By not being one of the many stops on the infamous ‘Oz Experience’ bus route which ferries backpackers around Australia, Coolangatta, affectionately called Coolie by its residents, has managed to retain a typical Australian costal town. This of course means that it focuses on one thing: Surfing. As soon at you enter the town it becomes apparent why it is thought that the aboriginal meaning for Coolangatta is ‘beautiful place’. Located on the Gold Coast at the point where New South Wales and Queensland meet, Coolangatta is a popular tourist destination for many Australians and thus the town offers a wide variety of holiday homes and accommodation. The view of the looming Surfers Paradise on the horizon, with its sky rises and tourist bars, offers a great contrast to the more relaxed atmosphere that is found in Coolie. On weekends, many families can be found occupying the public barbeques by the beach, with the large, younger population taking advantage of the sea and sand.

Although Coolangatta is only a small town, it has the advantage of being located on the bay of the Gold Coast, which endows it with 4 adjoining beaches. This provides the opportunity for both swimming in sheltered areas, and surfing along the open beaches.


With Snapper Rocks being one of the most famous surf breaks in Australia, Coolangatta is home to many budding surfers as well as drawing others from both national and international destinations. Photographers and spectators alike cover the rocks throughout the day, and many hours can be wiled away watching the participants. A tip for the adventurous; the surf at Coolangatta should not be approached by amateurs. Getting into the sea alone is quite a feat with many receiving nasty reef cuts and jeers from the locals by trying to attempt the intrepid jump off the rocks into the water! Watching is recommended over trying to take part! Between May and November a very different type of residence comes to stay in Coolangatta’s waters: the humpback whale. Many companies run Whale Watching trips and the current success rate of a sighting is 99.3%. Although these trips don’t come cheap at around AUS$85 for an Adult and $50 for a child, this is a highly recommended excursion.

Walks are available around the coastline along the four beaches, known as Kirra beach, Coolangatta beach, Rainbow Bay and Greenmount beach. These offer spectacular views, and Kirra point is a perfect destination to watch the beautiful sunsets.


There is an abundance of shops throughout Coolangatta. Many of these echo the theme of the town, with current surf trends being found in most shops. The showcase shopping centre can be found along Marine Parade, which is also host to Coolangatta Market every second Sunday of the month. More independent shops selling local arts and crafts can also be found, as well as Australian souvenirs. Most of these can be found in the main drag of the town.


Coolangatta is not famed for being able to rival Surfers Paradise’s nightlife, the nightlife here does not enable tourists to get unruly in Coolie, but this is not something that it regards as a disadvantage. RSL’s are the main places to head once night has fallen and the beach can no longer be used as a meeting ground. The bars in the Coolangatta Hotel and the Coolangatta Sands Hotel are both popular destinations, and it is advised to look out for local posters for information about what is currently going on where. The one club that is in Coolangatta is located towards the end of the town, close to the beaches. It is called Baja and attracts the younger crowd until the small hours on Thursday to Sunday.

There is a scattering of restaurants of a variety of different types throughout Coolangatta. With the exceptional climate that Coolangatta boasts, many of these offer you the chance to enjoy the warm evenings by eating al fresco. For a list of restaurants see If you have taken the self-catering option then many supermarkets are located in the centre of town.

Tourist Information

There are three tourist information centres located in Coolangatta:

Coolangatta Visitor Information CentreShop 14BCnr Griffith & Warner StsCoolangattaQLD 4225

Gold Coast Tourism BureauWarner StreetCoolangattaQLD 4225

Information CentreBeach HouseMarine ParadeCoolangattaQLD 4225

The telephone number for all three of these is 0755 367765 & the fax is 0755 367841.


The Gold Coast has its own airport which is only a five minute drive away from Coolangatta on the Gold Coast Highway at Bilinga. Flights are available to and from this airport from major cities in South East Australia and throughout both the islands of New Zealand. Alternatively there is the airport at Brisbane which is approximately 100 kilometres away, taking around an hour and a half to drive to.

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