Australia For Visitors > Gold Coast, QLD

Gold Coast
(also known as: Gold Coast City)

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Gold Coast City is located 94km south of the state capital Brisbane. It is Queensland’s second most populous city. It contains suburbs (previously separate towns) such as Coolangatta, Southport, Surfers Paradise, Nerang, and Beenleigh.

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland (image)

Surfers Paradise, Queensland
(Photo: E-CBD)

Gold Coast City has a subtropical climate, excellent surfing beaches, a rainforest hinterland and a lively nightlife. It is a major tourist destination, both for foreign tourists.

A Little History

The area that is now the Gold Coast first came to European notice when Captain James Cook sailed along the eastern coast of New Holland (now Australia) in his ship, H M Bark Endeavour, in 1770.

Cook was followed by the British navigator, Matthew Flinders, who was charting the coast in 1802 and by explorer John Oxley who landed on Mermaid Beach in 1823.

The first European inhabitants were escaped convicts from the nearby Moreton Bay (now Brisbane) penal settlement who hid away in the Gold Coast area in the early 1800s.

Timber getters established a base in modern-day Nerang, Gold Coast, to cut down red cedar trees that grew plentifully in the area.

Southport, Gold Coast, was established in 1875 as a holiday getaway place for rich Brisbane residents.

In 1925 the Surfers Paradise Hotel was established and in the 1940s the area first became known as the "Gold Coast".

Much of the area between the coast and the hinterland was previously wetlands and swamps. These have been converted into manmade waterways (canals) and artificial islands which are now covered with upmarket residences. Between these waterways and the ocean is a coastal strip which is now highly developed and lined with holiday resorts catering for visiting tourists.

Canals, Beaches

Gold Coast is known for its waterfront canal living. Canals were first built in the 1950s. Most of them are extensions of the Nerang River. There are others to the north are along the Gold Coast Broadwater, South Stradbroke Island, Coomera River and southern Moreton Bay, and others to the south along Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin Creek.

The Gold Coast has some 57 kilometres (35 miles) of coastline, which includes The Other Side (or TOS), Sandpumping Jetty, Narrowneck, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads, Palm Beach, Currumbin, Kirra Point, Greenmount, Snapper Rocks, and Duranbah beaches (Duranbah is often thought of being part of Gold Coast City but actually is just over the New South Wales border).

There are also extensive navigable tidal waterways, which include many beaches.

Tourism, Places to Visit

10 million tourists visit the Gold Coast every year. Of these approximately 10% are international tourists and the rest are domestic (that is, Australian) tourists.

Tourism is the Gold Coast’s largest industry and provides one in four jobs of the city’s workforce.

Apart from the beaches, canals and natural reserves already mentioned, the Gold Coast has numerous hotels, restaurants, golf courses and theme parks (Dreamworld, Sea World, Wet'n'Wild Water World, Warner Bros. Movie World, WhiteWater World), and wildlife attractions (such as the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the David Fleay Wildlife Park,).

Film Production

The Gold Coast is Australia’s third largest film production center (after Sydney and Melbourne). The Warner Brothers Studios at Oxenford (just outside Gold Coast City) have produced such movies as the Scooby Doo films, House of Wax and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Many Bollywood moves (such as Singh is King) have used the Gold Coast as a location.

TV series and shows such as H2O: Just Add Water, The Strip, Big Brother Australia, and The Mole have been filmed in the Gold Coast.


The Gold Coast Indy 300, a car racing event, is held annually in October. The race is run through the streets of Surfers Paradise and Main Beach.

Magic Millions, an Australian thoroughbred racehorse auction, held every January in Surfers Paradise and it is accompanied by a major thoroughbred horse race.

The Wintersun Festival is a two week long 1950s and 1960s nostalgia festival held every June in Coolangatta.

Schoolies is a two week period of parties and similar for school students from across Australia celebrating the end of their school year and exams. It it held throughout the Surfers Paradise area in late November and early December every year. Unfortunately, the Schoolies event has been marred each year by not a little binge drinking, drug taking and some acts of violence.

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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)

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