An insider's guide to the Gold Coast

Let local creative Nick Atkins shows you around the Goldie, revealing his favourite places to eat, drink and surf.

The suburb of Miami has great beaches
  • Amy Mills
  • March 2019

Once better known for its theme parks and Surfers Paradise glitter strip than for its arts and food scene, the Gold Coast opens in new window is changing. It’s thanks, in part, to a slew of local creatives like Nick Atkins, a video director and owner of co-working space/photo studio, Hotel Miami opens in new window, moving in. Nick lives in the hip beachside suburb of – where else, Miami – about 12 kilometres south of Surfers, with his wife Jessie and son Abe. Also a recreational surfer (happily, that is one thing that hasn’t changed on the Goldie), here he shows us around his ‘hood.

What does your usual day look like?

I wake up at 5.30am, have a coffee and do a nappy change for Abe before we both hit the beach for a surf check. Later, I walk to Hotel Miami and open up the space for the day’s goings on. I spend a big chunk of the day managing our content deliveries and shooting in the studio for a variety of clients.

Nick Atkins gives us the inside track on where to go in the Gold Coast.
Nick Atkins gives us the inside track on where to go in the Gold Coast.

What do you love most about living on the Gold Coast?

In the last few years, the GC has transformed into a whole new creative and entrepreneurial beast. What I love most is the opportunity – and we have that in abundance. There is a significant thirst for culture here, which is now being quenched with art shows, live music and a huge foodie scene. Of course, it is also a naturally stunning place with epic weather. I am absolutely spoilt to call this place home.

Miami is one of the city’s hippest postcodes. What are the local gems?

Granddad Jack’s opens in new window – a new gin and whisky distillery – is a game changer for the area, along with vegan foodie marketplace, The LC opens in new window. Black Hops Brewery opens in new window and Greenhouse Canteen opens in new window are all great too – this place is firing.


How old were you when you caught your first wave?

I started surfing with my older brothers when I was five. I wanted to do whatever they did; it was the best motivation ever. These days, my favourite spots for a wave are Burleigh Heads and Broadbeach.

Nick loves to surf in his backyard, Miami Beach.
Nick loves to surf in his backyard, Miami Beach.

How did you get into filmmaking?

My friends and I started filming each other surf when we were kids, around 13 years old, so we could make little surf movies. I worked in media here before heading to Los Angeles for seven years. Hotel Miami is basically a mix of everything I loved about the creative scene in LA.

What is your favourite spot for a Friday night drink?

You’ll almost certainly find me at The Cambus Wallace opens in new window, which has become a bit of an institution here. When it opened in 2012, it was one of the first big city-style bars and everyone still seems to love it.

The Cambus Wallace is a well-loved watering hole
The Cambus Wallace is a well-loved watering hole.

Describe your perfect Sunday.

It would be an early morning walk to the beach to check out the waves and a minimum of three coffees. I’d go for a surf, then head to Hotel Miami to paint the studio, ready for another big week of shooting. From there, Jessie, Abe and I would usually go to the Burleigh Headland for pizza and to see out the weekend. Magic!


✈️ Thinking about a Gold Coast adventure? Take a look at our cheap flights to Gold Coast.