Rainbow Bay Gold Coast: Best Visitors Guide 2024 (UPDATED)

Fun Family Beach Destination for a South East Queensland Holiday


Rainbow Bay Visitor Guide



Table of Contents

Welcome to my Tourist Visitor Guide to Rainbow Bay Gold Coast. To make it easier for readers to follow I have organised it into the different headings below:

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

Please do read my visitor guide until the end because it contains a lot of useful information. If you do, I hope it will have inspired you to visit this marvellous Gold Coast beach!

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

Read Time: 10 Minutes



Rainbow Bay Gold Coast is the last main beach you can visit before the New South Wales border. Which is reason enough to tick it off your Queensland Beach list.

Yet this fantastic coastal destination has so much more going for it. Arching around Greenmount Point at its northern reaches and from Little Mali and Snapper Rocks to the south, this gorgeous stretch of wide white sandy, patrolled beach is a favourite among families who enjoy the sheltered conditions. Surfers love it here too, as it is adjacent to Snapper Rocks, which possesses one of the best right hander point breaks in the world in ‘Superbank’. (You may even see pros like Joel Parkinson and Stephanie Gilmore riding the waves there!),

Throw in the fact that it is right next door to Coolangatta, has one of the best whale watching spots in Queensland and is near the start of the famous Gold Coast Oceanway – which showcases brilliant views of Surfer’s Paradise and Burleigh in the distance – and its easy to see why Rainbow Bay is one of the best beaches to visit on the Gold Coast.


Like most beaches on the Gold Coast, Rainbow Bay is a destination you can visit all year round.


Where is Rainbow Bay Gold Coast?

Rainbow Bay is nestled at the southern end of the Gold Coast, just a stone’s throw from the border of New South Wales and Queensland. This location, coupled with its close proximity to Brisbane (just a 75 minute drive away), makes it a popular holiday and day trip destination for tourists and those who live in the state capital.

The bright lights and hustle and bustle of Surfer’s Paradise is only a half and hour drive away, while Byron Bay and the Sunshine Coast can be reached within an hour and two and a half hours respectively. As it is not far from the M1, you can reach the beach in a fairly straightforward manner from as far north as Cairns and beyond to as far south as Melbourne in Victoria. (Fancy a road trip!?!)

The Traditional Custodians of the water and lands that make up the Gold Coast are the Yugambeh people. It is believed that Rainbow Bay was so called by Captain Henry John Rous was tasked with surveying the area around Point Danger in 1828 – which he reached on a sixth-rate frigate called HMS Rainbow.


Rainbow Bay distance to other Gold Coast Beaches
- Greenmount Beach (600m)
- Coolangatta (2km)
- Kirra Beach (2.3km)
- Palm Beach (10km)
- Currumbin Beach (10km)
- Miami Beach(18km)
- Nobbys Beach (19km)
- Mermaid Beach (20km)
- Burleigh Heads (20km)
- Broadbeach (22km)
- Tallebudgera Creek (22km)
- Surfer's Paradise (33km)
- Main Beach (36km)


Best Time To Visit Rainbow Bay Gold Coast

Like most beaches on the Gold Coast, Rainbow Bay is a destination you can visit all year round.

That said, your preferences will play a part in when you should go there. For instance, if you want to enjoy swimming and sunbathing, a good time to do this is during the summer months of December to February. This period coincides with the busy school holidays and the high season for hotel and holiday accommodation. However, if you don’t mind that, you will be able to enjoy sunny days and warm temperatures where the mercury often exceeds 30 degrees Celsius.

That said, it is worth noting that this period is also part of the rainy season. So, there is a strong chance that there will be high humidity and a sudden, heavy rainfall at any given time.

As a result, you might want to time your visit to October and November or March and April. At this time, the weather is usually pretty good, with temperatures averaging mid-to-late twenties and skies being pretty clear. You will also find that the beach will be a little less busy and accommodation prices are slightly cheaper.

If you don’t mind a bit of wind chill, the months of May to September are nice times to visit Rainbow Beach Gold Coast. The water might be a bit cold for some, but the beach is arguably at its most serene at this time of year.

Generally speaking, if you visit the beach at the weekend it is going to be much busier than if you go during the weekend. Also, if you are an early riser, seeing the sunrise at the beach is a fantastic time to go. You can check the sunrise and sunset times for Queensland here.


Rainbow Bay View Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia


What Facilities do they have at Rainbow Bay Gold Coast?

Although Rainbow Beach Gold Coast is quite small in size, it does have a good range of facilities for locals, day-trippers and tourists to enjoy.

For a start, there is a lovely viewing platform which allows you to take in fabulous views of the Coral Sea and surrounding coastline of Coolangatta Beach. There is also limited parking and accessible parking by the beach, as well as bike racks for those who cycle there.

You will also be able to conveniently use public amenities like toilets and showers, while those wanting a picnic or a cooked, self-prepared meal will find several tables and shelters located next to barbecues. Just make sure you respect the local area and dispose of your rubbish responsibly and considerately in the bins provided.

Just off the beach, not too far from the patrolled lifeguard tower is a playground for children with swings, climbing apparatus and other fun equipment they can play on.


Rainbow Bay Gold Coast is a very popular spot for swimming with tourists and local families.


How to get to Rainbow Bay Gold Coast

As it is located at the southern end of the Gold Coast, Rainbow bay is a relatively easy place to get to. If you are driving, the route you will take will vary depending on where you are coming from. However, if you are coming from outside of the Gold Coast, it is a good bet you will drive along the Bruce Highway/M1 or Gold Coast Highway at some point.

To plan your route properly, it is a good idea to download the Waze App, which will give you precise directions based on your present location and current road conditions. If you are not technologically minded, following the signs to Coolangatta is a good point.

Once you arrive at Rainbow Bay on the Gold Coast, you will find limited parking at the surf club available. However, in the surrounding streets you’ll find several on-street parking options. Just be sure to make a note of the line markings and signs around where you leave your car. Should you need it, there is easy access to the beach via a ramp provided.

If you don’t have a car, the public transport around the Gold Coast is pretty good. You will find Translink run several buses within the region that will eventually get you to Griffith Street. Located just one street back from Coolangatta Beach, you will easily be able to walk from there.

Depending on your starting point, you might be able to walk to the beach – though bear in mind in the summer it is very hot and humid during the middle of the day. You could also cycle there or catch an Uber or taxi, which are plentiful in the area.


Rainbow Bay Gold Coast distance to other Queensland Destinations
- Brisbane (105km)
- Ipswich (124km)
- Redcliffe (137km)
- Mooloolaba (204km)
- Toowoomba (207km)
- Stanthorpe (263km)
- Dalby (292km)
- Hervey Bay (393km)
- Agnes Water (582km)
- Yeppoon (780km)
- Mackay (1075km)
- Townsville (1456km)
- Cairns (1803km)


Things to do at Rainbow Bay Gold Coast

Rainbow Bay Gold Coast is a very popular spot for swimming with tourists and local families. The orientation and shape of Rainbow Bay protects users from the southerly winds, providing generally safe conditions to enter the water.

The area is patrolled every day of the year by surf lifesaving guards between the hours of 8am and 5pm. Just make sure you stay between the red and yellow flags if you fancy a dip.

As it has been designated as part of the World Surfing Reserve and it possesses the most famous point break in the city, Rainbow Bay is a haven for experienced surfers. The break there is renowned for being very fast, with the dominant swell – which comes from the southeast – creating a long ride as it refracts its way around Snapper Rocks.

Every year in April, the Corona Open Gold Coast competition (which used to be called the Quiksilver Pro) takes place there. It is a World Surf League event which is participated by some of the best pro surfers in the world. All of whom look forward to tackling the iconic ‘Superbank’, which is a challenging three point break. As one of the longest right-handers worldwide, it can provide a ride of up to 2km from Snapper to Coolangatta, if conditions are right.

Rainbow Bay is also a renowned spot for Whale Watching in Queensland. Between the period of May to September, an estimated 27,000 humpback whales pass this stretch of the Gold Coast on their annual migration. The best way to see them is around Snapper Rocks, at the beach’s southern end, or at the Point Danger viewing platform, which you can access via the boardwalk through Apex Park. There you should be able to see the whales just 50 metres from the shoreline.

Talking of Point Danger. That is the start of the Gold Coast Oceanway, the region’s famous 37km pathway for cyclists and walkers that runs northwards up to the Gold Coast Seaway. If you are feeling like a cycle or a walk you can explore the path for as long as you want – the coastal views are incredible.

Alternatively, if you want to relax in the park you will find several public amenities including toilets, a barbecue area, benches and a children’s playground.


Surfers at Rainbow Bay Gold Coast


Rainbow Bay Gold Coast Accommodation

Much of the accommodation options in the area centres around Coolangatta Beach, there are a decent number of places you can stay near Rainbow Bay Gold Coast.

One nice option is the Bayview Apartments Rainbow Bay which offers good size units with magnificent views of the beach and Coral Sea.

Units here are well furnished with air conditioning and a range of amenities designed to make your stay there a comfortable one. With direct access to the sand, it is a very convenient choice for families. It also offers reasonable rates and its onsite swimming pool, spa and tennis court should provide entertainment.

A popular choice among surfers is the Columbia Beachfront Apartments. Almost directly across the road from Rainbow Bay beach and just a 4-minute walk from Snapper Rocks, this stylish tower-style property presents comfortable apartments with big bedrooms and a nice lounge seating area. It also has a lovely cafe down the side street next to it to grab a coffee on the way to riding the waves.

If you would prefer to be a little bit further away from the beach the Rainbow Bay Resort Holiday Apartments are situated on Boundary Street, a couple of blocks back. They offer 1-3 bedroom apartments that are fully self-contained, therefore perfect for those who want to self-cater. If you don’t fancy going to the beach you can always swim in their fabulous outdoor swimming pool.


It is worth going to Rainbow Beach Gold Coast just because it is the southernmost main beach in Queensland.


Where to Eat at Rainbow Bay Gold Coast

You shouldn’t want for food options as there are several places to eat at Rainbow Bay Gold Coast. While many of these are situated towards Coolangatta Beach there are some decent cafes and restaurants closer to Rainbow Bay.

One good option is Fresh and Fried on Rainbow on Ward Street, which should be on your list if you fancy a hearty burger or fish and chips. This is a good place to grab some food for a beachside picnic.

Elsewhere, Little Mali on Boundary Street has a reputation for serving outstanding coffee, as well as a selection of vegan options and other healthy bites. It is generally quieter here (though still busy) than at other places in the area, making it a lovely place to enjoy a leisurely breakfast or brunch.

If you fancy visiting the local surf club, the Rainbow BaySurf Lifesaving Club has a very good restaurant that dishes up all the classics like steaks, parmys and roast dinners. They usually have live entertainment too, as well as the usual keno and pokies.


Best Restaurants near Rainbow Bay Gold Coast

- Lam Lam Delicate Thai (Kirra)
- Eddy + Wolff (Robina)
- Restaurant Labart (Burleigh Heads)
- Social Eating House (Broadbeach)
- St Helens Bar & Burgers (Coolangatta)
- Tommy's Italian (Currumbin)
- Pan Asia Rice and Noodles(Greenmount Beach)
- Kiyomi (Broadbeach)
- Citrique (Surfer's Paradise)
- Little Truffle (Mermaid Beach)
- Dune Cafe (Palm Beach)


Final Thought

It is worth going to Rainbow Beach Gold Coast just because it is the southernmost main beach in Queensland.

That said, it is also a terrific place to spend your time swimming in ideal family-friendly conditions, watching the pros tackle one of the most famous breaks in the world or spotting scores of whales migrating north.

With all Coolangatta and all its related trappings of cafes and restaurants on its doorstep, Snapper Rocks to the east, the Captain Cook Memorial up the hill and the beaches beyond the New South Wales border just a short distance away, there is plenty to keep you occupied on a day trip or a longer Queensland holiday.


Rainbow Bay Gold Coast QLD



How Far Is Rainbow Bay from Brisbane?

Rainbow Bay is located about 105 km south of Brisbane. It takes about 75 minutes to drive there from the CBD.


Is Rainbow Bay Gold Coast Patrolled?

Rainbow Beach Gold Coast is a good place to go for a swim as the beach is patrolled by lifeguards. They operate between the hours of 8am and 5pm, every day of the year. If you do decide to go for a dip, make sure you stay between the red and yellow flags for your own safety.


Is Rainbow Bay Gold Coast dog-friendly?

Yes, Rainbow Bay Gold Coast is a lovely place to take your dog. There is an off-leash area there where your pooch can run around until its heart is content.


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Hi! My name is Spencer and I have created Beach Scenes to help you find the perfect travel destination for your beach holiday in Queensland.

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