Coolangatta Qld and Tweed Heads NSW are coastal border towns whose 1950s rock 'n roll heyday made it the top destination for honeymooners and tourists. Since then, the hubs of Surfers and Broadbeach have become the recognisable face of the coast, however, "The Border" has experienced a surge in popularity in the last decade, with updated shopping, a plethora of new cafes and restaurants, and several high-end accommodation options for those who crave a little luxury.
Here's one way to have a perfect morning in Cooly:
An iconic club, which has become the largest club in Australia – largely due to the popularity it gained when Queenslanders had to travel over the border to gamble – Twin Towns Clubs & Resorts offers a great breakfast buffet, seven mornings a week, at Signatures.
Choose from every imaginable Aussie breakfast option, from a health-conscious cold breakfast with fruit, yoghurt and cereal, or a satisfying hot breakfast. Have your eggs cooked to your preference by their lovely chefs, as you wait for your plate to be stacked high with all these breakfast goodies. These guys offer an array of juices, teas and coffees, but also provide espresso coffee (yes, real coffee) upon request.
If there's a better all-you-can-eat breakfast around I would love to know about it: this place will fuel you up for a great day on-the-go in Coolangatta. Even better, just walk down the resort steps and across the pedestrian crossing, and you've got more shopping and dining just waiting for you, with the glorious beach straight out front.
How can you go wrong? A white-sand, north facing beach, with plenty of modern amenities and close to everything. Finish your breakfast and head through Reflections Tower, to pop out at the bustling Marine Parade, overlooking Coolangatta Beach. Make the most of it and learn how to surf, or just take a walk. To the left is Kirra Point and Bilinga Beach, to the right is the beautiful Greenmount, and further along is the protected Rainbow Bay, a favourite for families.
Once a caravan park, the Jack Evans Boat Harbour has been given a long-overdue facelift after years of sitting idle as a makeshift car park. The harbour is now flanked with boardwalks and well-lit walking and bike paths that kindly put to rest any lingering memories of a depressing, unused block of land. A great spot for taking an early morning dip, throwing a footy around, or using the new BBQ facilities, the parklands beckon you to explore; walk from the heart of Tweed Heads around the bay to Duranbah, and witness some of the best surfers on the coast.
A special spot for locals, with plenty of marriage proposals and weddings taking place in this little piece of paradise, Greenmount Point Lookout, at Pat Fagan Park, is definitely worth a look. The car park fills up quickly, so perhaps park at the Jack Evans Boat Harbour Parkland and walk instead: either straight up the hill past Greenmount Beach Resort, or via the scenic path that takes you past Greenmount Surf Club and around to Rainbow Bay Beach.
This bird's eye view of the coast gives you sweeping views over Coolangatta, Kirra and Bilinga beaches. You can spot Q1 in Surfers Paradise and see the whole coastline with ease. It's a beautiful sight, day and night, and there's BBQ facilities if you want to spend a little more time soaking up the view.
I think I've eaten at every sushi place in Queensland and New South Wales, and my local has the freshest and the best sushi anywhere. The staff at the Coolangatta store, located at Shop 11, Calypso Plaza on Griffith Street, are always welcoming. This casual dining restaurant has been recently renovated to create more much-needed space, and now offers booths, as well as seating up where the action is (at the train).
If you haven't been to a Sushi Train, the concept is simple: choose your preferred sushi off the train, pile up your plates, and pay the total (priced per plate – the average being $4.50) at the end of your meal.
For sushi virgins, try the many vegetable, chicken or tempura prawn options. Watch the chefs prepare everything as your dine, and request a plate if your favourite is not on the train. Grab a miso soup or green tea from the staff, or choose from the extended menu if you are after something more substantial.
This venue has been around forever, but underwent a huge transformation several years ago, bringing it up from a wild party hotel, to a modern, stylish and well-managed venue. If you like live music, this is the place to go on the southern Gold Coast – check out their gig guide and get your tickets early, as this is a popular place.
A beer before noon? Pull up a stool on the deck downstairs to watch the passing parade, while enjoying the beach views and crisp coastal air.
That's what I call a perfect morning in Coolangattta; now you just have to explore everything else that's on offer, to cap off one great day.