Set right in the heart of the city's tourist hub, Surfers Paradise beach never fails to attract a sizeable cosmopolitan crowd. While proximity to highrises, nightclubs, restaurants and shops is possibly the main appeal of Surfers beach, its clean stretch of white sand and sparkling surf don't hurt either. The crowd is also an attraction here - sunkissed backpackers in bikinis or swimshorts lay alongside families building sandcastles and oiled up exotic types soaking up their share of warm Queensland sun.Fortunately, space is generous with the beach stretching more than 3km so everyone can claim a patch of sand without having to venture too far for a dip between the flags. Well accustomed to watching over less surf-savvy visitors, lifeguards are always on the ball here. You can hire surf boards and body boards, or line up a surf lesson, from a few different operators on The Esplanade near the main beach entrance.
Beach showers just off the sand. The closest toilets are in the shopping centre opposite the beach or a three-minute walk along The Esplanade at the intersection with Elkhorn Avenue.
Along the Esplanade
directly either side of Cavill Mall: $1.80/hr, 2 hour
limit, 9am-7pm Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm Sunday. North of
View Avenue along The Esplanade (500m/5 minutes' walk to
Surfers beach), parking is free with a 3-hour limit -
9am-5pm Monday-Friday, 9am-12 noon Saturday.
Flags are directly
opposite Cavill Mall
Cross the road from The
Esplanade and you've got all the shops and services of
Surfers Paradise at your disposal.
The walk north from Surfers beach to Narrowneck is a pleasant stretch (1.5km/18mins).
Kurrawa beach at
Broadbeach is one of the Coast's favourite family
beaches. With a wide expanse of clean sand to spread out
on and a large flagged area, this one is best for
dippers and sandgropers. While the exposed position can
make surf conditions unpredictable at Kurrawa, checking
the lifeguard's board before going in and sticking to
flags should avoid any problems.
This beach has the sort of space to kick a footy around
on, bash out the beach cricket tournament or toss a
frisbee without maiming a sleeping sunbather. Local and
visiting clubs make good use of the beach volleyball
facilities right in front of the boardwalk with firm
support from spectators - why work up a sweat when you
can watch someone else do it so well?
Broadbeach foreshore is pretty much as popular as the beach itself. Again, there's plenty of shaded grassy spots to set up on and picnic areas for larger groups. Playground equipment will keep the young 'uns occupied while active types can BYO bat, ball or boules to make their own fun. Proximity to accommodation and shops in Broadbeach plus plenty of parking add to Kurrawa's allure.
Beach showers straight
off the sand. Toilet and shower block just south of
Kurrawa Surf Club. There's also another toilet block at
the northern end of Kurrawa Park. Picnic tables on the
foreshore throughout Kurrawa Park and some BBQs. Kids'
Free parking along the
foreshore from the southern end of Kurrawa Park along
Old Burleigh Road through to Broadbeach Boulevard. Paid
parking and time limits apply to parts of Broadbeach
Flagged area is directly
in front of Kurrawa Surf Club.
Kurrawa Surf Club sits right on the beach. Cross the road to grab lunch or picnic essentials from Oasis Shopping Centre, Broadbeach Mall and Surf Parade's restaurant and shopping strip.
It's easy to see why
Burleigh beach has long been a Gold Coast favourite. A
protected, patrolled swimming area, clean sandy beach,
top point break, a well-equipped foreshore and close
proximity to Burleigh Heads CBD tick all the boxes.
The beach sits in the curve of coastline between North
Burleigh beach and Burleigh headland. Swimmers and body
surfers generally enjoy clean conditions here while
short boarders, long boarders, paddle boarders and body
boarders make the most of a decent break off the point.
Some navigate the rocks below Burleigh headland for the
shortest route to the waves otherwise it's a bit of a
paddle through the breakers.
With plenty of nearby parking, a big bonus at Burleigh
beach is its accessibility - a short walk will see you
perched under your brolly contemplating whether to
devour the contents of your Esky before or after a swim
in no time at all. This really is a great spot to set up
for the day - get comfortable on the sand or choose a
shady spot under the pines on the foreshore and wander
between the beach, shops, kids' play equipment and
Loads of picnic tables and seats along the foreshore, electric BBQs and kids' playground equipment. Public toilets beside the Burleigh Beach Swim Centre complex (follow the footpath behind the beach towards the headland). More toilets in Justins Park along the foreshore between Burleigh and North Burleigh. There are boardwalk-style viewing platforms either side of Burleigh beach for anti-sand sorts.
Untimed free parking along Goodwin Terrace to Burleigh headland. There's loads more free parking along the The Esplanade between Burleigh Beach Surf Club and North Burleigh (area nearest the surf club is limited to 3 hours from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday). Paid parking and various limits apply in Burleigh Heads CBD.
Burleigh and North
Burleigh beaches have flagged areas
Burleigh Heads National Park covers the headland just above Burleigh beach and shelters some top walking tracks. The pick is the lower path around to Tallebudgera Creek where the calm waters and sandy beaches are popular with families and swimmers keen to avoid breaking waves.
Another great walk that won't bust your chops is follow the footpath north from Burleigh headland to North Burleigh (around 1 hour/2.5km return). At the half-way point, tackle Miami Hill (OK, this might bust your chops) and be rewarded with uninterrupted views up and down the coastline.
The Burleigh Beach Surf Club is right behind Burleigh beach and the kiosk is ideal for grabbing a fish 'n' chip feed or burger. To the right of the beach, Mermaids and Oscars are top-class restaurants about as close as you can get to the water's edge. In the same complex behind the restaurants, Nook Espresso is a convenient pit stop for surfers and morning walkers in need of a caffeine hit. Burleigh CBD is right across the highway with all the usual shops and services.
The most northerly of the
city's main beaches, the suburb of Main Beach and its
well, main beach, enjoy a somewhat quieter profile than
its popular neighbours, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
Listed as one of Channel 9's Getaway's Best Beachesround-up,
Main Beach's appeal is no secret but its northerly
location means its avoids the kind of crowds drawn to
the southern beaches. This makes it perfect for those
venturing from the north, especially day-trippers from
Brisbane. It's also not far from Sea World.
A wide stretch of clean, white sand and a gentle surf
break make Main Beach ideal for swimming and sand-sun
therapy. There is loads of space to spread out on your
own and a flagged area for safe swimming. Main Beach has
an expansive, well-equipped foreshore which makes it a
top spot to set up for the day and venture down to the
surf for a swim at your leisure. All of the amenities
and equipment are relatively new and well-maintained.
Beach showers straight
off the sand. Toilets to the north and south of
Southport Surf Club - in Main Beach Pavilion or the
foreshore park. Shaded picnic tables, BBQs, boiling
water, plus playground equipment for kids.
Limited free parking
directly behind the beach and on the foreshore along The
The historic Main Beach Pavilion houses a kiosk with snacks, hot food and drinks, surf board hire and lessons, as well as toilets and change rooms. Also, Southport Surf Club overlooks the beach and is a top spot for a drink or bite to eat. Main Beach's famed dining strip, Tedder Avenue, is a short drive (or 10 minute walk) from the beach. Marina Mirage shopping village, which has restaurants, cafes and shops, is short drive north. Sea World theme park is also nearby.
Occupying the patch
between Point Danger and the Tweed River entrance,
Duranbah beach - or D'bah as it's known by locals - is
best-known for its surf break. The break works in most
conditions, and the swell can get quite big. The beach
itself isn't anything to rave about but it's all about
the waves here. There's a fair paddle through the white
water to reach the riders but plenty of space for body
boards and shorties to each take their fair share.
Just over the Queensland-NSW border into NSW, you can
view Duranbah beach from Point Danger lookout but access
is via Flagstaff Beach Road.
Covered picnic tables and BBQs at the Point Danger end of Flagstaff Beach Road. Beach showers just off the beach and a toilet block just behind it.
Heaps of free parking spaces along Flagstaff Beach Road.
Duranbah beach has the pleasant Tweed River as its neighbour. Behind the beach, John Follent Park skirts the river with plenty of green space to stretch the legs, shady picnic spots and kids playground equipment. Follow the footpath towards town and you'll reach the Jack Evans Boat Harbour, a haven for swimmers, dolphins and non-motorised water craft.
Once known for its fishing, Snapper Rocks has evolved into the Gold Coast's most famous surf break. Sand pumped from nearby Kirra and dumped east of Snapper Rocks helped form a super sand bank in Rainbow Bay. The result is a classy, consistent point break that also offers one of the world's longest rides - more than a kilometre if you can pull the right one. Not surprisingly, then, Snapper also attracts a fair crowd as surfers from all over the world fight locals for a slice of the action. This is the place to catch a glimpse of some of the world's best surfers, including local talent Stephanie Gilmore, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson. The Quiksilver and Roxy Pros world surfing championships are based at Snapper Rocks in February/March each year.
The break is accessed quickly from the rocks (it's all about timing) or by paddling out through the breakers from the beach. Small patch of sand but there isn't much beach to speak of. Nearby Rainbow Beach is a much better bet for a lay on the sand. Snapper Rocks Boardwalk is a great viewpoint from which to take in the action right on the beach.
Nothing A few surfboard
shaped seats here and there plus a pair of BBQs at the
end of the car park. The closest toilets are up on the
hill (Apex Park) behind Snapper Rocks Road.
Limited free parking on Snapper Rocks Road plus more parking along Marine Parade (it's a short walk from there to Snapper).
No. Neighbouring Rainbow
Bay has a flagged area.
Rainbow Bay Surf Club enjoys a prime position overlooking Snapper Rocks and Rainbow Bay, with full views north to Surfers Paradise. The closest shops are back over the hill along Marine Parade in Coolangatta, or hike up to Point Danger lookout to get to Cafe D'Bah.
Nestled between Greenmount Hill and Snapper Rocks, Rainbow Bay is a frontrunner for the Gold Coast's best beach. Not only is it naturally beautiful, Rainbow Bay has something for everyone - surfers, families, sun-lovers, swimmers and kids. The expanse and variety of waves rolling in means everyone can have their patch - long riders will enjoy the long ride in from out back, short borders fight it out in the punchier section closer to Snapper Rocks while paddle boarders can venture in between. Lots of white water for learners to practice on too. A shallow gutter just off the beach creates a calm patch for a dump-free paddle.
Lifeguards patrol the flagged area. Pine and Pandamus trees provide loads of shade along the foreshore where kids are kept occupied on a variety of playground equipment.
Beach showers, shaded and
unshaded picnic tables, BBQs, toilets, shaded kids
Plenty of parking along the foreshore (Marine Parade) and at Point Danger lookout. Just a short walk across the foreshore to reach the sand
A short walk from the beach, Greenmount Hill and Point Danger lookout have killer views of the coastline and the Surfers Paradise skyline to the north.
Currumbin offers a three-for-one deal - Currumbin Lake and Creek, Currumbin Alley and Currumbin Beach - making it a good choice for those in need of variety. Currumbin Lake and the creek are popular with swimmers, kayakers, canoeists, paddle boarders, dog walkers (on leash) and for fishing. The lake is tidal and feeds out the ocean and Currumbin Alley. Currumbin Alley is renowned for its point break which produces an easy right-hander off Currumbin Rock that's frequented by long boarders, paddle boarders and learners.The waves are easily accessed from the beach, with only a short paddle to reach the break. Clean, uncrowded and patrolled, Currumbin Beach is a top spot for families and sunbathers. The surf is generally gentle for swimming and the rock pools at either end will keep the kids busy. The beach is bordered by the striking formation of Currumbin Rock at one end and Elephant Rock at the other.
Currumbin Surf Club butts up
against Elephant Rock and is as close to the ocean as it
gets - so close, in fact, that the carpark gets swamped
when the swell's up.
There's a picnic area opposite the carpark along Duringan Street with covered picnic tables, toilets, kids playground and electric BBQs.
There's a free carpark at Currumbin Alley, accessed off Duringan Street, and more parking spaces along the beachfront (Pacific Parade). Couple of bike racks for two-wheel warriors too. Beach is accessed directly off the carpark.
Lifeguards patrol flagged
area on Currumbin beach.
There are some great little cafes - Elephant Rock Cafe, The Beach Shack, The Deck - along Pacific Parade opposite the beach, as well as a newsagent to grab your newspapers and trashy mags, and a few boutiques.
The Broadwater (The Spit)
OK, so it's not a beach, but the stretch of flat tidal water known as the Broadwater and its foreshore are among the city's most utilised areas. The Broadwater stretches from Southport in the south to Biggera Waters in the north, meeting the ocean at The Spit, just north of Main Beach. Ease of access and lack of scary waves make the Broadwater a popular choice, particularly among locals. The waterway gets busy with boaties, luxury vessels, jet-skiers as well as non-motorised pursuits including wind-surfing, kayaking - link to tours - and canoeing. But it's the convenience of pulling up along the banks at just about any point for a spot of swimming, fishing, a picnic or whatever purpose you please that really appeals. Come weekends, families claim patches right along the sandy shores to enjoy a day out in the sun.
The Spit, off Sea World Drive, is one of the most popular spots on the Broadwater. The total lack of development and facilities are a major part of the attraction - locals happily BYO chairs, tables, BBQs, Eskys, fishing rods, inflatable boats, body boards and whatever else fits in the boot of the car. Generally you can park wherever takes your fancy and set up for a day by the water.
TheBroadwater Parklands, opposite Australia Fair shopping centre in Southport, is also a popular point on the Broadwater for the netted off swimming beach and massive kids' playground. The area is currently undergoing a $42 million revamp which will see it transformed into a recreation and events haven.
Further north at Labrador, theIan Dipple Lagoon in Harley Park draws a crowd. The dedicated stillwater swimming area with sun shades over the sandy shoreline is a haven for kids. There are loads of picnic tables and seating plus electric BBQs, beach showers to rinse off and kids' play equipment. Charis Seafood is right beside the park for a fish 'n' chip lunch or The Grand hotel, just across the road, has several restaurants and licensed bars.