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.
Related article: 10 Australian beach getaways close to the city
A weekend away calls for a romantic dinner – Coolangatta has you covered. Impressing locals and foodies across Australia, new kids on the block Tasca is perfect for an intimate meal. Serving exquisite Mediterranean-inspired fare, fine wines and fabulous cocktails, the restaurant has quickly made a name for itself as the place to go for a cosy setting and mouthwatering share plates.
Want to dress up a little? Slip on a pair of heels, spritz on some cologne and pull up a chair at Bin 72. With views over Coolangatta Beach, this sleek mood-lit spot is where you can sample delicious tapas-style fare from acclaimed Gold Coast chef Daniel Ridgeway. Afterwards, kick off your shoes and walk along the beach at moonlight with a cone of something indulgent from nearby Gelato Messina. It's the simple things in life...
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!
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.
After a night of hedonistic delights, sweat it out with a walk along the scenic Coolangatta-to-Point-Danger Walk. Winding its way past shady pockets of sand, sparkling azure waters, palm-topped jade hills and up craggy cliffs, it'll lead you to local favourite Cafe DBar. Known for its picture-perfect outlook, wonderful menu and quality coffee, the cafe is also home to an art gallery and homewares boutique. Pick yourselves up a souvenir before you leave and hop across the road for whale-spotting (if you time it right) and a cheeky selfie at the Queensland/New South Wales border.
Thinking of a lazy sleep-in? 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!
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.
Thinking of a short break or weekend away in Queensland? Find the perfect place to stay here...
Image credits: Tourism Queensland, www.facebook.com/pg/tascacoolangatta/ and Tourism and Events Queensland