Brisbane is obsessed by beach culture. They are a city full of sun and surf-lovers, who at the first sight of blue skies and warm weather, are in their cars and on the road — with hats, bikinis, sunscreen and thongs slung in the back.
Backed by high-rise holiday apartments and the Coolangatta shopping strip, this beach has a large grassy foreshore with picnic areas and play equipment. The beach is safe for swimming, with usually low surf – but I’d still advise staying between the lifesaving flags because there are rip currents and troughs in the sand to contend with. A rock groyne marks one end of the beach and Greenmount Hill the other, and surfers like the easy waves here. It’s also a good spot for fishing, both from the beach and off the rocks.
Noosa Main Beach
Noosa Heads is one of Australia’s favorite holiday destinations, and gets very crowded in summer and holiday periods. Main Beach runs in a crescent, with the Noosa National Park at one end and the Noosa River mouth at the other. Years of erosion problems have (hopefully) been solved by the erection of a rock groyne and a seawall, with surf lifesaving stations at each end of the beach. The Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club overlooks the beach near the end of trendy Hastings Street. Lovely as the beach is in summer, a good time to go there is in winter, when the crowds have gone but the sand still beckons.
Streets Beach South Bank
Australia’s only beach in the middle of the city, Streets Beach is one of South Bank’s most popular attractions. A unique, man-made swimming beach, Streets Beach overlooks the brilliant Brisbane River and central business district. Conceived as a major piece of landscape, Streets Beach has a sparkling-clean, crystal-clear lagoon with white-sand beaches, palm trees, pebbled creeks and shady shallows surrounded by subtropical trees and exotic plantings. Safety is extremely important at South Bank: there are none of the waves or dangerous rips found at coastal beaches, and Streets Beach is patrolled by experienced, professional lifeguards seven days a week.
Surfers Paradise Beach
Bribie Island is only an hour’s drive from Brisbane, but you really feel like you’re on holiday when you drive over the bridge which links the island to the mainland. The pace is slower on the island and the atmosphere is more relaxed than the more developed coastal areas to the north. There are sheltered beaches on the bridge side. They’re great for really little kids who can make sandcastles without having them washed away by waves. There’s also plenty of shade and picnic shelters behind the beach. Every time we’ve spent some time sitting on the beach near the Bongaree jetty, we’ve seen dolphins cruising by, just off the beach. If you want some surf (don’t expect big waves), head directly across the island to Woorim. There are beautiful park lands behind the beach with picnic shelters and playgrounds. There’s a bike path right across the island, and it’s flat so even young riders will manage the trip.
Suttons Beach Redcliffe
Features parks, a WOW playground and BBQ facilities. The Suttons Beach Playground is fenced and this is a popular area with families. There is a great fish and chip shop up the road and a more fancy restaurant the opposite direction. Toilets including disabled nearby. This is Redcliffe’s only patrolled swimming beach. Suttons Beach is popular with young families looking for a safe place where children can paddle. A popular landing site for skydivers, the beach is complemented by play equipment, barbecue tables, bikeways and toilets. Redcliffe Surf Life Saving Club patrols the beach on summer weekends.
Perched on the tip of a peninsula, Wellington Point has a bustling, friendly atmosphere where the water and seaside are enjoyed to the fullest by locals and the many people who visit this village on weekends. With plenty of grassy spots and tables, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic and bask in the sunshine. Bordered by water on both sides, Wellington Point is, not surprisingly, known as a great spot for fishing, boating and various water sports. Adventurous water pursuits such as jet skiing, windsurfing and, more recently, the spectacular sport of kite surfing, have become common sights at Wellington Point. Its long jetty is the ideal spot to cast your fishing line and exchange stories with local and visiting anglers, who gather there in droves. Insider tip: Walks out to the tiny adjoining King Island at low tide are a must for every adventurer.
Coolum, Sunshine Coast
Not only does Coolum offer great surf on its patrolled beach, the surrounding restaurants and shops will keep you entertained long after the summer season ends. For a post-swim bite to eat try Harvest and Raw Energy, and if your sweet tooth is calling stop in at Gelato Mio which serves up delicious ice cream – try the mascarpone with pear and walnuts. If DIY dining is more your style, take a picnic to devour as you look over the beach from the adjacent park. Or, you could throw a few snags on one of the free BBQs and watch the waves roll in.
Currumbin, Gold Coast
Currumbin is a favorite for it’s small-town vibe that other beaches lack. Off the main drag, the small road is home to houses, small shops and cafes on one side and grass, dunes and beach on the other. Enjoy breakfast from the top floor of The Beach Shack, or grab a beer at Vikings Surf Club for panoramic beach views. Climbing Elephant Rock for your own Titanic moment is also a must.
Kings Beach, Sunshine Coast
A jewel in the crown of the Sunshine Coast’s beaches, Kings Beach is bit of a busy family spot, but nonetheless a great place to bake. Before laying your towel out, and if you make it up early enough, on Sunday mornings the Caloundra Street Fair markets are at Bulcock St until 1pm are worth a visit. A highlight is warm croissants from the bake-on-site French patisserie – heaven. For the young, or the young at heart, Kings Beach also has it’s very own water park. You’d be crazy to not want to run through what is essentially a giant sprinkler.
Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast
The beauty of Mooloolaba not only lies in the pristine sands themselves. See and be seen strolling the well-landscaped Esplanade where you can pop into boutiques, grab a coffee with friends or enjoy a long lunch. Mooloolaba offers more than a beach day, but a day to be out and about socializing and shopping. But if your goal is to get away from the hustle bustle of city life, be sure to stroll south from Mooloolaba the point of The Spit.
Nobbys Beach, Gold Coast
Tallow Beach, Byron Bay
We’ve all been to main beach at Byron, but if you were local, wouldn’t you want somewhere more, er, private? Popular with Byron’s residents (and by popular we mean quiet, peaceful, serene), Tallow Beach is south of the lighthouse and backs onto total bush land. Bringing your own snacks is a must, and if you look closely, in the surrounding dunes the locals have created hidden tables and chairs to while the hours away. Pure escape, pure cool.
Woorim Beach, Bribie Island
Unsuspecting, Bribie Island’s Woorim Beach is both beautiful and mostly flat. With Moreton Island situated 15km east, it creates a sort of wave break meaning swell never makes it above 1m high – hello baby waves. While there isn’t too much happening on Bribie, the surf club serves up a mean fisherman’s basket and you can always cross to the inland side of the Island, hire a boat and cruise up and down Pumicestone Passage for the afternoon.