When I was sixteen I went on holiday to Los Angeles with my best friend. Everything I imagined before we got there was based on the American reality TV Show The Hills. I pictured insanely beautiful people everywhere, make-up “on fleek”, designer clothing, and a figure to die for. The Gold Coast appears to be the LA of Australia. I live in a land where drinking coffee is fashionable, gym clothes are suitable attire for every occasion, and the bigger the sunglasses the better.

I work in a cafe where the clientele is predominately mums in their late 20’s/ early 30’s who, regardless of having just popped out a child, still have a better body than I will probably ever have.

Is this a bad thing? Not at all. I love the Gold Coast. There is a somewhat pro-life attitude that fills the air. Gone are the days of negativity, here everyone is grabbing life by the balls. Not only that, they look damn good while they are doing it. But when you take away the acai smoothies and the flat white coffees, what else does this beautiful coastal city have to offer?

The wonderful Gold Coast sits on the south Queensland coast and is home to some of the most beautiful surrounding areas. The overall “vibe” is undeniably relaxed, and what I like to call “Aussie as fuck”. In comparison to most big cities, the Gold Coast doesn’t have just one main city centre. Instead, it is connected by a number of bustling suburbs that make this unique place thrive. Burleigh Heads, Nobby’s Beach, and Broadbeach are just a few of my favourite places to go. They each have a beach, as well as a number of shops, restaurants and bars—what more could you want? A personal favourite of mine is Bine Bar in Nobby’s Beach. We like to take advantage of the 50c chicken wings and $5 beers!

Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of Surfers Paradise. Undeniably, it is one of the most well-known seaside resorts on the Gold Coast. In all honesty, I find it a little like Blackpool back in the UK. Girls in golden bikinis stroll down the main street, street artists are performing on every corner, and heaps of I HEART SURFERS shops are paraded around. But if you want a kangaroo cuddly toy, a boomerang, or a koala bear flashing key ring, Surfers is your place to be!

Springbrook National Park

So it’s hard to believe that less than an hour from the touristy sands of Surfers Paradise lies some of the most epic scenery in Queensland. I’m a sucker for waterfalls and long walks and lucky for me, Springbrook National Park offers both!

Springbrook National Park, Gold Coast

It is around a 45-minute drive inland from the coast. With Google Maps instructing us the whole way, the beautiful drive consisted of winding roads and a remarkably steep incline for pretty much the entire duration. However, this proved quite a challenge for our washed up Kia Sportage 2001. Trudging ahead of around 7 or 8 other cars, she slowly but surely made it to the top of the hill in second gear all the way. I can only apologise to the people behind us.

There is a number of ways to explore Springbrook. Even though I’ve been twice and would like to think I’ve seen the majority of the park, the place really is huge so that’s highly doubtful. One of the highlights for me was standing at the top of the “the best of all lookout”. The breathtaking views stretch from the Gold Coast skyline all the way down to Coolangatta, and eventually Byron Bay in the very distance.

Springbrook National Park, Gold Coast

The impressive Twin Falls are also hidden somewhere amongst the thousands of trees. We opted for the 3km walk in an attempt to really explore the park. This, along with the incredible Natural Bridge were both at the top of our “to-see” list. Needless to say, when I found out Springbrook National Park is the set of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!, I was overjoyed.

Twin Falls, Gold Coast

Natural Bridge, Gold Coast

Coombabah Lake Reserve

So I’ve been travelling around Australia for thirteen months and the wildlife here still fascinates me. The main source of wildlife for Gold Coast tourists would probably be to go to the Currumbin Wildlife Park. But from word of mouth, we found out about a beautiful little spot; The Coombabah Lake Reserve.

Joining us on our stroll around the park (in a scorching 36-degree heat!) were hundreds of furry kangaroos. They stared at us intently as they guarded their joeys who curled up so cutely in their pouches. On reflection, it’s hard to believe that it’s just over a year since I first encountered a kangaroo (God, I’ve grown so much).

Coombabah Lake Reserve, Gold Coast

Coombabah Lake Reserve, Gold Coast

Sleeping high above us in the tall trees rested several koala bears. For the majority of our walk, the only sounds were from our feet rustling in the dirt track, the kangaroos hopping away, and the occasional loud koala snore. The tranquillity and peacefulness of the park made up for the fact we were bitten by giant mosquitoes about 12,000 times.

Burleigh Heads National Park

Small it may be, but Burleigh Head National Park is home to the most beautiful viewpoints and walking tracks.  We walked through the woods from Burleigh Beach to Tallebudgera Creek and loved every minute of it. I have been to Burleigh countless times now and never even knew this National Park existed! We spent the day walking along the rocky foreshore, hiking through the trees, and watching the hundreds of lizards scurry around the dirt tracks. We stopped for a while in Tallebudgera Creek to soak up the sun, and whilst it is only a 25-minute drive from Surfers, it feels like a completely different place.

Burleigh Heads National Park, Gold Coast

When myself and James have days off work, it’s places like these we love to explore. Places that we wouldn’t be able to find back in the UK. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the UK isn’t home to some beautiful places, because it is. I’m from Yorkshire, one of the most scenic county’s England has to offer. I just much prefer being in the great outdoors. Can you blame me with views like this?!

Burleigh Heads National Park, Gold Coast

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