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in In My Backyard, Travel, Travel Australia

In My Backyard: Coolangatta & The Tweed

  • October 3, 2014
  • By 50 Shades
  • 10 Comments
Coolangatta Beach

Coolangatta Beach

Locals refer to Coolangatta and Tweed Heads as the ‘Twin Towns’ as they sit side by side on the Queensland/New South Wales border on the southern end of the Gold Coast. Here the vibe is very different to the more popular touristy Surfers Paradise. The beaches are less crowded, the surf is pumping, there is the added attraction of the Tweed River and the vibe is more laid-back and relaxed.

Coolangatta

Coolangatta is the southernmost suburb of Gold Coast City, Queensland, located on the border right next to Tweed Heads, New South Wales. It is named after the schooner Coolangatta that was shipwrecked there in 1846.

Stairs to Greenmount Lookout

Stairs to Greenmount Lookout

To me Cooly (what the locals call it), exudes an old-school beachside charm where you still think you are back in the hey days of the 1960’s when Coolangatta was the most sought after holiday location. It combines this with world-class oceanfront hotels, restaurants and clubs, the most popular of which is Twin Towns Services Club, home to local and international acts.

Coolangatta Foreshore

Coolangatta Foreshore

It also hosts Cooly Rocks Festival, the biggest 50s and 60s nostalgia festival in Australia! Over two kilometres of Rock ‘n roll, Rockabilly, Swing music and over 1,000 hot rods, custom cars and classic vehicles lining the stunning beachfront of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads all over two huge weeks in June, each year.

Coolangatta Cafes & Restaurants

Coolangatta Cafes & Restaurants

Coolangatta Beaches

Beaches here are renowned for the most spectacular surf, particularly off the northern corner of Coolangatta Beach, the headland around Greenmount, Snapper Rocks into the southern corner of Rainbow Bay and of course, the world-class surf break of Duranbah. Snapper Rocks is stop number one of the World Tour of Surfing event calendar that occurs in March. Meanwhile, the corner of Greenmount Beach offers a protected spot for a swim.

Greenmount Beach

Greenmount Beach

A scenic walking trail wraps around Greenmount Hill connecting Greenmount Beach to Rainbow Bay. From here you can head up the hill to the exotically named Point Danger and plant one foot in Queensland and another in New South Wales at the same time. This lookout is also a great place for whale watching. Or take a walk or drive up to Kirra Lookout for panoramic views of Coolangatta and Kirra Beaches.

Kirra Lookout

Kirra Lookout

The entire beachfront of Marine Parade is fringed with green grassy parks, picnic tables, BBQs and children’s playgrounds. A walking/cycling path heading north towards Surfers Paradise. The path winds its way through the parklands and around Kirra Point, with spectacular views of the Kirra Beach, and then goes all the way along the Gold Coast coastline.

Kirra Beach

Kirra Beach

Tweed Heads

Known as ‘Australia’s Green Cauldron’, Tweed Heads offers the best of both worlds with lush rainforests and dramatic mountain ranges to uncrowded, unspoilt beaches and world-famous surfing point breaks.

Qld/NSW Border Point Danger

Qld/NSW Border Point Danger

It was established when timber cutters came to the Tweed Valley to cut down the trees for timber. Soon after farmers moved in with bananas, cane and dairy farming dominating the area, while a fishing industry developed. Nowadays it is a bustling town with two major shopping centres and three large Clubs offering live music, world class entertainment, restaurants and gaming.

Tweed Heads Harbour

Tweed Heads Harbour

Things To Do and See in Tweed Heads

The top ten things to do in Tweed Heads are:

  1. Surf at one of the famous surf breaks such as Snapper Rocks or Duranbah.

    Pumping Surf at Snapper Rocks

    Pumping Surf at Snapper Rocks

  2. Cruise along the Tweed River on one of the boat cruises or hire your own boat and navigate your way around the Terranora Lakes and Tweed River.

    Tweed River Boat Cruises

    Tweed River Boat Cruises

  3. From June to November you can go whale watching on a boat cruise.
  4. Snorkel or scuba dive at nearby Cook Island.

    Cook Island

    Cook Island

  5. Go game fishing for marlin, dolphin fish or mackerel on a fishing charter or cast a line from the the open beach, headlands or around the river and creek mouths.
  6. Discover ‘Giants Causeway’, a crescent shaped mass of hexagonal volcanic rocks, and the Fingal Lighthouse at the beachside and riverfront village of Fingal.

    Giants Causeway, Fingal

    Giants Causeway, Fingal

  7. Explore ancient landscapes in the Tweed Valley where there are five national parks and the Gondwana Rainforests.
  8. Take a day trip south of the border along the coastal road and visit the coastal villages from Kingscliff to Pottsville.

    Cabarita Headland

    Cabarita Headland

  9. Sample seasonal fruits and experience a plantation safari tour at Tropical Fruit World.
  10. Watch the spectacular sunrise from the summit of Wollumbin Mt Warning after a challenging 4.4 kilometre hike up the mountain.

    Mount Warning

    Mount Warning

This is just a sample of what is on offer at the ‘Twin Towns’ of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta. There are a series of Tweed touring brochures available from the Visitor Information Centre that vary from a Historic Pub Tour, to the Tweed Valley Art Trail, or to the Tweed Food Trail, or Border Ranges Circuit, to Wollumbin Mt Warning View Circuit.

Tweed River

Tweed River

This is all in my backyard so understandably I am never bored for entertainment. A drive across the border into Northern New South Wales is like a breath of fresh air and that feeling of slowing down and taking in the beauty that abounds in this region. There is little argument as to why this is a very popular holiday spot for we Gold Coasters.

Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday

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By 50 Shades, October 3, 2014 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 10

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

10 Comments
  • Rae Hilhorst
    October 3, 2014

    I just love the limestone steps, that screams at me the beach xxx

    • Kathy
      October 3, 2014

      The beach is my favourite place in the whole wide world. Wherever it may be :)

  • Johanna
    October 3, 2014

    It looks such a beautiful area and away from the glitz and glamour of surfers – which I would like better than super busy. One day – yes – we will get there for a holiday. Loved your pics as usual :)

    • Kathy
      October 3, 2014

      Thanks Jo, I enjoyed photographing my backyard and bringing it to you. I tend to like the less busier holiday destinations as well. :)

  • Pinky Poinker
    October 3, 2014

    We’re staying down there after Christmas Kathy! We’re staying at a motel that lets you have pets and the chihuahua and fox terrier are coming with us. I had no idea there was a Giant’s Causeway at Fingal Bay. We must have a look!

    • Kathy
      October 3, 2014

      I thought you were staying at Mt Tamborine?? You will love this area as it is much less busy and more restful than Surfers Paradise. I’m sure your pooches will enjoy a dip in the Tweed River too! You must walk up to Fingal Lighthouse which is on a headland with magical views to the north and south and of course out to Giant’s Causeway and Cook Island. Also Dreamtime Beach to the south is a dream.

  • Pinky Poinker
    October 5, 2014

    No. Because my parents cannot assure us they won’t have sold their weekender by Christmas we had to make alternate arrangements and will now be staying at Camp tail Waggers in Coolangatta. I’m sure it’s very upmarket ;)

    • kathymarris
      October 6, 2014

      Well enjoy Camp Tail Waggers. I’m off to Broken Head in our caravan (if we still have it), but would love to catch up for a coffee if I’m around.

  • rednomadoz
    October 7, 2014

    LOVE the ‘Twin Towns’ area, although I haven’t visited for awhile … I’ve got great memories (and photos!) of Tallebudgera Creek, Currumbin Creek and Burleigh Heads – yes, the southern end of the GC really does it for me!

    • Kathy
      October 7, 2014

      You are talking about my backyard here, as I live at Burleigh Heads and often walk around Burleigh Point to Tallebudgera Creek. Sometimes we are guilty of not realising the potential of the region where we live and I am embarrassed to say that I discovered new places when I was taking photos around the Twin Towns. Thank you for dropping by my blog. :)

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