How times change an area.
Go back to 1998 when we moved to Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast. It was a sleepy, almost unknown suburb and houses were affordable. James Street, the main shopping street, was suffering, many shops vacant because locals were going to the Stockland shopping centre to shop in air-conditioned comfort under one roof with plenty of parking.
Tourists, especially the young back packers, flocked to Surfers Paradise for sun and fun. Families preferred to go to the many theme parks and the rich and famous frequented Main Beach with its, back then, trendy café culture. So Burleigh, with its air of shabby, old-fashioned and slightly scruffy street scape belonged to the locals. Parking was easy and shop owners despaired at the lack of customers.
That is how we left it when we took off for a years exploration around Australia in 2010.
But gradually change has come to this sleepy little suburb. It has been discovered. Empty shops have been taken over by young (or maybe even not so young) entrepreneurs and converted into trendy cafes with butter boxes for seats and op shop crockery, or boutiques with designer everything. 2 bars are open till late. As they say “if you build it they will come” and come they have in swarms. Parking is almost impossible to find and expensive. All the shops are busy and the multitude of cafes and restaurants are doing a roaring trade.
Today we went for Sunday lunch and walked from end to end of James Street. It was buzzing.
This was just an empty arcade a year ago.
What a delightful space it is now, but no seats so we wandered on.
Finally deciding on Govindas our favourite Hare Krishna vegetarian restaurant.
No coffee sold at Govindas, so on to The Coffee Club, the only franchised, multi-national, along James Street.
But what a great view it has. Right on the corner of the street. The Poinciana trees are just coming into flower and if you look carefully there is a small view of the ocean through the far row of trees.
This is, in my opinion, the best area of the Gold Coast to live in and now so many people of all ages are discovering it.
Footnote: Main Beach is now sliding into oblivion…