The Gold Coast Marathon, which takes place on the first weekend of July, attracts over 24,000 runners annually. But after you’ve crossed the finish line, don’t pack your bags just yet. Check out what else you can do along the Gold Coast or just over an hour’s drive away in Brisbane.
Refuel from your marathon run with a variety of cuisines at Miami Marketta. This charming street food market is made up of vendors selling sumptuous delights, from burgers to paellas, from different parts of the world. It’s perfect if you’re in a big group – order a bit of everything for everyone to share.
SkyPoint Climb is the highest external building climb in Australia. Participants go up an open-air stairway comprising 298 steps beyond the top floor of the tallest building in Australia, the Q1. I was a little nervous at first, but seeing the precautions taken – I was equipped with a climbing suit and my body harness was hooked to the railings – I felt absolutely safe. Standing at 270m above ground, taking in all of the Gold Coast, its golden sands and blue waters, with the wind in my face, was simply magical.
Harbour Town Gold Coast
I’m a shopaholic. So, Harbour Town Gold Coast, Australia’s largest outlet centre with over 240 stores, felt like paradise. Look out for local brands as they tend to be cheaper.
Exhilarating is an understatement. Going on the Giant Drop at Dreamworld, which held the previous record for the tallest tower drop in the world for 14 years, was the scariest, most thrilling ride I’ve ever been on. Just as its name suggests, the ride took me 119m above ground (equivalent to a 39-storey building) and when I got to the top, without warning, a drop that lasts five seconds ensues. There’s also a host of other rides with varying degrees of intensity to try. Or you can stroll around the zoo and learn more about the native wildlife.
A drive to Brisbane takes a little over an hour from the Gold Coast and it’s worth it. I love the fact that Brisbane River flows through the heart of the city, giving a sense of tranquillity to a bustling metropolis. Over on the South Bank, this stop features a gorgeous recreational area where locals go to unwind. You can spread out a picnic mat on the grass, or take a stroll in the herb and floral gardens. And don't miss the popular Streets Beach, where you can take a dip in a cute little man-made beach (with lifeguards present).
Walk a little further and you’ll get to the cultural precinct, home to museums including the Queensland Art Gallery and Queensland Gallery of Modern Arts. To make the most of your trip to Brisbane, though, go on a free guided tour led by the Brisbane Greeters. The guides are locals themselves who offer historical context and little-known facts that add extra colour to the places and buildings on every stop.
Howard Smith Wharves
Dinner at Howard Smith Wharves, a dining and lifestyle hub in Brisbane, is a feast for the tummy and the eyes. Restaurants line the riverfront, which means you get a view of the water, skyline and one of the city’s most iconic structures, Story Bridge. The view is more arresting in the evening when the city is lit up. I got to eat at Greca, a Greek restaurant that makes wonderful Saganaki, a pan-fried Greek cheese bathed in honey.