The Gold Coast’s Palm Beach, or Palmy as the locals call it, is a spectacular long wide white sand beach running between Currumbin Creek (to the south) and Tallebudgera Beach (to the North).
With a north-east aspect and a rich history dating back to 1930, this long sandy beach is famous for the character of its older style beach shacks that hold steady amongst prime beachfront blocks of land. The foreshore is an integral part of Palmy’s identity and is a popular drawcard for visitors.
Swimmers will be pleased to discover that there are four patrolled lifeguard towers spanning Palmy’s full length, including one at the end at Tallebudgera Creek. The main beach entry, marked by Lifeguard Tower 14, is beside the Palm Beach Surf Club off Seventh Avenue and Jefferson Lane. This section of beach is the best for swimming and is patrolled daily from 8am to 5pm (November to April) and provides ample parking, beach access points and platforms for wheelchairs, as well as showers, public and disabled toilets.
Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club also patrols South Palmy, marked by Lifeguard Tower 13, on weekends between 8am and 5pm (September to April). South Palmy is a great spot for a dip after a visit to the beautiful Palm Beach Parklands, Tarrabora Reserve or the popular Dune Cafe. It’s best in the morning as you may find the breeze tends to pick up in the afternoon here. The surf break near the entrance to southern Palm Beach, known to locals as Laceys, is also a prime spot for surfers to catch a long ride in good swells. Bait Reef, sitting just off Palm Beach, is a quality diving and fishing spot.
The southern end of the beach, stretching from Tower 13 to Currumbin Creek, is a dog-friendly area which encompasses all of Rockview Public Park on the east side of Currumbin Creek Estuary. This off-leash dog beach is a favourite amongst locals and is the pick of the Gold Coast’s pooch-friendly areas. You’ll find showers and water fountains (also for dogs), plus public and disabled toilets beside the delectable Dune Café.
Towards the northern end of Palmy, located at Nineteenth Avenue, you’ll find Pacific Surf Life Saving Club and Lifeguard Tower 15 patrolling north Palmy on weekends between 8am and 5pm (September to April). This offers another safe swimming zone and a perfect place for sunbathing and relaxing on a lovely, less-frequented stretch of sand.
For visitors with a board in tow, a few blocks further north you’ll find another less crowded prime Palmy surfing spot off the rock jetty at Twenty First Avenue, where surfers can choose either the break to the left or right of the jetty. Generally though, much of the stretch of Palmy provides a pumping shore break that works in most swell conditions.
Further north ,this sandy stretch becomes Tallebudgera Beach which provides another patrolled swimming area, and at the very northern end, you’ll find another dog-friendly area where pooches can play off leash all the way to Tallebudgera Creek. Of course, the Gold Coast's unique Oceanway runs the length of Palmy and is dotted with grassy areas and exercise equipment for those who love doing their workouts outdoors with a spectacular view.
Palm Beach is most famous for its beautiful parklands surrounding the sparkling mirror-calm waters of the Currumbin Creek estuary at the south end of the beach. The lush haven of the Parklands provides a perfect place for a yoga practice, a family barbeque or session of backyard cricket, and has all the necessary amenities - public and disabled toilets, shaded tables and seating, barbeques and bike racks. The park also offers one of the biggest drawcards for smaller visitors - the iconic pirate ship playground with its tall sails and masts, maps and hidden treasures, planks and cannons - which makes Palm Beach Parklands a must-do spot for families on the Gold Coast.
Joining Palmy’s Parklands, Tarrabora Reserve and neighbouring Beree-Badalla Reserve have something for everyone. Offering lovely shaded wide walkways winding around the creek shore, the reserves are popular spots for exercising, picnicking, fishing and relaxing. This area is also a firm favourite with children, who love playing in the calm waters and soft sand while they watch the estuary’s native wildlife, including pelicans, seagulls, terns, bush turkeys, soldier crabs and bearded dragons, go about their business.
All this outdoor activity will surely work up your appetite and there’s no better place than laid-back Dune Café in Palm Beach Parklands with its breathtaking view of Currumbin Lagoon. Stop in for a delicious all-day breakfast, a lovely lunch with a sunny view, great coffee or a cool treat, anytime from 6:30am-3pm. The Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club also offers a family-friendly menu and atmosphere right on the sand. You can also get your morning fix at Jefferson’s coffee nook right beside the club. If you’re after a traditional beach feed, 7th Avenue Fish & Chips is a block from the club on the main strip.
Just behind the beach, Palmy’s emerging dining and bar scene (centred around Seventh and Palm Beach Avenues) is the new place to be. Barefoot Barista is one such hip café with outdoor seating, offering artisanal coffee and gourmet breakfasts, with healthy and tasty lunch options. Around the corner, Wildernis Café with it’s rooftop bar and ocean vibe is another gem, serving modern, inspired dishes and classic cocktails.
On the same block, The Collective (open 12pm till late) is the Gold Coast's tastiest new playground featuring five restaurants, one bar, plus a rooftop dining and bar experience. Across the road, Balboa Italian Restaurant brings a taste of Italy to the Gold Coast. Also on the main strip, try the exquisite Japanese cuisine of Hachi if you’re seeking vegie or gluten-free options. Next door, join Suga’s cool crowd for some serious cocktails. For the best burgers in Palmy, you'll find Burgsters tucked a few blocks back from the beach, or stop next door at Third Base Coffee for some mean coffee beans and a menu of crowd favourites.
By Michaela Lyons
Image Credit: The Collective courtesy of The Collective