In a coastline that shimmers with beachside jewels, Currumbin Beach and its feature attraction, Elephant Rock, is a glittering diamond amongst them all.
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Regularly awarded the title of the cleanest beach in Queensland and a part of the World Surfing Reserve, Currumbin’s white sands and pristine waters stretch from the iconic Currumbin Vikings Surf Club and famed Elephant Rock all the way north to Currumbin Rock, just south of the Currumbin Creek Estuary. A favourite destination for many, including our team at Brisbane Kids, below are all the reasons we love Currumbin Beach and Elephant Rock.
Planning an early start is the best way to start your day at Currumbin. Popular for many reasons, it is one of the few Gold Coast favourites with a generous amount of free beachside car parks too (as long as you can get there early). We would recommend heading straight to the southern end of the beach first, before 8am if you can, and stealing a space right out front of two of the main draw cards to this end – the Currumbin Vikings Surf Club and, right beside it, Elephant Rock.
Standing large and prominent at the southern end of Currumbin Beach is Elephant Rock. The remains of ancient volcanic activity, you can climb to the top to take in sweeping views out to Surfers Paradise to the north and Currumbin to the south.
Access to the very steep but short flight of stairs to the viewing platform at the top of Elephant Rock can be found at the entrance to the surf club. Although steep, this is easily navigated by children and the viewing platform at the top is a flat concreted area with rails, making it a safe area to stand.
Tip: It is a good idea to take a $2 coin with you when you head to the viewing platform at the peak of Elephant Rock. There is a set of viewing binoculars you can operate from the top which the kids will love!
Directly in front of Elephant Rock is a set of flattened rocks that, when the water enters, creates a scattering of small, shallow pools. Ocean waves splash up onto them and seep steadily in and out of the rocks, making it a fabulous place for kids to fossick in.
Aside from its dominant form and sweeping coastal vantage point, Elephant Rock has also become an important site for other reasons. Over the years, it has become a significant site for the annual Anzac Day Dawn Service and houses a war memorial plaque at the western base of the rock.
Currumbin Rock (The Rock)
At the northern end of Currumbin Beach is yet another large, imposing rock structure. With the long stretch of beach to its left, the northern side of ‘Currumbin Rock’ is where the inlet from the ocean into Currumbin Creek is found. This area is famous for its surf, and the rock and its neighbouring rock walls and pools serve as a natural lookout for eager surfers keen to check out the swell. It is common to see this area lined with people gazing out to sea.
Currumbin – Swimming Areas
Currumbin has three main swimming areas that people love to explore when they are in the area. These are Currumbin Beach, The Alley and Currumbin Creek Beach. Each has their own draw cards, which we have listed below.
Currumbin Beach is the main stretch of sand running from Elephant Rock to Currumbin Rock (aka The Rock). It is gorgeously flawless, wide and surprisingly not that busy most of the time, mostly because it is predominantly used by surfers that love the waves here, spending their time in the water and not so much on the sand.
The Currumbin Beach Life Saving Club patrols the beach year-round, their offices based underneath the hugely popular beachside restaurant and beside Elephant Rock on the southern end.
To the right of The Rock you will find The Alley, the inlet of the Pacific Ocean and Currumbin Creek River. Patrolled by lifesavers, this protected lagoon-like swimming area is Currumbin’s most popular destination for families. With areas and water play that cater to everyone, it is impossible not to love this spot.
Known as a hotspot for surfers and families teaching little ones to try balancing on a board for the first time, The Alley offers world-class breaks that seasoned boarders drool over and smaller breaks on the sand for the youngest ones.
Extremely popular all year round, it is probably best to stick to the lagoon area and creek if you are just after a swim as the waves are usually teeming with surfboards.
The estuary offers a protected, shallow lagoon space for kids to play in and a wide, white sandy beach perfect for sunbaking or throwing a frisbee. The wide stretch of sand covered by a thin layer of water makes it a spot where babies and toddlers can sit and splash safely with their parents. Kids with a keen sense of adventure also love paddling across to the small sandy beach opposite the main area.
If the tide is in and the creek is full, you can kayak or paddle the full 8.1km to the end of the creek. Popular with all forms of water sport and fishing, the area flows from the inlet and is a hot spot for BBQs, picnics, camping and swimming!
Things to do at Currumbin
Well, this one is obvious. Listed in the World Surfing Reserve, the right-hand breaks at the Alley are perfect for seasoned surfers, while the smaller inside waves cater for beginner and longboard riders. The surf here is so consistent that even on their worst days it is still a favoured spot to surf over many other surrounding areas.
If you are keen to get some surfing lessons before hitting the waves, checking out the different vans usually stationed in the carpark and on the street that runs parallel to the beach is a good idea. Popular companies, like Currumbin Alley Surf School, offer a range of options, such as group lessons, individual lessons, and even a variety of 8-week surfing challenges you can sign up for.
Visit Wallace Nicoll Park
Directly across the road from The Alley carpark is Wallace Nicoll Park. If you have packed a picnic and are finding the beach a little too hot, then the park’s generous green lawn, playground and shady trees will make the perfect setting to cool down in. With an old and newer toilet block on either end, BBQs, a boiling water station and sheltered picnic tables all found on the one long green stretch, this is a great place to head for your lunchtime spread.
Climb the stairs to the Alf and Kathleen Neumann Lookout
An almost hidden stairway is tucked away at the back of Wallace Nicoll Park, just behind the BBQs. The little-known Alf and Kathleen Neumann Lookout provides the ultimate fitness climb for locals, who travel up and down its short but steep route, and a scenic outlook for those who reach the top.
A viewing platform at its peak gifts conquerers a view of the coastline below, although when we decided to venture up this was only seen as glimpses through the branches of trees surrounding it. Walking within the surrounding natural landscape, the stairs dappled with sunlight and seaside scenery, make the trip up and back worth it regardless.
Explore the Currumbin Scenic Circuit
For those wanting to take in all of Currumbin’s beauty, this Scenic Route found at Bushwalk is well worth venturing out for. The Currumbin Scenic Circuit is 7.1km and takes roughly 1 – 3 hours to complete, depending on which highlights you visit.
This walk takes you on a circuit in Currumbin’s coastal and urban areas, visiting beaches, parks and lookouts along the way. Stroll through the surrounding suburbs, cross the Currumbin Creek to visit the Beree-Badalla Reserve of Palm Beach, sunbathe on the gorgeous beaches, dive into the welcoming waters of the Pacific and eat at any restaurant of your choice.
Bike or stroll down the Jubilee Walkway
On 6 February 2022, Queen Elizabeth II marked her Platinum Jubilee and the first time a British monarch has reigned for 70 years. To celebrate this historic milestone, The Jubilee Walkway was officially opened on 2 June 2022, together with other Jubilee celebrations held throughout the Commonwealth.
70 bronze markers – one for each of The Queen’s years as monarch – are in the path along the iconic Gold Coast Oceanway. They link Philip Park, Main Beach (named for Prince Philip) with Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta. The Walkway features 20 interactive signs at key marker locations along the Oceanway. Walk, run or cycle between the markers. When you find a sign, scan the unique QR code for facts about Her Majesty’s Coronation and stories about the local area. A quick walk between Currumbin Beach and Tugun is a nice stroll for those not looking for too long a route.
Immerse yourself in the Swell Sculpture Festival
For the last two decades, Currumbin has hosted the largest outdoor sculpture festival in Queensland. Spread out along Currumbin’s beaches and Mary Nicoll Park, the Swell Sculpture Festival has grown each year in size and popularity. Bringing artistic life to the area every September, the festival celebrates local, emerging, established, national and international artists.
If you are in the area or can time your trip to this time of year, I promise you the festival is well worth checking out. Kids will love immersing themselves in the larger-than-life sculptures and art pieces, while also being able to run on the sands and clamber over the rocks that Currumbin is also famous for.
Eat and Drink your way around Currumbin
Currumbin is overflowing with amazing places to eat. From gourmet restaurants to cafes to fish and chip takeaway joints, the area has something for everyone – and more! In our opinion though, a trip to Currumbin should include a stop in at the famed Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Life Saving Club. With no other venue able to boast such a prime location, the surf club is situated right on the beach, beside Elephant Rock, with views over the ocean and down the beach to Surfers Paradise.
Large glass windows cover every wall, bi-folding open to provide breathtaking views that make concentrating on the delicious food you get served hard to do. With a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu on offer and a ‘nippers menu’ for the kids, you may find it hard to go anywhere else.
Visit the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated a mere stroll away from the Elephant Rock end of Currumbin Beach is the beloved Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Known for its early morning (be there by 8am) or end of day lorikeet feeding times, a quick pop in to this area at the entrance to the park is free and an experience worth detouring for. This means you don’t need to pay for entry to the sanctuary to take part in the feeding (you will need a gold coin for the food).
Kids will love feeding the colourful birds, with my children always squealing in delight whenever a tame lorikeet perched on the end of their feeder, on their shoulders, and even on their heads.
Situated on over 27 hectares of lush eucalyptus and rainforest, there is so much more to discover inside the gates – from wildlife to a high ropes course for the kids. There are shows and animal feeding exhibitions nearly every 30 minutes throughout the day, so be sure to check out the timetable before you come or as soon as you arrive (it’s printed on the park map you are given). We pretty much followed it from 8am – 1pm and in that time were kept busy with different impressive shows as well as some up close animal encounters.
Currumbin – Quick Facts
Below are some quick facts and information about what you can find and expect at Currumbin.
Toilets: Yes! There are multiple toilet blocks, including disability toilets, at the Alley and Currumbin Creek end. Toilets are also located in the Life Saving Club as well.
Beach showers: Yes! Beach showers can be found at the entrance / exit to the beaches.
BBQs: Mary Wallace Nicoll Park has electric BBQs and a boiling water station too.
Picnic shelters and shade: Sheltered picnic tables are found at Mary Wallace Nicoll Park.
Water sports zones: Absolutely! From surfing, to paddle boarding, to body boarding and more. It is all well catered for at Currumbin.
Playground: Yes. Mary Nicoll Park playground can be found opposite the Alley beach entrance.
Walking tracks: Oh yes! So many wonderful walking tracks can be found in Currumbin – including Jubilee Walkway.
Can I take dogs to Currumbin Beach
Yes. Generally speaking, dogs are welcome leashed on Gold Coast Beaches, including Currumbin Beach (unless specifically prohibited). A prohibited area lies between the area of foreshore from the Currumbin Alley rocks through to Woodgee St. An off-leash dog beach is the southern end of the beach from Tower 13 to Currumbin Creek. There are fountains that even the dogs can enjoy! The Gold Coast City Council has a handy brochure covering the prohibited places and the best off-leash areas to make it easy for you to get about with your furry friend.
Things we love about Currumbin (as parents)
Seriously, what is not to love about Currumbin as a parent? Some of my absolute favourites include things like:
- Aside from this beach and area providing water play activities for all ages, the protected estuary and shallow waters that ebb over the sand banks mean even the smallest kids can safely splash around.
- The free parking at both ends and ample side street parking opportunities means that you can happily while the day away without worrying about re-filling a metre or walking huge distances to get to the location.
- All of the different food options, from packing a picnic to eating at a cafe to eating at the surf club right on the beach, means that not too much pre-planning needs to happen to ensure the family can be happily fed throughout the day.
- The areas are all patrolled by lifeguards all year round.
Things that kids love most about Currumbin
Umm, gee let me think. How are EVERYTHING?! Or to name a few….
- The warmer water temperature.
- Getting adventurous and climbing the rocks.
- Fossicking for marine life and shells in the rock pool areas.
- Long stretches of beach to run and play on.
- The playground and park spaces.
- Surfing and partaking in all of the wonderful water sports.
Tips for those planning a visit to Currumbin Beach
- The white sand and exposed beach area mean it can get quite glarey at times and hot. Be sure to take a beach tent or sunshade tent if you have one.
- Pack some rock or water shoes. The rock areas can be quite sharp and uncomfortable under bare feet.
- Definitely pack the ‘three S’s’ – sunnies, sunscreen and SNACKS!
- Take some $2 coins to use the binoculars stationed at the viewing platform on Elephant Rock.
- Leave early – not only because you will need a full day to see and experience all Currumbin has to offer – but because the early bird gets the worm….or the best beachside parking spot at least!
- As there is just SO MUCH to do at The Alley and Creek areas, start your day at the Elephant Rock end. Climb the rock, and admire the surroundings before jumping back in the car and parking at The Alley beach area for the rest of your stay.
- Pack a picnic if you can, as you may not want to venture too far away once you have settled in. You can always head to the park for a lunchtime spread before returning to the beach for an afternoon swim later.