Location Guide – The Spit (Gold Coast)

Posted by on Jun 16, 2016 in Location Guides | 0 comments

Location Guide – The Spit (Gold Coast)

The Gold Coast of South East Queensland is blessed with many great beach and interesting places to photography. None more so that the Spit which sits on the northern end of the Gold Coast, it is a finger of land surrounded on three side by water including the ocean, and the Gold Coast seaway. For photographers this location provides a feast of opportunities, some are easily found and others require a bit of forethought. as with any coastal location different times of day will yield a completely different atmosphere to the photos.

Clouds reflected_KD

Clouds reflected by Ken Dickson

Being surrounded on three sides by water gives the photographer a wide variety of choices. The ocean side (eastern side) of the Spit offers strong possibilities for surfing or crashing wave shots, whilst the waves seen at this beach are not as spectacular as the higher end surfing location (See previous Location guide for Snapper Rocks), a regular surf school is in residence and this will give you the opportunity to practise your photography whilst they are practising their surfing. The break wall on the this side of the Spit is a very popular location on stormy days as big waves can be seen pounding into the wall and distributing their energy in the form of spectacular plumes of water.

The beach side of the Spit also has the Sand pumping jetty, a long finger style wharf that stretches out to sea to enable the distribution of sand. I have found this jetty a great location for night time shots primarily just after the sun has gone down. At this time the bright jetty lights can be captured against the rich dark blue colours of the evening sky.

A short walk from the beach side of the Spit and you reach the Gold Coast seaway, this stretch of water is favourite for boaties and jet ski riders, it provides access to the ocean and the calm waters behind the Spit. Day and night you find anglers along the rock wall of the seaway or the various quite sandy areas that cover the western side of the spit.

For me one of the interesting subjects at this location is to seek out the Lifeguard towers that dot the area, these unique structures make a great focal point for your images or equally used as a background supporting element.


Love by the tower by Ken Dickson


Special Photographic Features or Notes

When visiting the Spit, it is advisable to take a wide range of camera lenses as the opportunities presented to you will vary greatly. Long telephoto lenses will be good for getting those action shots of surfing or crashing waves where as a wide angle lens becomes critical for the wide sweeping landscape style shots.

A tripod is a must when visiting the area at sunrise or sunset.

On windy or stormy days, I recommend taking some sort of protection for your camera gear to protect against the blowing sand or salt spray. For me this can be as simple as a shower cap to provide a basic level of protection.


Crashing Wave by Ken Dickson


Times of Day

The Spit offers photographic opportunities at all times of day the photographer just needs to be flexible in their approach. Sunset and sunrise are particularly fruitful times to visit this location, at both times of day the beach or the calm ares can provide key features used in spectacular landscape shots.

This part of the Gold Coast is very popular on warn and sunny days, this often gives you a chance to capture photos or people enjoying the water and the various associated activities like surfing, fishing or swimming.

Make sure you take the opportunity to visit the area in less than ideal weather as well, at times of big seas it is not unusually to see waves crashing over the rock wall to spectacular effect.

At nighttime the Sand pumping jetty can be used to provide a point of interest or on clear nights you might be able to catch glimpses of the Gold Coast’s towers further down the beach.

Pumping jetty_KD

Pumping Jetty by Ken Dickson


Getting there

The easiest way to find the Spit when on the Gold Coast is follow the signs to Seaworld theme park, once at the park drive past the park’s entrance heading North on Seaworld Drive. After a short period you will come to a dead end, which is the Gold Coast Seaway. Right is this point is a very large carpark (and a very good Fish and Chip shop), park your car here and you are ready to start taking photos.

A Google map view of the location can be found here.

Lifeguard Tower 45_KD

Lifeguard Tower 45 by Ken Dickson


The Spit on the Gold Coast is one of those locations that can quickly become your favourite go to spot. The ability to find interesting subjects no matter the time of day or weather make it especially interesting to the learning photographer. Easy access and parking are added bonuses that just make this location work. Next time you are on the Gold Coast consider heading up the The Spit, I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Ken Dickson is an Australian based photographer with nearly 30 years experience. A regular contributor to international competitions, Ken holds honour levels both within Australia and Internationally. He started in photography when travelling the world with the Navy using both film and slide film. Moving to digital in 2004, Ken has embraced the available technologies to continue his artistry. With a love for sharing his knowledge and experience Ken helped to launch Ozlight Photo Adventures (www.ozlightphoto.com) providing courses and practical workshops in all aspects of photography.

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