Life's a beach on the Gold Coast

A woman lying on a surfboard learning to surf, and the instructor is at the back of the board giving the board a push

Go surfing on the stunning Gold Coast beaches. Photo: Tourism Australia

The Gold Coast has some of the best beaches in the world so get the soft white sand between your toes and swim in the sparkling blue water. You have over 57 kilometers of beach to choose from, and even better, you can swim all year round because of our warm climate. If you're looking for sheltered beaches, my all-time favourites are Greenmount, Rainbow Bay or Froggie's beach. These beaches are on the southern end of the Gold Coast.  

Things to do at the beaches

A young girl learning to surf with 'Walk on Water surf lesson' at Greenmount beach on the Gold Coast.

Book a surf lesson while you're on the Gold Coast. Photo: Tourism Australia 

  • Go surfing on the gorgeous Gold Coast beaches. People flock from all over the world to 'hang five' on our waves. I can highly recommend learning to surf with one of the local surf schools. Some of the most popular surf schools are found on Surfers Paradise beach, Burleigh Heads, Main beach and Greenmount. You'll be standing up by the end of your first lesson and I promise you'll have a blast.

    Seasoned surfers can chase the waves at any beach but some of the most popular spots are Duranbah (or D’bah as the locals say), Miami, North Kirra, Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise, North Burleigh.

children playing in the Gold Coast creeks and building sandcastles.

Play and build sandcastles with the kids. Photo: Tourism Australia

  • Gold Coast beaches are the perfect place to relax, build sandcastles or swim by the water's edge. Pack your sunscreen, hat, drinking water and some snacks and get ready for some of the best free fun you'll ever have. Need some inspiration on which beach to choose, head to Broadbeach, Tallebudgera, Nobby Beach, North Kirra or Coolangatta beach. 

  • Have a BBQ by the beach esplanade. Most Gold Coast beaches have free BBQs, picnic tables and shaded grassy areas so you can enjoy the best beachfront dining. There's also playgrounds for kids to swing, slide and play while you're making dinner. 

a dad and his son running and playing on the beach

Time to let loose for a wild time on the beach. Photo: Tourism Australia

  • See dolphin pods visiting Snapper Rocks, or whales passing by during migration season. And don’t forget to bring your binoculars! One of the best whale-watching spots is Point Danger (which is a 5-minute walk up the hill from Snapper Rocks). Grab a coffee and watch the whales swim and play in the water.

  • Looking for calmer waters, head south to Currumbin Creek. Hire a stand-up paddleboard. Further along the foreshore, you’ll find Elephant Rock. Look closely and you'll see the resemblance to its namesake. Around the corner from Currumbin beach are the Currumbin Rock Pools. 

a couple kayaking in the calm creeks and canals around the Gold Coast.

Go kayaking in the calm creeks and canals around the Gold Coast. Photo: Tourism Australia

  • Go kayaking on the Broadbeach canals. You'll paddle past all kinds of marine life including dolphins, turtles and sub-tropical fish. Other cool places to kayak including Currumbin Creek, Tallebudgera Creek and Wavebreak Island. 

  • More free things to do include Southport Broadwater Parklands. You'll find rock pools, bouncy water pillows, playgrounds and picnic areas. Watch the kids play, swim and squeal with joy while you sip a coffee in the shade.  

  • Head off on a snorkeling and diving safari to the Cook Island Marine Reserve.

  • Have a day or two at South Stradbroke Island. Catch a ferry or a water taxi to South Stradbroke & spend the day surfing, bushwalking, swimming, canoeing, snorkeling, fishing & sailing. If you are staying overnight, book a campsite or stay at Couran Cove resort.

Get back to nature on the Gold Coast

a couple having a glass of wine and looking at the hinterland view at O'Reilly's in the Lamington national park

Visit O'Reilly's and hike the Lamington national park. Photo: Tourism Australia

The Gold Coast hinterland is a bushwalkers paradise. Head off to O-Reilly’s Lamington National Park, Mount Tambourine or Springbrook National Park. Why not pack a picnic and explore the Gold Coast national parks with your family and friends, or join an organised tour.

  • Mount Tamborine is one of the world’s oldest rainforests with lots of things to see and do. For an unforgettable experience view the Scenic Rim by hot air balloon. There are several walking circuits to choose from, with easy graded tracks at Cedar Creek Falls, Palm Grove Rainforest, Sandy Creek (Knoll section) and Macdonald Rainforest circuits. For moderate graded tracks go to Curtis Falls (Joalah section), Jenyns Falls (Palm Grove section), Witches Falls, Witches Chase and the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk.

  • Visit Tamborine Mountain Botanical Gardens with themed gardens including the rose, Japanese, and cottage gardens.

  • After dark, grab your torch and head to the Natural Bridge where a colony of luminous glow-worms have made themselves at home. During the summer months fireflies and glowing mushrooms will also enchant you.

a family doing the Mount Tambourine gallery walk

Do the Mount Tambourine gallery walk. Photo: Tourism Australia

  • Doing a canopy walk is a must when you're visiting the Gold Coast Hinterland. The two canopy walks are the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk at Mount Tamborine and the O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk at Lamington National Park. Pack your camera and get a selfie on your skywalk. Check park alerts in case walking tracks are temporarily closed.

  • Visit the World Heritage-listed Springbrook National Park with its ancient trees, cascading waterfalls and spectacular lookouts.  Set off on one of the many walking trails and maybe find a swimming hole along the way. Why not pack a picnic and take time to spot some wildlife. Be sure to explore the Purling Brook Falls, Goormoolahra Falls, Rainbow Falls, Canyon Lookout, Mount Cougal Cascades and Best of All Lookout.

  • Take a hike through the Burleigh Heads National Park which is a haven for migrating birds such as ospreys and sea eagles. There's a Rainforest Circuit walking track that leads to Tumgun Lookout and incredible views. Another track leads you to the “secret” Echo Beach.

a couple hand feeding the birds at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for your nature fix. Photo: Tourism & Events QLD

  • If you want nature without the hiking, you must visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where you can hand feed the wild rainbow lorikeets, cuddle the koalas, and get up close to the kangaroos and wallabies. There's plenty of other native animals to see including crocodiles, dingoes, wombats, echidnas and emus.

  • Head to Kirra Hill Lookout for gorgeous coastal views. Kirra Hill is easy to find with its iconic iron eagle. Kirra Hill is also the perfect place to spot a skydiver or two landing at Kirra beach. To arrange your own adrenaline-pumping experience, contact the team at Gold Coast Skydive, who are the only tandem skydiving company on the Gold Coast.

Safety note: Always stay on the walking trails, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return, take water, and check weather forecasts.

Gold Coast kid-friendly parks & playgrounds

kids spinning, running and swinging at one of the Gold Coast playgrounds

Spin, run and swing in the many Gold Coast playgrounds.Photo: Anja at #helpinghands. Pixabay 

  • Broadwater Parklands is more than your average playground. Whether it’s live music, arts and craft markets, festivals or group fitness sessions, you’re guaranteed to find something fun and exciting, for one and for all.

  • Families just love Pacific Pines Central Park. It has swings galore, a suspension bridge, climbing nets, flying fox and more. Enjoy a leisurely walk around the lake or take time out to feed the ducks. 

  • The Kurrawa Pratten Park - All Abilities Playground at Broadbeach. This fully fenced park offers children of all ages and abilities, a safe and interactive play environment with a Sandcastle Zone, Undersea Zone and Hill Zone.

  • Take the kids to Treasure Island Playground which is at Palm Beach Parklands. The kids can run wild as they search for buried treasure, walk the plank and have a swashbuckling good time!

  • The Cascade Gardens at Broadbeach have a children’s playground, water bird sanctuary and aboriginal culture and tropical rainforest walks.

  • I've said it before and I'll say it again...most Gold Coast parks and beaches have free BBQ facilities, so you and the family can dine alfresco as often as you want. 


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