At the southern end of the Gold Coast, Coolangatta is known for its rolling surf and long sandy beaches, complete with plentiful boardwalks and lookouts, all with a laid-back small-town beach vibe. With an abundance of cafés, restaurants, and bars, as well as accommodations to suit every budget, there’s something for everyone here.
In contrast to most other beaches along the Gold Coast, Coolangatta features bays and headlands, resulting in more-protected beaches and waves of all sizes—perfect for both beginner and experienced surfers. For more-sheltered conditions, head to Greenmount Beach or Rainbow Beach. For surfing, try Kirra Beach. Enjoy the expansive views, north to Surfers Paradise and south to Snappers Rock.
It’s easy to explore Coolangatta on foot, as most things are within walking distance. Those looking for a little more excitement can learn to surf, or take to the skies in a tandem-skydiving experience. Multi-day surfing expeditions will often make a stop here, as do day trips up and down the Gold Coast.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Coolangatta is a good option for families with kids, as the beaches here are more sheltered than other options along the Gold Coast.
- Temperatures in the summer can reach over 80°F (27°C), so don’t forget to pack a hat and sunscreen.
- Swim only in designated areas and when lifeguards are present, as there may be a strong undertow. Red and yellow flags indicate the beach is patrolled.
How to Get There
Coolangatta is located at the southern end of the Gold Coast, about 16 miles (25 kilometers) south of Surfers Paradise and on the border with New South Wales. It’s located about 68 miles (110 kilometers) south of Brisbane Airport, and less than 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) from Gold Coast Airport. By car, take the Pacific Motorway and exit at Gold Coast Highway.
When to Get There
The sun shines year-round at Coolangatta, so it’s always a good time to visit for those seeking the sun. Prices are highest in November and December. Visit in April or May for fewer crowds and lower prices. Those interested in surfing competitions may want to be here in October for the Coolangatta Gold surf-lifesaving competition or March for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro world tour.
Sister City of Tweed Heads
Right across the border in the state of New South Wales is Coolangatta’s sister city of Tweed Heads, known for the Tweed River. Here visitors can go on a crab-catching cruise, hire a barbecue pontoon to explore the waterways, or join a charter for some offshore deep-sea fishing. When visiting in the summer, remember that the two states are in different time zones, which means that those visiting over New Year’s Eve can actually celebrate the new year twice.