Tweed Heads and Coolangatta are twin towns located on the border between north-eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland. Coolangatta is in Queensland and a suburb of the Gold Coast. Tweed Heads is not administratively part of the city, but it effectively forms its southern suburb, although part of the Tweed Shire, the offices of which are in Murwillumbah.
When you cross the wide Tweed River from the south, you remain in New South Wales for around 5 kilometres before passing into Queensland. The border is in the built up retail area near the mouth of the river.
Where is the border?
The border between New South Wales and Queensland winds its way through the towns of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta. With buildings, roads, and other structures spanning the border it is often not obvious which state you are in. This can be important in summer months, when New South Wales operates on daylight savings time, and Queensland does not. If you land at Coolangatta airport from the south, you will touch down in New South Wales, and taxi to the terminal in Queensland. The border is actually the 19th Century survey line of the watershed. When surveyor Evans followed the MacPherson range eastwards he was directed to mark the border and terminate it at the incorrectly named Point Danger, but in fact the watershed hit the coast at Currumbin headland. He then drew a direct line from the hill behind Currumbin to what was thought to be Point Danger, thus the border runs parallel to the beach for some kms before terminating at the headland north of the Tweed River mouth. The real Point Danger is at Fingal Head some kms south, a fact now recognised, but not so much as to allow the name to be changed.
Coolangatta is pronounced with the emphasis on the last syllable, like regatta, and unlike Talangatta.
The Gold Coast airport is located in Coolangatta, about 5 kms distant, and has domestic flights and international flights from New Zealand, Malaysia, and Japan
Buses run from Brisbane and points south. The train service from Brisbane to Robina, central Gold Coast, has bus connections through to Coolangatta and Tweed Heads.
It is a comfortable 65 minutes drive from Brisbane on the Pacific Motorway. One can exit just after the Brisbane airport to hit the coast near Kirra for the short coastal drive through Coolangatta to Tweed Heads.
Surfside buses, run from Tweed Heads frequently northwards towards Coolangatta and Surfers Paradise, and southwards somewhat less frequently.
Tropical Fruit World. An educational park where tropical fruit is grown for experiments, viewing and tasting. Home of the Big Avocado.
Tweed Heads Visitor Information Centre (Tweed Tourism Inc), 7/1 Wharf Street, Tweed Heads, ☎ +61 7 5536 6737, . Providing tourism information for the Tweed region. Maps, posters and souvenirs. Accommodation, tour and cruise booking service. Open 7 days. http://www.tweedtourism.com.au or Ph: 1800 674 414 (within Australia only)
Scuba Diving There are several scuba dive companies using Cook Island as their dive location. Cook island is the small island first mentioned by James Cook when he named Point Danger and Mt. Warning in 1770, about 2km offshore. The volcanic rookery island is in unprotected water and intending divers should be aware that this is no barrier reef experience, but the reefs offer interesting diving and the waters are prolific with turtles.
Centro Tweed Heads (Tweed Mall), Cnr. Wharf & Bay Streets, Tweed Heads, NSW, 2485, . Contains small speciality shops together with larger well-known retailers like Target, Coles and Woolworths.
Coolangatta / Kirra Beach YHAwww.yha.com.au Adjacent to some of the best beaches in Australia, great hostel with pool, BBQ area, games room.
Fingal Head Fingal is actually just across the Tweed River from Tweed Heads, but you must travel south on the Pacific Highway past Sextons Hill and after the motorway crosses the river take the left exit and follow the signs. There are many kms of isolated and beatuful beaches to enjoy. It features as it's centrepoint Fingal Head, a volcanic rock headland originally named Point Danger by James Cook in 1770. Subsequently the headland north of the tweed River Mouth was incorrectly named Point Danger, so if you have a fetish for Cook's place names on the East Coast of Australia, this is the Point Danger you must visit. The name Fingal was chosen because of the hexagonal columns of volcanic rock. These were originally a lava finger from the shield volcano, the plug of which is Mount Warning, also named by Cook. Similar rock formations exist in Northern Ireland at Fingal, thus the name. A prominent rock formation off the point is accessed by a small surf affected causeway, and this is named Giants Causway, also with Northern Irish connections. The surf beach on the northern side is patrolled in summer holidays and weekends. Foreign visitors should remember that inexperience in the surf can lead to trouble, so even if there are others body surfing, it is not a sign that the conditions are benign. In other words, stick to the patrolled beaches. There is a very loyal board surfer fraternity usually finding a wave on the south side of the headland. The camping ground at the main beach offers demountables, van and tent sites. The nearest pub is the Chinderah, on the river on the western side of the highway, once the ferry crossing point for all coastal road traffic. The island off the coast is Cook Island, as it was first mentioned, but not named, by Cook. Dive boats use this for charter dives from Tweed Heads, although you might also make an arranged pick up from the small river marina you pass as you enter Fingal. Camping, or overnight staying is not permitted in the Tweed Shire and this is actively enforced. Also nude bathing is prohibited, and police cars do patrol the beaches, so watch out. There is community concern about undesirable types hanging about, rather than concerns about nudity.
Tweed River This river, named by John Oxley, is the northernmost of the Northern Rivers of NSW. Rising in the Border Ranges, it is navigable inland to the bustling alternative town of Murwillumbah, some 30km up river. Murwillumbah is worth a visit; it was once a timber town and positioned so to ship the highly valued rain forest timbers down river to be picked up at wharves once at the mouth of the river. High on the south side of the river is the Murwillumbah art gallery in a new well positioned building. It is surprisingly worth a visit; there is also a coffee shop / cafe on site. At Kondong is a sugar mill, the river previously being the transport option for the carriage of cane to the mill. At Tumbulgum is a bridge to the north, which offers an alternative drive to Murwillumbah, and another road that leads over the MacPherson Range to the Currumbin Valley in Queensland. The pub at Tumbulgum is a popular watering hole, and the town now boasts a coffee shop and restaurant. The boat ramp at Tumbulgum makes this spot also a popular spot for water skiers. The river has always been a favorite for fishermen, but for an innocent newcomer to catch a feed would be a minor miracle. House boats are available in the Tweed Heads marina, and there are endless peaceful and beautiful reaches of the river to explore. Dinghies are also available for hire at Boyds Bay inlet and at Fingal Head. The river is full of shoals, so care must be taken of navigation marks and buoys.
Mount Warning Named by James Cook in 1770 to warn sailors of the Danger Reefs off Point Danger (now named Fingal Head in error), this prominent 1156 metre peak towers over the Tweed River valley, the coast line and offers great views of the Macpherson Range to the north. Drive there via Murwillumbah and follow the signs up the Tweed River valley. The access road rises to about the 500 metre mark, and a graded switchback foot track continues to the top. Allow for about 2 hours for the walk to the top, which finishes with a chain up slabby sections to the summit. National Parks have constructed a 360 degree viewing platform on the summit, which slightly jars, but which is quite practical. The nearest pub to the base of the mountain is at Uki, the Mount Warning Hotel.
Kingscliff This coastal town is at the next headland south of Fingal head, about 6km further. Until about 10 years ago it was a sleepy campers mecca, but now boasts a vibrant real estate industry, and a busy coffee shop and restaurant strip, and a shopping centre containing a Woolworths. Camping sites are still available right on the beach. The surf is generally on the small side and board surfers are rarely seen out. Cudgeon Creek enters at the point, and offers blue water fisherman relatively easy access to the ocean, weather dependent of course. The mouth of the river is a favorite swimming place for all ages. There are numerous ocean front parks and facilities. The pub is the popular Grand Pacific Hotel. Further south from Kingscliff is the newish Salt real estate development featuring ocean front hotel, restaurants and bar. Further south from there is Casuarina, a newish development designed to have minimal impact on the environment and which boasts many beach houses of original design, and a surfing beach. One of the features of this development was the apparent requirement that no beach front homes were to have a view of the ocean, so from the beach there is no sign of near habitation.
Continue further south to Cabarita, Hastings Point and Pottsville, all very nice ocean front townships with surf beaches. There are several camping grounds to be found. The only pub is the Cabarita Hotel at Bogangar.