Beach bums and baby mamas rejoice, there’s a new spot in Cooly to grab your post-surf, post-walk latte and it ticks all the right boxes.
That Blue House, literally a big blue house on Dutton Street, opened a mere two weeks ago and already has locals flocking to sample the wholesome dishes and tasty raw treats.
Coolangatta’s latest is just a 200 metre walk from the beach making it the perfect place for your first turmeric latte of the day or lunch after a morning soaking up the sunshine.
It’s open and airy with a fresh sea breeze wafting through the deck for those who prefer to dine outdoors on those balmy Gold Coast days (read: every day).
Dishes are wholesome and fresh, with a few cheeky sweet ones thrown in for good measure eg. French Toast like you’ve never seen topped with honey cinnamon mascarpone, grilled banana and edible flowers.
Add a little bit of Mexico to your morning with a Breakfast Tostada. It’s a soft tortilla with fresh tomato salsa, bacon, chorizo, avocado smash and cheese topped with a free-range friend egg, lime and hot sauce. Hola!
Corn fritters with a chilli twist are the third standout dish served with avocado, spinach, house-made chipotle mayonnaise and a balsamic glaze.
What are you waiting for, walk those sandy feet over to your new Cooly favourite quick smart. It’s the one with all the good vibes flowing out.
HOURS: 6.30am to 4pm.
LOCATION: 5 Dutton Street, Coolangatta.
Words and photos by Kirra Smith.
Coolangatta is our southernmost suburb and an uncomplicated little town. Apart from when in summer (and outside lockdowns), you can travel between two time zones — by simply crossing the street!
Time travelling aside, Coolangatta has long been loved for its laidback, beachside vibes and of course, pumping surf when the elements align and the swell fills in. These days, there is a multitude of reasons to visit other than amazing beaches and world-class waves. These include outstanding food venues, lively bars and a few other businesses worthy of your attention. So here are some worthy reasons for a nip into Cooly town.
Have a beachside coffee at Vanilla Lily
Quite possibly Coolangatta’s prettiest cafe, Vanilla Lily is serving up solid coffees and fresh eats in a beautiful setting opposite Greenmount Beach. Chill with the local community who love this hangout and enjoy the delectable fare. Our pick is the Avocado Toast with sliced radish, dried chilli flakes, pomegranate and drizzled with raw honey and lemon on a slice of sourdough.
Where: Shop 2, 110 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Drink a beer at the Coolangatta Hotel
The Cooly Hotel is an absolute must-do. This well-known bar is opposite the town’s main stretch of sand and is often the place folks find themselves towards the latter part of the day. The attractions are world-class live music and great vibes aplenty. Pull up a chair and make an afternoon of it with salt-licked breezes blowing and uninterrupted beach views.
Where: Corner Warner Street & Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Enjoy some good food at Choofas Smokehouse & Seafood
Conveniently located on the town’s main street, the guys at Choofas offer some exceptional fresh and cooked seafood alongside BBQ style smoked meats, ribs, buffalo wings, burgers, steak, chicken and salads able to fill all hungry-bellies. The BBQ smoked meats are rubbed with Choofas own dark dry rub, then cooked long and slow to ensure tenderness and flavour. Choofas Horn Bar is also stocked with over 60 top brand rums, otherwise enjoy a cold beer on tap while overlooking Coolangatta beach as the sun goes down.
Where: 150 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Grab a pie from the Coolangatta Pie Shop
This iconic Gold Coast pie shop has been around for over 50 years, so it’s no wonder they’re serving up some of the tastiest pies around. You can also get some outrightly delicious caramel slices while you’re at it. Perfect for a mid-morning fuel up or after a big afternoon session of surfing. Fun fact: they’re open 24 hours on weekends.
Where: 50 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Eat pizza at Francie’s Pizzeria
Francie’s is some of the best pizza you’ll ever sample, so without hesitation, it quickly became the local’s favourite pizza bar. As purely a walk-in and no reservations style venue, swing by ahead of the crowd for delicious and inventive toppings. Our pick is the Pears Brosnan: Gorgonzola, pear, Prosciutto, and Mozzarella. YUM.
Where: 2/102 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Take a stroll through The Strand
The Strand at Coolangatta is a great respite from all the action at the beach. Filled with all you retail needs (ALDI, Woolies etc), dining (the views from the upstairs restaurants are outstanding) and entertainment (hello Timezone and Cooly’s only cinema). Spend some time strolling around the boutique shops in the air-con; you’re sure to find something you love here.
Where: 72-80 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Scoop your way through all the flavours at Ottimo
Ottimo serves up great coffee and makes all of their moreish gelatos in-house, but why are their plethora of dazzling flavours so damn good? Likely because the owner and head gelato maker Davide is Italian and has studied for a diploma from the Gelato University of Carpigiani — we didn’t make this up, it’s true!
Where: 18/52 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Release your inner child at Timezone
Have the heavens opened up? Or are you simply up for a bit of fun? Timezone Coolangatta features full-sized bowling lanes, over 200 video games, dodgem cars and laser skirmish. Not just one for the kids!
Where: Level 1, 72-80 Marine Parade, The Strand, Coolangatta
Start your day with brekky at South East Espresso
A Cooly favourite for a tasty breakfast and excellent poured Paradox coffee, find South East Espresso tucked a block back from the majestic Rainbow Beach. It’s the ideal spot to satisfy those early morning hankerings, and if you fancy visiting again (which you will after a surf), they’re open for lunch too.
Where: 5 Dutton Street, Coolangatta
Indulge in an Italian feast at Little Cooly
Little Cooly is serving up some mind-blowing handmade pasta alongside a 100-strong Italian wine list that reads like a love letter to Italy itself. If it’s date night, look no further — and if you’re desperate for great pasta, well they have you covered on all bases. In an ode to the local area, dishes have been named after Gold Coast icons and suburbs and shine a light on local produce, for instance The Snapper Rocks features Tweed River prawns, mango, cashews and avocado or The Greenmount features Bangalow bacon, spicy chorizo, a fried egg and mozzarella.
Where: Level 1, Shop 120/72-80 Marine Parade, The Strand, Coolangatta
Get your art on at Maverick Hair & Art Studio
Pop into this tucked away gallery for a fabulous hair spruce up or to enjoy some fresh local art including that of Cooly local Byron Coathup. You’re sure to find sweet, locally designed souvenirs to take home. Your favourite local brand, The Undercurrent is stocked here too. Grab a Cooly tee to remember your time.
Where: First Floor, 1/17 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Take in the view at Greenmount Beach Surf Club
With unsurpassed views in a northerly direction, you can take in everything overlooking the spectacular Greenmount Beach right up to the skyline of Surfers Paradise and, on some days, beyond. If the surf is good, you can also be entertained by surfers as they jostle with each other and generally tear waves apart — the level here is high. Our favourite is an icy schooner in hand and an amber sunset: perfection.
Where: Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Eat a burger at Eddie’s Grub House.
Rock ‘n roll meets fried chicken, burgers and whiskey: does it get any better than that? Get a mouthful of naughty but nice American classics in this soul food dive bar. They regularly have live music and karaoke nights and are one of the best spots to catch up with mates before a night on the town.
Where: 171 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Shop local at Cooly’s Beachside Markets
On every second and fourth Sunday of the month, Queen Elizabeth Park comes alive with plenty of local traders selling anything from raw produce to clothing and accessories. The perfect place to take a stroll with a coffee in hand and the sun on your face — be prepared to spend some money.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta
Have a sunset cocktail at Moxy’s Rooftop Bar
This Griffith Street rooftop bar is always packed with sunset and weekend revellers sipping on cocktails living their best lives, and this should include you. Regular DJs and insta-worthy drinks mean this venue is a top place to see in the weekend or alternatively help you get over a hump day from hell. Either way, head upstairs and let the good times roll.
Where: 2/152-154 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
Best known for a pumping, world-renowned surf break and ever-present chill vibes, Kirra is the unassuming seaside village within our swiftly expanding city.
Nestled between Bilinga and Coolangatta, Kirra may be small but she is also mighty. Just ask the locals.
Warning: the word Kirra may be slightly overused within this article.
Here’s a list.
St Helens Bar + Kitchen
The newest of the bunch is St Helens, a laidback eatery from which you can feel the ocean breeze on your face while enjoying fresh, seasonal eats made from local ingredients. The family owned business has quickly become a firm favourite due to their welcoming, good vibes, quality and affordable menu and of course, the perfect location. Head in there for a delicious feast.
Where: Shop 2, 78 Musgrave St, Kirra
Famous for an overflowing dessert cabinet including, you guessed it, tasty tiramisu, this little gem has become an institution in the beachside suburb. Not only loved for their clever name, Kirramisu serve up a bangin’ breakfast and lunch menu, fresh juices and smoothies and all with a side of sparkling ocean views. It’s the little place with the big soul.
Where: 2/28 Musgrave St, Kirra
Speaking of institutions, Kirra Surf is a must-visit when cruising into the footwear-optional suburb. Their range of surfing products and apparel is unrivalled, the staff are super friendly and there’s always at least two things you’ll want to take home with you. Pop in for a visit and marvel at the larger-than-life posters of your fave good-looking surfer boys.
Where: 8 Creek St, Kirra
Baskk at Kirra Point
Right on the cusp of the Coolangatta and Kirra border is baskk at Kirra Point. Also a bit of a newbie, baskk is bringing cruisy, lounge bar vibes to the already rather chill suburb. Serving a range of tasty tapas and some absolutely stunning cocktails (there’s flowers in the ice cubes guys), it’s the place to be for long lunches that turn into decadent dinners.
Where: Shop 2, Beach House Plaza, 52-58 Marine Pde, Coolangatta
Bread and Butter
The Kirra institution recently got a spectacular makeover to match it’s spectacular menu and the people of Kirra (and the rest of the Gold Coast) were very happy about it. They’re serving up pizza, pasta and gnocchi of the tastiest varieties including all you can eat for $30 on Thursday nights. Plus you’ll get those delightful salty ocean breezes from right across the road. Best.
Where: 76 Musgrave St, Kirra
A very recent addition to little old Kirra is Kirra Hub, a social eatery all about good food, good drinks and chill place to spend time with your people. The concept venue, in the Kirra Surf Apartments building, offers three types of cuisine under the one roof. Think pizzas, burgers and authentic German dishes. There’s so much deliciousness to choose from.
Where: 2 Creek St, Kirra
Kirra Beach Bakery
A visit to Kirra isn’t complete without hitting up the local bakery. Whether you’re in need of a post-surf Sweet Chilli Chicken Pie or a pre-dinner Vanilla Slice (don’t judge), Kirra Beach Bakery is the place to go. Get down there early in the morning for fresh-out-of-the-oven bread and enjoy a slice or two with the local seagulls while watching the sunrise.
Where: 1/100 Musgrave St, Kirra
Who doesn’t love homewares. Cotton Living, located opposite the beach, is one of the best, showcasing stunning handmade furniture and accessories. Everything in the store is Insta-worthy with a focus on natural colours and textures and the deepest of ocean blue hues. It’s a luxurious space inspired by the beauty of the Coast and you’re sure to find something to take back to your own abode.
Where: Shop 5, 34 Musgrave Street, Kirra
The poke bowl phenomenon has taken the Gold Coast by storm and why wouldn’t it. Originating in Hawaii, poke bowls are made up of protein and salad combinations artfully arranged in bowls and perfect for both consuming and Instagram snaps. Two of our favourite things. Of the signature bowls, we’re all about the Karaage Chicken with edamame, carrot, corn, sweet chilli mayo and lotus root chips. Summer is just around the corner folks, time to get healthy.
Where: 18/48 Musgrave St, Kirra
Since surfing is king in Kirra, it’s no surprise that a tiny little converted surf shack has become a favourite for local hangs. Previously the shaping digs of Dorrington Surfboards, the classic little brick building is a family owned affair stocking all the best surf-friendly goods from boards and accessories to clothing. Head down and stay awhile, HSD is oozing with good vibes.
Where: Nirvana by the Sea, Shop 2, Cnr Musgrave and Douglas Streets, Kirra
Kirra Surf Life Saving Club
Located right on the beach, this old boy has been around longer than you (est. 1916) and is a firm favourite amongst all Gold Coasters. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon cold one overlooking the ocean or an affordable dinner with the crew. Sit yourself on the deck and let that balmy sea breeze float your worries away.
Where: 15 Marine Pde, Kirra
Kirra Hill Lookout
Where better to feast your eyes on the beautiful beach that Kirra is famous for the world over. Trek to the top of the headland (maybe after you’ve had that pie) and prepare to be wowed by views from Main Beach to Snapper Rocks. Pack a picnic or fire up the barbie and thank your lucky stars you get to live in the best place on Earth.
Where: It’s on the big hill, you won’t miss it
Gold Coast Skydive
Jumping out of a plane is all kinds of a fun time, and jumping out of a plane and landing on Kirra beach, even better. The food folks at Gold Coast Skydive are based in Kirra and once you’re out of that plane hurtling toward the sand, Kirra is exactly where you’ll land. After that adrenaline rush you might want to calm yourself with a beer or two. Luckily, the surf club is right there to assist.
Where: 1/78 Musgrave St, Kirra
Kirra Beach Pavilion
While driving around the headland, you may have noticed the cute little shelter overlooking the ocean. It’s not only a great place to hide from the scorching sun, it’s also got some time on its back, over a century to be precise. Early photos of Kirra beach show the shelter in place by around 1916. The Kirra Shelter Shed makes for a great viewing platform and is the perfect spot to watch whales play out in the ocean.
Words by Kirra (sadly-not-named-after-the-suburb) Smith
Ocean image by Andrew Shield