Rainbow Bay is hidden away in a secluded section at the southern end of Queensland’s famous Gold Coast, known worldwide for its perfect weather, beautiful golden sand beaches and some of the best surfing breaks in the world. The Gold Coast is generally the number one spot for overseas and interstate visitors alike. Rainbow Bay is practically right on the Queensland/New South Wales border, making it an ideal base to visit the best of both States.
The pace at the southern end of the Gold Coast is slower and more relaxed than Surfer’s Paradise, with the focus here, more on natural entertainment involving, surf, sun and sea than the man-made attractions and theme parks that are still just a short drive up the scenic coastline. There are few high-rise buildings here with the holiday accommodation mainly in small apartment blocks and some very nice up-market resorts. Although the pace and wholesomeness appeals to families and older folk, the number of world-class beaches also make it a must for young people on a surfing adventure.
Activities are free and easy here. Fishing, surfing, swimming, walking, cycling and boating.
Rainbow Bay itself is a small, sheltered bay with wide sandy beach. It is patrolled all year round making it a favourite swimming place for families. However, just a short walk in either direction along the boardwalk, you will come across some of the best surfing breaks in the world, which host many of the international tournaments. Duranbah (D’bar to the locals) has one of the longest right-hand breaks around and a wonderful viewing platform at Pt. Danger. From August onwards, this is a great place for viewing the humpback whales on their migratory path. No need for whale-watching boat trips here, at this part of the coastline the whales pass very close to shore and entertain the beach goers with their frolicking performances. Snapper Rocks has deep water close to the point which creates a fuller wave good for long-boarders.
There is a wonderful boardwalk stretching from Duranbah in the south past many scenic points, the long stretch of the beautiful Coolangatta beach and around to the north of Kirra beach. Flanked by parklands, this makes for a panoramic exercise trail or a pleasant stroll at any time of day.
With access to both the Gold Coast and the NSW Northern Rivers hinterlands, there are many lovely places to visit, shop in or dine at quaint riverside pubs. Recommended attractions within a short drive are Currumbin Rock Pools, Mt Warning, Byron Bay Lighthouse, Tweed Valley, Crystal Castle at Mullumbimby, the Numinbah Valley and Tamborine Mountain.
The beaches and waterways around the Tweed Valley provide new and exciting opportunities for any type of water-craft from jet-ski’s and kayaks, through to small fishing boats, yachts and classy ocean cruisers. For fishing enthusiasts there is river, beach and ocean fishing as well as some good snorkelling around the rocks.
For those wanting a bit of a thrill, it is not far up the motorway to the ‘worlds of fun’, Dream World, Movie World, Wet Water World, Sea World, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the popular shows of Autralian Outback experience.
A short drive north of Rainbow Bay brings you to the attractions of the ‘glitzy’ Surfers Paradise. Here are more restaurants, hotels and clubs in a number of stunning locations and also Jupiter’s Casino. Most of the nightlife entertainment in the southern end of the Gold Coast centres around its many clubs, the most well-known being Twin Towns and Seagulls. These clubs have numerous eateries, nightly shows, bands and dancing, poker machines and children’s club, so no-one is left out. Many local and international performers touring the country feature at these clubs at a reasonable price. Coolangatta Hotel has big name acts for the younger crowd with live bands and good food every night. The Hotel also hosts a night club open until the wee hours.
Dining out is one of the best things about holidaying at Rainbow Bay. There are restaurants everywhere around Rainbow Bay, this area is easy walking and provides a great variety to suit every taste with Thai, Japanese, Italian well featured and most restaurants providing al-fresco seating to make the most of the balmy evenings and stunning views. There are also a lot of take-away food outlets as the entire ocean front is parklands with picnic settings making an ideal spot to share a meal. Many renting self-contained holiday accommodation find it a cheaper alternative to dining out every night and a pleasanter alternative to cooking.
There is a huge range of holiday rental accommodation in and around Rainbow Bay. There are exclusive beach front apartments with stunning ocean views, but also because this has been a popular tourist destination for decades, there are a lot of smaller, older-style accommodations, some still with prime locations. Facilities range from backpackers, shared facilities to self-catering apartments and resort living.
By road from the south, Rainbow bay is just over the NSW/Queensland border, approximately 900 km north of Sydney. It is about 100km south of Brisbane via the M1 just a bit over an hour’s drive. By air you can arrive at Coolangatta International Airport, just minutes away or Brisbane Airports with connecting shuttle bus.