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Mention “beach” to any Australian and the Gold Coast will invariably be dropped in the conversation. With so many beaches from which to choose, the only dilemma is naming ten of the best. From the tourism icons to the secret surf spots and places for a pleasant paddle, there’s something for everyone.

Main Beach

Popular with surfers for its huge swells, Main Beach boasts an iconic bathing pavilion. Pavilion 34 is now a retro beach café which serves chikko rolls, potato scallops, pineapple fritters and fish and chips. The Southport Surf Club next door was the Gold Coast’s first in 1936.

Surfers Paradise

There’s fewer actual surfers these days, but tourists flock to Surfers Paradise Beach due to its world-class reputation and its location. This three-kilometre stretch of sand is manned every day of the year by Gold Coast City Lifeguards and is within walking distance of shops and restaurants.

Broadbeach

Locals call this bathing beauty Broadie and its wide-open beach breaks are popular with surfers and boogie boarders. Neighbouring beach Kurrawa is popular with tourists with its oceanfront Surf Club, huge shady park and proximity to the Broadbeach and Oracle Malls shopping and dining precincts.

Mermaid Beach

There’s not too many mermaids at this evocatively-named patch of sand but what it lacks in sea sirens it makes up for with its Surf Club with pole position overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Known for its ‘millionaire’s row’, this is where the Gold Coast elite live.

Burleigh Heads

Beautiful Burleigh Heads sits about halfway between the northern and southern ends of the Gold Coast. On those rare rough days when the winds are blowing the wrong way, Burleigh offers one of the few protected spots in which to swim and sunbathe.

Palm Beach

Palm Beach’s coolest claim to fame is that is had been named Queensland’s Cleanest Beach not once, but three times. This laid-back stretch sits between Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin Creek and its streets and avenues are all in numerical order for easy navigation.

Currumbin Beach

There’s always plenty happening at Currumbin Beach whether its learning to surf in the “alley”, paddling the adjoining Currumbin Creek or hitting the beach itself. This is also home to Elephant Rock, from which dawn ANZAC Day services are held, adjacent to the Currumbin Surf Club.

Kirra

Beach erosion and reclamation at Kirra Beach has changed the game for many surfers over the years, but there’s still plenty who trek to Kirra bend to surf its breaks. In its place, there’s now plenty of sand for sunbathing and a calm corner in which to swim.

Coolangatta

One half of the Twin Towns, Coolangatta sits in Queensland while its twin Tweed Heads is in New South Wales. Apart from the opportunity to celebrate the New Year twice, Coolangatta is a popular surfing spot and great for those learning the craft as well.

Byron Bay

It’s not uncommon for Queensland surfers to trek over the border into northern New South Wales to Byron Bay for some of the country’s best breaks. Boasting more than 30km of beaches, Main Beach is best known but there’s also secret coves, nudist spots and dedicated dog beaches.