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Beaches in Gold Coast

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Australia
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Main Beach
While other suburbs snatch their names from exotic Aboriginal meanings or English seaside villages, Main Beach is far more literal. Situated at the northern end of the Gold Coast, Main Beach was so named as it was the main surf beach to the town of Southport. But while its name may be obvious, its hidden gems are far more exciting for this is one of the coast’s areas which celebrates something old and something new in style. A highlight of a visit here is to the beach itself, where the old bathing pavilion, Pavilion 34 to be precise, has been reincarnated as a casual beach café complete with chiko rolls, potato scallops, pineapple fritters and fish and chips. The old male and female change pavilions are still here and there’s loads of retro photos to remind you of the Main Beach of old. This bathing pavilion sits next to the Southport Surf Club, the first to make its mark on the Gold Coast in 1936 and right next to a sprawling shady park which is perfect for oceanfront picnics. Away from the beach - popular with surfers due to its open shore break - toddle down to Tedder Avenue. Sassy socialites and salty surfies rub shoulders here in this strip of modern cafes, exclusive restaurants, bars and boutiques. For more shopping and style, take a wander towards the Southport Spit – or simply The Spit - to locals.
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Snapper Rocks
Snapper Rocks is a small rocky outcrop on the northern side of Point Danger at the southern end of Rainbow Bay on the Gold Coast. Snapper is a point break forming the first part of the man-made Superbank which extends from Snapper Rocks Point, through Rainbow Bay, Greenmount Point, Coolangatta Beach, and Kirra, for a distance of around two kilometres. The Superbank is now renowned as one of the most consistent breaks in Queensland and plays host to the annual World Surf Leagues’ Quiksilver and Roxy Pros. Multiple barrel sections can now occur at any point along this length. The quality of the surf has markedly improved since the 1990s, and is now of legendary quality, creating one of the longest, hollowest and best waves in the world. The Rainbow Bay Surf Club is the best place to view the break while enjoying a relaxed meal.
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Cylinder Beach
Cylinder Beach is a picturesque cove between Cylinder and Home Beach Headlands. It is popular with families because it is easily accessible with a carpark situated only metres from the beach. The waves at Cylinder are often smaller and therefore it is perfect for sunbathing and swimming during good weather conditions. However, during strong southerly winds, there is a side sweep which may carry you parallel to the beach. Cylinder Beach is also a favourite with surfers when the conditions are right. Lifeguards and lifesavers patrol this beach.
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Frenchmans Beach
In the late 19th Century, four men sailed west from the French-speaking South Pacific islands. They landed on this beach, which was named after them. The four men, Jack Newfong, John Lifu, George Fenoch and Richard Martin, were taken to the Myora/Moongalba Mission, where they ended up settling. Descendants of these four men still live on North Stradbroke Island. Frenchman’s Beach faces due east, receiving little protection from the prevailing south-east waves. The beach is 500m long and is backed by steep, densely vegetated bluffs, access to the beach is either around Dune Rocks from Deadmans Beach, or down a signed steep walking track from the main road. The beach receives waves averaging between 1 and 1.5m, which maintain an inner bar usually cut by two rips, including a permanent rip against Dune Rocks.
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Fraser Island
Say hello to Fraser Island - also known as the largest sand island in the world. You can gaze up at towering ancient trees in astonishing rainforests growing out of sand on this World Heritage-listed wonder, be amazed by the incredible sapphire blues and emeraldene greens in the stunning freshwater lakes and float down Eli Creek
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Flynns Beach
Flynns Beach, situated three kilometres south of Port Macquarie, is almost 500 metres long and nestled between a pair of rocky headlands to the north and south. It has good protection from westerly and southerly winds and suits learn-to-surfers most of the year. The Surf Club has a kiosk that serves meals. There is plenty of accommodation available within a short walk of Flynns Beach.
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Lake Innes Nature Reserve
At Lake Innes Nature Reserve, near Port Macquarie, visitors can enjoy cycling, fishing, birdwatching, swimming, kayaking and learning about NSW convict settlement history. Whether you’re an eager history student or an outdoor adventurer, you’ll find plenty to do at Lake Innes Nature Reserve, not far from Port Macquarie. The reserve features a fascinating historic site set in gorgeous natural scenery with plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling, birdwatching and water sport activities. Lake Innes lies at its heart and is a picturesque setting for the historically significant Innes Ruins, which is a great place to learn all about early settlement and convict history in NSW. You can book a tour of the ruins through the Port Macquarie Information Centre. The lake is also a gorgeous backdrop for picnicking, birdwatching, walking or cycling. Or, get out on the water by kayaking or canoeing across it or enjoying a splash of swimming in its tranquil waters or spot of fishing from Perch Hole. There’s an impressive array of wildlife to admire here too, including osprey, ducks and swans paddling on the lake and the kangaroos, wallabies and dingoes that can be seen throughout the reserve.
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Rainbow Beach
Rainbow Beach trends south-south west for 2.5 kilometres from the dolerite rocks at Middle Rock Point to the sedimentary rocks at Bonny Hills, The beach is backed by a foredune, then two kilometres long Duchess Gully Creek that drains across the southern end of beach, where it is called Little Vinegar Creek, linking with a second small creek. Ocean Drive skirts round the beach with access only available at Middle Rock, where there are no facilities, while Bonny Hills has the surf club, a park and picnic area, and two caravan parks. Rainbow Beach is patrolled during school holidays October through April.
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Grants Beach
Grants (North Haven) Beach is located on the north side of the Camden Haven River mouth. The southern end is protected by the break wall which offers great 'right-handers' with a southerly swell. The beach is home to the Camden Haven Surf Lifesaving Club, who patrol the beach throughout the summer weekends. Dogs are allowed north of the patrolled area. The beach runs north-south for about 3.5 kilometres and is paralleled by a lovely walking track through the littoral forest and heathland. The beach is patrolled by council lifeguards and the Camden Haven Surf Club during school holidays. There are showers, toilets, and picnic tables at the southern end.
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Harrington Beach
Harrington Beach stretches from Harrington village to the picturesque fishing village of Crowdy Head, and is part of the Harrington Beach State Park. This quiet beach location between the two villages is ideal for relaxing strolls and fishing opportunities. Harrington break wall is a very popular spot for fishing, walking, and taking in the views of the ocean. There is a fish cleaning facility conveniently located at the beginning of the break wall. The Harrington Lagoon is located off the beach area; it is a safe swimming spot for families and is very popular during the warmer months. Car parking is available at the lagoon area off Crowdy Road.
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Harrington Beach State Park
Harrington Beach State Park is situated on the New South Wales Mid North Coast and comprises lands surrounding and including the Manning River's northern entrance. The 431 hectare site stretches from Harrington to the picturesque fishing village of Crowdy Head. The foreshores of the coastal beaches and estuary provide an array of year round recreation and tourism opportunities. The State Park also includes a small littoral rainforest that is accessible to the public.
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Ocean Beach Umina
Located between Umina Beach and Ettalong Beach at the southern end of the Central Coast and nestled within the protection of Broken Bay you will find over two kilometres of golden sand to relax on and enjoy. Ocean Beach provides the beauty of an ocean beach with the safety of an inland waterway, offering a perfect location for families. Picnic tables with seating are available, along with barbecue's and a children's playground. The beach is patrolled every day from October long weekend until the end of the April school holiday break. Public facilities are available as well as lovely grassed and under cover picnic areas.
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Palm Beach
There's a reason that Palm Beach doubles up as the setting for Summer Bay, the fictional beach in TV show Home & Away, the golden sand and sparkling blue sea make it look too good to be true. But there's more than just sea and sand here, explore Barrenjoey Head, Sydney’s northernmost seaside point and lots more. What makes Palm Beach, a narrow peninsular, so spectacular is its unbeatable location. It won nature's lottery and is surrounded by water on three sides: Pittwater to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the east, and Broken Bay to the north at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River, which meanders inland to historic Windsor. If you're planning on spending the day at Palmy, as the locals call it, bring your board because you'll enjoy excellent surf at the northern end of the beach. The southern end is more lo-fi, offering less active beachgoers a protected area for swimming in the ocean pool and pretty picnic spots under the pine trees.
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Collaroy Beach
Collaroy has great swimming conditions and is excellent for beginner surfers. While advanced surfers are more likely to look at nearby wave-magnets such as Narrabeen and Long Reef, Collaroy does offer a considerable advantage in amenities for visitors. Collaroy Beach has a fully accessible beach reserve and playground complete with disabled toilets, accessible picnic areas, rockpool and paths. For those in a wheelchair, it has a freewheeler wheelchair that can go in the water, and a liberty swing.
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Long Reef Beach
Long Reef is a perfect stretch of white sand. At the north end there is Long Reef Headland, a protected aquatic reserve, and a golf course. A walk to the top of the headland can often be rewarded by views of migrating whales. There are offshore reefs in the north (the Long Reef Bomboras) and beach breaks running the entire 1.6 kilometres south to Dee Why and, on weekdays there's every chance of getting a quality wave to yourself. The Long Reef Bomboras starts to break at one metre or so and in a big south swell can produce a beautiful wave up to five metres. Reliable sandbanks shape beach breaks that are great for beginners and intermediate surfers. North Long Reef is also a favourite for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
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Freshwater Beach
Freshwater is part of the Manly-Freshwater National and World Surfing Reserve that recognises the historical, cultural and environmental values of famous surfing beaches. It is where Duke Kahanamoku held his famous 1915 surfing demonstration that popularised surfing in Australia. Freshwater has some pretty reasonable waves in the one to two-metre mark. It can be busy on a summers day with people learning to surf, and families sticking in groups. For less experienced surfers, the break at the middle-northern end of the beach is an ideal spot for you. More experienced surfers may not get the wave they’re looking for but you can try the southern end which can get pumping with the right swell.
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Manly Beach
You're spoilt for choice when it comes to Manly Beach. Whether you want to spread a towel out and enjoy the soft white sand all day, surf its waves or explore its depths while snorkelling or diving, there's something for everyone. For those that prefer to look at it, it also makes a great backdrop for picnics or walking and cycle tracks. Manly is where the world's first surfing contest was held in 1964, making it one of Australia's most famous beaches. The iconic beach curves from South Steyne to North Steyne and Queenscliff, where a submerged reef, or bombora, creates the waves that inspire the world's best surfers to travel to our shores.
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Bondi Beach
The day begins early at Bondi Beach. As a glorious sunrise edges above the ocean horizon, surfers gracefully carve up waves, joggers limber up on the promenade and swimmers flip turn in Bondi Baths. The famous beach is buzzing from dawn to dusk and then Bondi’s night-time scene sparkles.The beautiful sandy beach is perfect for travel snaps or selfies at any time of the year. Just 8km from the city centre, Bondi is easy to get to by public transport – the trip from Town Hall is 30 minutes. Or you can take a scenic ferry ride from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay for a connecting bus to Bondi.
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Bronte Beach
Bronte is just over a kilometer’s walk south of Bondi. The beach itself faces east and picks up swell from any direction, but bulky headlands to the north and south and clusters of underwater rocks make conditions challenging, especially for swimmers. The south headland shapes Bronte’s premium wave, but it breaks across rocks so it’s for confident board-riders only.Those same rocks create a sheltered natural pool beloved of parents with young kids, while an ocean-fed lap pool tucked in beneath the south headland provides one of Sydney’s finest saltwater swim experiences (free entry). A wide grassy park behind the beach has barbecues and picnic tables and gives way to a wooded gully between rows of expensive houses on the opposing hillsides.
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Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
Offering visitors to Sydney an opportunity to join in and do what the locals do - the Bondi to Coogee Walk is a popular coastal walk offering beautiful coastline vistas, cosy beaches and cafe strips for refuelling. It is six kilometres long and takes about two hours to complete at a good pace, but why not break it up with a freshly squeezed juice or a relaxed coffee, then finish with a swim at Coogee Beach. The walk passes one of the world's more scenic operational cemeteries, the Waverley Cemetery where graves of famous Australians such as Henry Lawson can be found.
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Coalcliff Beach
Coalcliff is located 24 kilometres north of the Wollongong city centre. This is a small beach in the northern suburbs, surrounded by rocks and cliffs. It is also a popular fishing spot. There is a saltwater rock pool at the southern end of the beach. Explore the rocks for ocean life from this quite secluded beach. This beach is only patrolled from the commencement of the NSW school holidays in September until the end of April school holidays. Coalcliff beach is an on-lead dog-friendly beach during certain times. Time-sharing zone allowing access on the beach on leash in summer before 9 am and after 6 pm and in winter before 9 am and after 4 pm.
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Wombarra Beach
Wombarra Beach is a narrow 250 m beach fronting the slopes that lead up to the small town of the same name. The sand and cobble beach is located immediately south of the southern Scarborough rocks, with rocks and boulders backing the beach. It is fronted by rock platforms, leaving only a narrow break to provide direct access to the sea. A road provides access to the southern beach with a small car park and picnic area, however, this is more for the southern rock pool, than for the beach.
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Thirroul Beach
Thirroul Beach is one kilometre in length and faces east, so it picks up swell from most directions. There's little wind protection at either end, although big southerly swells or southerly winds get slowed up somewhat by the Sandon Point headland. Thirroul Beach is patrolled September to April and there is a saltwater pool that's great for a swim. Thirroul Beach is a timeshare dog zone. Time-sharing zone allows access on the beach on leash at certain times dependant on the season. However, McCauley's Beach is located directly to the south and an off-leash dog-friendly beach.
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Corrimal Beach
Corrimal Beach is 1.4 kilometres long and backed by fenced sand dunes, grassy reserves and Corrimal Beach Tourist Park. Holiday makers and local's alike enjoy this beach as it is long and private. A small lagoon proves popular with children for shallow paddling. Corrimal is located six kilometres north of Wollongong's central business district. Corrimal Beach is only patrolled from the commencement of the NSW school holidays in September to the end of the NSW April school holidays. North Wollongong Beach is the only beach in the area that is patrolled all year round. East Corrimal Beach, located to the north, is an off lead dog friendly beach. Once past the lagoon on Corrimal Beach this dog friendly area begins.
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North Wollongong Beach
Ideal for families, North Wollongong Beach has rock pools, wading areas, and good surf. There is plenty of grass, shade, and picnic booths. A children's playground is close by, and shops, cafes and amenities are provided. North Wollongong Beach is the only beach that's patrolled all year round making it the perfect place for a barbecue with full facilities provided. It is conveniently located along the shared cycle way. North Wollongong Beach hosts the NSW leg of the Beach Netball Festival and a round of the Ocean Six Series in annually and its the perfect spot to watch the New Year's Eve Fireworks. This Beach is not a dog friendly beach, however simply cross the lagoon to the north to find the off lead dog area. Dogs are permitted on the walkways and cycle tracks.
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Lake Illawarra
Lake Illawarra is located between the Illawarra escarpment and the Pacific Ocean on the NSW South Coast some 90 kilometres south of Sydney. Water flowing into it is both fresh (from the escarpment) and salty (from ocean tides). The Lake is approximately 9.5 kilometres long and 5.5 kilometres wide, with an area of 33 square kilometres and a maximum depth of 3.7 metres. 13 boat ramps surround the lake and is a popular recreational location. The lake is a popular spot for fishing, prawning, and all water sports. There is a boat and catamaran hire close by as well as several caravan parks. There is also a shared pathway that can be enjoyed by all. Reddall Reserve on the foreshore of Lake Illawarra is a popular spot for picnics with its children's playground, amenities and kiosk.
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Windang Beach
Windang Beach is located at the entrance to Lake Illawarra, 15 kilometres south of Wollongong's city centre. It offers spectacular views of the famous Five Islands off the Wollongong coastline. The beach is very popular with families and there is accommodation nearby at the local caravan park, which has views of the lake and the ocean. There is a large park at Windang Beach with barbecues, sheltered picnic areas, a playground, and a cycle path. Windang Beach and Lake Illawarra are good fishing areas.
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Murrays Beach
Known as the jewel in the Booderee National Park, Murrays Beach offers swimmers and snorkelers alike, pristine clear waters and pearly white sand. Perfect for families, Murrays Beach is situated in a protected bay which is sheltered by Bowen Island. Accessed via Jervis Bay Road through Booderee National Park, there are many self-guided walks around Murrays Beach from which to explore. From the Munyunga waraga dhugan (loop walk) to the various low tide walks, you are sure to leave with breathtaking views and sightings of Booderee's plants, animals, culture and history
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Connie Bay on Keswick Island
At the far north end of Keswick Island, Connie Bay is a secluded beach of sweeping white sand, turquoise water and fringing coral. The beach is quite secluded, which has made it a favourable area for nesting turtles. And nearby the majestic melaleuca wood is a point of interest for many visitors, especially when the swarms of vibrant blue butterflies are in residence.
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Catseye Beach
One of the main beaches on Hamilton Island, beautiful Catseye Beach is a perfect spot for relaxing, swimming, and enjoying a whole range of fun watersports. Hamilton Island Beach Sports is located right on the beach, and has catamarans, paddleboards, windsurfers, kayaks and snorkelling equipment available for hire. The long and curved Catseye Beach is a beautiful place to while away the hours - soaking up some sun, enjoying a good book, or swimming in the turquoise water. At low tide, take a leisurely stroll out on the sand flats and see the island from a different perspective.
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Hill Inlet
Hill Inlet in the Whitsundays is a stunning inlet located at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays. As the tide shifts, the white sand and blue hues of the inlet blend seamlessly to create a breathtaking mosaic. Hill Inlet is best viewed from the lookout at Tongue Point on Whitsunday Island. Most people moor their boats in Tongue Bay, take a dingy ashore and make the short uphill walk to the lookout for breathtaking views. If possible, try to reach the lookout when the tide is low to fully experience the beautiful fusion of colours that emerge. Not all operators visit Hill Inlet and the Tongue Point lookout on a Whitehaven Beach visit, so be sure to check before you book if you'd like to go to the lookout. There are several ways to experience the beauty of Hill Inlet. Many companies offer day trips to Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet by ferry, power boat or luxury yacht. Most overnight sailing trips also stop here.
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Hardy Reef
Hardy Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef near the Whitsundays, is home to thousands of spectacular reef fish including coral trout, travelly, snapper and smaller tropical species. Hardy Reef is also the location for the Reefworld pontoon, a permanent structure which has been in place for over twenty years. Visitors can experience excellent snorkelling and diving on Hardy Reef, and will see a myriad of interesting marine animals such as turtles, reef sharks, giant Maori Wrasse and even the two metre long Giant Queensland Gropers, which hang around the pontoon. Visitors can also view the stunning Hardy Reef from the air by seaplane or helicopter, including world-famous Heart Reef. The aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef and natural heart-shaped formation is a must-see experience for the Whitsundays.
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Airlie Beach Lagoon
The Airlie Beach Lagoon is situated right in the centre of Airlie Beach and has become the focal point of the area. When you want to meet someone you meet "at the Lagoon". If you want a great day of relaxation with no admission fee, "spend a day at the Lagoon". And the most rewarding thing of all is that the people of the Whitsundays have taken the Lagoon to their heart as much as tourists and visitors. The Airlie Beach Lagoon was officially opened by the Premier of Queensland on 8 January 2001. The experiences on offer are not just a result of the physical facilities but rather a combination of natural and man-made attributes that allow a visitor to enjoy Airlie Beach's "Beach", with all its security and support. The lagoon is surrounded by grassy knolls, perfect for a spot of sunbathing, or finding a quiet spot in the shade to read a book. The sandy beach area at one end provides a safe stinger free environment for the children to play in the shallows and the lagoon is surrounded by landscaped gardens for added aesthetic appeal. A children's pool is situated at one end.
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Balgal Beach
Balgal Beach forms part of the popular Northern Beaches district of Townsville North Queensland. Offering a superb sand beach and secure swimming in the stinger net from November to May, Balgal is ideal for a relaxing day by the ocean or a fun way to spend time with the whole family. The area is also a renowned river fishing location. For those wishing to explore deeper and head out to the Great Barrier Reef, Balgal Beach provides excellent boat ramp facilities and easy access to the spectacular Palm Island group. There are a number of licensed cafés and accommodation available in the area including holiday units and designated tent camping and vehicle camping areas.
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Port Phillip
Port Phillip is the entrance to Australia's busiest port and is one of Victoria's most popular recreational destinations. Every year millions of people enjoy its vast coastline, world-class swimming beaches and coastal parks. An entirely different perspective however is available to those who explore Port Phillip by boat. Island, shipwrecks and marine reserves dot Port Phillip, while scuba diving and fishing reveal the colourful diversity of Port Phillip's marine life.