With about 70 kilometres (44 miles) of beaches and four epic point breaks, it's easy to see why the Gold Coast attracts surfers from all over the world.
By Ellie Schneider
The Gold Coast has some of the best and most consistent waves in Australia. Its beaches are patrolled year round by professional lifeguards and conditions suit all skill levels. Here are five great places to ride the waves.
The southern points at Snapper Rocks – Kirra, Rainbow Bay and Duranbah, which combine to form the Superbank – are generally considered the best spots for surfing on and around the Gold Coast. The Superbank's break is at the very top of must-do experiences for avid surfers, and is home to the annual Quicksilver Pro surfing competition. The wave is a right-hand point break that regularly barrels and can produce heavy, hollow barrels only suited for the experienced surfer. Many surfers stay in and around the town of Surfers Paradise so they can experience the breaks between there and Snapper Rocks, a 45-minute drive south.
Rainbow Bay is suitable for beginners as well as intermediate surfers, with three points that create one of the longest right-handers in the world. The beach at Rainbow Bay is patrolled all year round and has a great sheltered swimming area close to shore, making it a popular spot for families. Book a family surfing lesson with Coolangatta Learn to Surf. Afterwards, stroll along the coastal boardwalk up to the Point Danger viewing platform where you can take in the magnificent views along the coast, and spot humpback whales from May till November. As the sun goes down, enjoy an alfresco dinner at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club.
Currumbin Alley (known as "the Alley") is one of the most famous breaks on the Gold Coast, with very consistent, world-class waves. It's a popular surf spot for advanced surfers, with a nice right-hand point break, but also caters for beginners, with easier whitewash waves on the inside. This is a great spot to learn to surf as it is protected from southerly onshore winds. Currumbin Alley Surf School offers year-round surfing lessons in groups or one-on-one, and is just a five-minute drive from Coolangatta Airport.
Nicknamed 'D-bah' by the locals, Duranbah Beach is one of the most popular surfing spots on and around the Gold Coast (it's actually just over the border, the northernmost beach in New South Wales), as it offers great surf even when conditions aren't conducive to big swells. As a result, Duranbah Beach hosts a number of international and professional surfing competitions. You can regularly find fun left and right-hand waves that are definitely suited to more experienced surfers. Post surf, tuck into fish and chips up on the hill, while watching the sunset.
Burleigh Heads offers some of the most consistent waves on the Gold Coast and attracts crowd of surfers hoping to catch a “Burleigh barrel”. There are three distinct breaks, which in the right conditions, connect to create a fantastic long ride. Expect fast, hollow barrels that break over sand – these are recommended for experienced surfers only. If you're a first-timer, you can book a private lesson with former world professional surfer Michael Barry at Godfathers of the Ocean Surf School. After your surf, refuel with a delicious breakfast at Commune.