Just north of the busy throng of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, you’ll find Main Beach—a relaxed mix of cafés, restaurants, bars, resort shopping and a choice of calm or surf beaches. It’s also home to Marina Mirage and Mariners Cove Marina—the jumping off points for all manner of water-based tours.
Things to Do in Main Beach
Main Beach beaches are a lot less crowded than the iconic stretches of sand in Surfer's Paradise. For calm, protected beach swimming, head for the inside beaches of The Spit—a permanent sand spit that separates the mainland and Southport Broadwater from the Pacific Ocean. On the other side of The Spit are lifesaver patrolled surf beaches with flagged swimming areas—the Seaway Beach (patrolled November to April), Sea World Beach (patrolled on weekends and school holidays), Sheraton Beach and Main Beach (both patrolled all year round).
You can walk, run or ride along the Gold Coast Oceanway, a 36 kilometer network of coastal pathways stretching from the Gold Coast Seaway (The Spit) to the Point Danger Lighthouse (Coolangatta).
Enjoy a family day at Sea World—one of Main Beach’s top attractions. It’s the perfect day out with dolphin and seal shows as well as the chance to see sharks, stingrays, penguins and polar bears. The Storm Rollercoaster, an interactive dinosaur display and an acrobatic ski show will keep everyone happy!
There’s so much to do on the water—go whale watching (humpbacks cruise past from June to October) with Gold Coast Whale Adventures; do a four-wheel-drive buggy and Segway tour of South Stradbroke Island; sail, jet ski, jet board or stand-up paddleboard on the Broadwater, take a thrill ride with Paradise Jetboating or see it all from the skies with a helicopter ride over the highrise skyline, the coast and islands with Gold Coast Helitours— all leave from Mariners Cove Marina. You can even learn to surf at The Spit with Get Wet Surf School.
Where to Eat in Main Beach
You can mix it with the locals and experience some of the coast’s best bars and dining on Tedder Avenue. When your watch says cocktail o’clock, start with a Jalapeno Margarita or a local Burleigh Brewing Co beer at Bar Chico. Settle in for some share plates from chef Darren Baranello’s Mediterranean, Asian and Middle Eastern-inspired menu, or wander down the Avenue to Shuck for some serious people watching and some of the Gold Coast’s freshest seafood—the sand crab lasagne is sensational!
For wonderful water views, join the locals for a sunset drink at Southport Yacht Club. Get a table overlooking the moored yachts and as the sun fades you’ll see the lights of the Gold Coast twinkling over the water. The meals are great too! For casual fish and chips or fresh caught local prawns and crabs, head to Peters’ Fish Market. Outside tables overlook the fishing fleet or find a spot across the road on Main Beach. Right next door is Palazzo Versace Hotel—offering high tea at Le Jardin, casual waterfront dining at Vie Bar & Restaurant or a gastronomic adventure to remember at Vanitas.
Glass Dining & Lounge Bar is known for its succulent steaks; Omeros Bros for supreme seafood in stylish surrounds; and Fellini Ristorante e Bar for the finest Italian fare. The best bets for breakfast are Providore Marina Mirage or local favourite Lark Café and Grocer on Main Beach Parade.
Where to Shop in Main Beach
High-end centre Marina Mirage offers more than 80 speciality stores—fashion, art and design, homewares and even a pooch boutique—and some of the Coast’s best waterfront dining.
For designer shoes, bags and accessories you can’t go past Maryon’s on Tedder Avenue. They stock international designer labels including Céline, Emilio Pucci, Givenchy, Kenzo, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Marni, Nicholas Kirkwood and Sonia Rykiel.
Getting Around in Main Beach
Travel around the area via the G:link, the Gold Coast’s easy to use light rail network. It runs frequently between the northern Gold Coast University Hospital station via Southport, Main Beach and Surfers Paradise to Broadbeach near Pacific Fair Shopping Centre at its southern-most point.