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by Jeremy Pierce, Escape


Stingrays glide gracefully through the crystal-clear water. I imagine my stand-up paddleboard is gliding pretty gracefully too, but that’s probably debatable. The rays seem unconcerned by my presence and cruise along the reef and reeds on the sea floor. They look close enough to touch, but I wouldn’t dare.

I’m on the Sunshine Coast, in Steve Irwin territory, and stingrays are still a little bit of a sore point up here.

They are abundant at Pumicestone Passage, the pristine waterway separating Caloundra and Golden Beach from the northern tip of Bribie Island. Golden Beach is generally regarded as the first real mainland beach north of the Southport Spit some 200km away (the beaches in between are all part of Moreton Bay).

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Cynics might point out there’s not much beach at Golden Beach, but if you want a wide expanse of sand with a surf break, Caloundra and Kings Beach is five minutes up the road.

Instead, Golden Beach is all about Pumicestone Passage.

The island’s presence means there are no waves at Golden Beach, but it’s a mecca for different kinds of surf craft. It’s great for stand-up paddleboards, while on any given day the channel plays host to dozens of kiteboarders, windsurfers and boaties, while swimmers and anglers also have a slice of the action.

Apart from the lack of waves, Golden Beach has the chilled-out vibe of an old-fashioned surf town.

A street back from the beach is a row of cafes, shops and takeaway stores where everybody knows your name – if you’re a local.

The waterfront has a couple of cafes, but mostly this is where the hotels and resorts are. The rebranded Ramada Resort Golden Beach is popular with families as well as older travellers and has postcard-perfect views of the water, Bribie Island and Caloundra to the north.

Rooms are serviceable rather than sensational but it’s the facilities that stand out here.

The tropical beach-style resort pool is a winner with young families and (judging by the number of senior citizens I saw zipping down the waterslide) the young at heart.

There’s a tennis court, gym and games rooms and an extensive DVD library. If the sun is shining you can hire a bike or kayak to explore Golden Beach.

Nearby Caloundra is also worth some time, especially if you’re looking for a restaurant with water views for dinner. Further afield and within a 30-minute drive are other Sunshine Coast attractions such as the Ginger Factory, which has been selling and serving all things ginger for 40 years, and popular aquarium Underwater World.

The writer stayed courtesy of Wyndham resorts.




Golden Beach is about an hour’s drive north of Brisbane or 30 minutes from Sunshine Coast Airport.


Ramada Resort Golden Beach has a mix of self-contained apartments across the road from the water.


The resort has kayaks for hire, but other businesses also offer watercraft including boats and jet skis. The Ginger Factory is at Yandina, 30 minutes away.

Underwater World Sea Life Aquarium is at Mooloolaba, less than 30 minutes away by car.

See for more information.

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