DEStination: Australia- KINGSCLIFF
WEEKEND GETAWAY- KINGSCLIFF, AUSTRALIA
A very well kept secret!
"Where?" you ask.
One of our regular jobs in Australia is as relief managers for an “Over '50s" gated community of 250 houses at Kingscliff. Did I hear you say “Where?” You may not have heard of Kingscliff.
It seems the Brisbane locals like to keep it a secret to themselves. They can enjoy a great beach weekend or holiday with all the necessary facilities within walking distance at Kingscliff, without having to battle with the hoards of international tourists and highrises, 20 minutes up the road on the Gold Coast, so they don’t like sharing this secret.
Beyond the Gold Coast
It’s only a 20-minute drive from the Gold Coast airport over the border into New South Wales. Kingscliff is off the main highway so you can drive right on past it without knowing it’s there, apart from the small road sign from the main Pacific Highway that runs through to Sydney.
It's a small, picturesque, laid back, seaside village with everything you need close at hand. No high rise apartment buildings here! There is a three storey limit to new buildings.
The main road runs parallel to the beach and has a great range of cafes, restaurants and unique boutique clothes and surf shops. Such a refreshing change from the usual name brand stores that you see in every town and city, and makes for an interesting and relaxing shopping experience! And there’s a small shopping center behind the main street with a Woolworths Supermarket and a selection of service stores if you need ‘some basics.’
WHERE TO STAY?
Ocean front chalet
View from your chalet
Our pick would be at one of the ocean cabins, situated as close as you can possibly get to the surf, without getting your toes wet, at the Kingscliff Beach Holiday Park. The park has recently been renovated and these eight oceanfront chalets are basically brand new and have a deck that is virtually on the beach. A great spot to have your morning coffee and watch the sunrise, or sip your gin and tonic, as the sunsets. It’s just a few minutes walk to the township, where you have a great choice of dining options.
WHAT TO DO?
On Saturday mornings there’s an excellent Kingscliff Farmers Market up the hill at the TAFE from 7 am to 11 am. It’s not huge, but apart from the fresh and tasty farmers’ fruit and vegetables, it features many interesting gourmet food outlets such as kombucha, yogi nectar, handmade cheese, olives from Byron Bay, traditional Italian sweets and more. There are food trucks, coffee, and live entertainment. Pick up your ingredients for a picnic lunch!
On the second and fourth Saturday of the month, there’s the big Kingscliff Market on the beachfront park, past the bowling club. It’s such a nice setting on the beachfront just to wander around at your leisure and check out the wide range of fashion, jewelry, craft, artwork, produce and food stalls on display.
On the first Friday of every month, there’s also the Kingscliff Night Market from 4 pm to 9 pm at Lions Park next to the Cudgen Surf Life Saving Club.
THE BEACHES & BEACH WALKS
Miles of coastline and surf beaches in every direction and don’t forget the Cudgen Creek area at the southern end of town for a spot of fishing or paddle boarding and non-surf swimming particularly for families with small children.
FINGAL HEAD to the LIGHTHOUSE
It's a 10 minutes easy drive north from Kingscliff to the signed small car park area. A five-minute walk from the car park will take you to the small lighthouse with its stunning views of the coastline and the ocean. There is a sign that gives a diagram of the first lighthouse keepers very small house, which adjoined the lighthouse and accommodated the lighthouse keeper, his wife, and his eleven children!
The mind boggles!
There are plenty of shortish walks through the bush to the surrounding beaches and also to see the local version of the Giant Causeway in Ireland with the basalt rocks. A great spot for your picnic lunch or dinner!
KINGSCLIFF TO SALT BEACH
The walk from Kingscliff to Salt Beach takes about 40 minutes, either along the beach or by the path, and features some scenic spots along the way. The locals say that the sunset views from the bridge are pretty stunning. Once at Salt Beach, you can wander up to the Salt Village for a coffee or snack and catch the bus back to Kingscliff if you didn’t want to do the return walk.
Fingal Head's mini Giant Causeway-stacked hexagonal basalt rocks.
FINGAL HEAD- view towards Coolangatta
ANOTHER LIGHTHOUSE WALK- THIS ONE TO POINT STEPHEN’S LIGHTHOUSE On Fingal Island
You will need to check if this walk is possible, as sometimes access via the spit is not possible. It requires a bit of planning and probably a reasonable level of fitness. You will need to do this walk at low tide to get across the spit. Park at Fingal Beach Surf Life Saving Club and make your way from there. The walk has information points along the way and if it’s whale season (May to July) you’ve got a good chance of spotting some whales passing by! You could also kayak or boat to the island.
WHERE TO EAT?
So many options for eating! The large high deck at the Surf Club is a good option for enjoying a meal overlooking the beach and ocean. The Sunday morning Bowls Club Buffet Breakfast with a free flute of champagne included is a very popular option with the locals.
The large historic Kingscliff Hotel has been very recently renovated and is always a hive of activity over the weekends. Along the main street' you can choose from Spanish, Italian, Thai, Mexican, Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan and Australian cuisines! The choice is yours!
WHERE TO GO-
The unique Kingscliff Cinemax Cinema
Oodles of atmosphere here! This is a small art house theatre tucked away in an arcade on the main street across from the surf club. You have your own very comfortable lounge type chairs and a small table with a lamp where your coffee, glass of wine, or food is brought to you! How decadent!What a great way to watch a movie!
They show a wide variety of international and independent films and do special events, like theme evenings such as a "Sing along with Muriel's Wedding" to a High Tea with Melbourne Cup dates, Ladies Who lunch film events, and operas. I wish we had a theatre like this in my town!
You can hire bikes from Kingscliff Cycle center if biking is your thing and there’s plenty of cycling paths along the coast. If it’s watersports you’re after Guru Watersports hire paddleboards, surfboards, kayaks, and fishing rods and organize kayak tours, snorkeling with turtles, paddleboard instruction and a nature play program for kids aged 7 to 12 years of age.
Surfers at Dreamtime Beach, Fingal Head
IF YOU MUST LEAVE TOWN-
Head to the famous Bangalow Markets on the fourth Sunday of every month. Check your dates carefully though!
Coolangatta is just 15 minutes drive away if there's anything you need to visit, see or do on the Gold Coast.
Pop into Tropical Fruit World in Duranbah to learn about local and exotic fruit.
Check out the first subtropical tea plantation in Australia at Madura Tea Estates.
The famous Byron Bay is only 50 minutes drive away.
The Information Centre by the Surf Club has plenty of maps and information for places to go and things to do.
Bangalow shop sign
So if you haven’t been to Kingscliff before it’s time you did! You won’t have to cope with hoards of overseas tourists and huge high rise apartment blocks, and you’ll find all the great holiday facilities you need at your fingertips. Happy holiday!
Maureen is a travel writer lucky enough to be living in New Zealand and has a great passion for travel. Since she became "empty nested" in the late 1990s she has traveled and worked in over 70 countries!
Now she writes articles to share her amazing experiences with other travelers in the hope of providing practical information to help them to prepare and plan for their travel trips.
And while you're in the area why not check out some other great day trips from the Gold Coast!