- top tips
Best Brisbane & Gold Coast eats that are off the beaten track
Updated 11 Oct 2023
Here at AutoGuru, we consider ourselves to be experts at getting our cars serviced and repaired.
We know all the best mechanics, with the best reviews, who quote the best prices and deliver the most convenient and hassle free experiences.
Sounds pretty good right? Well, truth be told, using AutoGuru.com.au helps us out a lot here.
But we wanted to see what else the folks in the office knew.
So we asked them, what are the best places to eat in South-East Queensland that are worth a bit of a drive?
What better way to take your wheels for a spin after a car service than to go on a nice long drive to enjoy some great food and beautiful scenery?
We are Gold Coast based, so we’re sorry to all our interstate friends, but maybe these awesome eateries could be added to your list of places to go when you visit the Sunshine State next!
In the meantime, why not check out some other Great Australian Drives? We can’t guarantee that these will lead to great places to eat though.
Without further adieu, let’s get going.
Songbirds at Tamborine in the Gold Coast Hinterland is definitely a place to mark on the map if you’re looking for a great place to eat in South-East Queensland.
It boasts multiple awards, including Queensland Restaurant of the Year and Best Modern Australian Cuisine.
The greatest part? It’s only about an hours drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
A cruisy weekend drive through the stunning Tamborine scenery, which doesn’t eat up much of your day, and leads to an awesome eatery with a great view?
Can’t argue with that.
They do only accept bookings for 20+ people though, so it's definitely worth planning ahead and getting a big group of friends and family together to enjoy this great destination.
Bookings are essential!
However, another good thing about this spot is that if you are looking for a longer drive but aren’t keen on venturing too far away from home, there a multiple routes you can take to make a longer journey out of it.
Climbing the winding mountainous roads up Mount Tamborine is the easiest way to get access to some of the best views of the Gold Coast and see some spectacular local rainforests.
Speaking of best views of the Gold Coast, Eagle Heights Mountain Resort has to be a clear winner.
Boasting a casual restaurant with a very generous menu and it’s own beer garden, this is definitely the place to go if you’re chasing a satisfying lunch with friends paired with a view so far and wide that it surpasses Stradbroke Island to the North and Coolangatta to the South.
That’s a lot of view.
This mountain resort is a cruisy 45-minute drive from Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, offering up some exciting, winding roads up the mountain.
From Brisbane, you’re looking at about an hour drive, with most of that spent on the M1.
However, you can opt for a lengthier, less direct route if you go inland or choose some coastal roads.
Looking for a slightly longer drive? No worries, we’ve got you covered.
The Peak Restaurant is situated within Spicers Peak Lodge, which itself can be found sprawled across the top of a mountain in Queensland high country, 1180 metres above sea level.
It’s about an hour and a half from Brisbane and just over 2 hours from the Gold Coast.
Get ready to tackle some winding country roads on this drive and try not to let the awesome scenery distract you from the road.
It might be worth checking your tyresa day or two before leaving to make sure they’ve got enough life left in them to safely complete the journey.
By checking them a couple days before-hand, it’ll hopefully give you enough time get them replaced before the drive and you’ll have no dramas getting to one of the best places to eat in South-East Queensland.
This one is a bit quicker to get to for Brisbane residents, however Gold Coasters will be in for a bit of a drive.
Ocean View Estates is about an hours drive North-West of Brisbane City, but still approximately two hours from the Gold Coast.
The reward? Well, the name says it all. You’ll be greeted with an elegant dining experience with breathtaking views of the ocean at Moreton Bay and a very innovative menu as well.
Additionally, you’ll be smack bang on the Mount Mee Tourist Drive which offers exciting winding roads and great scenery to make your drive that little bit more interesting.
For our 4WD enthusiasts, there are even some unsealed tracks of varying difficulty out there that you can explore to your heart's content.
Have you become a fan of Mount Mee?
Good thing we’ve got you covered with another place to grab some food and enjoy great views.
Pitstop Cafe is one for the motorsport lovers, with old school motorbikes on display throughout.
This cafes focus is represented in its name. It aims to be an awesome spot where road-trippers can take a break, enjoy great food and take in the scenery that Mount Mee has to offer.
After the two hour drive from the Gold Coast, and one hour drive from Brisbane, you’ll definitely appreciate grabbing a quick, easy and delicious bite to eat at this cafe.
As the name suggests, get ready for some windy mountain road driving.
Making sure your tyres and brakes are in tip-top shape prior to departure won’t go astray for this journey.
Now, we know this article is all about great places to eat in South-East Queensland, but we were wondering if you’d fancy an interstate trip?
Don’t stress, we haven’t got you trekking down to Sydney for these next spots.
The Farm offers an awesome experience, where you can quite literally wander the fields where most of the food you're served comes from.
The restaurant is called Three Blue Ducks and It's undercover outdoo setting offers great views of Byron's hinterland.
Granted, it isn’t the most exciting drive in the world to get to The Farm in Byron Bay.
From either Brisbane or the Gold Coast it’s a straight shoot down the M1, and then about 60 seconds after taking the Byron exit, you’ll have arrived.
If you’re after a more exciting, scenic drive, try the Tweed Coast Road from Chinderah to Wooyung.
Then, follow the Wooyung Road until you meet up with Tweed Valley Road and head South until you pass the North Byron Parklands.
This journey offers up some amazing coastal scenery as well as easy winding roads hidden amongst the trees slightly more inland.
That should take up the bulk of your journey and from there you can hit the M1 again and it’s only 15 minutes away from The Farm!
If you opt for the more direct route down the M1 from the Gold Coast, it’ll take you around an hour to get there, however allow close to two hours if you go for the scenic route.
Add on approximately 45 minutes for our Brisbane travellers!
For this next spot, we’re going a tiny bit deeper into NSW territory, just South of Byron Bay.
Harvest is an awesome, award-winning Queenslander style restaurant in a quiet NSW town.
They offer a bunch of freshly grown produce, sourced from their onsite edible garden.
It’s about an hour and 15 minutes from Gold Coast, and 2 hours from Brisbane.
Again, not the most exciting drive in the world if you take the direct route down the M1, but there are other options to make it more interesting.
You can take the inland route if you’re wanting to see some mountainous, country terrain.
Be prepared to add an additional hour onto your journey with this one though.
Or alternatively, hug the coastline as much as you can to take advantage of some of the best ocean scenery Australia has to offer.
So, that’s the list, are you hungry yet? Where are you headed off to?
On weekends you’ll probably find Rowan in the garage with his Dad restoring a 1958 Ford Star Model Customline or enjoying a cruise through the Gold Coast hinterland on his Suzuki GSX-R600.
Despite his passion for being behind the wheel (or handlebars), he looks forward to the day when he can commute to work in his own driverless car.