Visitors flock to the Southern Gold Coast for its change of pace. From here, you can look back towards the Surfers Paradise skyline in the distance and the entire coastline and really feel you’ve slowed down. The surf here is spectacular, particularly off the northern corner of Coolangatta Beach, the headland around Greenmount, Snapper Rocks into the southern corner of Rainbow Bay and of course, the world-class surf break of Duranbah. The southern suburbs of Palm Beach, Currumbin and Kirra exude old-school beachside charm where you can still find a milkshake in a tin cup. It combines this with world-class oceanfront hotels, restaurants and clubs plus an array of retro festivals.
Currumbin is home to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Surf World Gold Coast, an attraction which pays homage to the coast’s surfing history. Head off the highway and drive past Currumbin Creek Estuary and “the alley” which is a popular spot with surfers. Lovely steep hills roll down towards the ocean from where you can enjoy a range of watersports including kite-surfing, kayaking, board riding, surf skiing and stand-up paddle boarding.
If the Gold Coast had a middle child it would possibly be Palm Beach, nestled between Tallebudgera Creek on one side and Currumbin Creek on the other. Palm Beach is one of laid-back living and is one of the best examples of where rambling beach shacks still survive, perched petulantly on million-dollar blocks. Surfers and sunbakers flock to Palm Beach for its wide, sandy and spectacular beach.
There’s variations on what the word Kirra actually means, but some believe Queensland Aborigines named it after a boomerang. Which makes sense as Kirra wraps evocatively around the bend separating Coolangatta and Kirra beaches and in front of Kirra Hill. Surfers still flock to Kirra bend for its world-class breaks despite beach erosion issues changing the game and nature of the surf spot a bit. Still, there’s plenty of character to be had in one of the Gold Coast’s most laid-back beach destinations and home to Kirra Surf which surfies consider the one-stop shop for surf gear.
Without a doubt, this is the Gold Coast’s most popular surf beach. It has consistently favourable conditions for boardriders, which is a big reason why the Quiksilver pro surfing tour takes place there each year. Snapper has good clean waves and probably the best barrels on the Gold Coast, and is generally best for surfers when there’s a south-easterly swell. Another big advantage for this beach is that it’s the starting point for the well-known Super bank, a man-made surf break, allowing surfers to catch a wave all the way through to Coolangatta – which isn’t a bad run.