Hold onto your poodle skirts! Australia’s biggest ’50s and ’60s nostalgia festival, Cooly Rocks On, is about to go viral on the Gold Coast.
For 11 days (3-13 June), the streets of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads will transform into a Back to the Future-style revival of all things vintage, rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly. Think high pony tails, glam tattoos, sock-hop dance moves, hip and happening bands, retro market stalls and a Go Greased Lightnin’ line-up of more than 1, 300 vintage cars, caravans and even prototype pedal cars for the T-Bird tots.
The festival is just one of more than 116 events on Tourism and Events Queensland’s It’s Live! In Queensland calendar, showcasing Australia’s best live events staged in the best destinations (visit queensland.com/events to discover all the action or coolyrockson.com for specific details about the festival).
If vintage is your thang, the Gold Coast – itself ‘upcycled’ in the 1950s, switching its name from ‘the South Coast’ and wowing the nation with a peek at Australia’s first cheeky bikini – oozes a year-round retro chic vibe.
So, channel your inner Rizzo or Don Draper and check out these cool offerings…
First-up, La Costa Motel at Bilinga beach (conveniently located opposite the Gold Coast Airport) is as close as you’ll get to actually stepping back in time and checking into weatherboard digs from the 1950s – an era before large-scale resorts, and neck-craning towers dotted the tourist strip. This renovated, retro property, nominated as one of the Gold Coast’s original ‘Highway Heritage’ motels, is the perfect place to experience some old fashioned hospitality. It shouts out beach shack chic, old school-style, and is situated just a stroll from local surf clubs, cafes and award-winning restaurants: lacostamotel.com.au.
Uptown, in the heart of Surfers Paradise, the uber funky QT Hotel bills itself as ‘nostalgic surfer chic meets Miami catwalk cool’. Boasting an open-spaced vibe and artist-crafted features, this 297-room property emerged as the first of a national series of designer hotel experiences in the QT chain that embrace food, wine, music, design, fashion and art: qtgoldcoast.com.au.
Don’t be fooled by the title: Alfred’s Apartment is not part of the Gold Coast’s accommodation scene. It will, however, entice you to stay awhile. This unique Mermaid Beach space combines a diner with a barber shop and quality menswear range. Targeted at ‘today’s men’ it exudes a classy 1960s feel; raw exposed brick, timber, steel, leather and an original record player: alfredsapartment.com.
Looking for bona fide retail therapy from a bygone era? Head to Arkive Vintage. The Surfers Paradise boutique stocks a sought-after collection of men’s and ladies vintage clothing, accessories and homewares from the 1930s to the 1990s, including items sourced from United Kingdom, Europe and the United States: arkivevintage.com.
Fossicking for vintage threads has long been part of the bohemian vibe at The Village Markets at Burleigh Heads and Paradise Point (thevillagemarketsgc.com.au), while Miami Marketta – a creative hub for art, music and design, and also home to popular Friday-Saturday street food markets – counts Love St (lovest.com.au), a vintage-inspired fashion label by designer Tara Fletcher among its creative studio residents.
If your Va Va Vintage is starting to wane, there’s no better place to pull up stumps and recharge than Vintage Espresso (find it on Facebook or head to 1/43 Alfred Street, Mermaid Beach).
Feeling refreshed? Studio Fascino at Burleigh Heads (meganrizzophotography.com.au) specialises in vintage glamour portraits.
And finally, the Gold Coast’s beaches and popular surf breaks will never go out of style; a timeless drawcard and stellar backdrop for the fast approaching 2018 Commonwealth Games. Renowned as a global surfing capital, the region has also built up a reputation as an ideal location to learn to surf, with opportunities aplenty to sign up to surfing schools from Southport to Coolangatta.