Calling all early birds! Hoping to catch a stunning sunrise on the Gold Coast? There’s something magical about that moment the sky is lit with colour and the ocean reflects pretty pastels as the day begins. Or maybe you’re searching for the perfect perch to sit and watch a golden, glowing sunset? We’ve gathered some local knowledge on the best spots to catch nature’s spectacular daily show.
Sunrise at Snapper Rocks as the barrels are thumping. It’s barely 4.30 am yet one die-hard surfer is already tackling the cheeky waves and another is about to enter. In another hour, the water will be dotted with devotees to the Gold Coast surf culture. Photographers too, adore this southern spot, one of the true easterly aspects on the coast with its rocks, sea spray and the occasional silhouette of a brave soul prepared to stand on the sea wall. The green rock frog, which has sat for decades on the hill leading to Point Danger, waits expectantly for the day to dawn. The air here is 100 per cent pure salt. Glimpse behind you and the sun glints off the reflections of the Surfers Paradise high rises in the far distance like pure gold.
On the most northern end, head to The Spit and stand on the jetty to watch the sun share her first few rays. You may even catch a prawn trawler or two making its way back into port through the choppy seaway.
Dawn at Tallebudgera, water laps the oyster-encrusted pylons of Tally Creek Bridge. The creek itself, which normally gurgles with activity, is dead quiet at this hour, save for a lone Stand-Up paddler. A pair of discarded togs and some lost thongs lay casually in the sand. Walk parallel to the creek, past outrigger canoes which are lined up for the day ahead, and towards the sea wall where you can watch the sun rise over the ocean towards Currumbin Hill.
It’s fish and chip hour at Burleigh Hill and the last stragglers are leaving the walking trails of Burleigh National Park. Perched 79 metres about Burleigh Beach, and with the lights of Surfers Paradise beginning to twinkle in the distance, this is a great place to watch the sunset. Sit on one of the timber benches fashioned as a surfboard and watch the sun set out west towards Nerang and Robina.
Offering almost 360 degree views of the Coast, Kirra Lookout on Kirra Hill is punctuated by an elegant sea eagle sculpture, and is one of the best spots to catch both sunrise and sunset, as is the Captain Cook Memorial at Point Danger where you can take in sunrise to the east overlooking Snapper Rocks, and come sunset, look west towards the Northern NSW suburb of Tweed.
High on the hill at Currumbin, the type of impossible incline that induces lactic acid in even the most experienced athletes, the sun sets magically over the Gold Coast Hinterland. At this hour, frilled lizards frolic up here, while down below in Currumbin Alley, surfers and paddlers squeeze the last out of the sun’s rays. For one of the most stunning sunrises on the coast, head to Currumbin’s Elephant Rock, home to the iconic annual Anzac Day dawn service. Climb the steep steps here and you’ll feel like you’re king of the world as the sun makes its daily debut.
Up at Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland, the O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat team will take you to their secret sunset spot at Moonlight Crag. Offering one of the best sunsets on the coast, look over The McPherson Range – a spur of the Great Dividing Range – The Lost World, out towards Mt Barney and Mt Lindsay and down towards the Kerry Valley.
Sip on a Lona Sparkling Semillon – named after one of the O’Reilly sisters of yesteryear – and watch the fairy floss like sky transform into deep shades of pink and purple before the sun finally sighs goodbye for the day. Lona O’Reilly would have loved this, just as much as those surfers love the sunrise back at Snapper Rocks.
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