Retro Guide to the Gold Coast

Since the 1950's, the Gold Coast has been a sought after holiday destination, when families would descend on the beach shacks that once lined the beachfront and side streets or the highway motels, to make happy carefree memories that would last a lifetime. Today you can still find pockets of nostalgia from that era dotted around the Gold Coast, especially the laidback southern beaches which still bear a resemblance to how they looked back then. Families can get a taste of those simpler times, from riding a vintage bike along the Bilinga beachfront or strolling with double scoop ice-cream in hand down the main street of Coolangatta to staying in a real 1960's motel. Here's where to find the best of the retro Gold Coast:

Give the family a true 1960's Gold Coast 'beach shack' experience when you stay at this beautifully refurbished beachside motel, with its pink flamingos, deck chairs and beach umbrellas behind white picket fencing. Located in the southern Gold Coast, which still retains the retro charm of a simple past era, you can explore the nearby eateries and attractions of Coolangatta , Tugun and Kirra Beach on a vintage bicycle, which are complimentary to hire for motel guests 

The Gold Coast's only surf-themed bar is located, fittingly, in Surfers Paradise, and if the Beach Boys had a bar, this would be it. Bring the family here and be immersed in the surf culture the Gold Coast is famous for, with several boards signed by Layne Beachley as well as images of the world's best surf breaks by internationally renowned surfing photographer Peter Joli Wilson  The other big drawcard at Longboards is the food, with gourmet burgers to-die-for and local craft beers, just the thing for after you've worked up an appetite catching the waves at Surfers Paradise beach

See the Gold Coast the old-fashioned way, and follow in the tracks of ACDC, Bruce Springsteen and the Foo Fighters who have all rented a bike from the Gold Coast's leading bike hire company. This mobile delivery company will drop off bikes to your accommodation anywhere on the Gold Coast. Ride straight out of your accommodation and explore the  beachside family-friendly bike paths near you, like the popular 1.7km Bilinga to Tugun Oceanway or the Federation Walk Coastal Reserve, a stunning 90 minute circuit up around The Spit, beginning and ending at Southport Surf Life Saving Club

You won't find anything more 'old school' than Binna Burra Kitchen in the old school at Beechmont, one of the real hidden gems of the Gold Coast Hinterland. This is one school the kids will love to visit, where all the charms of yesteryear combine with a modern foodie's menu and old-fashioned hospitality to make a truly memorable experience. Come here for a delicious breakfast or lunch (there's a dedicated kids menu with all meals for just $10), made from produce sourced locally and sustainably from the Scenic Rim. Before or after, why not explore the renowned beauty of Binna Burra with a scenic drive or on foot through one of its many beautiful walks

The dreamy pastel-coloured motel brings a 1950's California vibe to the heart of Mermaid Beach, just a few minutes walk from the fine white sands of the patrolled beach and the mega mansions of Millionaire's Row, Hedges Avenue. Formerly known as Mermaid Beach Flats, the boutique family-friendly motel has been given a stunning Insta-worthy makeover, featuring bright beachy apartments with pale timber floors, white brick walls and modernist furniture.  Parents can relax outdoors on a sun lounge shaded by a beach umbrella, while the kids entertain themselves in the retro kidney shaped swimming pool. The motel is an easy short walk to all of the fantastic eateries of Mermaid Beach and Putt Putt, the Gold Coast's first mini-golf course, which has been entertaining families since the 1970's

Happy Days are here again at this classic American-style diner with a modern twist, located at Broadbeach. Bring the family along for lunch in one of the retro booths and chow down on loaded curly fries, mac and cheese croquettes, fried chicken wings or Americana pizza, accompanied by the classic hits of the 70's, 80's and 90's. There's even a special Little Freddy's menu for the younger ones. Another drawcard are the drinks, with Vanilla Cola spiders or Fire Engines for kids and boozy milkshakes for grown-ups that the Fonz would approve of

Take a piece of vintage or retro memorabilia home from the Gold Coast when you visit Coolangatta's own 'retro row', McLean Street. Kids will love a visit to the supermarket-size Antiques and Collectables packed with so many treasures to discover, including games and toys from last century. On the same street Retrosheila is the go-to for quality vintage and retro wear sourced locally and Nine Lives Bazaar sells replica 1970's-inspired summer gear that is well worth a look

The beautifully restored beach hotel stands like a candy pink mirage from the mid twentieth century on a corner in the heart of Coolangatta. Dating from the 1950's when the Gold Coast's famous pyjama parties were in full swing, the hotel is like an ode to the beach culture from the era, but with thoroughly modern amenities, including a rooftop bar and a suite with its own grand piano. Not suitable for children, save this one for a parents' weekend escape 

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