From the busy sands of Surfer’s Paradise to the slow-paced shores of Coolangatta, the Gold Coast is brimming with beautiful beaches to explore.
Burleigh Heads Beach
Swim the salty ocean, surf the spectacular headland and relax hillside at Burleigh Heads. Burleigh, as it’s affectionately known among locals, has it all – the surf, the sand, a foreshore home to towering pines trees and parkland perfect for picnics and barbecues under the summer sun. The nearby James Street also offers a wealth of dining and shopping options, while Burleigh Heads National Park wraps the headland and offers a number of walking trails dotted with wildlife.
Another favourite beachfront community among locals, Currumbin offers great fishing, surfing and dining experiences. With Currumbin Creek, the Alley and the entrance to the ocean, this is a top spot for all kinds of water sports, particularly stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. For absolute beachfront dining try the Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club, and visit Surf World Gold Coast (Queensland’s only surfing museum) displaying an extensive collection of surf boards.
A swim in the ocean at Surfers Paradise should be expected when holidaying on the sandy shores of the Gold Coast. Revellers have long descended on Surfers for its nightlife venues, but during the day, the beach and new foreshore is the new hotspot. In between all of that splashing about, take a stroll along the esplanade overlooking the surf and sand, and if it’s a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday afternoon, hang around for the beachfront markets, operating from 3 to 8pm.
Framed by Burleigh Heads National Park on one side and Palm Beach on the other, Tallebudgera Creek is a favoured spot for camping, swimming, picnicking, kayaking and fishing thanks the calm creek. If you are hoping to catch a wave, you definitely won't be left out. Nearby Tallebudgera Beach is a suitable option.
Besides hours spent splashing in the surf, learning how to catch a wave and taking part in the abundance of other activities on offer – beach volleyball, sand sculpting or windsurfing, anyone? – there’s so much more than sun, sea and sand to discover at Broadbeach. Bordering the golden shoreline are miles of parkland home to a children’s play area, weekend markets and yoga classes. And just across the road is a variety of trendy restaurants, cafes, bars and boutique fashion finds.
Head to Main Beach at the northern end of the Gold Coast and enjoy a feast of fish and chips on the foreshore. Back in the day, Main Beach was the main surf beach to the nearby town of Southport. Today, it’s still a favourite among the many locals who sunbathe on its white sands and call into the casual beach café that used to serve as a bathing pavilion.
Home to the Quiksilver Pro surfing tour each year, Snapper Rocks is arguably the Gold Coast’s most popular surf beach. If surfing is your thing, head to this small rocky outcrop on the northern side of Point Danger at the southern end of Rainbow Bay and relish in its clean waves and unbeatable barrels.
Look towards the Surfers Paradise skyline in the distance from the shores of Coolangatta, a slow-paced pocket at the end of the Gold Coast. Sharing a boundary with Tweed Heads in New South Wales, Coolangatta offers spectacular surf, beautiful headland around the neighbouring Greenmount Beach and the world-class surf break of Duranbah (or D’Bah as the locals it). After a morning swim, walk one of the trails around Greenmount Hill and head up the hill to Point Danger lookout for a spot of whale watching.
South Stradbroke Island
Travel by private boat, charter boat, ferry or water taxi to the picturesque shores of South Stradbroke Island, a 22-kilometre-long, relatively narrow island of natural, unspoilt beauty. On one side of the island are calm, inner waterways and on the other, a pristine surf beach. In the centre, the island boasts virtually untouched, native bushland. Spend the day exploring the island, swimming, sunbathing and taking advantage of the variety of water sports on offer.
Grab an early morning coffee from one of the trendy cafes on the highway at Nobby Beach and walk the few minutes to the parkland along the foreshore for a leisurely stroll while taking in the breathtaking views. There are picnic areas, free barbecues and playgrounds dotted along the park, and if you keep walking south along Marine Parade, you’ll come to the iconic Miami Headland stairs. At the top, enjoy some of the most beautiful views over the coast.