Meander for half an hour up the Coomera River from the pristine Gold Coast Broadwater and you’ll find a place with its priorities firmly in order. Rolling green golf courses stretch lazily to meet deep-water marinas, where luxury boats glisten like jewellery in the inexorable Queensland sun. World-class cuisine decorates the tables that line this intersection between two of humankind’s greatest pursuits — boating and golf — while everything else falls secondary.
Sanctuary Cove was not named by accident. In fact, nothing was an accident in this ingenious, man-made safe haven from the chaos of modern life.
Nestled in the northern reaches of the sub-tropical Gold Coast, a 40-minute drive south of Brisbane, Sanctuary Cove is a master-planned, gated community with an unapologetic emphasis on a relaxed, sophisticated, leisure-based lifestyle. Streets laced with luxury residential homes — many available for holiday rental — bend willingly to accommodate twin, internationally-renowned championship golf courses, while waterfront properties stand guard over the 300 berths that comprise the Marina, some large enough to house superyachts up to 46m long.
The Marina offers casual, long-term and permanent berths in single, wide and double-pen styles, and visitors are welcome for stays as short as one night. The harbour master’s jetty provides unleaded, premium and diesel fuel, as well as ice, bait, oil and even wireless internet. There are bathrooms and laundry facilities located in the Marine Village, and the whole shebang is protected by 24-hour security patrols operating seven days a week.
The Marine Village exudes a decidedly Mediterranean style, with red-paved streets merging seamlessly into footpaths lined with the tables of waterfront restaurants and cafes. Here you’ll find tasty edibles ranging from steak and seafood to Asian cuisine and café fare. There’s a selection of boutique shops selling everything from sarongs to evening wear, a chemist for the essentials and a hair and beauty salon on the off chance you need to get any prettier.
The Marina offers direct, unrestricted access to the Pacific Ocean via the Gold Coast Broadwater. It is situated close to South Stradbroke and Wavebreak Islands, while a cruise to the north allows you to explore the veritable oceanic wonderlands of Moreton Bay and North Stradbroke Island.
When it’s time to plant your feet back on terra firma, jump ship and explore the many and varied land-based activities the area has to offer. For starters, Sanctuary Cove’s two internationally renowned, championship golf courses — The Palms and The Pines — will give you as good a reason as any to feel the earth beneath your feet again.
If you fancy travelling farther afield, why not head into “the green behind the gold” — the Gold Coast Hinterland. Leave the bustling coastline behind and ascend via country roads through vineyards and farmland until you reach the valleys and canyons that decorate more than 100,000 hectares of National Park, much of which is World Heritage listed.
There are many magnificent sights to behold here, from the spectacular Natural Bridge nestled in the rainforest of the Numinbah Valley to the Tamborine Mountain Rainforest Skywalk that stretches sky-high through the forest canopy. Wander through the galleries, cafes and antique shops of the quaint, old saw-milling town of Canungra at the gateway to the Lamington National Park, and explore the waterfalls and the beautiful, ancient Antarctic Beech Trees of Springbrook National Park.
The options really are endless in and around the Gold Coast, and we haven’t even touched upon the much-documented theme parks, bars and beaches all within easy reach of Sanctuary Cove. With world-class marina facilities and more water and land-based activities than you’re likely to fit into the broadest itinerary, Sanctuary Cove really is a fantastic holiday destination for boaties and non-boaties alike. Indeed, anyone looking for a hiatus from the whirlwind of modern life will certainly find sanctuary here.
WHERE TO STAY AND EAT
Hyatt Regency Hotel
A luxury, colonial-style resort located a short stroll from the marina, featuring a one-acre lagoon swimming pool.
The Cove Tavern
Quality drinks and pub fare, including seafood, steaks, burgers and salads, plus the Gold Coast’s only automated wine tasting machine.
Black Angus Bar and Grill
This marina-side eatery serves up certified black angus beef and fresh seafood. Let the chef cook your steak to your liking, or ask for your meal to be served on a “hot rock” and allow each morsel to sizzle at your table.
Raw Kitchen and Espresso
The Italian-inspired menu at Raw changes with the seasons to showcase fresh, local produce which is treated simply and cooked with minimum fuss and maximum taste.
George’s Paragon Seafood Restaurant
Recently expanded to seat more than 600 people, this is one of Queensland’s biggest restaurants and is famous for its reasonably-priced seafood lunches.
WHAT TO DO AND SEE
North Stradbroke Island
The second largest sand island in the world, “Straddie” offers endless white sandy beaches and crystalline turquoise water just begging to be explored. It also has some of the country’s best dive sites, including Manta Bommie to the north, a manta ray cleaning station where it’s not uncommon to also sight other large marine creatures including turtles, leopard sharks and migratory whales.
Gold Coast Hinterland
“The green behind the gold” has a plethora of pristine wilderness and National Parks to explore. A favourite is Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park. This spectacular geological wonder and its inhabitant colony of glow-worms are a sight to behold, and are easily accessible.
Jupiters Hotel and Casino
Fancy a night on the town in Surfer’s Paradise? Jupiters is a safe bet. Now showing in its newly opened $20 million theatre, is MÜS.I.C — a high-octane dance show direct from Las Vegas performed by the world-famous Jabbawockez dance crew.
Sea World Resort and Water Park
Always a great option for the kids, Sea World is currently showing SpongeBob SplashBash, an extravaganza of colour, light, sound and water guaranteed to tantalise the little ones.
MEET THE NEIGHBOURS
Adjacent to Sanctuary Cove you’ll find Hope Island Resort; a master-planned community based around the exclusive Links Hope Island golf course and home to a world-class marina complex.
It’s the onsite facilities that really make Hope Island an excellent option for boaties. You’ll find restaurants, a supermarket, a chemist, boutique shops and even a medical centre, while a leisurely 40-minute cruise down the beautiful Coomera River will deliver you to the waterborne playground that is the Gold Coast Broadwater.
Hope Island Marina is currently selling its last batch of freehold berths for some rather attractive prices. It’s one of few marinas offering freehold berths, so if you like the neighbourhood enough to stay, now’s your chance. For more information, visit www.hopeislandmarina.com.au
From Trade-a-Boat Issue 426, Apr-May, 2012. Words: Emma Ryan. Photos: Sanctuary Cove; Tourism QLD.