the attractions of less-known, more local beaches
While Surfers Paradise is by far the Gold Coast’s best known beach, some environmental scientists think the beaches at the south end of The Coast are world-class classics – for surfing. In 2015 the prestigious title of World Surfing Reserve was bestowed on the beaches stretching from Burleigh Heads to Coolangatta, that’s 15 kilometres of beach encompassing the southern half of the Gold Coast; Burleigh Heads, Currumbin, Tugan, Bilinga, Kirra and Coolangatta beaches. Each year only one new World Surfing Reserve is proclaimed, and in 2015 the Gold Coast beat out Noosa, another classic Australian beach about 200 kilometres to the north, and one of Brazil’s best beaches south of Rio. The distinguishing features of these southern Gold Coast beaches – compared to their northern sisters – are the headlands and estuaries that break the coast into distinct segments. Headlands and rocky outcrops provide more interesting geography around which the Pacific swells curl and sweep, giving more varied waves and ideal surfing conditions. Also, the majority of these other beaches along the Gold Coast’s 30 kilometre stretch are distinctly more ‘Australian’, or should we say, ‘middle-class Australian’ than Surfers Paradise. Many, however, have no true beachfront accommodations for rent, and thus don’t feature on maps within this site. Varying attractions make some of these minor beaches worth visiting, however. Here I outline some of the lesser-known beaches while suggesting why each might be worth a visit. The Gold Coast’s two distinct beach zones, northern and southern, each run approximately 15 kilometres. The top end is one long, straight stretch of unbroken sand. With no landmarks separating the different beaches, you can look down a seemingly endless coast without knowing where one beach ends and the next begins. With headlands and rivers delineating each beach in the southern zone, this is geographically more interesting, and, some believe, more attractive. Anyone eager to find a quiet spot with a pretty beach, or those seeking immersion in a more ‘Australian family’ type environment, might find the southern beaches more interesting. And while there’s little entertainment compared to that in the northern area, there’s always the very ‘Aussie’ experience in the local surf clubs, of which there are many.