Ahh Kirra. The seaside suburb synonymous with surf, sunshine and ever-present good vibes. The breeze is balmy, the locals are all smiles and now, the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans is wafting down Churchill Street and into your caffeine-loving bloodstream.
You can thank specialty coffee creator newbies Zephyr Coffee Co. for feeding (read: amping up) your addiction and bringing completely unique blends into your orbit to alter life as you know it. Sounds dramatic but bear with us.
The cafe is a simple, relaxation-inducing space just a block back from Kirra beach ensuring salty ocean breezes aplenty on the umbrella-covered front deck. Greenery induces good vibes in the form of fancy wallpaper while the choose-your-own-adventure coffee roaster takes pride of place in the back corner.
Owner Justin has been a passionate coffee connoisseur for many moons and his idea to allow customers to roast their own take home blends is both genius and surprisingly unheard of around these parts.
He orders ‘green’ beans in from around the world and of course, creates his own roasts to make delicious cuppas for y’all while also allowing you to develop your own according to your tastes and preferences.
It’s an actual coffee addicts dream. Of course, the team also create two of their own blends – one for espressos and one for milk based coffees – for those who are all about less effort and faster swigging.
In terms of food, because we know you’re all wondering, there’s a fun range of smoothie bowls to sample, including some you’ve never seen before.
Get around the Black Bowl with charcoal, acai, banana, mango, blueberries and granola for a cooling, healthy snack. Or, if a full day at the beach has you craving carbs, definitely grab yourself a Spaghetti Bolognaise Jaffle and thank your lucky stars those bad boys came back into foodie fashion.
It’s your new favourite summer hang so head on down and get yourself acquainted.
LOCATION: 1 Churchill Street, Coolangatta
HOURS: 6am to 2pm Tuesday to Friday and 6pm to 12pm Saturday and Sunday
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.
Pizza and puns are, without a doubt, two of the best things ever created. Oh and also wine and GUESS WHAT, you can get all of those things at Cooly’s new kid on the block.
In a move that quite frankly has skyrocketed Coolangatta into coolest suburb on the Coast status, Francie’s Pizzeria is bringing over 15 pizza flavours, their own range of wine and a whole lot of soul to the south and we are stoked (and also very full).
The intimate space has all your favourite things, a glossy white brick feature wall, a neon sign, perfectly placed greenery and vintage-style photographs depicting some of the coolest characters in entertainment history. You might even catch a glimpse of owners Claudia and Tony’s model-esque parents and grandparents.
The pair have dubbed their style of eats Neo-nepolitana which we’re pretty sure translates to super delicious and also aesthetically pleasing. All attempts at humour aside, the pair have done their research (tough gig). Prior to opening Tony travelled from New York to Philadelphia to gather ideas and inspiration including paying a visit to Pizzeria Blanco, who are apparently the cult leaders of the pizza world. Hence, the venue being a north American style of pizzeria.
On his travels Tony learnt that the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating big, bold flavours and thus friends, that’s exactly what he did.
Here’s your favourite part: the names of the pizzas are puns and what could be better in the world honestly.
The Pears Brosnan is made with pear, Gorgonzola, speck, thyme and fior de latte. The Fennel Countdown is house made fennel sausage, red onions, parmigano reggiano, tomato and a garlic crumb. The Kale Me Maybe is Tuscan kale, roasted chilli, buttered mushroom, garlic and aged cheddar. Too good.
Get this, there’s also an entirely vegan menu with seven pies, plus entrees and seriously, be still my heart.
Claudia and Tony make their own sourdough, lemonade, sweet tea and hummus (you’ll want to bath in it) and they’ve created something completely unique and perfectly befitting of Cooly’s super chill vibes.
Get it gang.
LOCATION: 102 Griffith St, Coolangatta
HOURS: Wednesday to Monday 11am until 2pm and 5pm to 9.30pm
Words and photos by Kirra Smith.
Best known for a pumping, world-renowned surf break and ever-present chill vibes, there’s so much more to Kirra than just waves and a pristine stretch of sand (although that’s motivation enough for us).
Here are 12 reasons why Kirra locals ain’t budging for love nor money, and why the wider GC community can’t get enough of this thriving yet mellow footwear-optional ‘burb.
Who doesn’t love a luxurious homewares store that’s also a patisserie café, and the answer is a unanimous NOBODY. In its beautiful new location, Cotton Living showcases stunning handmade furniture and timeless accessories to make every room in your abode sing. Everything is Insta-worthy with a focus on natural colours and textures, plus you can grab a croissant with your cushion and #WhatsNotToLove. This luxurious space right by the beach is family-owned and the obvs choice for your next coffee date with the gals.
Where: 1 Lord Street, Coolangatta
Once a humble Pizza Hut (and the hottest piece of real estate going around), the iconic and heritage listed beachside Kirra Pavilion has been reincarnated! Founded by local restaurateur royalty Jarrod Kyle and TJ Cianci, Siblings is a modern Australian brunch and dinner showstopper, dripping with 1950’s Miami beach vibes goodness. The menu is infused with fresh seafood and share-plates a-plenty and don’t even get us started on the cocktails! You haven’t lived till you’ve been.
Where: 15 Marine Parade, Kirra
From the brilliant mind that brought us Project Tokyo comes an all new, sandy-shore-dwelling, Mexican fusion dining experience and yep, that was a mouthful. Speaking of mouthfuls, you’ve never tasted better modern Mexican fare, with fresh, delicious dishes infused with dashes of distinct oriental flavours and srsly, the tongue-twisters are coming in hot today. The fit out is bright but totally on-fleek, just how we like our Mexi restaurant and taquerias.
Where: 74 Musgrave Street, Coolangatta
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 serves up a bangin’ breakfast and lunch menu, fresh juices and smoothies, all with a side of multi-million-dollar sparkling ocean views. It’s the little place with the big soul.
Where: 28 Musgrave Street, Kirra
Speaking of institutions, Kirra Surf is a must-visit when cruising into this salty (good salty) seaside suburb. Their range of surfing products and apparel is unrivalled, the staff are super friendly, and there’s always at least (twenty)two things you’ll want to take home with you. Ladies, pop in for a visit and marvel at the larger-than-life posters of your fave easy-on-the-eyes surfer boys. You’re welcome.
Where: 8 Creek Street, Kirra
Bread and Butter
From Spanish tapas, stone baked pizzas, handmade gnocchi to cocktails and a large selection of wine and beer, you’re in for a treat at this Kirra icon. A lively space where the good times always roll, take a seat on the terrace and soak up the delightful ocean breezes and beach views. With $20 pick-up pizzas and $25 gnocchi and pasta until 6pm, it won’t break the bank which is the icing on the cake (or the butter on the bread).
Where: 76 Musgrave St, Kirra
Kirra Beach Bakery
A visit to Kirra isn’t complete without hitting up the local bakery and this is a fact. Whether you’re in need of a post-surf pie, sausage roll, quiche or pastie, a healthy salad or sandwich for the road, or some pre-dinner cake, slice or a sweet treat (don’t judge), Kirra Beach Bakery is the place. Get down there early in the morning for fresh-out-of-the-oven bread and enjoy a slice or two with the local ‘gulls while watching the sunrise. Best.
Where: 100 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. Of the signature bowls, we’re all about the Karaage Chicken with edamame, carrot, corn, sweet chilli mayo and lotus root chips. Satisfying and healthy, the entire menu is preservative free and all seafood is sustainably sourced. How good!
Where: 48 Musgrave Street, 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 fave 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 take you to your happiest place.
Where: 15 Marine Parade, Kirra
Kirra Hill Lookout
Where better to feast your eyes on the world-famous Kirra beach! Trek to the top of the headland and prepare to be wowed by views from Main Beach to Snapper Rocks and everywhere in between. Pack a picnic or fire up the barbie (you’ve earned it after that walk), and thank your lucky stars you get to live in the best place on Earth. No bias, just #truth.
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 good 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 Street, Kirra
Kirra Beach Pavilion
While driving around the headland, you may have noticed the cute little shelter overlooking the ocean. It’s a great place to hide from the scorching sun, and has certainly seen a lot over its lifetime – more than a century to be precise. Early photos of Kirra Beach show the shelter in place by around 1916 and we love ourselves some GC history. The Kirra Shelter Shed makes for a great viewing platform and is the perfect spot to watch whales frolic out in the big blue.
Words by Bianca Trathen.