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Surf. Stay. Play: Coolangatta
As a perennial surf destination, and one of our favorite places to base ourselves during the #ROXYpro event every year, Coolangatta on Queensland’s Gold Coast, never fails to deliver the goods. And when we say ‘goods’, we mean, long sunny days, crystal clear water a short stroll from your apartment, and a coastline of breaks waiting for you to paddle out and enjoy.
Although the crowds swell in Cooly around late February for the opening event on the annual WSL World Championship tour, there’s more than meets the eye, after the elite surfers have left and crowds have thinned out.
We pulled together some of our favorites for you, as an insider's guide to your next Australian adventure.
Where to begin….!? We’ll start at one end of the coast and work our way down.
Duranbah or ‘Dbah’ to the locals, sits just around the corner of Snapper Rocks and draws a consistent local crowd when it’s firing. With the rivermouth breakwall providing a powerful platform for the incoming swell, there’s barrels to be found here more often than not.
With Snapper Rocks, aka the ‘Superbank’ playing host to the finest surfers year after year, (and home to #ROXYpro Champion Stephanie Gilmore) it is undoubtedly one of the best point breaks in the World. It’s one of the best for the fans too, with competition rolling by as you stand ankle deep in the bay. As one of the best breaks on the coast, it draws a crowded lineup 365 days a year, making it tricky to catch a wave on any given day - pack your patience and some good turns to dodge the punters.
Greenmount provides some fun and looooooooong easy rights - set the cruise control and enjoy. Although if Snapper is firing, say during a cyclone swell, you’ll need to swap your log for something shorter to tackle the playful a-frames rolling through.
Rainbow Bay has to be one of our absolute favorites for clean lines to trim with a longboard. From sunrise to sunset (around 5.30am to 6pm) you can usually catch a steezy display of local loggers cross-stepping by, perfect inspiration for your next session.
Die-hard fans of the Quik and ROXY pro events may remember a finals day in 2013 when it was run at Kirra beach and the perfect barrelling madness the Kirra bank delivered. Depending on the sandbank when you visit, you might get a glimpse of some of Kirra’s finest.
With the excitement of the event hardly giving us much time to lounge indoors, our balcony at Columbia Apartments gives you the most incredible views across Rainbow Bay. More often than not it was used to send a few sunny snaps back to friends feeling the FOMO from across the globe.
Coffee is a daily ritual in Australia and with a cafe on every corner (well, almost!), you don’t need to venture far for a caffeine hit.
Rise with the sun, and you’ll join the multitude of active locals pounding the pavements each morning walking, jogging or skating along the esplanade, from Snapper to the Kirra roundabout. Stop by the Boardriders Coolangatta store for a coffee, smoothie or a light breakfast on the way back.
Much like a crowded snapper lineup, Little Mali usually has a line trailing out the door but we promise it’s worth the wait!
If you’re looking for something more substantial to go with your early morning flat white, take the trek up the hill to Cafe Dbar and enjoy their delicious breakfasts. Or if you like a sleep-in wander up the hill for lunch and take in the view of the line-up at D-Bah from the first floor of the cafe.
When you’re not in the water, we recommend you hire a car and explore the expansive coastline. A short 20 minute drive from Coolangatta will have you in the breezy coastal town of Cabarita. We spent a day there and couldn’t get enough of the empty beaches, uncrowded waves and an afternoon refresher at Halcyon House.
If you’re feeling like more of a road trip, head 1 hour south to Byron Bay and spend the day surfing the popular waves at the Pass then wander the streets checking out the boho stores and decide what to eat for lunch from the array of cool cafes and restaurants.
Our personal fave place to lay our towel and relax while we’re in Byron is Wategos beach. On a beautiful sunny day we think it’s the definition of heaven.
Once the sun sets and you’re hunting down the ideal place for dinner, we defy you to walk past Beach Burrito Co and their tacos and vegie fries. If you can, you’re a better person than us!
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what Coolangatta has on offer, which is why we love coming back time and time again! If you find yourself exploring a few of our favorites or discovering new one, make sure to tweet us your experiences.