12 Best Spots to Stand Up Paddle Boarding on the Gold Coast

12 Best Spots to Stand Up Paddle Boarding on the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is a paradise for stand up paddle board enthusiasts. With over 70 km of coastline, numerous waterways, and stunning scenery, there is a spot for every skill level and preference. Whether you want to enjoy the calm waters, catch some waves, or explore nature, you will find a perfect place for paddle boarding on the Gold Coast. Here are 12 of the best spots to SUP on the Gold Coast, along with some tips and information to help you plan your adventure.

1. Tallebudgera Creek

Tallebudgera Creek is a really clean and beautiful place to go stand up paddle boarding. The creek is sheltered from the ocean and offers calm and clear water. You can paddle along the creek and enjoy the Burleigh Heads National Park views or cross the bridge and head to the ocean side for some surfing action. If you go when the sun is out and the tide is high, you can see right through the water to the sandy bottom. You might even see dolphins swimming by !

1. Tallebudgera Creek
  • Launch Points: Gold Coast Recreation Precinct, Koala Park, Murlong Park, Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park, the David Fleay Wildlife Park, or the Palm Beach Parklands.
  • Eat Nearby: Grab a coffee and a snack at Custard Canteen, just steps from the sand.
  • Type of Water: Crystal-clear waters that are ideal for spotting marine life beneath your board.
  • Skill Level: Perfect for beginners with its gentle currents and for those interested in SUP Yoga.
  • Tips: The creek can get crowded, so an early start is recommended. You should check tide times for the best clarity.

2. Currumbin Creek

Another great spot to SUP on the Gold Coast is Currumbin Creek, which flows from the hinterland to the ocean, located on the southern Gold Coast. The smooth, protected waters form a lagoon-like pocket near the Pirate Park Playground on the northern side – a cracker spot to start your paddle. The creek is calm and scenic, with plenty of wildlife and vegetation to admire. You can paddle upstream to the Currumbin Valley or downstream to the Currumbin Alley, a famous surf break.

2. Currumbin Creek
  • Launch Points: There are several launch points along the creek, suitable for launching SUPs when the surf is low, such as the Currumbin Boat Ramp, the Winders Park, or the Beree Badalla Boardwalk.
  • Places to Eat: The area has numerous eateries along the beachfront.
  • Type of Water: Ocean water with potential for both calm and challenging conditions.
  • Ideal for: SUP surfers looking to catch gentle waves on a paddleboard.

3. Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads is located in the City of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It’s situated roughly halfway between Surfers Paradise and Currumbin Beach. It’s about 90km south of Brisbane. The area is known for its beautiful beach facing the Coral Sea and the Burleigh Head National Park. It’s a popular spot for paddle boarding on the Gold Coast, with clear waters and stunning views. This spot is known for its world-class surf break, which attracts surfers and paddle boarders worldwide.

3. Burleigh Heads
  • Launch Points: Adjacent to the famous surfing spots, suitable for launching SUPs when the surf is low.
  • Places to Eat: The area has numerous eateries along the beachfront.
  • Type of Water: Ocean water with potential for both calm and challenging conditions.
  • Skill Level: Intermediate to advanced due to the surf. Especially for beginners who want to start with a flat-water paddle board, designed for stability and easy maneuvering on calm water.

4. Broadbeach

Broadwater Parklands is a prime spot for stand up paddle boarding on the Gold Coast, offering a scenic stretch of greenery along the tranquil Southport Broadwater. This location is ideal for those looking to enjoy a peaceful paddle on mostly calm waters. Here's how to make the most of your SUP experience in this area:

4. Broadbeach
  • Launch Points: The parklands provide central access to the water, with convenient parking available near the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre and along the Southern Lawn. A short stroll will take you to the water's edge, where you can easily set off on your adventure.
  • Places to Eat: Café Catalina is one of the best cafes on the Gold Coast, and The Fish Shak is one of the top seafood spots in the area.
  • Type of Water: The Broadwater's gentle conditions are perfect for leisure paddling, allowing you to take in the sights without battling strong currents or waves.
  • Skill Level: With its serene environment, Broadwater Parklands is perfect for beginners or those who prefer a relaxed SUP outing.
  • Tips:
    • For a change of scenery, paddle through the nearby canals for a more secluded and picturesque experience.
    • Keep an eye out for the sandy inlets north of the launch point, where you can pause and rest.

5. Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise, located at the mouth of the Nerang River, is well-protected from windy conditions and situated south of the main beach. It is the iconic spot for SUP on the Gold Coast, as it offers the best of both worlds: the ocean and the river. You can paddle on the ocean side and enjoy the waves and the views of the skyscrapers, or paddle on the riverside and explore the canals and the islands.

5. Surfers Paradise
  • Launch Points: You can launch from Surfers Paradise Beach or Budds Beach. Budds Beach offers a tranquil, sheltered starting point on the Nerang River.
  • Places to Eat: Bumbles Café nearby for cakes and coffee.
  • Type of Water: The Nerang River's calm waters provide a contrast to the ocean's waves.
  • Skill Level: Great for all levels, especially those who prefer flatwater paddling.
  • Note:
    • An early start is best to secure parking and enjoy quieter waters.
    • Don't miss Surfers Paradise attractions - SkyPoint, Infinity, and Cavill Avenue.

6. Southport Broadwater

The Southport Broadwater is a large body stretching from the Spit to the Coomera River. It is a fantastic spot to SUP on the Gold Coast, as it offers much space and diversity. You can paddle along the shore and enjoy the views of the Surfers Paradise skyline or paddle to the islands and explore the mangroves and wildlife. You can also find some attractions and activities at the Southport Broadwater, such as the Aquasplash, the Australia Fair Shopping Centre, and the Southport Yacht Club.

6. Southport Broadwater
  • Launch Points: Access from the expansive Broadwater Parklands with several entry points.
  • Places to Eat: Options include Café Catalina for a bite or The Fish Shak for seafood.
  • Type of Water: Calm and expansive, perfect for long-distance paddles.
  • Skill Level: Friendly for all levels with plenty of space to practice.
  • Note: Explore the inlets and keep clear of the busy boat traffic areas

7. The Spit

The Spit is a narrow strip of land that separates the Southport Broadwater from the ocean. It is a great spot for paddle boarding on the Gold Coast as it offers a variety of conditions and scenery. You can paddle on the ocean side and enjoy the waves and the views of South Stradbroke Island, or paddle on the Broadwater side and enjoy the calm and shallow water, ideal for beginners and kids.

7. The Spit
  • Launch Points: The sandy inlets of Doug Jennings Park provide ideal launch spots.
  • Places to Eat:
    • Stop by the Seaway Kiosk (located near the dog beach) for the famous crab sandwich!
    • Sea World, the Marina Mirage, and the Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • Type of Water: The mix of Broadwater and ocean offers varied conditions.
  • Skill Level: More suited for those comfortable with busier waterways and avoiding watercraft.
  • Note: Just be cautious of boats and jet skis, as this is a popular spot for water sports of many types.

8. Hinze Dam

The Hinze Dam is built across the Nerang River and serves as the primary source of drinking water for the Gold Coast. Its location amidst the stunning hinterland makes it an ideal spot for various recreational activities, including paddle boarding. The dam permits electric-powered boating, sailing, canoeing, and paddle boarding, making it a paradise for SUP enthusiasts, particularly beginners. The dam's serene and picturesque waters, encircled by hills and forests, make it a prime location for SUP on the Gold Coast. Paddling on the dam offers breathtaking views of Advancetown Lake. Additionally, you can explore the creeks and waterfalls that feed into the dam by paddling towards them.

8. Hinze Dam
  • Launch Points: Both the Eastern and Western Boat Ramps offer easy access to the water, which has parking and toilets, and you'll be treated to some pretty magical scenery, too.
  • Places to Eat: The View Café provides sustenance and stunning views before you set out.
  • Type of Water: Freshwater reservoir with tranquil surroundings.
  • Skill Level: Calm waters make it a paradise for beginners and those seeking peace.
  • Practical Tips: As rentals are not available here, you'll need to bring your own SUP. You should check access rules as they can vary.

9. Kirra Beach

Kirra Beach is one of the most famous and historic surf spots on the Gold Coast. It is a great spot to SUP on the Gold Coast, as it offers some of the best waves and views in the region. If you visit the beach early in the morning, you'll find hardly any traffic, and the beaches far away from the popular areas, like Broadbeach, are quieter. This means you won't have to share the beach with large crowds. However, it should be noted that Kirra Beach can be a bit windy.

9. Kirra Beach
  • Launch Points: Beachfront access allows easy ocean entry.
  • Places to Eat: Numerous local cafes and eateries line the beachfront.
  • Type of Water: Can be subject to wind. The waves are long and hollow,
  • Skill Level: Suitable for intermediate paddlers; experience with ocean conditions is beneficial and perfect for advanced paddlers who want to experience the thrill of surfing.
  • Tips:
    • Early mornings offer the calmest conditions.
    • Look out for marine life below.

10. Snapper Rocks

Snapper Rocks lies in Queensland's Gold Coast, Australia, a legendary destination for surfers and stand-up paddle boarders. This coastal gem, nestled within the renowned Superbank, promises an exhilarating experience amid nature's finest waves.

10. Snapper Rocks
  • Launch Points: You can launch from Snapper Rocks Beach or Rainbow Bay, which has a park and a club.
  • Type of Water: Ocean waves require skill navigating on a SUP. The waves are fast and powerful, suitable for expert paddlers only.
  • Skill Level: Advanced due to the potential for strong currents and waves.
  • Ideal for: Experienced SUP surfers; best checked out when the surf is smaller.

11. Coolangatta Beach

Coolangatta Beach is a long, sandy beach with gentle to moderate waves, ideal for beginners and kids. You can paddle along the beach, enjoy the views of Greenmount Hill, paddle to the Tweed River, and explore the border between Queensland and New South Wales.

11. Coolangatta Beach
  • Launch Points: You can launch from Coolangatta Beach or Queen Elizabeth Park, which has a playground and a barbecue area.
  • Places to Eat: Great shopping and dining options are available nearby at Coolangatta Shopping Centre and Hotel on the Gold Coast.
  • Type of Water: Ocean conditions vary from calm to challenging.

12. Macintosh Island

Macintosh Island is a small and secluded island in the middle of the Gold Coast. It is a hidden gem to stand up paddle board on the Gold Coast, as it offers a peaceful and natural environment, away from the crowds and the noise. You can paddle around the island and enjoy the views of the Nerang River, or paddle to the mainland and enjoy the views of the Surfers Paradise skyline. You can also find some wildlife and vegetation on the island, such as peacocks, ducks, and palm trees.

12. Macintosh Island
  • Launch Points: Macintosh Island Park, which has a boat ramp and a picnic area.
  • Type of Water: Protected canal waters are perfect for a serene paddle.
  • Skill Level: Family-friendly spot is suitable for all skill levels.
  • Practical Tips: Many facilities like BBQs and toilets are ideal for a full-day outing.

When is the Best Time to Paddle Board on the Gold Coast?

The Gold Coast is a perfect year-round destination for stand-up paddle boarding with a subtropical climate and warm waters. Factors to consider when planning your SUP trip to the Gold Coast.

  • Weather: Gold Coast has an average temperature of 25°C, with mild winters and hot summers. The best SUP time is September - May, sunny and dry, with water temp 22°C. Winter months are cooler and wetter, and the water temp is 18°C. Some prefer winter for less crowds and more consistent waves.
  • Waves: The Gold Coast is famous for its waves, best from February to May, due to big swells from the cyclone season. Summer months are also good, but crowded and hot with water temperature rising to 26°C.
  • Wind: Wind can affect SUP conditions on the Gold Coast. The best times to paddle are early morning or late afternoon when the wind is offshore. Midday can be windy and onshore, making paddling challenging. But some prefer the midday for more wind for downwind runs or kiteboarding.
  • Tide: Tides affect water depth and flow in the Gold Coast. High tide is the best time for SUP due to deep and slow water. Low tide reveals sandbars and rocks and creates strong currents that can be risky for beginners and kids. However, low tide offers more beach areas for launching and landing and more waves for surfing.

Wrap up

Stand up paddle boarding on the Gold Coast is a fantastic experience that offers something for everyone. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, a nature lover or a thrill seeker, you will find a spot that suits your needs and desires. Remember to check the weather, waves, wind, and tide before you go, and always wear a life jacket and use a leash for safety. Remember to respect local wildlife, be mindful of the weather, and always wear a life jacket. Visit iROCKER for more information and happy paddling!

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