Queensland’s Gold Coast is awash with glitz and glamour: buzzing Surfers Paradise, glittering casino and hotel towers, impressive waterfront homes. But there are also pockets of peace, where swimmers and surfers spend their days in and by the water, and the dress code is more likely to involve boardies and thongs than dinner jackets. Currumbin, about 30 minutes’ drive from Cavill Avenue, is one of those spots. Plan your next relaxing Gold Coast getaway to this laid-back beachfront neighbourhood, from exploring the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to sipping on a pale ale made by a world champion surfer.
Visit a world-class wildlife sanctuary
A mere block back from Currumbin Beach, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is 27 hectares of native Australian animals just doing their thing – koalas napping on eucalypt branches (breaking for a quick cuddle here and there), red and grey kangaroos bouncing about, short- beaked echidnas snuffling in the sand and rainbow lorikeets making a mess of their breakfast. There are a few ring-ins in the park, too, such as South American capybaras, red pandas from the Himalayas and ring-tailed lemurs native to Madagascar. A family day pass is $149.95 – including demonstrations that showcase the talents of the sanctuary’s reptilian and avian inhabitants – while closer animal encounters, like high tea with the koalas, can be purchased separately. All the sanctuary’s proceeds go towards wildlife conservation.
Explore the rock pools
If you want to cool off but don’t feel like shaking sand from your swimmers for the rest of the day, head to the Currumbin Rock Pools. This lush swimming spot, beloved by locals, is in Currumbin Valley – about a 15-minute drive from the beach. It has a variety of pools with different depths so toddlers can safely have a splash, as well as a few mini waterfalls and a rope swing to keep older kids entertained. There’s a small café close by but the best way to spend the afternoon is to utilise the onsite barbecues and stretch out on the grass to enjoy your post-swim sausage sandwich, soaking up the sun before you have another dip.
Immerse yourself in surf culture
The right-hand point break of Currumbin Alley, where the ocean meets Currumbin Creek, is a boon for experienced surfers but it’s also a great spot for beginners, thanks to consistent whitewash perfect for gaining your balance. When you’ve dried off, check out Surf World Gold Coast; this museum dedicated to ocean culture holds the country’s largest collection of surfboards, as well as an array of surf photography, films and memorabilia.
Seek out the best bars and cafés
Start your day waveside at one of Currumbin’s many beachfront (or creek-adjacent) cafés and coffee stops. The Salt Mill serves bright açaí bowls overloaded with toasted granola and tropical fruits, while Portside Coffee is ideal for a flat white and a sugar-sprinkled pastry. Afternoon brews, paired with burgers and tacos, are best enjoyed at Balter, the brewery founded by Mick Fanning and a clutch of champion Australian surfers. For a seriously laid- back evening feast, try Currumbin RSL’s Alleys menu, which blends club classics such as barramundi and Scotch fillet with fresh poke bowls and salads.
Image credit: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary; Tourism and Events Queensland; Currumbin RSL/Carole Marg and Caco Photography.