The best of Coolangatta, including places to stay, where to eat, and things to do.
Coolangatta is located on the southernmost border of Queensland where it meets the town of Tweed Heads on the New South Wales side. Albeit in different states, the twin towns are joined at the hip and share one of Australia’s most favored coastlines.
The coastal area is renowned for its surf beaches and relaxed atmosphere with a unique small town local feel. The suburb of Coolangatta is home to around 6000, while the large Tweed Shire, which includes two towns and 17 villages spaced out over 1300 square km, is home to more than 80,000.
Coolangatta beach provides a wide and long expanse of sandy beach-front offering room for everyone including the occasional beach fisherman, the regular surfers and body-boarders, the kite surfer, the swimmers and of course those just looking to enjoy soaking up the glorious weather.
Walking south, Coolangatta beach becomes Greenmount beach which leads into a headland breaking the sandy beachfront. On top of the hill is Pat Fagan Park featuring a wonderful viewing platform and there is also a walking track around the base.
Continuing south and down the hill is the popular Rainbow Bay Surf Club and a small beach which then leads into Snapper Rocks, an area popular with surfers. Continuing around the coastline you’ll find Point Danger, another rising headland again breaking the sandy beachfront.
Point Danger was named by Captain Cook and today features a magnificent lookout providing 180-degree views along the coastline and out to the wide expanse of ocean. A memorial to Captain Cook is a feature of Point Danger along with walking track, grassed areas and sheltered tables for picnics at the popular spot.
Continuing south, and down the hill now, is Duranbah Beach which is a hugely popular spot with surfers. There are two parks at either end of Duranbah, the northerly one featuring barbecues and sheltered seating and at the southern end, a grassed area and kids playground.
Many hold the Coolangatta-Tweed area in higher regard than the well-promoted Surfers Paradise, simply due to its super-relaxed atmosphere and scenic beauty.
Along the Esplanade you’ll find plenty of food outlets to suit a variety of tastes including coffee shops, major fast food outlets, cafes and restaurants along with healthy options all offering sit down areas with views out across the foreshore and ocean.
On the Tweed Heads side, there is the popular Twin Towns Services Club which offers a variety of live entertainment to suit all age groups along with bars, restaurants and gaming machines. Just past Twin Towns is Tweed City shopping centre which features a host of major retailers including a Coles and Woolworths supermarkets, more on that in the shopping section.
Apart from the scenic views, relaxing walks along the well-presented beaches and foreshores, the swimming, the surfing and the sun-baking, you can also enjoy fishing charters from the nearby marina or just simply fishing from the many popular spots along Tweed River or Terranora River not to mention exploring the nearby National Parks of NSW including Byron Bay Lighthouse, Fingal Head and Cook Island.
Top things to do in Coolangatta
- Explore the coastal views along the Gold Coast Oceanway
- Take in the ocean views or enjoy a BBQ at Pat Fagan Park or RT Peak Memorial Park
- Visit the Captain Cook Memorial and Lighthouse
- Go Skydiving or learn to surf
- Visit Timezone for indoor games and fun for all
- Ten Pin Bowling at Coolangatta-Tweed Tenpin
Beaches in Coolangatta/Tweed
The area has some of the best beaches on the entire coast making a popular place for surfers, beachgoers, and even for fishing. Before entering the water please be aware of surf safety and conditions.
- Greenmount Beach – a small section of beach below Greenmount Hill that is popular with swimmers for its low waves.
- Coolangatta Beach – the largest section of beach in the area which is popular with families with its large sandy area.
- Rainbow Bay – a very scenic spot that is popular for its calmer waters.
- Duranbah Beach – “D’bah” is popular for its surf conditions and plays host to several surf comps. It’s also a great beach for the family with a large sandy area, and greenspace with BBQ’s.
- Doppys Beach and Fingal Head Beach – Doppys is a cute little spot on the NSW side of the Tweed River which is near to Fingal Head Beach. Note these are only accessed by unsealed roads and are not patrolled excepting near to Fingal Holiday Park.
Places to Stay in Coolangatta
Coolangatta has a wide range of accommodation options and can easily cater to the budget traveler, family holidayer or luxury seeker.
My top 3 picks for staying in Coolangatta
Mantra Twin Towns features 2 swimming pools, a hot tub, tennis courts, fitness centre with steam room, outdoor barbecue areas and the popular restaurant, Signatures. It’s a short walk to the beach and the Twin Towns Services Club is directly across the road.
Greenmount Hotel isn’t the newest of options in Coolangatta although it offers one of the most superb locations near to the beach and Pat Fagan Park at perhaps the cheapest rates to be found on the coast. The hotel features a sauna, restaurant with buffet breakfast, outdoor pool with a waterslide and a hot tub.
Located across from Coolangatta Beach on the Gold Coast. These air-conditioned apartments have spacious private balconies with stunning ocean views. Room options include studio, one bedroom, two bedroom, three bedroom, and four bedroom penthouse. Facilities include a pool, sauna, hot tub, fitness centre, BBQ and garden.
Top Places to Eat in Coolangatta
Here’s my pick of the best restaurants in Coolangatta.
- Bellakai – Modern Australian cuisine restaurant and cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner –
82 Marine Parade
- Bondi Grille – amazing steak, ribs, and burgers – Griffith St
- Delizioso @ the Strand – Casual Italian Dining – Level 1, The Strand Shopping Centre, 72 – 80 Marine Parade
- George’s Paragon Seafood Restaurant Coolangatta – Reflections Tower, 110 Marine Parade –
- Cafe Dbar – delicious food and drinks, local art and unbeatable views and location – 275 Boundary St –
- Eddies Grub House – great burgers – Griffith St
- The Surf Club Coolangatta offers absolute beachfront dining at the popular Seabreeze family-friendly restaurant.
Bars & Nightlife in Coolangatta
- Coolangatta Sands Hotel – more than a pub, it has a fantastic location with a very popular bistro, Kirrabelle Kitchen – 3 Griffith St
- Coolangatta Hotel – offering a bar with an ocean view, regular live music, and restaurant.
- Breezes Bar & Lounge – sophisticated bar and nightspot open from Wed-Sat at Twin Towns Services Club
- 1st on Wharf – relaxed but refined bar with TAB and restaurant at Twin Towns Services Club
Along Marine Parade you’ll underneath Reflections Tower at 12 Marine Parade you’ll find a Rip Curl surfwear store and a cluster of cafes and restaurants. Further north along Marine Parade and you’ll find The Strand which is Coolangatta’s main shopping mall featuring fashion, dining, and groceries. There is a cinema here and chemist and medical clinic.
Just a few minutes away by car and you’ll find Tweed City which is where a large number of the locals shop, it includes banks, chemists, fashion, beauty care, dining, groceries, dentist, and cinemas. Major stores include JB HiFI, Jay Jays, Jeans West, QBD books, Big W, Australia Post and many more.
Here are my picks for the two best places for coffee in Coolangatta
The area is serviced by public buses with the major stops being
- McLean St at Queen Elizabeth Park
- Griffith St Opp Dutton St
- Griffith St at Coolangatta East
Best of Coolangatta Map
Here’s a map of all the attractions, shopping, scenic spots and accommodation in the Coolangatta area.