Tugun, four km north-west of Coolangatta and once considered part of that area, is a Gold Coast residential beach suburb. It adjoins Currumbin to its north which, with wooded hills and protected creeks, was a popular pre-World War I beach destination. The place name was officially approved in 1910, at the suggestion of Thomas Petrie. According to Petric, Tugun was an Aboriginal expression describing sea waves.
The South Coast railway (1903), with a stopping place at Tugun, brought tourists and visitors to the beaches between Currumbin and Coolangatta. In 1925 a hotel was opened at Tugun, two years before a road bridge over Currumbin Creek was built. By 1940 there were also the Tugun Beach flats, along with village amenities such as two stores and a butcher. Away from the beach there were several farmers, continuing the rural economy that had begun with a dairy holding started at about the time the railway was opened.
By 1954 Tugun had a census population of over 500 people and numerous holiday houses in addition to houses permanently occupied. Some still remain, but they are increasingly replaced by low-rise apartments. Tugun Hill, west from the beach, has a mix of older houses and recent additions, and further west the more elevated Tugun Heights has more medium density units. About two thirds of Tugun's dwellings in 2001 were detached houses and townhouses. It is adjacent to the private John Flynn hospital and allied health facilities (c1992).
Tugun's beachfront is lineally traversed by the Gold Coast Highway, except where it veers inland to cross Flat Rock Creek. That leaves a small coastal enclave near Pacific Parade undisturbed, and house values reflect its desirability. The Tugun surf beach and the life saving club are a short walk southwards. Atkin Park, in the approximate middle of Tugun is one of two reserves, and includes a bowling club. The Tugun Leagues Club has its home in a recreation reserve just over the suburb's border in Bilinga.
The Tugun Bypass, opened in 2008, runs to the west of the Gold Coast airport, and took through traffic off the local roads.
The median age of Tugun's residents in 2001 was 44 years, closer to the median for Gold Coast (38 years) than the more aged communities in Bilinga and Coolangatta (56 years). Tugun's census populations have been: