Is Swimming in Gold Coast Waters Safe For People?

By Josh •  Updated: 08/02/23 •  8 min read

The gold coast with its beautiful beaches and sceneries is a great place to visit. On your vacation there you might be tempted to jump into the local waters.

But, swimming in gold coast waters be dangerous for people so let’s find out if it is safe to swim in Gold Coast waters and where.

The Gold Coast features amazingly beautiful beaches which leads many to come to enjoy them year in and out. You must be weary though of breaks which cause heavy pounding waves almost continuously or ocean life like Jellyfish. This means you should be careful with children and anyone who isn’t a strong swimmer.

Gold Coast waters can be both safe and unsafe depending on a great range of factors we will discuss.

There are water bodies on the Gold Coast that are dangerous, especially for children, due to high waves and harmful animal life. However, there also remain waters that are to an extent safe for swimming.

Thus, before making a plan to go for a swim in one of the water bodies on the Gold Coast, read this article till the end.

Here, I’ve given a list of safe beaches you can visit even with children for swimming. I’ve also added some information on the dangers gold coast waters hold and how you can overcome them.

Is It Safe to Swim in Gold Coast Waters?

The Gold Coast is known for its beaches, lakes, rivers, and canals. But these water bodies are not always safe for swimming. It mainly depends on when and where you are visiting.

For example, sometimes during heavy rainfalls on the Gold Coast, the pollutants of the roads and houses get flushed into the rivers that eventually reach the ocean.

This results in the water becoming unsafe for swimming. There is an increase in pathogen levels in the waters due to the run-off of the stormwater.

Also, waters with large waves and harmful ocean life can also be dangerous. Especially for children. So, the best thing to do is do some research on the area before jumping into the waters.

Dangers of Swimming in Unsafe Gold Coast Waters

Some waters are unsafe for swimming in due to having harmful plants, and microorganisms that are dangerous.

There are aquatic organisms on Gold Coast that are harmful, thus during any recreational activities, people have to be wary of stingrays, algae, and also jellyfish.

There have been quite a few reports of shark attacks. Thus, swimming in the canals is discouraged as bull sharks are mostly known to be spotted there.

Stingrays sometimes dissolve themselves into the sand and may be stepped on easily. Even though they are not dangerous, stepping on them may cause them to strike you.

Microorganisms such as algae can be dangerous as well. Catfish and stonefish can be harmful too and are found in the water within the sand.

Jellyfish are often found on Gold Coast beaches too and their stings can severely hurt you. 

High waves are another problem on the beaches of the Gold coast. High waves are often the cause of drowning. So, whether it’s a child or an adult drowning can happen on these beaches.

So, caution is advised when visiting Gold Coast beaches. 

List of Safe Gold Coast Beaches for Swimming

Even the popular beaches on the Gold Coast are not completely safe. High waves and dangerous ocean life make it difficult for most Gold Coast beaches to be called safe.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any at all. Below, I have arranged a list of beaches in Gold Coast that you can swim in:

Rainbow Bay

One of the popular beaches to swim on is the Gold Coast. It is a sheltered beach that is known to be a favorite for families to visit. This beach has a surf break providing a long-run opportunity for surfers.

Rainbow Bay has many precautions for safe swimming as well. All of this makes Rainbow bay a great place for anyone looking to surf or swim.

Coolangatta Beach

Coolangatta beach is at the southern end. It is well-sheltered and attracts swimmers of all ages. Some lifeguards are always on patrol to protect you and your loved ones in times of need.

Locals prefer this beach and it also has regular visitors. All you need to do is to stay cautious about the markings for the skydiver’s landing sites.

Currumbin Creek

Currumbin Creek is a calm beach where the water is undisturbed. Thus, it is great for children and those who are fearful of swimming in large water bodies.

You might not be able to surf here. But surfing isn’t the only thing most people are interested in when going to the beach.

Currumbin creek is an awesome place to visit with your family and friends and have a good time.

Tallebedgera Creek

Tallebedgera Creek is another family-friendly beach. It is a natural playground that is located south of Burleigh Heads.

The waters here are also pretty tame making it a great destination for you if you have kids.

Family Friendly beaches indicate that there are fewer dangerous occurrences known to have happened in those places.

Thus, the safety of swimming is ensured.

Burleigh Beach

Burleigh Beach may not be considered the safest for children as there might be some pretty gnarly waves now and then compared to the other beaches listed in this article.

Nevertheless, it can be a good swimming spot for experienced swimmers. Also, they have adequate lifeguards on duty so you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Precautions Before and While Swimming in Gold Coast Waters

There are some precautions you can take before and even during swimming in Gold Coast waters. You must be alert and follow everything mentioned below.

Before setting out for swimming in the waters of the Gold Coast, try to research the areas you are visiting. 

Studying the area before choosing to swim in it can prevent you from going into danger zones and hurting yourself.

If there has been heavy rainfall, try to avoid going to beaches, lakes, and rivers for swimming as the water may be filled with pollutants and will cause your body harm.

The run-down stormwater contains high pathogens. Try going after a week perhaps when the flushed-out pollutant water is no longer present in the swimming areas. 

Before going into the water, observe it for a few minutes. See the temperament of the waves and the noticeable plants and other species.

When walking towards the water, be wary of stepping on stone fish or catfish as they are often on clear waters, and stepping on them can get you hurt.

While swimming in the canals, you must pay attention to the safety warnings that are put in there. If you catch sight of a shark, you must immediately leave the water.

To avoid a shark attack, it is preferred to swim in clear water with lots of light passing through. Sharks do not attack people for food.

Sometimes though, they mistake people for something else. So, making yourself look as human as possible may be the best chance you have when confronting sharks.

During swimming and diving in the water, whenever you see a school of fish, try to swim away from that area. There is a chance for large fishes like sharks or reptiles to be nearby looking for small fishes.

There are lifeguards around on beaches, thus, if you are in trouble, try to draw attention. If you see someone drowning, try to save them if you think you can or seek help from a lifeguard.

In other waters like lakes, the water is not always that deep. However, if you are going for a swim with your children, it is better to be by their side or to observe them while they are in the water.

When swimming in a river, always look for the safety signs to know your swimming limitations. Ask the locals before you choose a river as there may be crocodiles and other dangerous animals lurking in the waters. 

Final Thoughts on Gold Coast Swimming

So, is swimming in Gold Coast waters safe for people? It basically depends on where you are swimming.

Some areas are filled with hazardous natural elements while others are safe for taking your family for a swim.

Thus, when looking for safe water to swim in, you have to learn about the habitat of that area and the nature of the water there. 


Josh is a loving dad and husband, writer, business owner, and someone who loves to explore the world. He last travelled to Australia to visit Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns and am looking to head back soon to see more! He is a huge fan of hiking, drawing, and so much more!

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