See & do
48 hour surf itinerary
Lauren Falchi for Destination Gold Coast | April 27, 2021
The best surf beaches in the world…water that’s never colder than 20 degrees, even in the cold heart of winter; the Gold Coast is every surfer’s dream holiday destination.
Waves that break onto 57 kilometres of coastline – some separated by rocky headlands into the best point breaks anywhere in the world – and yet, the surfing’s still just a small part of what makes the Coast so dreamy for surfers.
It’s the coastal town vibe – the energy that comes from a community of people who live to ride waves – that comes through in surf-themed cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels. And so the Gold Coast is the complete surfing holiday package – right down to the bicycle paths that fringe every beach. It’s the place to come for the most gluttonous surf adventure you ever had – here’s how you can pack 48 hours of surf thrills into one break away.
DAWN SURF AT SNAPPER ROCKS
Paddle out at first light to beat the early birds to the spoils at the world’s best point break at Snapper Rocks. Even the greatest surfer of all time, Kelly Slater, lists Snapper Rocks as his favourite wave. You’ll understand why too – the wave is so long your legs will cramp mid-ride, and if you can’t get barrelled here, you can’t get barrelled anywhere. Paddle out to the rocks on the headland for the longest ride; or take it easy and sit further down the line-up, either way, you’re going to catch the best wave of your life.
BREAKFAST AT CAFE DBAR, COOLANGATTA
Breathe in the salt air and panoramic ocean views from the top of Point Danger in Coolangatta. Café DBar is a local institution for sunrise coffee stops, wholesome meals, live music and even art exhibits. The beachy alfresco café is the ideal spot to chat with locals, chart the waves and talk surf over acai bowls, smashed avo on sourdough and a cup of Joe.
GET YOUR LOVED ONES IN THE WAVES WITH YOU AT CURRUMBIN
Still refining your surf style? Why not let your partner or family share the surf stoke with you? There’s no better learning wave on the east coast than The Alley at Currumbin. While experienced surfers chance waves that roll across the point, the rocky headland protects learners from the full strength of the swell. There are surf schools for any ability; for surfers from five to 85. You can sneak some shade between sessions under the pandanus trees, or swim where Currumbin Creek meets the sea in water that looks like a Polynesian lagoon.
GO CRUISING AT KIRRA
The Gold Coast is one of the best places to ride a bike in Australia with over 1000 kilometres of cycle ways – the prettiest parts of which hug the 57-kilometre-long coastline. Take a cruiser bike or a skateboard from Bilinga, following the beach right beside the pandanus and the palms. Cruise past the surf clubs of North Kirra and Kirra (why not stop for a beer with a view, and some live music if it’s the weekend), before following the cycle way past the world-renowned tubing waves of Kirra and Snapper Rocks. Next you’ll pass the alfresco cafes and restaurants of Coolangatta all the way to the top of the hill at Duranbah, where you can look out across the Tweed River.
SLEEP AT THE PINK HOTEL COOLANGATTA
Sleep in a room overlooking the ocean. It’s the hippest surf hotel in Australia and each year when the world surfing tour hits Snapper Rocks for the Quiksilver Pro, this is where the best surfers on Earth come to party. A completely restored mid-century architectural masterpiece on the Coolangatta beach, The Pink Hotel features a stunning rooftop to catch some rays, Eddie’s Grub House rock n roll bar for live music and burgers and a slick late-night piano bar called The Janitors Closet for a nightcap.
EARLY SURF AT SOUTH STRADBROKE
Head to the northern end of the Gold Coast to surf the wild, powerful waves of one of Queensland’s most consistent surf spots, South Stradbroke Island. Though it’s only 200 metres across the entrance of the Seaway (which opens into the Broadwater), it’s best to catch an early morning ferry, then take a short walk past tracts of livistona rainforest and beside wild wallabies to the beach. Here some of Australia’s best waves break onto 21 kilometres of often deserted coastline, where dolphins are often your only surf companions.
BREAKFAST AT BUMBLES, BUDDS BEACH
Set on the western waterways of Budds Beach, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Surfers Paradise, is Bumbles Café. A longstanding hidden gem, Bumbles Café is where the locals go for a spot of breaky or post-surf snack. Pull-up an alfresco seat overlooking the adjacent park and Broadwater or find a table within the coastal-cool café and enjoy the passing parade. Keen for a SUP? This is a great place for that too.
SHOPPING, SURFING AND HANGING AT BURLEIGH
Spend some quality time at Burleigh Heads. Take a walk around the rainforest-clad national park beside the point, looking out across the ocean for whales and dolphins from high above. Nowhere captures the unique seaside surfie village feel of the Coast more than Burleigh Heads, with its funky cafes, restaurants, markets and stores. Be sure to see the coast’s best waves and surfers immortalised on print at Sean Scott Boutique and buy new surf clothes at local surf shop, Rhythm. Take a walk along the Norfolk Pine fringed beach, before hitting the waves at Burleigh Point – one of the world’s most revered right-hand point breaks, and one of the first sites for pro surfing contests in Australia.
SUP ON TALLEBUDGERA
Head around the back of Burleigh Heads to the peace and quiet of Tallebudgera Creek – its protected waters are ideal for stand-up paddle-boarding. Venture out through the creek for a play on the waves to the south at Tallebudgera Beach, or stick to the flat water and paddle beside the forested hills of the national park. Keep heading towards the mountains of the Gold Coast Hinterland – time your paddle for the hour before sunset for the best mountain vistas. The creek continues for 25 kilometres to the mountains of the Springbrook Plateau.
DINNER AND DRINKS AT THE TROPIC, BURLEIGH
Finish off your perfect 48 hours with sunset drinks and dinner at the best place to be seen on the southern Gold Coast. There’s no better place to take in the panoramic views of Burleigh Beach and the iconic city skyline. Cocktails, share plates, salty skin…it’s pure bliss.