Lying at the most southerly coastal point of Queensland (QLD), Australia, the town of Coolangatta puts the “cool” into the Gold Coast. This scenic and slower paced location offers novel features and the Coolangatta beach is picture perfect.
On a recent trip to Brisbane, a local suggested that I added Coolangatta to my list of wonderful QLD places to say that I’ve seen. I’ve already fallen in love with Bribie Island on the Sunshine Coast. Now I am familiarising myself with some highlights of the ever popular Gold Coast.
Earlier in the year I’d adored the nearby Burleigh Heads. Now it was a short drive further south from there to this border location.
The main attraction was always going to be the golden sands of the beach. Even on a wet and overcast day I wasn’t disappointed. Maybe the poor weather worked in my favour since the beach was close to empty.
Lifeguards were present in their typical Australian red and yellow outfits. Yet due to the overcast day there were nearly more lifeguards than people they were looking out for.
Flags marked out the safe areas for people to go swimming and surfing. Maybe it wasn’t quite the best place to be for surfers since the surf at other, visibly close beaches appeared to be more popular.
Coolangatta was by far the best beach in this area though. Wide and deep, the golden sands were a delight to walk upon. Although the sand felt deep and heavy, it would be a great leveller for any sprinting event.
The watery horizon was graced with the sight of high rise apartment blocks and buildings from Surfers Paradise, located just a few miles away.
As always, when I visit somewhere I like to find out a little bit more about a place and maybe one day return with more time and maybe stay for a few days. Here is what I’ve learnt about this delightful place.
History and how Coolangatta Beach got it’s name
Coolangatta is often referred to as being part of the “Twin Towns” of this region. It is adjacent to the New South Wales (NSW) town of Tweed Heads.
The novel connection between the two allows for certain times of the year when you can be literally bordering on time travel. NSW observes daylight saving whilst Queensland does not. Should you stand in the correct places at the boundary line you could have one foot in a totally different time zone to the other.
At the end of Griffith Street is a monument marking the split between the two Australian States.
Coolangatta and this area was spotted by Captain Cook on his famous voyage of discovery. He named the headland as Point Danger and the near by mountain as Mount Warning.
The issue of danger in terms of sailing in these waters led to the naming of the town, since Coolangatta is named after a ship that was wrecked here in 1846.
Thankfully sailing and travel to this part of Australia is a lot safer now. The Coolangatta Airport, also known as Gold Coast Airport is barely a few minutes drive from Coolangatta centre. This is the perfect gateway to this beautiful seaside location and all of the attractions of the Gold Coast.
Things to do in Coolangatta
If the magic of the Coolangatta beach is not enough, there are plenty more things to see and do in and around Coolangatta.
The very heartbeat of Coolangatta is the shopping precinct of Griffith Street. There are a wide variety of shops from boutique designer clothing, hair and beauty, to groceries, gifts and much more. This is also a great place to locate the prime selection of Coolangatta restaurants.
Over 150 stalls display their wares of crafts, produce, cakes, treats and more every 2nd Sunday of the month. Held at Queen Elizabeth Park between 8am – 2:30pm, weather permitting.
Pat Fagan Park
Take some downtime on your holiday for a picnic or barbecue in the park with beachside views of Surfers Paradise.
Nine Mile Reef Dive Site
Located just off Tweed Heads is a dive site perfect for snorkelling or scuba diving. The reef drops between 10 – 30 metres and features a fascinating range of marine life. Enjoy seeing a range of blind sharks, leopard sharks and bronze whalers to name but a few.
Barely a few seconds walk from Coolangatta beach is Kirra Beach. Whilst a narrower beach this place is very popular with surfers, paddle boarders and even sky divers. Yes, sky dive trips are organised to land on the beach. Just visit the Skydiving Gold Coast offices at 1/78 Musgrave St, Kirra for details.
This is the perfect location to commemorate some of the history of Coolangatta. At Point Danger you will find the Captain Cook memorial and lighthouse. There is also a memorial to the Centaur. This was an Australian hospital ship that was sunk on 14th May 1943 by a Japanese submarine.
Twin Towns Clubs and Resorts
Located at the State border on Wharf St, Tweed Heads is where you’ll find one of the various Twin Towns Clubs. This is the perfect place to cater for all types of family fun and entertainment. From free and paid live music and entertainment shows, to restaurants, bars. You can also have a memorable time by visiting the Twin Towns Club Banora at Banora Point. Amongst the many things to do there is a game of Bolf, it’s not golf and it’s not bowls but a mix of the two.
Celebrity Stars in the street
It may not be Hollywood but the stars are on the pavement just across the road from the Twin Towns Coolangatta club on Wharf Street. How many famous celebrities will you recognise?
Use Coolangatta car hire to see more of the Gold Coast
Why not take an adventure out for the day and explore more of the Gold Coast and the famous nearby theme parks? Car hire is available in various places in the area but it is maybe best to arrange your car hire directly at the nearby Gold Coast airport. Here you’ll find rental desks from Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot and Thrifty.
Why not perform a free search to find the best car hire deal now with ZUJI?
Coolangatta Surf Club
Enjoy some of the best ocean views in town at the surf club restaurant or relax at the adjoining bars. You’ll find the Coolangatta Surf Club at Marine Parade and Dutton Street.
Coolangatta Tweed Heads Golf Club
Take yourself only moments across the border into NSW to play one of the two 18 hole championship courses. Located on Soorley St, Tweed Heads, NSW 2486. Call ahead on 07 5524 4544 to find out about their very reasonable rates and to arrange a teeing off time.
Unfortunately my visit to this amazing beach with great views was short lived as I was a day tripper. I’d certainly consider an extended stay next time as Coolangatta accommodation options seemed to be aplenty. Here are some that caught my eye:
Located on Marine Parade enjoy this luxury hotel with unrivalled ocean views.
Perfectly positioned to explore the nearby shops or access the beach in seconds. The Coolangatta Oceanview Motel is a great home from home.
A perfect luxury stay for the family in this resort hotel located on Griffith St. A wide variety of rooms are available plus a fitness centre, hot tub and sauna.
A great location with the opportunity to relax in comfort at this 4 star location.
With laundry service, an outdoor pool and wonderful ocean views this would make your stay feel complete.
Backpackers are well served too. The Sands Hotel and Hostel is well catered for with wifi, communal kitchens, washing machines, parking, restaurant, bar and nightclub.
Still unsure? Here are some more pictures from my day out at Coolangatta Beach.
The picture perfect beach with its golden sands, wonderful surf and typical Queensland warmth makes Coolangatta a perfect base for any Gold Coast visit. Hopefully I’ll return someday to enjoy a lot more of its wonderful delights.