on 22 June 2015
Coolangatta's name has long been revered in the surfing community, and today this small and vibrant suburb at the southernmost tip of Queensland is being discovered by people from far and wide, thanks to the revamped Gold Coast Airport – just five minutes from the centre and the beaches.
Coolangatta is the gateway to the Gold Coast, but it's so much more than that. With six beautiful beaches, challenging surf, warm temperatures all year round and a laid-back, bohemian vibe, many first-time visitors find that their airport stopover turns into the main attraction of their holiday.
The other surfers' paradise
Coolangatta has been drawing surfers to its exhilarating breaks for more than a century, establishing its first surf life-saving club in 1911 and hosting the Quiksilver Pro surf competition every January at the legendary Snapper Rocks.
Whether you're a seasoned pro eager to take on the challenge or you're getting on a board for the first time, Coolangatta's diverse surf spots cater to all abilities, and you can pick up the basics or advanced tips from local experts at the Walkin' on Water Surf School.
Even if you're not a surfer, Coolangatta's beaches still have plenty to offer. Coolangatta Beach is fully patrolled and a favourite of families, while north-facing Greenmount Beach and Rainbow Bay are safe for swimming and snorkelling.
If you're a fan of hiking, making the short trip up to Point Danger is well worth it for the views, the heritage and the novelty of standing in two time zones at the same time, on the boundary between Queensland and New South Wales.
Inspiring day trips
Coolangatta is also an ideal base for getting out and exploring nearby attractions. For families with adventurous kids, the state-of-the-art attractions of Surfers Paradise are just over 30 minutes away, including the 7D Cinema, Dracula's Haunted House and Infinity.
For nature lovers, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is just a short drive away, where you'll have the chance to get up close to hundreds of Australian animals of all shapes and sizes in their native habitats. You can also join a whale watching cruise to spot humpbacks splashing offshore or head out further to explore the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Wonders of Nature.
Where to stay
For a small suburb, Coolangatta has a huge variety of places to stay that are designed to suit the needs of every traveller, from budget hostels to five-star resorts.
If you're just looking for a place to catch some sleep before or after your flight, the Gold Coast Airport Motel is a cheap and convenient solution, but if you want to make the most of your time in sunny Coolangatta, it's just a few minutes' drive to the luxurious amenities of favourite hotels such as Nirvana By The Sea on Kirra Beach, Beachcomber International Resort on Griffith Street and the Outrigger Twin Towns Resort that stretches across the state border.
If you'd prefer to be in the middle of things, the Ocean Plaza Resort enjoys a prime location on Marine Parade, facing Greenmount Beach and offering direct access to The Strand Coolangatta for fine dining
and retail therapy