7 beach getaways in southeast Queensland

7 beach getaways in southeast Queensland

Within easy reach of Brisbane, there's a beach for every type of traveler
The protected main beach at Noosa suits slow swimmers and idle beachcombers.

With kilometers of sandy beaches stretching from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast, sub-tropical southeast Queensland has a seaside holiday to suit most types.

In summer, these seaside towns fill up with tanned bodies in bikinis and board shorts.

Whether you're after surfing, adventure or beach loafing, one of these seven should be down your sandy stretch.

1. Beachside dining in Noosa

NoosaCosmopolitan life in Noosa lines the sands. Luxury resorts and fine dining along Hastings Street create a international vibe around Noosa. It's favored by yuppies and holidaying foodies.

The cosmopolitan hub is home to cafés, delis and al fresco restaurants.

Noosa's north-facing beach has calm conditions, so is popular with families and surfers who struggle to just stand up on that board.

Close to the beach, a stroll through Noosa National Park provides a wildlife fix of koalas, goannas and bush turkeys.

Don’t miss: Sipping lychee martinis as the sun goes down. The best views are at Bistro C Restaurant & Bar and Season Restaurant.  

Getting there: Noosa is a 30-minute drive from Sunshine Coast Airport. See www.visitnoosa.com.au

2. Natural adventures on Rainbow Beach

Rainbow BeachA touch of authentic Queensland on Rainbow Beach.Rainbow Beach is the choice for adrenalin junkies. It's also the gateway to the world’s largest sand island -- Fraser Island.

Parasailing, hang gliding and four-wheel driving are the main activities on the beach.

Experienced hikers will enjoy camping along the 46-kilometer Cooloola Wilderness Trail.

If all that sounds a little too exciting, more timid travelers go to Double Island Point Lighthouse to watch migrating whales.

Accommodation options include camping, caravan parks and apartments. 

Don’t miss: The colored sands, where the cliffs are an array of natural hues.

Getting there: Rainbow Beach is about a 90-minute drive from the Sunshine Coast Airport. See www.rainbow-beach.org

3. Boating off Mooloolaba

MooloolabaKeep your eyes peeled for celebrated sailors in Mooloolaba.

Mooloolaba's such a haven for boating it's the stomping ground of teenage solo sailor Jessica Watson.

But if circumnavigating the globe sounds a little challenging, you can kayak around the canals or rent a dinghy.

It’s less flashy than Noosa, with a few coastal playgrounds and picnic areas. And there are still enough cafés and bars to fulfill your addictions.  

Don’t miss: The “Loo With A View," a funky public toilet on the beach with water views (of the ocean).

Getting there: Mooloolaba is a 20-minute drive from the Sunshine Coast Airport. See www.mooloolabatourism.com.au

4. Having a beer on Stradbroke Island

StradbrokeRolling, easy-to-learn-on waves at Stradbroke Island."Stradi" has been going a bit upmarket, which can always feel a bit out of place in Queensland.

The old 1960s pub -- traditionally a hang out for fishermen and campers -- was demolished and re-opened as the Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel with fancy apartments, a day spa and a beer garden.  

Being an island, there are naturally plenty of sandy beaches ideal for swimming, surfing and fishing. And now there's a great spot for a cold beer after all the action.

Don’t miss: Fishes Café in Point Lookout for oysters, prawns, sand crabs and Moreton Bay bugs fresh from the trawlers.

Getting there: North Stradbroke Island is accessible from Brisbane by 20-minute water taxi or 45-minute vehicle ferry. See www.stradbrokeisland.com

5. Hang out with the kids on Moreton Island

Moreton IslandMoreton Island is 40 kilometers from Brisbane and a lot further from worry.About 95 percent of Moreton Island consists of national park. In the other five percent, you can camp or rent a beach house in one of the island’s townships -- Bulwer, Cowan or Kooringal.

Also, you could stay at the Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort on the west side of the island, which is great for kids.

Naturally, there are big gaps in between, so getting around requires a four-wheel drive.

Tangalooma’s activities include an ATV quad bike track suitable for all ages (the young ones zoom around in junior-sized bikes), fish-feeding tours among the shipwrecks and sand activities like dune boarding and beach cycling.

Don’t miss: Feeding the wild dolphins that swim up to the beach each evening.

Getting there: Moreton Island is 40 kilometers offshore from Brisbane and can be reached by passenger or vehicle ferry. See www.tangalooma.com

6. A bogan good time in Surfers Paradise

Gold CoastThe high-rise apartments that line the Gold Coast fill up during summer months.Fresh from being named as host for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Gold Coast is in the throes of a massive makeover, in a bid to lose its tag as the "most bogan-friendly town in Oz."

Surfers Paradise has a new pedestrian promenade and beach shelters are decorated with retro photography, shady picnic and barbeque areas and three new luxury hotels: Hilton Surfers Paradise, Soul Surfers Paradise and QT Gold Coast.  

There's plenty of action, with restaurants and bars for every occassion. Just watch out for those bogans after dark.

Don’t miss: Partying after dark in the pubs and dance clubs. 

Getting there: Surfers Paradise is about a 40-minute drive from the Gold Coast Airport. See www.surfersforeshore.com.au

7. Serious surfing off Coolangatta

Gold CoastBreaks off Coolangatta are etched into Australian surfing folklore.On the New South Wales border, Coolangatta is a magnet for serious surfers.  

It’s home to Tweed Heads & Coolangatta Surf Life Saving Club, which formed in 1911 and is the oldest Aussie club of its kind. Often they’re needed, as the swell can get huge.  

Snapper Rocks hosts one of the world’s longest rides -- over 1,000 meters of pure pleasure.

This is the place to catch a glimpse of some of the world's best competitors, including local surfers Stephanie Gilmore and Mick Fanning.

Don’t miss: A surfing lesson at Coolangatta Beach and celebrating New Year’s Eve twice, as New South Wales rings in the New Year an hour ahead of Queensland.

Getting there: Coolangatta is a five-minute drive from the Gold Coast Airport. See www.visitgoldcoast.com/coolangatta