Coolangatta Beach

This city at the southern tip of the Gold Coast has some of the most pristine beaches, and clear water for swimming, fishing and diving.

The beaches at Coolangatta include Rainbow Bay, Greenmount and Kirra. The first two are the Gold Coast’s only north-facing beaches, making them more sheltered with calmer water ideal for swimming. Walk or jog along the paths of the oceanfront park or visit the mall along the coast on a sunny winter’s day. Pods of dolphins and migrating whales can sometimes be seen; head to Snapper Rocks at the New South Wales border for the best views.

This Queensland border city is named to commemorate a ship that was wrecked nearby in 1846. The sheltered beaches found here have been a popular holiday destination since the late 1800s. The city enjoys a slower pace than the bustling center of the Gold Coast, and it’s only a half-hour drive away from all the action.

Coolangatta’s beaches are quieter than those around Surfers Paradise, the busy commercial hub at the north end of the Gold Coast. The smaller waves at Coolangatta are safer for children and others who aren’t strong swimmers. Kirra is popular with families as it tends to be quieter than the northern Gold Coast beaches. Rainbow Bay has tree-shaded playgrounds right near the shore.

At Greenmount, take a surfing lesson or rent scuba gear to explore the underwater world. Book a boat tour to the Cook Island Marine Reserve at the local diving center. Whale-watching tours run from May to October.

Head to Showcase on the Beach for shopping, dining and entertainment. Here you can enjoy open-air dining with ocean views and try an Australian Outback Grill, or European or Asian cuisine. The center offers free parking in the heart of Coolangatta.

Learn about the native population of this area at the Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre and visit a sacred Bora Ring initiation site just across the border.

Coolangatta is near the Gold Coast Airport along the Gold Coast Highway. Remember to always swim between the flags. Fishing regulations apply, so if you’d like to try catching your lunch or dinner, check at the local tackle shops for size limits and protected species.

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