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If you’re thinking of a Gold Coast vacation in Australia, then you might want to cast your eyes on Burleigh Heads.
This quaint suburb in the Gold Coast city, nestled between Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta, is famous for its surfing, but there are so many more things to do in Burleigh Heads than just hit the waves.
What we love about Burleigh Heads is its unpretentious and caters largely to families, so you will find a relaxed, welcoming vibe and plenty of activities for kids to enjoy.
We also love how so many small businesses flourish here and are what gives Burleigh Heads a hip and edgy vibe that promotes wholesome food, wellness and outdoor living.
This communal vibe makes our hometown an awesome place to live, so we’re sharing our top attractions in Burleigh Heads, as well as list our favourite small businesses that give Burleigh Heads a communal and vibrant feel.
Things to Do in Burleigh Heads
But first, if you’re not sure what to do in Burleigh Heads, then here’s a list of the top Burleigh Heads attractions to add to your itinerary:
1. Visit the Burleigh Markets
One of my favourite things to do is my weekly visit to the Burleigh Farmers Market.
It’s held every Saturday morning from 7-12pm at the Burleigh Head State School. It’s my time-out to grab an organic coconut milk coffee and then slowly wander the fresh produce store. I stock up on my organic fruit and veg and sometimes buy a plant or a new crystal.
Then, on the first and third Sunday of every month The Village Markets are held at the same place. This one is more focused on local art – jewelry, clothes, homewares, gifts, boutiques and a few food trucks.
They have live acoustic music on the lawn and I generally sit for a couple of hours with my coconut milk coffee listening to amazing home-grown talent while the girls play in the playground.
It has such a chilled Sunday vibe for me and the moment I really feel like a Burleigh local!
Click to read a full guide on the Burleigh Farmer’s Market including lots of photos.
- Location: Burleigh Heads State School on the corner of Lower Gold Coast Hwy and West Burleigh Rd.
- Hours: Every Saturday from 7am – 12 noon
2. Go Walking In Burleigh Head National Park
The Burleigh Head National Park is a small natural area on the Burleigh Heads headland. It’s known for its short 2km Rainforest Circuit walk, which takes you through the beautiful rainforest landscape to the Tumgun Lookout.
You’ll walk through rocky foreshore, a dense eucalypt forest, along heaths and through pandanus groves, past mangroves and grassland.
As well as have views of the coast and pristine beaches along the way. Look out for whales during the season. There are beautiful swimming beaches as you get to Tallebudgra Creek.
It only takes around 1.5 hours to complete and is relatively easy, even children can do it. So, if you’re looking for a short and sweet activity in Burleigh Heads, be sure to check this out.
3. Hit Up Burleigh Heads Beach
One of my favourite free things to do in Burleigh Heads is to check out the beaches, and as a world-class surfing destination, you can be sure there are plenty of them to enjoy.
I don’t think I’ve seen a bad beach along the entire Gold Coast, but in Burleigh Heads, there is but one beach that stands out above the rest; Burleigh Beach.
This is the main beach in Burleigh Heads and is the perfect place to spend a hot day, cooling off in the waters and playing in the sand.
There is a lovely grassy park behind the sand where you can relax if you don’t want to get sandy, and where you’ll also find public BBQs and a playground.
It’s also known for its excellent surf. In fact, each year it holds the Gold Coast Open, a huge surfing competition!
During the winter months (June to November), you may even see whales migrating off the shores.
4. Enjoy the Views form North Burleigh Lookout
At the northern end of Burleigh is a spectacular viewpoint from a small hill, called North Burleigh Lookout, part of the Mick Schamburg Park. It’s also known as the South Nobby Headland or Little Burleigh and separates North Burleigh and Miami beaches.
It’s a favorite for locals to run up and down the hill for extra fitness. You get amazing views south along Burleigh Beach and north along Miami Beach. You get beautiful sunset and sunrise views from here and it’s perfect for whale watching during the season.
5. Walk the Burleigh Beach Ocean Walk
I cannot tell you how many times I have walked up and down the stunning ocean walk that runs all along Burleigh Beach from the national park to North Burleigh Lookout. As we did not own a car in Burleigh, it was our mode of transport. And what a stress-free journey it was!
The traffic starts with the sun (4:30am in the summer) and lights up the path with bustling activity, which goes all the way to the twilight hours.
This self-guided walk features informative signs marking the regional flora unique to the area. And there are fitness stations set up the entire way. This path is popular watch for bikes, scooters and folks on roller skates. You’ll see plenty of picnickers, cyclists, exercise groups, and dog-walkers.
You’ll love the (steep) rainbow stairs down from North Burleigh Lookout to Don MacSween Park. You can keep walking along the foreshore of Miami Beach to Thorn Park. (We have continued walking all the way to Surfers Paradise!)
6. Dine at Burleigh Bazaar
One of the top things to do in Burleigh Heads at night is to check out the permanent night market, Burleigh BBQ Bazaar.
If you’re a foodie fan or you enjoy barbecue food, then this is the perfect place to find a bite to eat and watch some live entertainment.
The Bazaar is located inside a refurbished warehouse and is only open on weekends. You’ll find permanent food vendors, plenty of seating, and watch live bands playing.
- Location: 18 Junction Rd, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220, Australia
- Hours: 5.00pm – 10.00pm Friday and Saturday
7. Go Fishing or Kayaking on Tallebudgera Creek
If you’re tired of beach days, but still need the refreshing waters to cool you off, then head over to Tallebudgera Creek.
The 25km river is known for being a fishing haven, and there’s also some lovely beaches such as Palm Beach and Echo Beach where you can swim and paddle in shallow waters.
You can rent a kayak, SUP, or canoe and explore the creek, or simply lay on the sandy beaches.
8. Play At Justin’s Park
Located on Burleigh Heads foreshore is Justins Park, a wonderful place for kids and adults. It’s a gathering place for locals everyday whether for picnics, yoga and fitness classes, community events, and a kid’s playground, that has basic equipment like swings, slides, and monkey bars,
There are many picnic tables or park bench seats, the perfect place to just sit, listen to the rainbow lorikeets and lapping waves, and watch the world go by.
The surf club is right there and the kiosk under the surf club is super casual and great for cheap eats.
AND during the summer they often have free hula hoop, juggling sticks and games equipment the kids can play with.
9. Have a Spa Day at Freedom Float Centre
If you’re not staying in a fancy resort, don’t worry, you can still enjoy a spa treatment in Burleigh Heads.
As we’re all about supporting small businesses, one of our favorite spas in Burleigh Heads is Freedom Float Center, where you can enjoy the serenity of a floatation tank.
Floatation tanks are known to help stiff and tender muscles, promote good blood circulation, reduce stress and, with the help of Epsom salt in the water, remove toxins from your body.
There are so many more benefits to a floatation tank, and if you haven’t tried it, be sure to check out Freedom Float to see what they can do for you.
- Location: 5/105 W Burleigh Rd, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
- Hours: Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8.15am – 6.00pm, Wednesday 8.15am – 7.30pm, Thursday 8.15am – 9.00pm, Closed Monday
10. See Native Animals at David Fleay Wildlife Park
If you’re an international visitor looking to learn about native Aussie wildlife, then be sure to visit the David Fleay Wildlife Park, which sits on heritage-listed parkland.
It opened in the 1950s and has been dedicated to preserving some of Australia’s most threatened species, such as emus, dingos, and salt water crocs.
- Location: Loman Lane, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
- Hours: 9.00am – 4.00pm daily
11. Get Your Back Fixed at Zuma Health
We love the team at Zuma Health! We visit 2-3 times a week so know them well and feel part of their family.
Chiropractor Dr Matt discovered my wonky back at the local farmer’s market. He had a great introductory offer and we’ve been visiting as a family for six months now and have seen HUGE improvements with our well-being.
Matt really cares about helping your body heal itself. He’s very patient and provides us with lots of advice on how we can holistically continue to heal ourselves through diet, exercise and stress relief. He’s also a lot of fun and Kalyra and Savannah adore him.
Matt and his team also offer kinesiology, massage and yoga services.
- Location: 112 West Burleigh Rd, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
- Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 7.00am – 6.00pm, Saturday 8.00am – 2.00pm, Closed Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
Burleigh Heads Restaurants
Now you know what to do in Burleigh Heads, it’s time to tell you the best places to refuel and dine on delicious food! Here are our favorite places to eat and drink in Burleigh Heads…
1. Commune Cafe
Commune Cafe is just a short walk from our apartment. It’s our escape-from-the-office-for-a cup-of-sanity place.
Commune has a quirky vintage feel with walls covered in gig posters, an outside seating area and comfy couches out the front. You’ve possibly seen a few Insta photos of us hanging out on them!
It has an organic food focus and Mondays are devoted to a meatless menu. On special days, like Father’s Day and long weekends, they whip out a ping pong table, which our girls love.
We recommend an almond milk coffee and the Hangover breakfast: bacon, spinach, poached eggs and seasoned potatoes with chilli jam and hollandaise sauce! Hello better day!
- Location: 1844 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
- Hours: 6:30am – 3.00pm daily
2. Miami Marketta Street Food
Miami Marketta is just outside the border of Burleigh in the town of Miami, but it’s within walking distance and too unique and cool not to include.
Miami Marketta is an outdoor live music and events venue. Every Friday and Saturday evening they have a night food market experience showcasing cuisine from around the world. There are also a couple of bars and live music and is family friendly.
Our pick is vegetarian nachos with cashew cream from The Hungry Belly!
- Location: 23 Hillcrest, Parade Miami QLD, 4221
- Hours: Friday 5.00pm – 10.00pm, Saturday 4.00pm- 10.00pm
3. Ze Pickle
Ze Pickle is a groovy small bar in the centre of Burleigh town showcasing some of the best craft brews in the country. They are also well known for their American-style burgers. Come early to grab yourself a candlelit table on the leafy sidewalk – in Burleigh style, they’re communal!
We cannot go past recommending a beer from Bridge Road Brewery. We also recommend the Pablo Escoburger, a Mexican style burger!
- Location: Connor Street Burleigh Heads Queensland 4220
- Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 5.00pm, Saturday & Sunday from midday
4. BSKT Cafe
Again, just a thirty minute walk up the road from Burleigh, BSKT Cafe is one of the best family-friendly cafes on the Gold Coast. There’s a spacious fenced in play area in the outside seating area filled with toys and dolls for the kids.
Our girls love it. They can play while we work, relax with a coffee, or meet with friends or clients.
BSKT is also known for its modern, organic Australian cuisine that caters to a variety of dietary requirements. They even have a yoga studio upstairs if you want to attend a class before you eat a healthy meal.
Our pick is the Bskt Breakky Salad!
- Location: 4 Lavarack Rd, Gold Coast QLD 4218
- Hours: Monday – Thursday 7.00am – 4.00pm, Friday – Saturday 7.00am – 10.00pm, Sunday 7.00am – 5.00pm
5. Burleigh Heads Brewery
Looking for some local brew? The Burleigh Brewing Company, the first brewer on Gold Coast, is where it’s at.
The Burleigh Brewing Company likes to give their beer time to perfect its own flavours. They don’t use additives, preservatives or chemicals – no mass production tricks here, which is why we love them. They’re authentic and real just like our beautiful Burleigh.
They have live music at the Taphouse on Saturdays and Sundays. They’ll have a eatery soon, but for now there are food trucks.
We recommend the 28 Pale Ale and Hef. (But you can’t go past some of their quirky named beer like My Wife’s Bitter)
- Location: 17A Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
- Hours: Friday 3.00pm – 9.00pm, Saturday 12.00pm – 9.00pm, Sunday 12.00pm – 6.00pm, Closed Monday – Thursday
6. Black Hops Brewery
Black Hops is a great local Burleigh story, created by three mates, one of who, Dan, is an entrepreneur friend of ours. It’s been great to see how they’ve grown this award-winning brewery into one of hte best, not just om the Gold Coast, but in Australia.
Their original brewery and taproom is in Burleigh Heads and used to be a short walk from our apartment!
- Wednesday to Friday: 12-7pm
- Saturday and Sunday: 12-6pm
- Address: 15 Gardenia Grove, Burleigh Heads
7. North Burleigh Surf Club
Queensland rocks the surf club world!
We love that we’re a short walk to North Burleigh Surf Club. It has ocean views and a large area grassed area outside, or the beach, where the kids can play. Inside the club is a covered outside seating area. We’re looking forward to summer afternoons, where we can chill here with a glass of wine,live music, and a gorgeous view after a day at the beach.
The food here is pretty good – decent serves and variety with daily specials.
For kids, we recommend the Cheeky Monkey Picky Platter (a healthy kids meal with veg sticks, fruit, grilled chicken, cheese, and meats.) I love the Thai beef salad and Craig loves the chicken schnitzel.
- Address: 293 The Esplanade Miami Qld 4220
- Hours: Monday to Friday 10.00am-late, Saturday & Sunday 7.00am-late
Stay: Budjerim Apartments
The Budjerim Apartments is our top recommendation for where to stay in Burleigh Heads. You cannot beat its location across the road from the beach with wide sweeping views of Burleigh Point from the balcony. Paired perfect with a morning coffee or evening beverage.
The same stunning view is there from your bedroom window and luxurious living space. It’s the ultimate Burleigh beach experience. You’re also only steps away from great restaurants, cafes, and the Burleigh Heads National Park.
Other places to stay in Burleigh Heads that are also great:
- Solnamara Beach Front Apartments. This is where we lived for 18 months! Located within easy walking distance to North Burleigh and Burleigh Heads.
- Burleigh Esplanade Apartments: Another great location on the beachfront. You’ll find an outdoor resort style pool, communal sauna, a hot tub and barbecue facilities.
Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Burleigh Heads
So there you have it, this is what to do in Burleigh Heads for any visitor and I think you’ll find it’s not only a surfer’s paradise, but a well-rounded destination for tourists from all walks of life.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of Brisbane or you’re stopping off on a longer Australia road trip, there is something for everyone here.
One of our biggest tips for having an awesome travel experience is to go where the locals go! It’s how you can find those hidden gems and dive deeper into the local culture. It gives you way better stories to share.
We hope this guide helped you plan your trip to Burleigh Heads and gave you some inspiration about what to do.
Tours in Burleigh Heads
More Gold Coast Travel Tips
- 34 Things to Do in the Gold Coast for Families
- The Ultimate 2 Day Gold Coast Itinerary for 2023
- 16 Free (& Cheap) Things to Do on the Gold Coast for 2023!
- The 10 Best Springbrook National Park Walks: The Green Behind The Gold Coast
- Gold Coast Theme Parks – Which one is best for your family?
Where do you love to shop small in your neighborhood? Share your Burleigh Heads tips, or your local town tips, in the comments below!