Discover the Gold Coast's most Instagrammable spots
Did the Gold Coast's postcard potential catch your eye during the Commonwealth Games coverage?
While there is no doubt sport and athletes were the heroes of the event, the city's social cred was in the spotlight, too.
Thousands of visitors wandered streets, munched through menus, frolicked on beaches, tested out attractions and summed up the "Goldie” via hashtags.
When the Usain Bolt @usainbolt train rolled on to the Coast, we saw high fives and DJ sets with Borobi, dinner at The Star with local heavyweights and bro hangs with Chris Hemsworth clocking up more than 600,000 likes in 48 hours from Bolt's 8.3million followers.
Not to mention @chrishemsworth adding another lazy 2million hits from his 15.4million Insta posse when he posted a pic of his #toocute mum and dad joining him in the stands.
While the official party may well be over, the legacy will live on with the Gold Coast racing up the charts of desirable places to visit and not just for a holiday, but also as an Instagram dreamotorium thanks to this barrage of posts, stories, blogs, chats and tweets.
So where to now?
If you are heading to the Gold Coast on the back of its gold-medal-winning performance in the social media stakes, here are some tips on where to go, what to see and where to eat to #keepthedreamalive.
SECRETS IN THE SUBURBS
While Surfers Paradise Beach was a hub of action over the Games, the beachside 'burbs of Mermaid, Nobby's (Nobby Beach), Burleigh, Palmy (Palm Beach), Kirra and that old salty dog Coolie (Coolangatta) were also pumping out tags as visitors took the local lead to head south for their quintessential Gold Coast coastal Insta fix.
Make your first stop Mermaid Beach, where you will find pastries worth lining up for @bambam_bakehouse, but also a hip little spot to snap and chat about. This is the place where local golden girl Margot Robbie hosted her hens' night, in the kitchen no less with a group of her besties who ate what they baked. Robbie has claimed this place as one of her favourites in the world, so naturally line-ups are mandatory, but if you make it to a table, the blue-hued mermaid lattes will look pretty on your feed, too.
Next door you will find Nobby Beach where the food is raising the roof at local favourite @hellenikarestaurant, the flagship Greek joint of iconic local Simon Gloftis, who happens to be the co-owner of the GC's newest love child @nineteenatthestar. If you do get a seat here, the slow-baked Junee roasted lamb has carved a cult local following, so much so that a rooftop bar was recently added to create some more room downstairs for hungry carnivores. For an Insta snap, head for the bar upstairs filled with sunny striped umbrellas, strategically position that cocktail and start snapping as the sun sinks into golden hour around 5pm.
If picnicking is more your jam, take your food styling to one of our headlands - with a choice of Miami with its double-header view that will have your Instagram singing for weeks, or pull up some grass on Burleigh Headland and watch the surfers go about their business as the perfect background blur.
When the swell is on, this is one spot that fills up fast so park at @thelocalburleigh and leave a donation by buying a coffee on the way in and a frosty on the way out as a thank you for the only free parking left this close to the beach in Burleigh. Please don't say I sent you ... #sorrynotsorry.
Next, soul time, with a dip in the turquoise waters of Tallebudgera Creek. You can swim on either side (the southern side has a flagged beach and some dishy lifesavers though), so whip out your blow-up mermaid unicorn for an Insta snap #gurl. Friendly advice - this is one of the Gold Coast's prettiest spots and locals turn up early, so get in quick, stay 'til late and munch on the pastries from our family of friends who own @paddockbakery (another foodie Insta-tution in Burleigh) and @bambam_bakehouse (mentioned earlier), who conveniently now have a little sister cafe perched right here on the creek too #sun #fun #foodcoma.
Better Together is splashed across the wall at The Collective Palm Beach, one of a batch of freshly concocted eateries that have led the once dubious suburb of Palmy to turn itself the #$!k around. A collection of five different kitchens inspired by global cuisines can be ordered mix and match style, so curate your own or construct a feast to share. Perennially busy, and best to book, but if you can nab a seat upstairs to watch the sun go down over artisan cocktails and a procession of plates, it is a pretty perfect place to go live or just load up your Insta stories with some heart eye lurve @thecollectivepalmbeach.
The newest kid on the block at Currumbin is @cornerstone_stores and it dishes it up in the style stakes with a boutique selection of specialty stores including a cafe, florist/plant menagerie from the greenthumbs at @theborrowednursery, hairdresser, wellness stores and a place where I often find and lose myself at the same time - the walk-in fromagerie. This is a pretty place to Insta everything, with cute coffee art and rainbow-like salads (#vegangoals), but if you want to stretch a little further, book in for a pilates sesh @the.body.method upstairs to complete the #omg #ohm.
Further down the Coast, you will find a makeover in progress in the beachside strip at Kirra, known for its squeaky clean white sand, crystalline waters and arguably the best views of Surfers as it appears to hover above the sea.
A quick dash up to the eagles nest, the lookout on top of Kirra Hill, will give you drone-like views of the world-famous sets rolling in at Snapper, but for those looking for food over views, hit @hipoke for the prettiest poke bowls around plus an #instalust hibiscus wall and to get those flower emojis rollin.
Right across the street, stack your vegan gelato into three pretty colours at @mygelato and take it down the beach for the perfect shot of melting pastels popping against the tiffany-blue backdrop of sparkling sea.
Coolie is the perfect antidote to all that glitters. It is the salt-of-the earth home of surfing and a place where world champs walk straight off the break into cafes and juice bars and don't mind stopping for a friendly chat.
There is a trilogy of surf clubs serving honest food, frosty beers and chilled SSB alongside killer views and a barrage of spots to get all misty over waves that roar, mountains that spoon and a beach called Rainbow that likes to dust itself in pretty colours around sunset each day.
If that is not enough, stalk the skateboard riding cats @catmantoo and get some epic footage of the high-fiving, hippy jumping and half-piping cats that have more than one million followers on Facebook and 330k on Insta alone.
Narelle is a travel-writing, mermaid latte-drinking, proud local Gold Coaster who shares her wanderings and musings via Instagram @alittleatlarge and on her blog alittleatlarge.com