Let me introduce the best Gold Coast Beaches based on my deep research.
I feel that every beach on the planet is different. It is not a beach as a beach. Some beach has whiter and softer sand whilst other has yellow or even dark sand. They can be surrounded by palms, pine trees, mountains or rocks and the colour of the ocean can vary from green shadows to the reflection of crystal blue water.
Ocean shore can be deep or just shallow and long. It can be packed with people or a completely empty and serene. I can continue with my description ad infinitum. However, I don’t want to bore you, so let’s explore the Gold Coast beaches.
Gold Coast is a massive coastline that starts from Spit to Byron Bay. If you are travelling to the Gold Coast, you will probably hear a lot about the famous Surfers Paradise. However, there are more beautiful beaches that are worth to visit.
I have been living in Australia for a while and I had a lot of time to explore the Gold Coast very well. I will start from the northern part and continue along the coast to the south.
Before I begin, I just want to mention one rule of all beaches in Australia (if you are not a local). Whenever you swim, always swim “between the flags” (red and yellow). It is an area which is safe and lifeguard can see you. If you are swimming in another area you might get thrown into the rough ocean and get into trouble. Don’t be a rebel! 🙂
The Spit separates Southport Broadwater from the Pacific Ocean. You can choose which part to visit. One part is pointing to the Southport and Labrador.
This part offers a great place to have a picnic, go fishing, ride a Jet Ski or go for a walk. You will see many people with dogs over there. The water is calm. Great both in summer or winter time. However, I prefer a wild ocean so definitely the other part pointing to the Pacific ocean. 🙂
What you might not know – I have heard that around Spit is a higher chance to see a shark. :o)
The Main Beach is one of my favourite although the area doesn’t offer many restaurants and they also close early. It is better to take your own food or think about having a BBQ as there are free BBQ s in a park.:-)
The park is lovely, it always brings me a happy feeling and peacefulness. While visiting the Main Beach area, check out the Sea World which is nearby.
If you plan to do a whole day trip around Main Beach, I recommend you to start early in the morning with the Sea World, check the time for the shows with dolphins, birds or reptiles and try cool rides there – roller coaster or boat ride! Then just head to Main Beach for a splash or watch the sunset.
Tip – Consider buying a VIP magic pass for 4 Theme Parks with unlimited entry if you stay on Gold Coast for a while – it includes also Movie World, Wet and Wild Waterpark and Paradise Country.
It is much cheaper than buying each pass separately. A single ticket costs $79 and this VIP magic pass cost $189 for 4 Theme Parks. It depends if you want to visit all parks and have enough time or not.
In my opinion, Surfers Paradise is just too crowd and full of tourists, especially in a peak season. It is nice to visit and experience it if you have never been there.
Some people love it, others don’t – once you see it, you will know. I personally like the memories from there as it was the first place I have visited in Australia otherwise I prefer other beaches from the Gold Coast.
If you are not too fussy with food, there are mostly takeaways – I like sushi shops with sushi rolls or Nandos, Gomez which is a healthier option for fast food. If you prefer a proper meal in a restaurant – check Hurricane’s grills or other restaurants located around Cavill Avenue. It is a pricey though.
There are also a very nice Thai or Japanese restaurants. If you are staying in Surfers Paradise for few days, I would recommend you one of the Mantra hotels or Q1 (the tallest building on Gold Coast).
If you are on tighter budget then try Beachcomber or Chateau Beachside can be a smart choice. They are considered as cheaper hotels but with stunning ocean view! The rooms are quite average, don’t expect luxury. However, the view is truly amazing! You will hear the sound of the ocean from your bedroom and also a living room. You will wake up and go to sleep with seeing a beautiful sky with the ocean. The hotels have a small fitness and swimming pool area.
Broadbeach is one of my favourite places. The park in Broadbeach is magnificent! The beach by itself is less crowded than Surfers Paradise. However, during the season is can be still quite overcrowded. These days due to Covid 19 situation no worries. 🙂
Broadbeach has much more to offer than Surfers Paradise. There are better restaurants along with cafes with great cappuccino or latte. I can recommend Cafe Madison for coffee and amazing cakes and other sweets.
Along the main street where the trams go are some fancy restaurants. Nearby is the Pacific Shopping Centre which completely changed over a few years. Nowadays, it reminds the shopping centre in the USA – Macy’s.
The shopping mall usually closes around 5-6 pm except for Thursdays when it is open till 9 pm. So go to the beach on Thursday and then you can go shopping. It has amazing lights in the evening, water installation and nice outdoor sitting.
Mermaid, Miami beach
These two beaches are very similar, located next to each other.They are less crowded, not have many shops around. If you want to escape from the crowd, choose one of them.
A perfect way to just stop for a while and then continue ahead.
This is a tranquil spot with a small park and magical cliffs. You can chill out on the grass and watch the ocean and surfers around.
Another option is to go to the beach and swim or walk through the forest and explore a calm water spot to swim. Burleigh heads is popular for local Aussies, many families, couples or singles enjoy the time there.
Palm beach is located near Burleigh heads. You can walk there either from Burleigh Heads or from the Currumbin beach. It is also less crowded, sometimes can be almost empty.
If you go there, have some snack with you to not starve if you don’t like eating just fast food or spending too much money at Surf Life Saving Club.
The serene beach with very few people on the beach offers a complete rest from everyday stress. The Currumbin Beach Vikings Life saving club, which is on the top of the rock is one of my favourite places as you can sit in a restaurant and watch the ocean directly, I just love the ocean view.
Have a lunch or dinner there but it might be full so rather to make a reservation. You can also just go for a coffee in afternoon time and you will find a spot to sit.
There are also other Cafes nearby with delicious food such as fried squid. Near Currumbin is a Currumbin Sanctuary with Kangaroos where can you also feed them and touch them. Apart from that you can take a photo with Koala and check some other Australian animals.
Kirra Beach, Coolangatta
Coolangatta is a beach that I connect with my first surfing experience in Australia. The beach has a small park and there are some rocks as well. If you go further along the beach, there are some nice lookouts.
There is a BBQ area to grill some steaks, sausages or vegetable and enjoy time with your friends. Almost every beach or park in Australia has BBQ grills. It is very convenient to chill and grill your own food.
A stunning place with a lighthouse on the top of the hill. Let’s enjoy a magnificent walk and view. The nature around Byron Bay is wild, you might see dolphins in the ocean! It is quite common there so watch the ocean.
If you visit it during winter time and watch it carefully, you will see whales! You can also take a Whale Watching Tour. The place is favourite for surfing, kayaking or skydiving.
To sum up, if you are looking for a one day trip and you love beach and shopping, then visit Broadbeach.
Are you an active person who likes a bit of hike and can get bored by just sunbathing on the beach? In that case Burleigh Heads will be the best option for you as you can take a coastal walk through the park and continue to Palm beach.
If you want to enjoy a magical ocean without much distraction for whole day or try surfing and then spend a late afternoon in a restaurant with a beautiful view, then spend time on Currumbin beach. For those whole love wild nature and active trip, consider Byron Bay.
There are also nice beaches between Coolangatta and Byron Bay worth to check – Fingal Head, Kingscliff or Cabarita beach.