Think Gold Coast and you may think beaches, theme parks, surf and schoolies. Perhaps it's not food, but it should be.
In recent years, the region's culinary scene has boomed. While the waves and water slides are still major draw cards, a beach holiday is also a chance to taste test some of the Gold Coast's newest cafes, restaurants and bars - of which there are plenty.
To help you on your way (all that research can be hard work on holiday), here are some tips on where to spend a day that is packed full of foodie delights.
Elk Espresso, Beachfront, Oasis Shopping Centre, Old Burleigh Rd, Broadbeach
In the beating heart of Broadbeach and bursting with locals is Elk. Its autumn brekky menu includes tried and true favourites complemented by creations like Black Forest French toast, spiced pork and cauliflower and savoury waffles.
Cafe DBar, 275 Boundary St, Coolangatta
Come for the panoramic views offered on the second storey of this beachfront favourite, but stay for its seaside charm, locally-sourced food and outstanding coffee. In keeping with the ocean theme, try the Atlantic salmon poke bowl or let a juice or fruit smoothie hit the spot after a morning swim. Check out the art on display and the gifts and homewares boutique at the back of the cafe. Ask to sit upstairs where the views are stunning.
Mr PP's Deli and Rooftop, 43 Nerang St, Southport
This Southport gem opened last year on the former site of the post master's residence and is named after the first tenant, PP Agnew. The revitalised venue pays homage to PP's creative talents by featuring his drawings and songs in the menu and around the venue. History aside - though it will grab your interest - Mr PP's breezy rooftop bar looks out over the CBD and presents the perfect place to unwind at the end of the day. Its compact yet enticing menu includes pizza and platters to accompany cocktail jugs and an extensive wine list. Perfect.
Gotham Rooftop Bar and Grill, 6 Bayview St, Runaway Bay
Three-storey Gotham is the seventh venue for Gold Coast restaurateur Daniel Ridgeway, and takes inspiration from the high-end steakhouses of New York City. On the middle level, grill diners can select from several cuts of steak ranging in price from a $32 scotch fillet all the way up to the $120 fullblood wagyu strip steak. Seafood dishes are also on offer, and sides are ordered separately. The mood on the rooftop is lighter, where a different menu boasts cheaper crowd-pleasers including pizza, pasta, pork ribs and burgers. A perfect date night destination.
IF YOU GO
GETTING THERE: The Gold Coast Airport is located in the southern suburb of Coolangatta and flights run direct from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra with Tiger, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Qantas and others. The airport is located about 25 kilometres south of the tourist hub of Broadbeach.
STAYING THERE: There are hotels across the Gold Coast offering various levels of luxury and service. One option is AVANI Broadbeach, offering ocean views and close proximity to the shopping and restaurant precinct. Prices start at $178 per night.
PLAYING THERE: You could spend your whole day checking out the food scene, but there's a lot more going on. For those looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, try snorkelling with turtles in waters off Cook Island near Coolangatta. $99 per person. www.watersportsguru.com.
For more information, www.destinationgoldcoast.com/
The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism and Events Queensland.