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The southern end of the Gold Coast, in my opinion, is the best part. The beaches are stunning, there are less crowds and high rises, the surf breaks are world-renowned, and there is more of a laid back vibe here. But there are still plenty of things to do and see to keep visitors busy for weeks. Here I’m giving holidaymakers some insight into the best of the Southern Gold Coast.
The Southern Gold Coast stretches from Palm Beach in the north, to the state border with New South Wales at Coolangatta, to the south. It encompasses the village townships of Coolangatta, Currumbin, Palm Beach, Tugun, Kirra, Bilinga and Tweed Heads (in New South Wales).
The beautiful beaches that stretch 16 kilometres along the Southern Gold Coast are all perfect for swimming, playing in the sand or just laying back and soaking up the sun. Plus there is the added attraction of two calm water estuaries at Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin Creek.
Currumbin boasts the best in beaches, calm water creek and green lush countryside. There is the extremely popular swimming and surfing beach, the Alley, with ideal waves for surf novices; the calm waters of the Estuary for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and swimming; trickling cascades and rocky pools of the upper reaches of Currumbin Creek; the lush green pastures of rural Currumbin Valley; to the sub-tropical rainforests of Mt Cougal and Springbrook National Park.
A firm family favourite is the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary offering a range of wildlife dotted throughout 27 hectares of eucalypt and rainforest. Here you’ll find crocodiles, tame kangaroos, cuddly koalas and marsupials; up close and personal animal encounters; exciting wildlife shows; and a train ride that takes you all around the sanctuary.
One of my favourite spots to partake in a cold beverage and good club food, is at the Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Club, that is perched right on the beach at the southern end of Currumbin Beach. It is the perfect spot to see a colourful sunset with the Surfers Paradise high rises towering in the background.
The beach is endless between Currumbin and Tugun/Bilinga. You can literally find a spot here to have all to yourself. The Gold Coast Oceanway – the path that runs all along the beachfront of the Gold Coast, is a great way to explore these two Gold Coast beach suburbs. Hire a bike or scooter and ride along this pathway admiring the beachfront homes and apartments fringing the pristine white-sanded beaches.
Stop at Flat Rock Beach and parklands for a rest and enjoy great picnic and BBQ facilities here, and a playground for the kiddies. Or check out the fantastic cafe culture in Tugun village, that also offers a great fresh fruit and veggie market and some tasty eateries.
My favourite coffee place is at the Salty Bean in the Tugun Surf Life Saving Club. Here you can enjoy a flavoursome cup of coffee and a tasty snack whilst enjoying the ocean views.
One of my favourite Gold Coast beaches is Kirra. Over the past ten years it has undergone a transformation from a ramshackle beachside suburb with rundown surfie shacks, a few unappealing shops and cafes, to a new vibrant and upmarket beachside suburb.
There are extensive green spaces fringing the wide sandy beach and the walking/cycling paths make it a wonderful location for families and walkers/joggers/cyclists. The famous surf break here at Kirra Point is always brimming with surfers.
The renovated Kirra Beach Pavilion and the retention of the 1910 Kirra Beach Shelter Shed on the point gives Kirra that “beachside vibe from a bygone era” feel.
Within the Kirra Beach Pavilion is one of my favourite restaurants called Siblings. It is one of the few absolute beachfront restaurants on the Gold Coast. Siblings embodies the true essence of the Gold Coast – it’s light and breezy and it perfectly captures the natural elements of its beachfront surrounds.
Coolangatta, affectionately referred to as Cooly, is a fantastic holiday venue, on the Southern Gold Coast. It is less touristy than the northern end of the Gold Coast. Here the vibe is definitely more relaxed. The beaches are less crowded, the surf is pumping, and there is the added attraction of the Tweed River.
Cooly offers world-class oceanfront hotels, great shopping, restaurants and clubs – the most popular of which is Twin Towns Services Club, home to local and international acts.
It also hosts Cooly Rocks Festival, the biggest 50s and 60s nostalgia festival in Australia! There is over two kilometres of rock ‘n roll, rockabilly, swing music performances; and over 1,000 hot rods, custom cars and classic vehicles lining the stunning beachfront of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads; over two huge weeks in June, each year.
The 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 one of the venues for World Surf League event calendar. Meanwhile, the corner of Greenmount Beach offers a protected spot for a swim.
While you’re here a must do is the walk around Greenmount Point to pretty Rainbow Bay, past Snapper Rocks and Froggy Beach, uphill to Point Danger at the border of Queensland and New South Wales. Here the views are stunning in both directions. To the north there is Snapper Rocks and the long stretch of beaches all the way to Surfers Paradise. To the south there is the epic surf beach of Duranbah to the headland at Fingal Head. There is also a lighthouse here that marks the border.
The Southern Gold Coast has been attracting holidaymakers for decades. People flock here to the quieter end of the Gold Coast to relax and enjoy the less busy ambience. I recently spent a few weeks in Coolangatta and I really enjoyed the slower pace of this Gold Coast beachside village.
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.