How to Do 48 Hours in Coolangatta

Love the Gold Coast but want to escape the crowds? Situated 30 minutes south of Surfers Paradise and just five minutes east of Gold Coast Airport, Coolangatta has all the essentials for a weekend away at the beach – sun-kissed sands, excellent dining, breezy bars and fantastic surf. Inspired? Head to this chilled destination your for your next romantic short break. Here’s how to do a weekend on Queensland’s beachy Coolangatta.


Related article: 10 Australian beach getaways close to the city

Friday evening

A weekend away calls for a fun Friday night dinner – Coolangatta has you covered. Located in a hidden laneway, Clay Cantina offers a unique dining experience that transports you to a Mexican home kitchen. Originally known for its cooking classes, Clay Cantina has now opened its doors to the public four days a week. The restaurant has a laid-back and authentic atmosphere and the menu features delicious Central American flavours, with the enchiladas verde con pollo being a standout dish. It’s a perfect, relaxed way to kick off your weekend away at Coolangatta.

Want an after dinner drink? Bar Evelyn is a cozy and charming pizza bar that focuses on wine and the perfect spot to enjoy a nightcap and unwind. The interior has a nostalgic diner-style atmosphere with leather booths and a bar area with bar stools, ensuring a sophisticated yet unpretentious experience.

Coolangatta surfers
The destination is a cherished surfers’ haven


Get the day off to the right start with breakfast at Rockleigh Cafe, just next door to Tasca. With a focus on country-style, honest-to-goodness cuisine made from the best local produce, this friendly little cafe will leave you with a full belly and an undeniable case of the warm-and-fuzzies. 

After you’ve fully emerged from your food coma, it’s time to hit the water. A haven for generations of surfers, Coolangatta boasts a collection of amazing surf spots. Top options include Coolangatta Beach, Greenmount Point, Duranbah and – home of the Quicksilver Pro Gold Coast – Snapper Rocks. There are plenty of local surf schools that will get you skilled-up, but there’s more to do here than hanging ten. SUP-ing, swimming and sunbathing on Coolangatta’s long stretches of golden sand also make for a blissful day out.

If you’re looking to treat yourselves, discover the region’s sensational natural beauty on a four-hour Pot to Plate Adventure cruise with Tweed Eco Cruises. After departing from nearby Tweed Heads, you’ll visit an oyster farm for a tasting session, enjoy a super-fresh seafood lunch on a secluded sand bank and haul in crab pots along the way. That’s our kind of adventure!

Related: The Perfect Long Weekend on The Southern Gold Coast Itinerary

Sundowners here can be as laid-back or as glamorous as you like

Saturday evening

Top off a day of surf, sand and seafood with laid-back sundowners. The Coolangatta, Greenmount Beach and Rainbow Bay surf life saving clubs are brilliant for a cold brew by the water without the fuss – instant summer vibes. For something slightly more sophisticated, toast the sunset at the newly opened Santeria Rooftop. Commanding gorgeous beach views from the top of the iconic (and newly renovated) Pink Hotel, it’s where you can relax on a plush daybed and listen to the sound of waves in the distance. 

For dinner, keep things simple and grab a pizza from Earth n Sea for a picnic by the beach (we’re die-hard fans their Apocalypse Now and Beethoven flavours). The pizzas here are the best you’ll find in the region, with bases made from a unique blend wholemeal flour – no grease overload! On a health kick? Wander down the road to GreenHouse Canteen for plant-based, 100% gluten-free dishes that are also incredibly tasty. 

Before calling it a night, pop into Eddie’s Grub House for late-night drinks and toe-tapping live music. A gritty dive bar with an impressive whiskey selection, it’s a winner for stomping along to good ‘ol fashioned blues and rock ‘n roll till the wee hours.

The Coolangatta-to-Point-Danger Walk takes in beautiful views
The Coolangatta-to-Point-Danger Walk takes in beautiful views


After a night of hedonistic delights, sweat it out with a walk along the scenic Coolangatta-to-Point-Danger Walk. Although the walk is only two kilometers long, it is recommended to take your time to fully appreciate the stunning scenery, capture some Instagram-worthy photos, and perhaps enjoy a refreshing drink at a beachside restaurant.

As you reach Greenmount Headland, take a moment to admire the surfers riding the waves on this iconic beach. To the east, you’ll be treated to views of Rainbow Bay and Snapper Rocks surf beaches, while to the north, you can see all the way up the coast to Surfers Paradise and even South Stradbroke Island. If you look westward, you may catch glimpses of the lush McPherson Range.

Thinking of a lazy sleep-in instead? Enjoy one last seafood feast at Baskk, just around Kirra Hill. A trendy, coastal-cool hangout opposite Kirra Beach and Queen Elizabeth Park, the restaurant is beloved for its Sunday seafood grazing boards. Everything on offer is freshly caught and pairs beautifully with one of their pretty-as-a-picture cocktails – a delightful way to round out a romantic short break!

Tamborine Mountain
Tamborine Mountain is fantastic for a day-trip

Venture out

Still got more time to spare? Set your sights for the hinterland and check out Tamborine Mountain (just under an hour’s drive northeast of Coolangatta). With magnificent rainforest, waterfalls, swimming holes, vineyards, restaurants and adventure experiences (like zip-lining, hiking and horse-riding), it’s a day-trip destination that’s brimming with spectacular natural beauty. 

If you’re looking for a wine tasting experience, make sure to visit Witch’s Falls Winery. For just $15, you can enjoy a one-hour wine tasting while taking in the stunning scenery of the winery. Although they don’t have a restaurant, they offer a variety of locally-made cheeses, patés, relishes, and other snacks that you can use to create your own grazing platter according to your preferences and budget.

Thinking of a short break or weekend away in Queensland? Find the perfect place to stay here

Image credits: Tourism Queensland, and Tourism and Events Queensland

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