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During 8 months of living on the Gold Coast back in 2011 we got the opportunity to visit almost every ocean front beach from the spit at Southport to Rainbow Beach, Coolangatta – right on the NSW/QLD border. We’ve been back for quite a few visits since then and not much has changed when it comes to our vote for best Gold Coast beach.
In this BLOG we are going to look back at which is the best Gold Coast beach and why! Also, Find out which beach is our all time favourite!
Best Beach on the Gold Coast
Best non-tourist beach
Main Beach North (North of Sea World)
Getting away from the crowds is a little tricky on the Gold Coast. The further North you head along Main Beach, the further you get from the people. The north end does not have a surf club, only basic facilities and does not seem to be patrolled year round, so especially in low season you won’t have to share with many people. Its also a dog walkers beach, so you will only really be interrupted by the odd puppy, rather than hordes of tourists, and watching the dogs play in the surf is not too bad a selling point in itself.
Best Gold Coast Beach For Surf
Ok, I’m not a surfer, but we see a lot of surfing going on at the various beaches, and we see the size of the waves, and where they hold a lot of competitions… Burleigh seems to be very popular with surfers of all standards, so try it out! Even surfing legend Mick Fanning recommends Burleigh heads!
Burleigh Heads Map
Best Gold Coast Beach For a Swim
Main Beach South (nr. Southport Surf Club)
If you live on the Gold Coast you hear stories about tourists being swept out to sea all the time! The currents can be very strong and it is not recommended to swim anywhere but the patrolled beaches – and always swim between the flags!!! This is not just the “fun police” trying to ruin your holiday, even in the safe swimming zones you can often feel yourself being pulled around by the water. Respect the waves and stay safe!
The point is, there are lots of quiet places to swim, but it isn’t safe, so if you want to do more than get your feet wet you are going to have to put up with some tourists in a patrolled area. The South part of Main beach is, although sometimes busy, nowhere near the crazy mass of people you will find a little further south, plus I found jumping in the surf there to be a lot of fun and good exercise against a relatively strong current.
We always recommend that you never leave home without insurance, when travelling overseas – or even locally. We use World Nomads as they’ve always had our back.
Best Gold Coast Beach – For Being Right in the Action
I’m not one for going overboard on being surrounded by tourists, but if you like to have your beach experience surrounded by bars, clubs and restaurants and luxury hotels then Broadbeach or Surfers Paradise are the places for you. Personally I would always side with Broadbeach, its just got a little more class, which is something in short supply in some parts of the GC. If you fancy a “glittering lights” approach to beach holidaying then go with Surfers Paradise, booze, bars and a faux Las Vegas feel are the order of the day in this tourist mecca. P.S. Make sure you don’t plan your holidays around “Schoolies” time – it’ll be a nightmare!
Best Gold Coast Beach for Photos
Yep, Burleigh again. Its just a perfect beach, apart from the tourists, but take a walk around the headland and get some great photos, or get some action shots of the surfers! Much of the rest of the Gold Coast is just a long strip of sand, its good sand, but its just sand, Burleigh has the extra benefit of having a national park too. Also, a little further south at Rainbow beach in Coolangatta you can have a similar experience, but Burleigh is just a little better in my opinion.
Burleigh also has another drawcard that keeps us coming back for more – they have one of the best surf club views on the Gold Coast. For those that have never been to Australia before, Australian beaches are patrolled by our fantastic Surf Lifesavers. The Lifesavers are largely supported by their very own Surf Lifesaving Clubs where you can go for a meal and beer or for some light entertainment (usually duo’s or solo artists). They are generally the only property’s that you’ll find beach-side on the Gold Coast. That means they also have the best beach views on the Gold Coast.
Burleigh Surf Club is probably our favourite place to stop by when we are in town, but North Burleigh Surf Club and Southport Surf Club deserve honourable mentions as well. We’ve been known to down a few beers and enjoy some beer battered fries in all three from time to time.
Best Beach on the Gold Coast – Verdict
Although Burleigh has its fair share of tourists, it combines all of the positive elements of the GC (beautiful sand, great waves, nice scenery, good surfing) but has a little more of the friendly relaxed feel that is sorely lacking anywhere else on the coast, and manages to exist in a bubble of normality compared to the over the top commercialism going on further north.
Where to stay on the Gold Coast
If you are looking for more hotel or hostel options on the Gold Coast, we prefer to use HotelsCombined. They have a great selection and help you get the best possible price!
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Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting our blog by using these links. We received our ride with Paradise jet boating complimentary – all opinions remain our own.