TOP 10 BEST BEACHES GOLD COAST
It needs to be declared there are no terrible beaches on the stunning and seemingly endless stretches of the Gold Coast’s warm sandy shores.
It is not hard to see why they hold their belief with uncompromised 180-degree views to the horizon, shimmering deceptively a mile or two from the shoreline, enticingly tempting the flat earth society. Luckily, for the rest of us, the curvature of the earth and the winds generated across that exquisite expanse of the ever-changing array of blues, greys, greens, turquoise, and aqua waters deliver to the Gold Coast tropical climate warm waters for swimming and waves aplenty year-round for the global surfing fraternity to seek out and descend upon in droves in their quest for glory and the title of king of waves.
The Gold Coast is 70 kilometres in length and spread over roughly 500 square kilometres. It is blessed with having a plethora of stunning beaches that neighbour each other to choose from. They are all within an hour of each other for easy access. Depending on what your needs are for the day, whether you want to swim, snorkel or simply soak up the sun – we have compiled a list of the top ten Gold Coast Beaches and what they are best suited for to make your life easier when visiting.
Here’s our Top 10 picks for the Best Beaches Gold Coast:
1. Surfers Paradise - Best Beaches Gold Coast
It has been touted that Surfer’s Paradise Beach has one of the most recognisable skylines in the world, and the beach that crowns it is no different. Lying at the heart of the Gold Coast, this is 2 Kilometres of pristine sandy to white beaches and views of the skyline or horizon as far as you please while you sit on your surfboard and wait for the next set to roll in.
Quite the nightlife and party scene, Surfer’s Paradise has gained a reputation for the younger crowd with money to spend and is crammed to the brim with trendy hotels, bars and cafes. It is the Centre of attention and the place to be seen in a skimpy string bikini and sweet all else! If you don’t have the body to rock one, five feet is all it will take to see six women who do, and they are not shy in flaunting what they have! The men are equally as guilty of peacocking and showboating their bronzed naked chests and well-buffed bodies for eye candy consumption.
Tamarisk pines and Pandanus palms will frame your holiday photos with this instantly recognisable location. There is plenty of sand for everyone, even on the busiest and hottest days. The wide paved boulevard lining the entire stretch of Surfer’s Paradise is perfect for walking, biking, skateboarding or rollerblading. Free outdoor gym equipment can be found along the track to work off the daily overindulging!
Swimming and surfing are a definite must if you step foot on this beach!
2. Main Beach - Best Beaches Gold Coast
Decidedly more mellow and less ‘look at me’ than Surfers Paradise, this worthy neighbour is called Main Beach. Main Beach got its name due to it being considered the main beach for surfing to the town of Southport, and not surprisingly, it has a popular surf crowd. Sand dunes combined with upmarket hotels and resorts are a feature in this area. This expansive stretch of white sand continues north to the Spit, with glimpses out to South Stradbroke Island.
The city’s 36-kilometre-long Gold Coast waterway starts here, perfect for any exercise activity like jogging, skateboarding, walking and cycling.
If you are swimming, patrolled sections are sparse on this beach, and the surf can get treacherous on occasion, so it is not recommended for swimming unless you are an experienced ocean swimmer. If you decide to dip a toe into its enticingly azure blue water, then, as with all beaches in Australia, always seek out the patrolled red and yellow flags and swim between them.
Read on for more of the Best Beaches Gold Coast…
3. Burleigh Beach - Best Beaches Gold Coast
Burleigh is touted to be the Gold Coast’s answer to Byron Bay minus the Hollywood celebrities.
With a slightly hippy come bohemian-slash-surfy feel, the lush Burleigh Headland has instantly recognisable majestic Norfolk pines lining the walking and bike paths the length of the beach. Across the road, the much-loved shopping strip filled with eats and drinks places on James Street can be easily accessed, and there is a large swath of grass under the shade of the pine with playgrounds for the little people to enjoy their vacations too!
The locals will tell you that Burleigh Beach is one of the Gold Coast’s best, and it is definitely worthy of being placed in the top ten. Patrolled by lifesavers and often well-protected from any southerly wind or swells, the surfers regard this right-hand point break as having the best surf consistently across the year.
If the smell of fresh ocean air makes you hunger for a piping hot order of fish ‘n’ chips, then there are several locations along the foreshore that will have you juggling the hot order from one hand to the next as you eye off the ever-watchful and cunning seagulls, happy to relieve you of your bounty.
They choose to ignore the ‘Don’t feed the seagull’ signs, but we implore you not to feed them. They are hardly starving and quite plump! Gained a little weight? Why not pop over and check out the Burleigh Head National Park.
The Burleigh Headland is a great place for a walk with a beautiful view of the ocean, but it’s also a place of cultural significance. The headland and surrounds are an important site for Yugambeh speaking people whose ancestors lived for thousands of years in the shelter of the headland, enjoying the rich resources of the area including bush turkeys and fresh fish. To find out more it’s well worth checking out Jellurgal, an indigenous owned and operated information centre who run incredible tours of the area.
4. Palm Beach - Best Beaches Gold Coast
Nestled comfortably between the tranquil and sheltered waters of the Currumbin Creek at the south end and the inviting surf Patrolled sandy shores of the Tallebudgera Creek at the north end, Palm Beach is top five on the list of cleanest beaches in the world. At the south end, the rock wall separating the end of the beach from the river mouth and Currumbin Beach on the other side is home to the Kite Surfing community.
If the wind is up while you are in the area, grab a coffee and a meal from a large number of small cafes, pull up some sand and watch the athletic and majestic display of agile people speeding along the surface of the water, performing tricks that take your breath and leave you pretty confident they might be ever so slightly crazy in their pursuit of the ultimate thrill. This end of Palm Beach is also home to the “dog beach”, a section of dog-friendly beach where dogs are free to run off-leash and chase balls, frisbees and sticks until they are exhausted as they interact and socialise with the other endless breeds of four-legged friends.
With a total length of 2 kilometres or 1.3 miles for our non-metric amigos, this is the perfect beach to take in a casual walk on your own, with others or with your four-legged friend. If you like to take in the rays or people watch, then the Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club “aka Palmy surf club” has a bar and restaurant in which to while away the hours and relax while you take in the surf conditions.
This surf patrolled beach has a hazard rating of 6/10 for swimming due to frequent rips and under toe currents close to shore. It would be best to swim between the red and yellow flags placed in the safest areas for swimming as these sections have Surf Life Savers on active duty in the summer months.
5. Kirra Beach - Best Beaches Gold Coast
There is conjecture over what the word ‘Kirra’ means. The predominant theory believes the Queensland Aboriginal people named it after a boomerang due to its shape. Kirra straddles and embraces ‘the bend’, a steep section of land that separates Coolangatta and Kirra beaches.
Surfers from around the globe flock to surf Kirra Beach and Kirra bend for its world-class breaks and unforgettable surf breaks. Snapper Rocks, Point Danger, and Rainbow Bay are all a stone’s throw south and within walking distance, or you can hire any number of motorised bikes, trikes and scooters to cruise the purpose-designed boardwalks that run along and connect all the beaches as far up at Currumbin in one continuous stretch!
Over the years, beach erosion issues changed the nature of the surf spot and bumped its first-place tag as the ‘best’ surf beach on the Gold Coast, yet it is still worthy of top ten placement!
6. Miami/ Nobby Beach - Best Beaches Gold Coast
At one time, this duo was branded as “Millionaire’s Row”, but these days you don’t need a wad of cash and six credit cards with endless purchase power to live the good life while visiting here.
Backed by the Gold Coast’s most exclusive address, Hedges Avenue, Mermaid Beach itself is a nearly empty stretch of sand that all can enjoy and is often underutilised. Park in a side street or at Ken Mansbridge Park, and stroll along sand so fine it literally makes a squeaking sound beneath your feet as you make your way across the surface.
To the south, Mermaid Beach blends into the local hangout of Nobby Beach and Miami Beach merged into one. The knob of Miami headland offers an energetic stair climb but rewards you with breath-taking 180-degree views once you reach the summit. Excellent photo ops for those who love to taunt their Facebook stalkers!
7. Coolangatta Beach - Best Beaches Gold Coast
For ease, the Gold Coast technically starts at the border with New South Wales in a town called Coolangatta. The first cab off the rank is Point Danger, aptly named for the rocks and high likelihood of death if you fall off your head and hit the water headfirst.
Not that surfers let danger prevent them from surfing the perfect wave, and from the vantage point above on the hill, you can watch the surf crazy individuals risk it all, and it is free. If you can find a spot, even the parking is free, but it comes with a three-hour time limit in most places. More popular beaches might have a two-hour limit in their designated car parks, but they are well signposted.
Coolangatta is one of the southern Gold Coast’s most famous beaches!
It has one of the hell of a world-class surf break. Spend your day surfing or swimming with the locals in Coolangatta, or play a spot of beach volleyball at the permanent nets.
Wine and dine until you can’t eat or drink another drop on the strip and then take in some serious exercise with a gentle amble or a full-on forced march along the boardwalk or one of the walking trails that wrap around Greenmount Hill, connecting it to Rainbow Bay.
From there, you can head up the hill to Point Danger, where you will officially be able to plant one foot in Queensland and another in New South Wales at the same time and be standing in two Australian States at the same time at this lookout. This spot is a great place for dolphin or whale watching when they are on their migration pathways.
With so much to see and do, why wouldn’t you want to spend time on the numerous Gold Coast beaches, all worthy of their place in the top ten?
8. Broadbeach - Best Beaches Gold Coast
Broadbeach has an ample expanse of scorching hot sand that will see you doing the Australian beach dance as you hop gingerly from foot to foot, trying not to burn the soles of your feet before you throw down your towel on a patch of lava-like sand and sigh with relief!
Shade and trees, in general, are sparse on this expanse of the enticing beach, so pack your 50+ sunscreen and giant umbrella or shade tent!
Pratten Park has a considerably large playground for the kids, and free BBQs are available for you to take your own food and cook your own ‘Shrimp on the barbie along with a few snags and steaks to partake in this Aussie tradition and feel like one of the locals. You can’t come to Australia and not have a BBQ on the beach!
Broadbeach is located roughly 10-minutes south of Surfers Paradise and is a picture-perfect coastal retreat that balances a relaxed atmosphere with sophisticated accommodation and stylish shopping precincts. Pacific Fair Shopping Centre is a 10-minute stroll from the water and is sure to have something even the most discerning shoppers. You can source your good eats and brews from the plethora of shops in the mall prior to hitting Broadbeach. Romantic at heart? Take a picnic basket filled with our finest local produce and watch the sunrise for the ideal romantic champagne breakfast on the beach before it gets too hot to be outdoors!
9. Tallebudgera Beach - Best Beaches Gold Coast
Tallebudgera Creek is a “chameleon of the blue spectrum” estuary wedged between two of the best beaches on the Gold Coast. Here, you can sunbake, kayak or paddleboard, and swim without fear of getting tumbled, rolled, and then dumped violently headfirst into the ocean floor by a vicious wave you underestimated.
Forming a physical divide between Burleigh in the north and Palm Beach in the south, you’ll find ample parking on the Palm Beach side of the creek. Like all Gold Coast beaches in the summer months, this beach is patrolled by lifeguards and is perfect for young families thanks to the sheltered waters.
Tallebudgera’s appeal is its remoteness from the masses, lying adjacent to a forested national park. Park the car on the Burleigh Hillside, and when you are done with that beach, if you are fit and active, we recommend taking the roughly 20-minute wander around the headland along the relatively easy level trail that is mostly downhill to emerge at the base of the hill and view the picturesque scene of the creek and beaches for the first time.
If you are hungry, when you are done, there are plenty of cafes and niche food places to grab a bite and coffee or something colder like a bottle of water for the walk uphill back to your car.
This is truly the most tropical beach on this list, with crystal clear blue waters and a landscape akin to an island.
10. Mermaid Beach - Best Beaches Gold Coast
This relaxed stretch of golden coastline is adjacent to Broadbeach and Miami. Named not for mermaid sightings, unfortunately, but after the cutter HMS Mermaid. This beach is a little gem hidden from those not in the know, a popular beach with swimmers and the odd surfers looking to escape the flocks of people on the more heavily populated and touristy beaches. Mermaid Beach has good waves and winds from the west, and the area is known for both ground swells and wind swells. Artificial canals lie on the west, and to the east is the Pacific Ocean.
Unlike Surfers Paradise and Kurrawa Beach, Mermaid Beach is not frequented by surfers in large numbers, so it is far more enjoyable for the swimmers with three patrolled towers in the summer months and one patrolled year-round.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of Best Beaches Gold Coast! You should now be one step closer to deciding where you’re going to catch some rays and splash around on your next day off or trip to the Gold Coast.