Main Beach Gold Coast: Best Visitors Guide 2024 (UPDATED)

Popular Queensland Family-Friendly Holiday Destination


Main Beach Gold Coast Visitor Guide


Welcome to my Tourist Visitor Guide to Main Beach Gold Coast. To make it easier for you to follow I have organised it into the various heading below:

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Where is Main Beach Gold Coast?
3. Best Time To Visit Main Beach Gold Coast
4. What Facilities do they have at Main Beach Gold Coast?
5. How to get to Main Beach Gold Coast
6. Things to do at Main Beach Gold Coast
7. Main Beach Gold Coast Accommodation
8. Where to Eat at Main Beach Gold Coast
9. Final Thought
10. FAQs

Please read this visitor guide until the end. If you do, I hope it will have inspired you to visit this fabulous Queensland beach!

(My post about Main Beach Gold Coast may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you).

Read Time: 10 Minutes



It is not hard to see why Main Beach Gold Coast is one Queensland’s most popular beaches.

Nestled towards the northernmost reaches of the long strip of beaches that defines the Gold Coast, this stunning seaside destination sits just a few minutes drive from Surfer’s Paradise – between the shimmering waters of the Coral Sea and Broadwater.

The family-friend beach is the main drawcard here, attracting tourists and locals in equal measure who come for a day of sunbathing, patrolled swimming and surfing. But even if you don’t set foot on the sand there is plenty to keep you entertained on nearby Tedder Avenue. There, you can explore a fabulous parade of cafes, restaurants, bars and boutiques, which serve up excellent eats and drinks and make terrific places for people watching.

You should also check out ‘The Spit’, a pristine, northern stretch of peninsula that accommodates the Marina Mirage, complete with deluxe shopping and dining, and the luxurious 5-star hotels of The Sheraton and Palazzo Versace. At its very tip is a massive coastal reserve that features a verdant green space which makes a terrific place to enjoy an al fresco meal and to let kids run around. Talking of kids, they will love the fact that Movie World and Sea World is just a stone’s throw away.

All of this combines to make Main Beach Gold Coast a brilliant place for a day trip from Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast, or a Queensland holiday from further afield.

Like what you’ve read so far? Well, keep going. There is plenty more to discover!


Like most of the beaches in South East Queensland, Main Beach Gold Coast is one you can visit all year round.


Where is Main Beach Gold Coast?

Main Beach, unlike other beaches in Queensland which were named after specific villages on the English seaside or traditional indigenous place names, was so called because it was the predominant surf beach at the suburb of Southport.

Located at the northern reaches of the Gold Coast, it is less than 3km north from Surfer’s Paradise and east of the suburb of Southport. Brisbane is approximately 76 km north of the beach while Tweed Heads, over the NSW border, is approximately 34 km to the south of it.

The beach sits on land traditionally owned by the Yugambeh and Kombumerri people. Its co-ordinates are 27.9788°S 153.425°E.


Main Beach distance to other Gold Coast Beaches

  • Surfer’s Paradise (3km)
  • Broadbeach (6km)
  • Mermaid Beach (8km)
  • Nobbys Beach (9km)
  • Miami (10km)
  • Burleigh Heads (16km)
  • Palm Beach (17.5km)
  • Currumbin (25km)
  • Tallebudgera Creek (27km)
  • Rainbow Bay (28km)
  • Coolangatta (34km)
  • Kirra (34km)
  • Greenmount (36km)
  • Best Time To Visit Main Beach Gold Coast

    Like most of the beaches in South East Queensland, Main Beach Gold Coast is one you can visit all year round. Generally, the weather is hot in the summer and pleasant in the winter, which means you’ll be able to sunbathe and swim, whenever you want.

    The beach is fairly crowded on most days, but particularly so during the school holidays, in the summer and at weekends. Ideally, you should come here early in the day or late in the afternoon when it is a little less busy.

    If you are looking to swim or surf, the autumn and winter months are generally the best time to do so. The water is warm, yet the wind rarely blows and the chance of rain is much less than over the wet season between December to February.

    Should you rather just sunbathe or enjoy a lovely walk, the spring months of September to November offer lovely temperatures, clearer skies and much less in the way of humidity than in summer.


    Tree at Main Beach Southport on the Gold Coast in Queenland, Australia


    What Facilities do they have at Main Beach Gold Coast?

    Tourists to Main Beach Gold Coast will find a good range of facilities over at the parklands, which are designed to make their visit a very pleasant one. These include toilets, beach showers, shade structures and picnic tables, barbecues and a playground for children.

    There are also viewing platforms to take in the wonderful views of the coastline and coral sea, as well as regular bins where you can dispose of your rubbish.

    Main Beach also has its own lifeguard tower and you will find free parking spots available just before the beach access points, including accessible parking and bike racks.


    For tourists, there are plenty of things to do at Main Beach Gold Coast.


    How to get to Main Beach Gold Coast

    Main Beach Gold Coast is an easy destination to get to from most of South East Queensland. If you are driving you will most likely need to take the M1 Gold Coast Highway or Bruce Highway depending on where you are coming from. To get the most accurate directions, I recommend downloading the Waze App. Not only are the directions they give you very reliable, but you can also customise the voice so it is in different accents! (My favourite is the girl from Manchester).

    You’ll find limited parking spots at Southport Surf Club, as well as several more on-street options in the surrounding streets. Just make sure you take notice of line markings and parking signage prior to heading off to the beach.

    For those wanting to take public transport, Translink buses run regular services along Seaworld Drive and within the Gold Coast region as a whole. To find out the most relevant bus time table to where you will be coming from, use their journey planner.

    Depending on where you are, other ways to get to Main Beach Gold Coast include catching a taxi or Uber, walking and cycling. If you plan to do the latter two, you can plot your best route via these walking and cycling maps.


    Main Beach Gold Coast distance to other Queensland Destinations

  • Brisbane (76km)
  • Ipswich (95km)
  • Toowoomba (179km)
  • Nambour (180km)
  • Maroochydore (182km)
  • Warwick (209km)
  • Noosa (226km)
  • Gympie (245km)
  • Stanthorpe (270km)
  • Hervey Bay (364km)
  • Mackay (1046km)
  • Townsville (1427km)
  • Cairns (1774km)
  • Things to do at Main Beach Gold Coast

    For tourists, there are plenty of things to do at Main Beach Gold Coast. As you would expect, the beach is the main highlight offering plenty of opportunities for surfing and swimming – just make sure you slip, slop, slap, seek and slide whilst on the beach and always swim between the red and yellow flags. If you don’t know how to surf, the Get Wet Surf School is a terrific place to get to grips with the basics.

    The long stretch of sand is great for sunbathing on a towel or sitting under a cabana. It is also conducive to scenic walks, beach combing and playing with a frisbee or a ball sport. Moreover, for those who fancy something a bit more adventurous, activities like kayaking, windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding are often practiced in the glistening waters of the Coral Sea. Additionally, you can take a thrilling ride with the Paradise Jet Boating team along the waterways or head off to South Stradbroke Island on a Jet Ski Safari tour.

    Off the sand, if you’ve brought your dog along with you, the lush Muriel Henchman Park, which runs adjacent to the beach is dog-friendly. You can also choose to head off to Warner Bros Movie World or Seaworld, and if you happen to be in town at the end of October, you might want to check out the annual Gold Coast Supercars event.

    If that is all a bit too high octane for you, a leisure cycle along the Main Beach coastline towards Southport Spit or a spot of retail therapy at the Marina Mirage Shopping Precinct on the waterfront might be more to your liking.


    Sunrise at Main Beach Gold Coast Queensland


    Main Beach Gold Coast Accommodation

    In terms of places to stay at Main Beach Gold Coast, it’s fair to say there are plenty of holiday accommodation options to suit all budgets and tastes.

    One of my personal favourites is the Sheraton Grand Mirage on Sea World Drive as it offers you close proximity to the beach and the world class tourist attraction. Rooms here are well appointed with luxury amenities, including some of the most comfortable beds you could hope to sleep on. The family friendly resort also has a secure, onsite parking, a swimming pool, bar, business facilities, laundry and tour desk, where you can book a wide range of excursions.

    Not far away from the Sheraton you’ll find the Sea World Resort, which is the only theme park resort in Australia. Offering direct access to the attraction, this resort is popular with families who enjoy its spacious rooms. It also has a lagoon style pool which kids love and day spa where parents can relax after a busy day or aquatic fun. Other amenities here include a gym, restaurant, laundry and car parking.

    If you don’t fancy staying in a resort, a good alternative is Waterford on Main Beach. As it is directly over the road from a quieter stretch of Main Beach Gold Coast, it showcases superb views of the Coral Sea, which are based taken in from their three bedroom penthouses or two bedroom apartments. (During whale watching season they offer prime spots for this spectacle).

    This holiday accommodation has a spa, heated and plunge pool for guests to enjoy. It also has a flowing waterfall tennis court, steam room and even a jetty where you can catch fish, before cooking them on the onsite barbecue.

    Elsewhere, the Crest Apartments are perfect for families or groups of friends who want to self-cater as they come with a fully equipped kitchen, complete with a fridge, full-sized oven, dishwasher and microwave, as well as two or three bedrooms and decent sized glass balconies.

    You will also get a fully-equipped kitchen at the De Ville Apartments. Presenting two or three bedroom accommodations, between the free WI-FI, Foxtel and fantastic balcony that showcases views across the Marina and Coral Sea, you’ll find it hard to leave here to get to Main Beach Gold Coast in the first place!


    Surfer’s Paradise is arguably more famous, but Main Beach Gold Coast is many people’s favourite beach in the region.


    Where to Eat at Main Beach Gold Coast

    As you might expect, you won’t be short for options of where to eat at Main Beach Gold Coast. Within the suburb you’ll find plenty of options to suit all budgets and tastes. These range from fancy fine dining establishments that serve up the best in international fare to funky cafes and bistro that serve up plenty of cool vibes with their stunning dishes.

    One of the best places to dine at is the Birdcage Dining Room and Bar on Tedder Avenue. There, you will be able to enjoy 5 different banquet options including separate ones for vegetarians and seafood. They also offer an Asian-fusion inspired a la carte menu which features an excellent range of bao buns, tempura and yakitori skewers as starters and fantastic mains like chicken roulade and beef filet mignon.

    Another excellent option, especially if you are staying on Seaworld Drive is the Ladybird Restaurant and Bar. You’ll find it in the Imperial Hotel Gold Coast and should be impressed by its stunning waterfront location and superb menu which features plenty of top-notch oyster dishes as well as mains like crab spaghettini and the red curry duck, which are sure to impress you.

    Also on Seaworld Drive, Le Jardin is an exquisite place to visit for an upscale high tea (their artisanal coffees are superb), while Cafe Mirage is a family friendly establishment that offers a little something for everyone.

    For a more unusual dining experience, why not try the Holy Ship Bar and Restaurant. Their trawlers, the’Austral Eagle’ and ‘FV Havana’ have been fully refurbished to provide diners with a unique seafood experience directly on the water.

    Whilst at Main Beach Gold Coast, you should also make a point of stopping at Pavilion 34, an iconic old bathing pavilion located adjacent to the Southport Surf Club that has been converted to a quaint cafe. It presents a menu of classics like fish and chips, potato scallops and chiko rolls.


    Other Gold Coast Restaurants

  • Yamagen (Surfer's Paradise)
  • Eddy + Wolff (Robina)
  • Restaurant Labart (Burleigh Heads)
  • Tommy's Italian (Currumbin)
  • Kiyomi (Broadbeach)
  • Little Truffle (Mermaid Beach)
  • Citrique (Surfer's Paradise)
  • Social Eating House (Broadbeach)
  • Etsu Izakaya (Mermaid Beach)
  • Palette (Surfer's Paradise)
  • Gemelli Italian (Broadbeach)
  • T'ang Court (Surfer's Paradise)
  • The North Room (Mermaid Beach)
  • Final Thought

    Surfer’s Paradise is arguably more famous, but Main Beach Gold Coast is many people’s favourite beach in the region. While it is definitely more relaxed and less commercialised than its more glamorous neighbour, it still has plenty to keep the visitor entertained.

    Whether you fancy a day of sunbathing or swimming on its glorious stretch of beach, a browse around the shops or some fun and excitement at Movie World or Sea World, there is something for everyone in this fabulous Queensland holiday destination.


    Aerial view of Main Beach Gold Coast in Queensland



    How far is Main Beach Gold Coast from Brisbane?

    Main Beach Gold Coast is situated around 76 km south of Brisbane. Traffic dependent, it should take you around an hour to drive down there from the Brisbane CBD on the M1


    Can you swim at Main Beach Gold Coast?

    Main Beach Gold Coast is a terrific beach for swimming. As it is patrolled by surf lifesavers it is a very family-friendly beach to go for a dip. However, you should stay in between the flags at all times and keep an eye out for rips and drags.


    Is Main Beach Gold Coast the same as Southport East?

    Yes, Southport East and Main Beach Gold Coast are the same beach. Originally the area was called Southport East. However, it was officially renamed to Main Beach on September 1st in 1967.


    How Far is Main Beach Gold Coast from New South Wales?

    Main Beach Gold Coast is approximately 34 km from the border of New South Wales. It will take you roughly 40 minutes via State Route 3 and the M1 depending on what time of day you go there. During rush hour it might take you slightly longer.

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