Surf, swim or sunbake on these gorgeous sweeps of Gold Coast sand.
The Sunshine State is not short on beaches, but it’s fair to say that the Goldie lays claim to some of Queensland’s biggest beauties and best surf breaks. And with some 300 days of sunshine promised per year, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy them, whatever the season.
We’ve scoured the region’s 57 kilometres of coastline, to bring you the best Gold Coast beaches.
The northernmost spit of sand on the GC, this surf beach is patrolled but is best saved for stronger swimmers (or those only interested in dipping their toes in the water) because of the rips and occasionally treacherous surf. Having said that, Main Beach is mighty popular with surfers due to its open shore break, and it tends to be a tranquil spot if all you want to do is spend some one-on-one time with a good book.
For a clean, calm, and quiet stretch of sand, you can’t go past Broadie. Not only is this beach away from the razzmatazz of Surfers, but thanks to the strip of greenery that backs the beach, and the fact that there are far fewer sky-high developments, you don’t get the shadows from skyscrapers stealing your afternoon sunshine.
Arguably the most iconic beach in the region, Surfers of course boasts great proximity to all the local attractions, be your vice gambling, shopping, or ice cream. The suburb’s eponymous beach delivers two kilometres of golden sand and foamy surf as well as two diametrically opposed but equally tantalising views: the cobalt blue of the Pacific Ocean to your east and the urban jungle of steel and glass skyscrapers to your west. It’s a view unlike anything other in Oz.
A wide, paved boulevard lines this entire stretch of coastline, so limber up and head off on an afternoon walk when you’ve tanked up on vitamin D and beachside naps.
A marbled azure and aquamarine estuary flanked by lush greenery, you can’t leave the Goldie without spending some quality time at Tallebudgera Creek. Choose your own adventure here, with pockets of white sand dotting either side of the water. Those less confident in the water (or travelling with a brood) should plump for the southern Palm Beach side, where lifeguards patrol and there’s more parking. Otherwise opt for a spot like Echo Beach, which sits just snugly below the Burleigh Head National Park.
A gorgeous curve of sand, backed by spiky pandanus palms and tall Norfolk pines, and framed by the skyscrapers of Surfers Paradise, almost like a hazy mirage in the distance, Burleigh Heads is the hippest hangout on the Gold Coast. The headland is a great little spot for groms or wannabe surfers to learn the ropes, with several local surf schools offering lessons. And if the waves are too hectic along the rest of the coast, this is the place to come: there’s almost always a calm place to swim in the sheltered waters here.
As the sun slips over the horizon, take your salty, sun-kissed self over to neighbouring restaurant Rick Shores, where bi-fold doors give way to stellar views over the whole Goldie coastline. Or do it the DIY way like the locals, and take to the parkland barbecues with a couple of steaks and a bottle of something sparkling (or a six-pack) and soak it all in.
Rainbow Bay Beach
Popular with families and surfers alike, this beach, at the southernmost tip of Queensland, is a scene-stealer: think white sands lapped by Tiffany blue waters and fringed by tropical greenery. Thanks to its protected location, Rainbow Bay Beach – or Greenmount, as it’s sometimes known – has little in the way of waves, making it a safe spot to bring the whole family.
But edge a little closer to the rockpools at the southern end of this beach, and you’ll find one of Australia’s longest and most reliable point breaks: Snapper Rocks. A spot for expert surfers only (world champions Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson are known to frequent the multiple barrel sections at this man-made break) the surf here can be unrelenting.
Sate appetites piqued by the fresh ocean air at local beachfront institution the Rainbow Bay Surf Club; might we suggest the beer-battered flathead and chips.
Currumbin Rock Pools
Pack the car with a picnic lunch and make your way to Currumbin Rock Pools (not to be confused with Currumbin Beach), just a 15-minute drive inland. This little-known swimming hole is a great spot to cool off in, away from the summer crowds. There are rope swings to dangle off of out into the milky green water, as well as rocky ledges to leap from. Or you can simply idle among the boulder-strewn creek, engulfed by greenery, and watch the world go by.