Danielle booked me a trip to Couran Cove Resort on South Stradbroke Island, just a short boat ride from the Gold Coast.

Trouble In Paradise

The night Danielle told me we were going to Couran Cove, I had just listened to a story on the radio about all the issues involving body corporates at the Curran Cove Resort. A number of permanent residents were without power, water or sewerage and they had shut down the resort swimming pool. Even the store and cafe were closed. Needless to say Danielle was disappointed. But more than the resort, the trip on the ferry would allow us to explore South Stradbroke island which we can see from our house but have never been to.

The Ferry Ride to Couran Cove

You catch the Ferry to Couran Cove from the Marina Mirage at the southern most jetty which is kind of hidden away. I was surprised to see that it is just a small boat you have to climb onto. We were travelling with our three month old. I felt a bit nervous taking him on the boat as we had to break down the pram to put him onboard.

There also wasn’t anywhere to store luggage except on the seats. This boat definitely wasn’t designed for ferrying resort patrons. Yet we passed plenty of larger boats sitting dormant as we sailed out of the marina. The boat ride was a little rocky but pretty uneventful. Its always beautiful to get out on the Broadwater.

Arriving at Couran Cove

As we pulled into Couran Cove, I was impressed by all the beautiful villas and apartments that surrounded the marina. Many were built on stilts sitting over the water. They looked like a great to stay for a relaxing weekend away. It definitely didn’t look like it was in disrepair from the boat.

Dolphins at Couran Cove
Dolphins at Couran Cove

As we disembarked we were greated by several dolphins, who spent a couple of minutes entertaining us. Standing on the jetty, they came up super close. Once the dolphins were on their way, we decided to grab a coffee and come up with a plan for the day. Usually Couran Cove would have a general store and a cafe, but while we were there, it was just the restaurant that was open which was located on the marina. This is also where you would check in if you were staying at the resort.

Exploring the Island on Foot

As it was a hot day, we decided it was best to get the walking out of the way early. So we started out on our journey across South Stradbroke Island to the surf beach. From the resort there is a board walk, that takes you through a rainforest. Sadly though the board walk has fallen in to disrepair and is rotting. We had to be very careful about where we stepped. The rainforest itself was incredible though. After the boardwalk we came to some of the resorts eco lodges – it was a bit like a ghost town because there was no one around. We did come across a wallaby and a goanna though. 

Danielle at Couran Cove Surf Beach
Danielle at Couran Cove Surf Beach

The walk to the beach took probably 45 minutes in hot and humid conditions. We had left the pram behind, so Danielle was feeling really hot with Gideon strapped to her. In hindsight we could have taken the pram or if Gideon was older, rented one of the resorts many bikes. I’m also told traditionally they have golf carts for rent, bur we didn’t see anything available on this trip. The road ends at an old abandoned surf club. It would have been a beautiful restaurant at some point looking out over the beach and the ocean. But now, everything is locked, the board walk is just a frame and there are just tattered remnants of shade sails.

The beach itself was beautiful. There was no one else around, just us, the rolling waves and sloping dunes, which is so add as when you look to the south you can see the sky scrapers of the bustling Gold Coast.

Taking out the Kayak

After making the hot walk back, we grabbed a cool drink in the games room (they had some basic items, maybe to cater for the closed general store). This is also where you can rent bikes, stand up paddle boards and kayaks. Taking out the kayak was part of my birthday present, so I took one out for about an hour. The water sports are on the enclosed part of the cove, amidst all the houses, so you can’t go too far which is nice and safe for families. There was no one else out on the water, so I had a very peaceful time. It gave me another vantage point to see just how quite the resort really was. There was an island in the centre which has the swimming pools and bars. These were all sectioned off so you couldn’t get access, but as I kayaked past I could see the pool was full functional.


After Kayaking and walking, we had worked up an appetite so we headed to the restaurant to grab some lunch. We shared a garlic and cheese pizza and a cheeseburger, both were delicious, and I’d definitely come back for the food.

The restaurant at Couran Cove
The restaurant at Couran Cove

For the afternoon we had decided to find a quiet place to swim since the pool was closed. I was told the best place would be in the lagoon where I kayaked earlier. This area was it is fenced off, so there are no sharks. We made our way to what looked like a nice beach, but instead of sand, it was like a foamy mud. It probably would have been fine but we weren’t too keen to take Gideon in so we just relaxed on the shore, within sight of the beautiful pool over on the island.

Before long, it was time to board the boat and journey home again. Lucky we headed back to the marina early as they had changed the departure time to 4pm instead of 4:30 without us knowing.

We Hope To Return

As we cruised out of the marina, I looked back and saw sunset beach which looked to be a much better place to swim. That gives us a reason to go back. Hopefully it will be once they have had a chance to resolve the body corporate issues.

My hope is that they are able to resolve the body corporate issues quickly so that the resort can continue to operate and remain a great place for people to relax and holiday.

Have you been to Couran Cove? What was your experience?