Coast’s best hidden gem swimming spots
The Gold Coast is swell for swimming, but where do you go when you want a break from the crowds? Amber Macpherson has found 10 of the best underrated spots for cooling off.
Recently named second in travel company Escape's best Australian beaches, Currumbin Creek is the quiet achiever compared to its trendier cousin Tallebudgera Creek.
Division 14 councillor Gail O'Neill says the river mouth and sandy shoreline has been her local swim spot for decades.
"All of my children are in their 30s now, I was taking them to Currumbin when they were babies," she says.
"You can do everything - it's not limited to one thing. There's a safe swimming area there, then you've got the surf beach at Currumbin.
"Especially with the estuary there too, you've got an option for families and little kids. It's really popular with the stand up paddle boarders, and you've got that magnificent view all the way to Surfers."
Elephant Rock is a curious landmark worth the stroll down the waterfront, while the adjacent Currumbin Vikings Surf Club affords spectacular views of the ocean while tucking into a pint and parmie.
Cr O'Neill also says Currumbin Creek's location directly under the flight path to the Coolangatta Airport also makes for an exciting spectacle.
"I know people think this is strange, but I think it's fantastic to stand on the beach and have planes go so close overhead," she said.
"To hear the roar of the plane go overhead is wonderful."
Canyon Parade, Springbrook
Nothing beats cooling off under a waterfall after a decent hike. Twin Falls is in Springbrook National Park and requires a 2km trek to the base of the rainforest, where you'll be greeted with water cascading over a 50m cliff face into a pool below. People often swim in the rock pool when it's deep enough, however with the recent dry weather it might be tricky to fully submerge. Instead, walk along the track behind the waterfall and edge your way down into the natural shower for a cool off in its purest form.
Currumbin Rock Pools
Currumbin Creed Rd, Currumbin Valley
Heading west in search of a swimming spot might feel unnatural to some but the Currumbin Rock Pools are one of the region's most popular watering holes. The creek bed is a collection of large rock pools filled with chilled water, some shallow and some deep enough to jump in via rope swing. It's a super easy spot to find, located just steps from the nearby carpark off Currumbin Creek Rd, and has been made into a parkland with barbecues, toilets and picnic tables. The family-friendly facilities mean there's dozens of daily visitors sharing the space, but you'll be able to find your own section of tranquillity a short walk up or down stream.
Araluen Swimming Hole
Tallebudgera Creek and Araluen roads, Tallebudgera Valley
Araluen Swimming Hole in Tallebudgera Valley is truly a hidden gem. This refreshing utopia is a local's secret, a pool of freshwater surrounded by shady trees and lots of grass to stretch out on. The pool of water is expansive and deep, and the only human interference on this lush patch of land is in the form of a rope swing that will have you squealing with excitement. On that note, make sure to plan ahead and pack plenty of food and water. The Araluen Swimming Hole is on the corner of Tallebudgera Creek Rd and Araluen Rd.
Snapper Rocks Rd, Coolangatta
Next door to the infamous surfing mecca Snapper Rocks is the secluded Froggy Beach, aptly named after a rock on the small surrounding headland shaped and painted like an adorable green amphibian. It's only a small patch of sand but it's protected by gusty southerlies and is accessed by the Oceanway footpath off Snapper Rocks Rd. Nearby rock pools are great for a relaxing dip or exploring, home to plenty of little sea creatures as well as the remnants of a seabath from the now dismantled Jack Evans Porpoise Pool.
135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise
The Home of the Arts parklands house a calm wading pool that's ideal for young children and those not interested in getting tossed around in the surf like a sock in a washing machine. The flat water is fed by the Nerang River and has its own sandy shoreline. The surrounding grassy fields have dozens of shady trees so it's a great spot to roll out a picnic blanket and relax after a paddle. Nearby, the council chambers are always hosting activities for children during school holidays, and the weekly farmers market are a great spot to load up the picnic basket.
Gold Coast Hwy, Southport
Families flock to these parklands every weekend with scooters and skateboards in tow, but those in the know pack the togs as well. The Broadwater Parklands is the redeveloped Southport foreshore and is designed for little tackers to splash about without battling the ocean. It's home to a netted swimming spot with a pontoon for jumping, a marine playground with interactive fountains and an inflatable obstacle course floating off shore (parents need to buy course passes for children).
Seaworld Drive, Main Beach
Never mind people watching, this is the place to watch dogs race towards the water without a care in the world. While it's popular with surfers and dog owners, the sandy shorelines of Main Beach in the north are great for sunseekers and swimmers. There's plenty of room to stretch out or run amok on the sand, and no buildings behind means no three o'clock skyscraper shadow. A groyne creates protection from gusty northerlies and Surf Life Savers have flags set up on the beach just south of the jetty.
Marine Pde, Kingscliff
This spot is New South Wales' version of Currumbin Creek and worth the trek across the border. Cudgen Creek is found at Kingscliff and is a serene estuary with clear, aqua water and typically calm conditions that are great for wading, kayaking and snorkelling. It's a popular spot for families with young children looking to splash around without getting dumped by waves. At low tide an exposed sandbank makes a great spot for deserted island dreaming. Stay for the whole day and watch the sun's reflection on the water as it sets over Mt Warning in the west.
Lighthouse Pde, Kingscliff
This peaceful patch of paradise comes with a warning - the ocean at Dreamtime Beach may look inviting but it's notorious for rips and undercurrents, so swim at your own risk. That being said, this serene beach is worth a day trip for more than its cooling off potential. Walk through the remains of an ancient rainforest to the lighthouse on the headland, with views out to Cook Island. Gaze at the collection of hexagonal-shaped rocks beneath the lighthouse and then continue down the basalt outcrop to Dreamtime Beach, where views of a sweeping coastline await. If the temptation to take a dip is too much but you're not confident in the water, there's a patrolled area 400m away at Fingal Beach.