Coolangatta is the southernmost town in Australia’s Gold Coast. It is situated in the state of Queensland, just over border from its New South Wales “twin town”, Tweed Heads. Originally, a convict station, and named after a schooner which had sunk in the area, the town then developed as a centre for the logging of Queensland’s red cedar timber, and as a fishing port. Nowadays tourism is important to the area, but the good fishing remains, and provides fresh catches for the local speciality sea food restaurants. Coolangatta Airport, now called Gold Coast Airport, is near the town, and anyone holidaying here will be close to the many attractive localities around the Gold Coast area.
The area has some interesting historical connections. Mount Warning and Point Danger got their names from Captain James Cook, the British explorer, who sailed up the coast here in 1770. Point Danger is an excellent place for watching marine life, dolphins and occasionally humpbacked whales can be seen from here, as well as all sorts of sea birds.
After a short career as a convict station, Coolangatta became an important focus for the logging of red cedar from the area. The Tweed River developed as a port and the twin towns of Coolangatta (Queensland) and Tweed Heads (New South Wales) developed on either side of the state boundary. With the arrival of the railway the area began to see its first tourist visitors, coming from Queensland’s state capital, Brisbane, and from New South Wales.
The Victorian tourists frequented the three north facing local beaches: Greenmount Beach, Coolangatta Beach and Rainbow Bay, and just after that era (in 1911) the first surfing and life saving club in Queensland was founded here. Guest houses began to be built in the beach areas.
Nowadays Gold Coast Airport is found just five minutes drive from town. The local beaches are still enjoyed by swimmers and surfers, and other visitors choose to explore the coastline on foot, or by hiring bicycles.
In the centre many interesting shops and boutiques can be found, as well as many good cafes and restaurants, and lively pubs and clubs. The local fishermen ensure a regular supply of fresh catches from the Pacific, and sea food restaurants are numerous. Pubs and clubs in the area often have live music and other entertainment. There are a number of Coolangatta holiday apartments and other accommodation options available
Coolangatta is a good place to see in the New Year (NB Northern hemisphere visitors should remember that this is summer time in Australia). Because New South Wales and Queensland are in different time zones you can see the New Year in twice, first in New South Wales, and then in Queensland. Even if you stay on the Queensland side of the border you can watch the Tweed Heads firework display at 11 pm Queensland time.
Other attractions of the Gold Coast are easily reached by car from the town. There are over forty golf courses in Gold Coast, some of Australia’s largest theme parks for families, and the Gold Coast hinterland is a World Heritage area, protected by several national parks.