f the glitzy glam and party scene of the Gold Coast doesn’t suit you, head to Coolangatta, especially if you love the surf or want a laid-back seaside holiday. If this sounds like you, continue reading to find out the top things to do in Coolangatta as well as all the important information to plan your holiday to this seaside resort town.
Top 7 Things to do in Coolangatta
We’ve picked out the best things to do in Coolangatta which will keep you and your family entertained for the rest of your holiday here. Try a few of the activities below or if you have the time why not try out all of them to experience everything that Coolangatta has to offer.
- Surf at Coolangatta beach
- Spot humpback whales on a whale watching trip
- Jump out of a plane above Coolangatta
- Explore Coolangatta on a bike
- Catch a crab on a tour of Tweed River
- Explore the rainforest on a cruise along the Tweed River
- Dine at some of the best restaurants in Coolangatta
Things to Do in Coolangatta
While most people head to Coolangatta for its laid-back seaside resort atmosphere and its surf beaches, this Queensland town has more to offer. With an award-winning winery and some of the best whale watching and skydiving trips to boast of, there so much more to do here.
1. Coolangatta Beach
Being a laid-back seaside resort on Queensland’s southern border, Coolangatta has some good surf beaches that are popular with holiday makers. If you want to catch a few waves and kick back on the beach, you’ve found the spot. There are good views down the coast from Point Danger, the headland at the end of the state line.
If lazing on the beach gets too boring, you can up the ante with one of the following watersports activities. Accelerate Water Sports offers kite-boarding lessons, wake-boarding and water-skiing lessons as well as diving courses.
2. Coolangatta Surf
Coolangatta is popular with surfers who come here for the breaks. If you’re an expert or a beginner just learning to surf, there’s something for everyone here. The most difficult break here is Point Danger, but Kirra Point often goes off and there are gentler breaks at Greenmount Beach and Rainbow Bay.
If you’re learning to surf and want professional lessons look no further than Dave Davidson of Gold Coast Surf Coaching who is a former professional surfer and Australian surfing team coach. He promises to get you up and surfing in your first lesson.
For surfboard hire in Coolangatta or bike hire in Coolangatta, head to Quigsi on 87 Griffith Street who hire out surfboards and bikes. If your surfboard needs repairing, see Retro Groove, a cool surf shop which also rents boards.
3. Whale Watching Coolangatta
One of the best places in Queensland to go whale watching is at Tweed Heads near Coolangatta. Here, migratory humpback whales pass close to shore making close sightings a common occurrence especially during August and September.
Head out with Coolangatta Whale Watch who departs daily from Coolangatta & Tweed Heads Golf Club Private Jetty. Take a 3-hour cruise to see Humpback whales, and occasionally Southern Right whales, Minkes, Orcas, and Pilot whales. Sightings of Bottlenose dolphins are also common, sometimes before even leaving the jetty.
4. Skydiving Coolangatta
If you’re one of those brave souls who like an adrenaline rush, you might want to consider skydiving in Coolangatta. You can get high with Tandem Skydive, which offers those brave enough tandem jumps from 10,000ft to 14,000ft. Take in the gorgeous views of the Great Barrier Reef and the Queensland coast as you plummet to the earth.
5. Tweed River Coolangatta
If you enjoy fishing, you might want to try your hand at catching a crab instead. Catch-A-Crab has great half-day tours along the Terranora Inlet of the Tweed River. The cruise involves mud-crab catching, fishing, pelican feeding and, if the tides permit, yabbie hunting. Lunch is extra.
6. Rainforest Cruises Coolangatta
Another fun activity in Coolangatta is to explore a section of the Queensland rainforest on a cruise along the Tweed River. Rainforest Cruises has three cruise options ranging from crab catching to surf’n’turf lunches on rainforest cruises along the Tweed River for two hours.
7. Restaurants Coolangatta
What’s a vacation without indulging at some of the best restaurants in town? Here’s a list of some of the best restaurants in Coolangatta.
O-Sushi – Head to O-Sushi on Marine Parade in Coolangatta for the best Japanese cuisine in town, fantastic ambience and great beach views. O-Sushi is a sushi bar that boasts Japanese chefs and authentic Japanese cuisine. This perky sushi bar is as stylish as a sushi bar can get. The house specialty is the kushi-yaki, commonly known as the traditional Japanese grill. O-Sushi is open daily for lunch and dinner.
Farley’s – Located at Beach House Arcade on Marine Parade in Coolangatta, Farley’s is where you go to for Mod Oz creations of the seafood kind. Try their Moreton Bay bugs with bok choy and basil pesto which will leave you yearning for more. Farley’s is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Earth’n’Sea Pizza & Pasta – Voted Best Pizza Restaurant on the Gold Coast, you can’t go past this pizza joint without sampling one of their 21 gourmet pizzas. Located on Marine Parade, there’s no better way to end a beautiful day at the beach than with a cold beer and a sizzling pizza. Earth’n’Sea Pizza & Pasta is open daily for lunch and dinner.
Markwell’s Café & Bar – Located on Griffith Street, this is your café of choice for all-day breakfasts. If their salads and sandwiches don’t tickle your tastebuds, consider their tempting range of seafood options such as coconut prawns dipped in beer batter. With free wireless internet on offer, you can see why this is a favourite with locals and tourists alike.
Getting to and from Coolangatta
Most people arrive into the Gold Coast by flying to Coolangatta airport which is 25km south of Surfers Paradise. However, this is not the only way to get here. Train services from Brisbane as well as bus services from Brisbane, Byron Bay and Sydney are also popular transport options to and from Coolangatta.
Gold Coast Coolangatta Airport
The international airport for the Gold Coast is located at Coolangatta, 25km south of Surfers Paradise.
Flights to Coolangatta
The best way to get to the Gold Coast from Melbourne and Sydney is to fly to Coolangatta. Qantas flies from Sydney (1 ½ hours) and Melbourne (2 hours); Jetstar and Virgin Australia also fly from Sydney and Melbourne. Tiger Airways has flights from Melbourne only.
Coolangatta Airport Transfers
The best Coolangatta airport transfer services are provided by Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle which meets every flight into Coolangatta Airport and operates door-to-door transfers to most Gold Coast accommodation. It also offers a Freedom Pass, which includes return transfers to your accommodation plus unlimited theme-park transfers and unlimited Surfside Buslines travel for three days.
Coolangatta to Brisbane
You can get from Coolangatta to Brisbane and vice versa by train or bus. While taking the train is not recommended as the train stations are a long way out of town, the bus services are highly recommended between Coolangatta and Brisbane. Greyhound Australia, Premier Motor Services and Kirklands ply this route frequently taking about 1 ½ hours.
Coolangatta to Sydney
There are two ways to get from Coolangatta to Sydney and vice versa – air or bus.
By Air – Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia fly regular services from Coolangatta to Sydney and back which takes about 1 ½ hours.
By Bus – Greyhound Australia and Premier Motor Services run frequent bus services between Coolangatta and Sydney which takes about 15 hours.
Bus from Coolangatta to Byron Bay
Greyhound Australia, Premier Motor Services and Kirklands provide regular bus services from Coolangatta to Byron Bay which takes about 2 ½ hours. Long-distance buses from Byron Bay stop at the bus transit centres in Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta. The Greyhound bus stop is in Warner Street while Premier coaches stop in Bay Street.
Tell us what you think. What would you like to do in Coolangatta? If you’ve visited before, what did you like best about this seaside town?
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