I had never been on a food tour before, so I didn’t really know what to expect when I was invited to attend a weekend-long foodie experience on the Gold Coast – I certainly got more than I bargained for!

Gold Coast Tourism invited me to attend the ‘media only’ foodie experience earlier this month with a few other media girls from Sydney and Melbourne, to show us what the beautiful Gold Coast has to offer food wise – and as it turns out it has quite a lot!

Here’s how the incredible foodie weekend went down:

Lola and the Chef

When we all arrived at the Coast it was about lunch time, so our first stop was lunch at Lola and the Chef – a food truck which was parked up on the grassy green at Broadwater Parklands exclusively for us girls.

Owned by Malcolm Hope, Lola and the Chef is a mobile catering business and there’s only one way to describe its food – AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS!

The business, which operates out of a food truck serves up cuisine unlike any other food truck eats you’ve seen or tasted – it’s all fine dining style!

For our appetizer, Malcolm brewed up a heavenly prawn bisque, using fresh prawns straight from the Gold Coast’s trawlers. It was smooth, rich and delicious and being that it was a little bit rainy that afternoon, it really warmed us up! Malcolm designs his fine dining menus around the seasons, using the freshest local ingredients and produce available.

Our main was fit for a king or queen, a huge lobster roll with big chunks of fresh meat topped with Japanese mayonnaise, pickled daikon and a hint of sriracha. The bread was fresh from Ferry Street Markets and you could taste it. The whole thing was to die for!

For more information about Lola and the Chef visit www.lolaandthechef.net

Gold Coast Bike Tours

Being that this food-filled weekend was only just beginning and there were many more delicious foodie adventures to be had, we girls definitely needed some form of exercise incorporated into it. And, lucky for us our host Chelsea had organised an afternoon beachside bike tour from The Pavilion at Main Beach to the Seaway at The Spit.

As we waited for the bike tour bus to arrive, weather wasn’t looking too good. It had been raining on and off all day, but we were still determined to go for a ride!

Just as Tour Owner, Natasha Kersten gave us an introduction on how to use the bike and got us all set up to ride, the rain poured down. Ponchos, soggy shoes and all, we still pushed on.

With big thick wheels the bikes are actually designed to drive on the sand, unfortunately due to the weather and the high tide we weren’t able to do so this day, but Natasha did take us through the scenic bush tracks along the coastline down to the seaway jetty at The Spit.

Finally, the weather cleared up for us and we stopped at a little beach along the way to have a break – a doughnut break.

As we made ourselves comfortable in the silky white sand, Chelsea pulled out a box branded with the Doughnut Time stamp and my mouth instantly watered. Filled with Nutella and topped with all sorts of goodies, these doughnuts were the biggest doughnuts I’d ever seen.

After our break, Natasha took us down to the seaway Jetty. Riding along the jetty was magnificent, huge waves crashed along the rocks beside us and we could feel the cool mist of the surf on our skin. Looking out to right, we could see the silhouette of the high-rises in Surfers Paradise and to the left, the beautiful coastline of South Stradbroke Island.

I can’t wait to try the full bike tour along the beach, when the tide and weather permits!

For more information about the tours visit www.goldcoastbiketours.com.au

Later that night, we headed to Miami Marketta for dinner.

Miami Marketta

Every Friday and Saturday night a large enclosed laneway in the industrial area of Miami comes alive with street foods of all nationalities, in an incredible outdoor dining experience. With cafes, bars, stages, shops and pop-up style restaurants – this place is truly a hidden gem.

Walking past industrial sheds and panel beater shops in the back streets of Miami, you would never know this little treasure was there, unless you’d been there before.

Stepping into the laneway for the first time, I became delightfully overwhelmed with the smell of delicious eats and the loud funky music by Brisbane band, Bullhorn.

Before we got to venture on our own, we were shown all the nooks and crannies by Venue Manager Kurt Mellross. He showed us the food stalls, the bars, the cafes, the dessert bar and all the hidden bits and pieces too.

Behind some of the food stalls are actually hidden stores, featuring local arts and crafts, homewares and funky unique pieces. There’s also a radio station, yep, it’s an internet radio station called Rabbit Radio and its run by Marketta volunteers. Cool!

From Japanese dumplings to German sausages and sauerkraut, there are so many food stalls to choose from at Miami Marketta. When it came to actually choosing something for dinner, we girls struggled to say the least.

I eventually decided on a Langos from the Hungry Hungarian, with homemade cashew pesto and parmesan cheese. If you don’t know what a Langos is, I can only describe it as a doughnut style pizza with soft golden puffy bread as the base. It’s amazing, and you need to try it for yourself!

After demolishing our dinner we had to look for dessert, and we certainly found it! With a whole separate shed dedicated to sweet things, this market was certainly one I would remember.

Being the petite ladies we are, we decided to share dessert and choose something dainty. So, we choose the world’s biggest salted caramel lamington (not an exaggeration, it was literally the size of a soccer ball) and a large cupcake.

I slept well that night, that’s for sure.

Miami Marketta is located at 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami. For more info visit www.miamimarketta.com

Alfred’s Apartment

The next day, I was up early and pumped for breakfast. We all jumped in the car and headed to Alfred’s Apartment in Mermaid Beach for a healthy kick start to the day.

As well as an outdoor café serving up gourmet street food and quality coffees, Alfred’s Apartment gives access to a specially curated range of menswear and accessories and has a barbershop for everyday grooming.

With a bottle of juice and a serving of toast, eggs, avocado and spinach I was ready to take on another food filled day!

Alfred’s Apartment is located at 2389 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach. For more info visit www.alfredsapartment.com

Goodness Gracias

After exploring James Street in Burleigh Heads and taking a bit of a wander up the walking tracks through Burleigh Heads National Park, it was again time for eating.

For lunch we headed to Goodness Gracias in Palm Beach, a Mexican style taco bar.

Goodness Gracias started out as a food truck business and became so popular they opened a small bar, serving up all sorts of tacos, burritos and Mexican style salads – and this food sure has Grrr-attitude!

I tried their pulled pork soft taco, beef soft taco and garden salad soft taco (I’m not a pig, they come in a pack of three) and they were melt in your mouth delicious!

Goodness Gracias is located at 1114-1116 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach. For more info visit www.goodnessgracias.com.au

Night Quarter

For dinner we ventured out to a night market in Helensvale, similar to that of Eat Street in Brisbane but on a larger scale.

Open every Friday and Saturday night, Night Quarter in Helensvale is basically a small shipping container city, featuring incredible night markets, micro restaurants, emerging fashion and live entertainment.

Upon entering we were greeted by directors, Ian Van der Woude and Michelle Christoe who showed us around the precinct.

With streets packed full of fashion, boutique jewellery and homeware, beauty and hair salons, international street cuisine and eats and an huge entertainment performance space, you can’t explore or experience the whole market’s offerings in just one night.

When it comes to food, you’re definitely spoilt for choice here. After walking around for what seemed like ages, I finally decided what I wanted to eat – smoked beef brisket and potato salad from Grumpi’s Smokehouse.

Their beef brisket is smoked for 14 hours and literally melts in your mouth. Team that with homemade coleslaw or potato salad and you’ve got yourself one hell of a meal!

That night – and this has never happened to me before – I couldn’t fit dessert in, I was done!

Night Quarter is located at 1 Town Centre Drive, Helensvale. For more info visit www.nightquarter.com.au

The Village Markets

Well, all good things must come to an end; Sunday was our last day at the Gold Coast and sadly the last day of our incredible food journey.

Although, I was feeling incredibly full and heavier than a cement mixer, I was dreading going back to real life and more importantly back to the gym. I didn’t want this journey to end, I had made some great friends, met some great people and ate some really incredible food!

For our last breakfast together, we all headed down to The Village Markets located at Burleigh Heads State School, featuring stalls, live local music, delicious eats and chill Sunday morning beach vibes.

From men and women’s fashion to vintage clothing, handcrafted furniture and homewares to unique art and pop-up shops at these markets you’ll be sure to find something you like – and I did.

After wandering around for a bit, we perched under the shade of a gum tree for some food. I chose a lite and healthy breakfast from Koconut Kid, it was a bowl of shredded coconut topped with coconut cream, fruit and muesli. I also got a freshly made cup of lychee ice tea. It was all very refreshing and just what I needed after that big hearty meal from the night before.

We explored the markets a little longer, then made our way to Surfers Paradise for lunch.

For more info about The Village Markets visit www.thevillagemarketsgc.com.au

QT Gold Coast and Bazaar Interactive Marketplace

Located in QT Gold Coast Hotel in Surfers Paradise, Bazaar Interactive Marketplace is an all you can eat buffet style restaurant filled with an array of fresh dishes and delicious local produce.

When we arrived we were shown around by the Head Chef and the Hotel’s Manager, they explained how they make their own macaroons in the dessert bar (delicious), source their seafood locally and pick their herbs and veg fresh every day.

The restaurant actually has their own secret garden on a balcony two floors up – and lucky for us we got to see it.

The balcony used to be a function space (and still is occasionally), but not using it as much as they’d like, QT staff decided to turn it into a big vegie patch!

Lemon grass, sage, lime trees, spinach, corn, mint, you name it, the garden is full to the brim with luscious green produce ready for the picking. They’re even planning to turn an old squash court into a green house and mushroom nursery – great idea!

After our garden tour we sat down to lunch – roast meat and vegies, salads, seafood, steamed dumplings, Asian stir fries and salad – I had it all and a second helping!

Then, came dessert – they had a Sundae bar and a macaroon station filled with Christmas inspired macaroons, as well as heaps of other little treats. I filled my plate. Being that it was our last meal together and we were to depart after lunch, I wanted to make sure I left the place feeling satisfied!

QT Gold Coast is located at 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise. For more info visit www.qtgoldcoast.com.au

Finally, after our incredible foodie experience it was time to say goodbye. We all hugged exchanged contact details and went our separate ways – back to real life (sigh).