Gold Coast Surf Trip Guide || 2024 

There is no surf destination more famous than Australia’s Gold Coast. Spots like Snapper Rocks and Kirra have been a focal point of the surfing world for decades and the region has produced several world champions. But what’s the area like for the travelling punter? From Surfers Paradise to Coolangatta, here’s everything you need to know for a Gold Coast surf trip. 

Table of Contents

Overview

Best Time of Year 

The best time of year for surfing on the Gold Coast, is well, anytime really. In summer, the area receives cyclone swells from the Coral Sea, which lights up the famous right points. Spring is also an excellent time to surf on the Goldie, with consistent swell met by great conditions. Winter also has the odd solid swell, while Spring is generally considered the worst time of year. 

Duranbah Gold Coast surfing

Best Gold Coast Surf Spots

Coolangatta 

Few places on Earth pack such a high concentration of world-class waves within a 2km stretch of coastline. Coolangatta is a wicked surf town home to Snapper Rocks and the famed Superbank as well as Kirra, a wave that needs no introduction. Just around the headland and into NSW, you have D-bah, the uber-consistent and seriously fun beachie. 

The area is home to numerous world champions such as Mark Occhilupo, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson and the level of surfing here is off the scale. Seriously, out of everywhere I have travelled to, I’ve seldom seen such a high volume of high-performance surfing. Make Coolangatta your base while on the Goldie. 

Fingal 

Over the Tweed River is Fingal, a very consistent stretch of beach break that almost always has waves. If D-bah is tiny and crowded, check out Fingal! You can drive around or risk the sharky swim over the Tweed. 

Stradbroke 

North Stradbroke is home to a handful of super fun waves, a beautiful island north of the Gold Coast and home to Ethan Ewing. South Stradbroke however, is one of the best waves on the Gold Coast on its day–a super hollow a-frame beachie. You’ll need a boat or mate with a jetski to access or you can risk the sharky paddle over. Despite the access barrier, don’t expect to be surfing alone. 

Cabarita 

South of Coolangatta into NSW you’ve got Cabarita. When the sand’s right, you’ve got a fun right-hand point breaking off the rocks at the headland, but often (and whenever I’ve surfed out there), the point has been more of a beach break, with predominant rights, but broken up into sections. Very fun, very crowded. 

Burleigh Heads 

Burleigh Heads is one of the premier waves in the region. Breaking over a combination of cobblestones and sand, Burligh can throw up powerful right tubes on the best swells, and on a normal day, it’s just a hyper-fun rippable right point. Again, and like everywhere here, it’s crowded and competitive. 

Currumbin Alley 

Yet another world-class right point, Currumbin is another rippable right with walls for turns and tubes. On cyclone swells, the point here transforms from a mellow meandering right into a throaty, freight train to rival Kirra. 

Snapper Rocks (Gold Coast Surf Spot)

Water Temperatures 

Summer – Boardies 

Winter – Short arm or 3/2mm 

Getting There 

Getting to the Gold Coast is straightforward. If you are travelling here from within Australia, fly domestically to Coolangatta Airport. From overseas, fly into Brisbane International Airport. The Gold Coast and Coolangatta are around 1-hour drive. 

Getting Around 

By Car 

To make the most of your Gold Coast surf trip, a set of wheels is ideal! Having a car will let you surf all the waves and surf them on the right day. If it’s small head to the more exposed open beaches then over to the points when the swells cranking. You can rent a car at Coolangatta or Brisbane Airport. Check out Discover Cars, that’s my go-to rental car booking site. 

By Foot 

If you can’t drive or if you are on a tight budget, you’re in luck. Stay in Coolangatta and walk to The Superbank and D-bah and you have all bases covered. This is one of the few places in the world where you can walk to the waves and not have to rely on a motor or lift from a mate.

By Public Transport 

There are buses and trains along the Gold Coast, which are affordable and readily available. So if you fancy a trip out of Coolangatta, you can take the bus! 

Burleigh Heads (Gold Coast Surf Spot)

Where to Stay?

I’d highly recommend staying in Coolangatta for your Gold Coast surf venture. It’s just the ideal base. Thankfully, there are dozens of accommodation options for all budgets throughout town. 

Coolangatta Sands Hostel 

One of the cheapest hostels in Coolangatta. Coolangatta Sands is a lively bar, with a hostel in the upstairs half of the property. I’ve stayed here once or twice on budget trips and it has everything you need. Cheap dorms and shared kitchen, located between Kirra and Greenmount. 

Greenmount Beach House

I’ve stayed here several times and the experience has always been great. They have hotel private rooms and now dormitory rooms. As far as hostels go, Greenmount Beach House is a pretty decent one, with clean rooms and a shared kitchen. The location is also perfect, right on Greenmount Hill, aka, in the middle of the Superbank. 

Tips for Surfing on the Gold Coast 

Crowds

I can’t sugarcoat this, because frankly, the Gold Coast is one of the world’s most crowded surf destinations on the planet. Rivalled only by San Clemente in California, there are few places with so many people in the water at one time than the Gold Coast. The Superbank is next level when it’s on with 100+ surfers out all day long.  

Localism 

Because of the sheer volume of surfers here, the locals do make a point of getting their waves, particularly behind the rock at Snapper. You’ll basically find it impossible to catch a wave behind the rock on a good day, and even if you do get one, someone will likely burn you anyway. 

Heat 

In summer, the heat is ferocious on the Gold Coast. Make sure you’ve got good zinc, and adequate surf/sun protection for the trip. 

Gold Coast Surf (Crowd)

Australia Travel Information

Flight Times: 

  • LAX – BNE: 14h 45m
  • LHR – BNE: 21h 40

Visas: 3-month visa on arrival & Working Holiday Visa 

Currency: $AUD 

Language: English 

Health & Safety: No vaccinations required 

Plug Sockets: Australian sockets 

Final Words

Between January and May, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a better surf destination in the world. With a consistent supply of swell and the potential to score a cyclone, there is nowhere better. Expect lots of fun waves and a crazy amount of people. For more information on surfing on the Gold Coast, please reach out below. 

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