Coolangatta is the southernmost suburb of the Gold Coast, named for the schooner that wrecked here in 1846. With the Gold Coast airport nearby, iconic Coolangatta Beach or ‘Cooly’ has been a long-time holiday favourite and step-off point for visitors exploring the golden coastline.
One of the biggest events on the calendar is the legendary Coolangatta Gold Surf Life Saving Competition, which happens here every October, bringing an influx of visitors wanting to see the impressive ironmen in action. On any given summer weekend there is a throng of pink-clad Nippers learning the ropes of life saving. Coolangatta caters for its visitors offering an array of high-rise apartments, however it maintains a more laid-back and down-to-earth atmosphere than its northern counterparts like Surfers Paradise.
Cooly is another poster child for the Gold Coast’s wide white sand beaches and clear water. North-facing, sheltered and patrolled year-round, Coolangatta Beach is ideal for swimmers seeking calm and safe water and for beginner to intermediate surfers. Keener surfers might prefer to seek out the wave breaks at one of the three points of the world-renown 'Superbank' - Snapper Rocks, Greenmount Point or Kirra Point.
The southern end of the beach also provides rock-hopping fun for smaller visitors and leaf-shaded spots where you can throw down your towel. Cooly offers beach access points and platforms for wheelchairs, and is surrounded by parkland with accessible toilets, shaded tables and barbeques. Coolangatta Beach Volleyball Courts are located on the sand in front of The Strand, and are free to use daily between 8am and 6pm. The Oceanway also passes next to the beach with plenty of bike parking. If you’re driving, the Surf Club offers parking and there is plenty of parking along Marine Parade on the beachfront and surrounding streets.
Step off the sand and behind the beach you’ll find some of the bigger drawcards to the area - the famous Coolangatta Surf Club boasting family-friendly absolute beachfront dining in the Seabreeze Restaurant, the Strand which is the heart of Cooly’s beachside shopping and entertainment, and TimezoneTM for family-oriented video amusement fun.
Early risers chasing a coffee fix and those seeking down-to-earth nourishment, try Board Short Barista in Queen Elizabeth Park. If you are craving beautiful fresh food with vegan and gluten-free options, accompanied by tasty cocktails and craft beers, seek out the Greenhouse Canteen and Bar on Griffith Street. The Three Sons Coffee Cartel is another gem for foodies serious about coffee beans and local produce.
If you want some cool tunes and a side of atmosphere to accompany your tasty burger, ribs or wings, slide off the beach into Eddie’s Grub House and try their Big Ed or Mac Daddy Jr burger. High on the list of Marine Parade’s vast array of wonderful restaurants and at the northern end of Marine Parade is Baskk, known for its progressive dining, extensive wine list and inspired cocktails. For a sweet treat or refreshment, choose from the delicious flavours on offer at Gelato Messina.
By Michaela Lyons