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The Best Beach Walks in South East Queensland

Home > Brisbane > Beaches | Day Trips | Lists | Outdoor | Walks
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published December 26th 2015
Enjoy the best coastal regions & beaches with these 5 walks
The Best Beach Walks in South East Queensland

Thanks to a friend who loves both the beach and walking, I have been doing more beach and coastal walks lately. I thought I would compile a list of the best beach walks in South East Queensland.

A family walking on a beach
A family walking on a beach


My ideal beach walk includes walking on the beach, on the tops of cliffs and ideally walking as part of a circuit. While not every walk meets all these criteria, they are all wonderful walks.

Noosa Heads National Park

The number one beach walk that I know of in the South East Queensland area is up at Noosa Heads. The ideal walk starts in the North and follows the Tanglewood track through the national park. Keep a lookout in the trees for Koalas.

The coast at Noosa Heads National Park
The coast at Noosa Heads National Park


We normally take the shorter route that ends up at the north end of Alexandria Bay, but if you want a longer walk then head down to Sunshine Beach and then follow the paths back up to Alexandria Bay. You then need to walk along the beach to rejoin the path.

Be aware that Alexandria bay is an unofficial nudist beach. Which means you might see more body parts that you bargained for, though you might also want to shed your inhibitions along with everything else and enjoy nature.

Alexandria Bay
Alexandria Bay


The last part of the walk follows the tops of cliffs back to where you started. You could swim at Nossa Main Beach but our preference is the quiet and sheltered Tea Tree Bay.

Tea Tree Bay is the best place for a swim
Tea Tree Bay is the best place for a swim


This walk is the perfect combination of beaches, cliffs, bushland and a circuit which ends close to where you can find cafe and takeway shops to enjoy coffee, tea, a snack or a meal.

Bribie Island's Red Beach: Bongaree to Woorim

One of my all time favourite beach walks, it takes you 8 kms along along the southern end of Bribie Island from Bongaree to Woorim. The walk links two little townships and is along Bribies wonderful wide white sandy beaches where mostly you are away from other people. For dog walkers, most of the walk is leash free.

Walking along Red Beach on Bribie Island, far from others
Walking along Red Beach on Bribie Island, far from others


If you time the walk right, you can have breakfast at Bongaree, walk to Woorim, have a swim and enjoy lunch at Woorim, then return to Bongaree for ice cream at the famous Scoopy's ice creamery. Now you could take the bus back to Bongaree, but it is actually a pleasant 5 km walk along the road. The path is off set from the road in bushland, which makes it a nice walk.

The walk starts at Bongaree
The walk starts at Bongaree


If you just want to visit red beach without all the walking, there are well maintained dirt roads that give beach access through the bushland that borders the beach. However overall it is an pleasant isolated walk where you can choose not get your feet wet or, like me, take off your shoes and walk in the water. Be aware that you should go prepared with plenty of water and maybe some snacks.

A couple walking along the Red Beach in Bribie Island
A couple walking along the Red Beach in Bribie Island


From Surfers Paradise to the Spit

The Gold Coast is over 30 kms of beaches so obviously there are going to many great places to walk here. For a simple beach walk with lookouts consider Mermaid Beach to Burleigh Heads. However for something different with a great deal of variety, one very interesting option is to walk to The Spit.

The buildings of Surfers Paradise seen from bushland at The Spit
The buildings of Surfers Paradise seen from bushland at The Spit


While the image of the Gold Coast is a highly developed city with a lot of high rise, The Spit is the polar opposite, being mostly coastal bushland.

You probably don't want to walk all the way from Surfers Paradise as that would make the walk 7 km one way (14 kms return). Though keen walkers won't mind and you can have a side diversion to the McIntosh Island Park which includes a pond and grounds where peacocks roam.

McInstosh Island Park
McInstosh Island Park


If you don't wish to walk so far, instead drive or take a bus up to Main Beach The bush paths start just north of the Southport Surf Life Saving Club (which ironically is not in Southport but in Main Beach). From here the paved path starts which will later lead to dirt and sand paths.The distance to the Spit is now only 4 kms (8 kms return).

The start of the walk is a well maintained path
The start of the walk is a well maintained path


I would recommend walking along the beach up to The Spit. There you have the jetty as well as the spit itself you can visit. There is a nice patrolled beach if you want to swim. The essential stop is the excellent fish & chip shop. It gets busy on weekends as it is the only choice there. When the weather is fine and the crowds are in, be prepared to wait.

The Spit
The Spit


Then it is back along the paths to the start of the walk. Overall a unique walk on the Gold Coast. Also consider doing this as a bike ride. You can rent beach bicycles with fat tires from Surfers Paradise and do part of the ride along the beach. They now rent out electric beach bicycles which make sand riding much easier.

Cyclists heading out to the spit along the sandy bush trails
Cyclists heading out to the spit along the sandy bush trails


The Gorges Walk on North Stradbroke Island

One of the best easy coastal walks in the Brisbane area is the Gorges Walk on North Stradbroke Island. This walk goes from Point Lookout and Main Beach down to Cylinder Beach, a distance of around 2.5 kms.

Main Beach seen from Point Lookout
Main Beach seen from Point Lookout


Getting to the island is fairly easy. There is a regular ferry from Cleveland. It is usually easier to take the passenger ferry and then take the bus to Point Lookout. But if you plan to see other attractions such as Blue or Brown Lakes, then you need to take your car across on the car ferry. Ideally you will need a 4WD for the sandy paths to the lakes.

The ferry to North Stradbroke Island
The ferry to North Stradbroke Island


This walk goes along cliff tops, but unfortunately for part of the path you need to walk alongside the road. The views are amazing and of course Cylinder Beach is a perfect combination of a surf break further out and gentle waters near the beach.

The cliffs on the gorges walk on North Stradbroke Island
The cliffs on the gorges walk on North Stradbroke Island


After the walk, we usually head up the Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel for good food, great views and entertainment. Note: to get there from Cylinder Beach, walk to the end of the beach and follow the path until you see a branch going off up to the hotel. Or you can walk through the camping grounds, jump the ditch, walk up the ridge and then jump the fence to get there.

The path to Cylinder Beach
The path to Cylinder Beach


If you drove, then either walk back along the road to the start or take the bus back. If you came by bus, it is even easier, as you can then take the bus back to the ferry.

Cylinder Beach is the perfect place for a swim
Cylinder Beach is the perfect place for a swim


Overall, a short little stroll which should be on everyone's lists to do. It is the cliffs that make this such a nice walk, but I think Noosa Heads National is a much nicer walk for people looking for longer walks.

One of the spectacular gorges on North Stradbroke Island
One of the spectacular gorges on North Stradbroke Island


Tweed Heeds/Coolangatta

For the 5th walk for this list I was tossing up between many great locations, when I remembered my favourite sunrise walk on the Gold Coast. Actually the walk crosses the state lines from New South Wales to Queensland. This lovely little walk has great sunrise views and several options for swimming at the end of the walk.

Sunrise at Tweed Heads
Sunrise at Tweed Heads


The place to start this walk is the Chris Cunningham Park in New South Wales. Then it is just a matter of walking along the Tweed River until you arrive at the ocean. The spit there gives you great ocean views and views of the popular locals surf beach, Duranbah.

Fisherman at Duranbah Beach
Fisherman at Duranbah Beach


The path goes up the cliff to the Captain Cook Memorial. This would be the place to watch the sunrise (or at night, the moonrise). Then you continue on around Snapper Rocks to Rainbow Bay.

Rainbow Bay at Sunset
Rainbow Bay at Sunset


I think Rainbow Bay is the best spot for swimming, but you can walk another 100 meters or so and swim at Coolangatta Beach instead. Coolangatta is the better location for somewhere to have coffee, cake or a meal. Though the Rainbow Bay Surf Club is an excellent location for beers in the afternoon or evening and the Cafe dbar opposite back at the Captain Cook Memorial serves great food along with views and a little art gallery.

Drinks at the Rainbow Bay Surf Life Saving Club
Drinks at the Rainbow Bay Surf Life Saving Club


Because you are walking around the heads, it is just perhaps 200 meters walk along the streets back to the start from Coolangatta beacht. This is a lovely little walk of around 3.5 kms. I included it on the list because of the diversity of beaches, cliffs and sunrise views in such a short space.


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Your Comment
Fantastic pics. Love coastal walks. Its a real meditation
by Rota (score: 2|708) 1080 days ago
How long would the Noosa Heads National Park Walk take? Is it easy to access without a vehicle?
by janes (score: 0|6) 1081 days ago
there is a great coastal walk from Bulcock beach Caloundra north to Currimundi
by allba (score: 0|4) 1080 days ago
Roy, What about walks in the Bay? Manly? Beautiful Scott's Point ?
Anne
by aforb (score: 0|2) 1080 days ago
You should also mention Burleighs Heads.
Take the coastal path from Burleigh to Tallebudgera and have a swim in the creek.
Then take the forest walk back over the hill to Burleigh stopping at the panoramic lookout at the top.
by Weeke (score: 0|2) 1080 days ago
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