high-grade speciality coffee is a fusion of science and passion; basically it’s excellent.

Enough said!

A post shared by Canteen Coffee & Kitchen ( on

Fish, Chips & Sunset Drinks on Burleigh Hill

Probably one of the most popular things to do in Burleigh is have an afternoon picnic and some sunset sippers on the Burleigh Hill. Get in early to nab yourself a spot that looks back over the beach and the high rises of the Gold Coast.

Burleigh Bongo’s

Go bra-less and shoes-less when joining the dreadlocked, fire-twirling crew at Sunday nights Burleigh Bongos. The Bongo Beat is perfect for a Sunday wind-down – or up – whatever your style. There’s fire twirling, dancing and of course, a bongo circle. Have a go at the slack lines – wobbly tightropes set up between trees to test your balance – or join in with the hula-hoopers.

Get Wet and Sandy

Oh, the beaches. Just the thought makes me feel all gooey and relaxed. Burleigh Beach is big enough to find your own spot to all your own and lie undisturbed all day. There are multiple lifeguard spots though so wherever you go swimming you will be safe. The surf is great – not too cold, not too big, and more than enough room for everybody. Plus, it’s been voted the cleanest beach in Queensland!

Over the other side of the National Park is Tallebudgera Creek with gorgeous small and protected bays, that are stunningly blue. Keeping going to get to Palm Beach, which is mostly deserted. Heading in the opposite direction is gorgeous Nobby’s Beach,Mermaid Beach and Broad Beach. The walk up to the viewing platform between Nobby’s and North Burleigh Beach is well worth it with stunning views over both beaches and the rock pools below.

More Queensland?

Hamilton Island & The Great Barrier Reef



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24 year old dysfunctional backpacker, creative & storyteller. Cannot do a cartwheel, but I can eat an entire lemon so if that’s not impressive I don’t know what is. Follow my (mis)adventures around the world!