There isn’t another location on the Gold Coast that is so diverse, where so many activities can be enjoyed in one concentrated place, from exercising your dog to wind surfing.
Along with this is the beauty of the location, its part of the Currumbin Estuary and Palm Beach Spit and a photographer’s paradise.
There is some rich Gold Coast history here, did you know that the first white woman in this area lived in the middle of Currumbin Creek on an island called ‘Granny Birch Island’ also known as ‘Costello Island’ after the indigenous family that also lived on the island.
The house was described as being picturesque constructed by her bush carpenter husband ‘Bill Birch’ from local timber, drift wood and timber from ships. An article in the newspaper described her kitchen table – 12ft long 2ft wide and 7inches thick.
The whole island disappeared in the 1930’s flood, I haven’t found any more references since.
Top illustration: View to the north from above Herbert Chippendale’s home at Currumbin looking to Palm Beach, Queensland, circa 1904
Bottom illustration: Notable in this image is the gap between Granny Birch’s island on the right and Palm Beach on the left. This was naturally occurring lagoon fed by freshwater and considered a bird sanctuary at the time. Over the years and with the event of many storms this sand area has joined completely and now forms the area of Palm Beach Parklands and the buildings of Royal Palm and Princess Palm. Burleigh Headland is in the distance. The location of the house is approximately where the Currumbin Bridge now spans the creek. https://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/library/default.html
After colouring image you can see what appears to be a jetty and pump on the left hand side of the bottom illustration.
It was a popular camping spot and visitors would wade out on the low tide to access it. So when you are wading through the pristine waters of Currumbin Creek at low tide and standing on the sandbank which more often than not is right in the middle of the creek, cast your mind back to around hundred years ago when Granny Birch Island (Costello Island) was there.
From the old photos of this island you can clearly see the tall gum trees.
This area was popular in the 1920’s and it’s popular now for similar reasons; these are some of the activities you can do at Palm Beach Parklands.
What can you do at Palm Beach Parklands?
The best time to visit is during the week, when you can have the place to yourself.
Many people refer to this area as the ‘Pirate Ship Park’ and of course this is because they visit with their little ones. A very popular spot for Mum’s and Dad’s to meet with friends or play groups and enjoy a coffee at the Dune Cafe.
Early mornings there is a group of swimmers that meet just on sun up, the time of year doesn’t seem to faze them, they are there soaking up the tranquility of the morning.
There are some secluded spots where you can enjoy a picnic along the beach facing the creek or sections of grassed areas, with views of Currumbin Rock.
Go for a bush walk – Tarrabora Reserve
Tarrabora Reserve is next to the Pirate Ship Park and offers an escape into bushland, take a bush walk with the kids around 1 km of sealed pathway, where you can observe the birdlife particularly early morning or late afternoon.
This boardwalk is particularly appealing during high tide; where some sections of the boardwalk give you that sensation that you are close to walking on water with the waters of Currumbin Creek lapping at the supporting piers.
You can walk your dog along Beree Badalla Boardwalk but only on a leash. Please take note of the signage.
Palm Beach Spit is around 1km to walk around, lagoon one side, bushland in the middle and open beach the other side, all off leash exercise for your dog. I love to watch the dog walkers; they have up to half dozen dogs all on leads all behaving and under control.
The Dune Cafe is a nice stop off after a walk, you don’t need to bring a picnic, you can sit and enjoy breakfast and lunch at the cafe and gaze out over the lagoon and think of how things were 100 years ago when Granny Birch Island was still there.