Head to this quieter suburban stretch of the Gold Coast and discover a national park, white sands and Australian wildlife.
Burleigh Beach is one of the Gold Coast’s best beaches. This stretch of white sand is 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) long and a good place to relax, walk or splash around in the Pacific Ocean. The beaches are patrolled by surf life savers when it gets busy. The bigger waves are popular among surfers, and international and national surfing championships are held here regularly.
If swimming isn’t your thing, head out for a nature walk. From the Surf Life Saving Club, follow the long path along the esplanade to the parking lot at the end of Goodwin Terrace, where you’ll find the entry to Burleigh Heads National Park. From here you can take an ocean view circuit, just under a mile (1.2 kilometers) one way. Or, follow the rain forest circuit, a 1.4-mile (2.3-kilometer) return journey to a lookout point, where you might spot migrating whales between May and October. The view of the skyline of Surfers Paradise to the north will provide a good photo opportunity year-round, especially at sunset.
You can get up-close to Australian wildlife at the not-for-profit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to the south and further inland at the David Fleay Wildlife Park in Burleigh Heads. Feed the lorikeets and encounter koalas and crocodiles. See how threatened populations including the flightless cassowary bird, the small tree kangaroo, the furry bilby, and the odd-looking duck-billed platypus are being rehabilitated.
The nearby town of Burleigh Heads has plenty of restaurants and cafés. Enjoy the wide array of options, from tapas and seafood to organic vegan restaurants. Many of the bars host talented local musicians on weekend nights.
For a laid-back way to dine, pack a picnic and sit in Justins Park, which overlooks the beach. Kids will enjoy the playground here. It’s also the place where locals come to exercise or socialize. If you are here on the last Sunday of the month, pick up some locally made souvenirs at the arts and crafts markets, which are located just to the north of the park.
Burleigh Beach lies between the suburbs of Miami and Burleigh Heads, with Mermaid Beach at its northern border.