Vendor City Guide: Gold Coast

My name is Mark and I’m 58. I come from Melbourne originally, but now Burleigh Heads is my home. I’ve been living around the Gold Coast since 2002. I moved here for the weather, and my mum. I love it here – I couldn’t bear to go through another Melbourne winter.

Since selling The Big Issue Australia, I have found that I can budget my money better now. I can even afford to take Mum out to lunch occasionally. It has helped me to come out of my shell, and nowadays I can have a conversation with just about anyone and feel alright about it.

What’s to like

I like living in Burleigh Heads because of the village atmosphere. The people are really nice to me, so friendly and welcoming. People think of the Gold Coast as busy and flashy, but this is the real Gold Coast. Laid back, peaceful, clean and family friendly.

Credit: Nathan Brayshaw

Best spot

Well, there are theme parks – Movie World, Sea World and the other one – but somewhere every visitor to the city should go is the top of Burleigh Hill on Goodwin Terrace, and take in the view all the way to Surfers Paradise. It’s a great spot for photos; take a coffee with you and just relax. I meet some old blokes there in the early morning and we watch the surfers and the sunrise while enjoying a coffee. It is so peaceful, and it is such a great start to the day.

Best bites

My favourite place to eat is The Pantry Cafe on Connor Street, Burleigh Heads – it has the best vegetable omelette ever invented! They are lovely people there.

The beaches

If you like the hustle and bustle, which a lot of people do, Surfers Paradise beach is nice on a Friday night – they have markets, a nice beach and lots of places to eat. Other good beaches are Tugun and Palm Beach. And Paradise Point is somewhere I’d recommend. There’s a massive park and BBQs.

Credit: Daniel Gray-Barnett

On a budget

The Carrara Markets are on a Saturday and Sunday. It’s a tourist market, but a lot of locals go there for bacon and eggs and cheap watches, sarongs, bric-a-brac…things like that. I take my 91-year-old mum there, and she loves it. It’s fun.

Out of town

To escape city life, I go to down to Lennox Head or Byron Bay, which can be a bit New Age but is nice, friendly people and a lovely coastline.

When to visit

My favourite is autumn, because it’s cool in the morning and evening and really pleasant during the day.

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