Beautiful, relaxing Tugun is a long but relatively protected beach that is part of the World Surfing Reserve, and another southern Gold Coast beach that exudes laid-back, old school charm.
Tugun, or as the locals say, Tugz (pronounced Choogs) has an expansive beach, patrolled from 8am to 5pm daily (November to April) by Tugun Surf Living Saving Club (founded in 1924). This easy beach provides access points and platforms for wheelchairs. Swimming conditions vary along the beach so the patrolled area at the surf club is the best place to swim. Tugun particularly appeals to surfers who don’t like a crowd. With its well-known consistent left and right hand breaks running along much of it’s length, Tugun is appropriately named after an indigenous word meaning “breaking waves”, and while there is a plentiful swell, the real coup this beach offers is that you just might get the waves to yourself.
The beach at North Tugun (locally known as Flat Rock Beach), extends from this rocky outcrop (past Flat Rock Creek and Kropp and Len Wort Parks), to Elephant Rock, which is the southern bookend for Currumbin Beach. Tugun Surf Living Saving Club also patrols North Tugun (Flat Rock Beach). If you’re done exploring, swimming or surfing up a storm, it might be time to take the dog for a walk, in the on-leash area 200 metres either side of the flagged areas, admiring the view from the Surfers Paradise skyline to Snapper Rocks as you go.
Just behind the beach you’ll find the ongoing Oceanway, on its path from Point Danger all the way to the Gold Coast Seaway at the Spit. The spectacular eight-kilometre stretch between Coolangatta and Currumbin is particularly popular with walkers, runners and cyclists, so pop this in your agenda if you’re up for some exercise with a killer view. If a picnic is more your pace, behind the beach you’ll find Wyberba Street Reserve (at the Surf Club), Kropp Park and Len Wort Park (either side of the creek behind Flat Rock), all of which provide public amenities, shaded tables and seating, barbeques and bike racks. There's a car park at the Surf Club and lots of street parking available in surrounding streets.
Often referred to as the Gold Coast’s 70s throwback or 'the sleepy village', Tugun’s charm lies in its laid-back café culture - a place where you can still find milk-bars and traditional malted shakes, if not pinball machines. The northern section of the beach is closer to the shops and cafes, so take a stroll to sample what Tugun has on offer. There is an array of great coffee shops and bakeries, all on Golden Four Drive, including Sticky Buns, Good Day Coffee, Caribou Café, Niche and Co. and the Original Tugun Bakery.
For an extra helping of ambience, call in to see the 'Singing Barista' at Groove Café. If you’ve got an appetite for the best fish and chips in Tugun, visit Captain Hook’s Seafood, or If you prefer sustainable, seasonal farm to fork food, check out the delectable House of Hubert for its all day breakfast and lunch menu. Another local stand out, offering the best boutique beer selection and Bavarian-themed menu, is the Craft House on Golden Four Drive. If you’re seeking some vegetarian or vegan friendly options, call into Backbone Bar & Kitchen for their Asian street food favourites. Of course, if you are simply after a cold beverage, there is always the Tugun Tavern or the Surf Club balcony with its breathtaking views over Tugun Beach and beyond.
By Michaela Lyons