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Gold Coast, Queensland

This article is about the Australian city, Gold Coast. For other uses, see Gold Coast.
The Gold Coast is a city and local government area in the southeast corner of Queensland, Australia. It is the second most populous city in the state and the sixth most populous city in the country. Gold Coast City is renowned for its sunny subtropical climate, popular surfing beaches, expansive waterway and canal systems, a skyline dominated by high-rise apartment buildings, active nightlife and wide variety of tourist attractions.


Captain James Cook became the first European to note the region when he sailed along the coast on May 16, 1770 in the HM Bark Endeavour.

Captain Matthew Flinders, an explorer charting the continent north from the colony of New South Wales, sailed past in 1802. The region remained uninhabited by Europeans until 1823 when explorer John Oxley landed at Mermaid Beach, which was named after his boat, a cutter named Mermaid.

The hinterland's red cedar supply attracted large numbers of people to the area in the mid 1800s. The western suburb of Nerang was surveyed and established as a base for the industry. Later in 1875, Southport was surveyed and established and quickly grew a reputation as a secluded holiday destination for the upper class Brisbane residents.

In 1925, tourism to the area grew rapidly when Jim Cavill established the Surfers Paradise Hotel, which transformed to Circle on Cavill neighbouring with Towers of Chevron Renaissance shopping mall and resort apartment complex. The population grew steadily to support the tourism industry and by the 1940s, real estate speculators and journalists were referring to the area as the "Gold Coast." The true origin of the name is still debatable. The name "Gold Coast" was officially proclaimed in 1958 when the South Coast Town Council was renamed "Gold Coast Town Council."

During the 1970s, real-estate developers gained a dominant role in local politics, and high-rises began to dominate the area now known as Surfers Paradise and later in 1981 the airport was established. In 1994 the Gold Coast City Council and the Shire of Albert amalgamated to create new city boundaries under the administration of the City of Gold Coast Council.

Gold Coast
Population by year
1908 1,230 (Southport)
1995 343,026
2000 409,111
2007 527,660
2011 552,500 (projected)


Gold Coast City stretches from Beenleigh on the southern fringe of Logan City, for approximately 60km (38 miles) south to Coolangatta situated on the New South Wales border, and extends west to the foothills of the Great Dividing Range in World Heritage listed Lamington National Park. Tweed Heads and sections of Beaudesert are also commonly referred to as being a part of 'The Gold Coast' region. However, they do not fall into the statistical boundaries of Gold Coast City.

The Gold Coast is situated in the southeast corner of Queensland, to the south of Brisbane, the state capital. Due to continuous development in south-east Queensland over the past 30 years, the Gold Coast/Beenleigh/Logan City/Brisbane region is now a conurbation. The Gold Coast officially stretches from the south end of Logan City and Russell Island to the border with New South Wales. The southernmost town is Coolangatta which includes Point Danger and its lighthouse. Coolangatta is a twin city with Tweed Heads located directly across the border. At , this is the most easterly point on the Queensland mainland (Point Lookout on the offshore island of North Stradbroke is slightly further east).

From Coolangatta, approximately forty kilometres of holiday resorts and surfing beaches stretch north to the suburb of Main Beach, and then further on Stradbroke Island. The suburbs of Southport and Surfers Paradise form the Gold Coast's commercial centre (latitude about 27.7 degrees south). The administrative area of the Gold Coast City Council continues north up to and including Beenleigh.

The major river in the area is the Nerang River. Much of the land between the coastal strip and the hinterland was once wetlands drained by this river, but the swamps have been converted into man-made waterways (over 260 km , or over 9 times that of Venice, Italy) and artificial islands covered in upmarket homes. The heavily developed coastal strip sits on a narrow barrier sandbar between these waterways and the sea.

To the west, the city is bordered by a part of the Great Dividing Range commonly referred to as the 'Gold Coast hinterland'. A 206 km² section of the mountain range is protected by Lamington National Park and has been listed as a World Heritage area in recognition of its "outstanding geological features displayed around shield volcanic craters and the high number of rare and threatened rainforest species." The area is popular among bushwalkers and day-trippers.


Climate Table
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum temperature (°C) 28.5 28.3 27.6 25.9 23.3 21.2 20.6 21.4 23.3 25.2 26.7 28.1 25.0
Mean daily minimum temperature (°C) 20.3 20.5 19.2 16.5 13.4 10.6 9.2 9.8 12.1 15.0 17.4 19.2 15.3
Mean total rainfall (mm) 175.3 190.0 202.0 135.8 131.5 93.0 74.6 55.8 57.9 86.7 103.8 132.1 1428.6
Mean number of rain days 12.7 13.3 15.2 11.4 10.1 7.5 7.0 6.9 7.3 8.9 10.0 11.2 121.5

Urban structure

The Gold Coast includes a range of suburbs, localities, towns and rural districts.


Waterfront canal living is a feature of the Gold Coast, and most canal frontage homes have pontoons. The Gold Coast Seaway, between The Spit and South Stradbroke Island, allows vessels direct access to the Pacific Ocean from The Broadwater and many of the city's canal estates. Breakwaters on either side of the Seaway prevent longshore drift and the bar from silting up. A sand pumping operation on the Spit pipes sand under the Seaway to continue this natural process. Residential canals were first built on the Gold Coast in 1950s and construction continues to the present day. Most canals are extensions to the Nerang River, but there are more to the south along Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin Creek. Early canals included Florida Gardens, Isle of Capri which were under construction at the time of the 1954 flood. Recently constructed canals include Harbour Quays and Riverlinks completed in 2007. There is over 890 km of constructed residential waterfront land within the city that is home to over 80,000 residents.


The city consists of 57 kilometres of coastline with some of the most popular surf breaks in Australia including, South Stradbroke Island, The Spit, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach, Nobby Beach, Miami, Burleigh Beach, Burleigh Heads, Tallebudgera Beach , Palm Beach, Curruminbin Beach, Tugun, Bilinga, Kirra, Coolangatta, Greenmount, Rainbow Bay, Snapper Rocks and Froggies Beach. Duranbah beach is one of the world's best known surfing beaches and is often thought of as being part of Gold Coast City, but is actually just across the New South Wales state border in Tweed Shire.

There are also beaches along many of the Gold Coast's 860km of navigable tidal waterways. Popular inland beaches include Southport, Budds Beach, Marine Stadium, Currumbin Alley, Tallebudgera Estuary, Jacobs Well, Jabiru Island, Paradise Point, Harley Park Labrador, Santa Barbara, Boykambil and Evandale Lake.

Beach safety and management

While the beaches are beautiful and enticing, there are also inherent dangers, and the Gold Coast has Australia’s largest professional surf lifesaving service to protect people on the beaches and to promote surf safety throughout the community.

The Queensland Department of Primary Industries carries out the Queensland Shark Control Program (SCP) to protect swimmers from sharks. No fatal shark attacks have occurred on protected ocean beaches, tidal waterways or canals on the Gold Coast since 1958 (however two fatal attacks have been recorded in inland lake areas that are separate from the tidal waterways network since 2000). Sharks are caught by using nets and baited drumlines off the major swimming beaches. Even with the SCP, sharks do range within sight of the patrolled beaches, lifeguards will clear swimmers from the water if it is considered that there is a safety risk.

Gold Coast beaches have experienced periods of severe beach erosion. In 1967, a series of 11 cyclones removed most of the sand from Gold Coast beaches. The Government of Queensland engaged engineers from Delft University in the Netherlands to advise what to do about the beach erosion. The Delft Report was published in 1971 and outlined a series of works for Gold Coast Beaches including Gold Coast Seaway, works at Narrowneck that resulted in the Northern Gold Coast Beach Protection Strategy and works at the Tweed River that became the Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing Project. By 2005 most of the recommendations of the 1971 Delft Report had been implemented. The Gold Coast City Council commenced implementation of the Palm Beach, Protection Strategy but ran into considerable opposition from the community participating in a NO REEF protest campaign. The Gold Coast City Council then committed to completing a review of beach management practices to update the Delft Report. The Gold Coast Shoreline Management Plan will be delivered by a range of organisations including the EPA, Gold Coast City Council and the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management.

Gold Coast City Council is also investing into the quality and capacity of the Gold Coast Oceanway that provides sustainable transport along Gold Coast beaches.


The city is governed at the local level by the Gold Coast City Council. On 23 October 1958, local administrators established the Gold Coast Town Council. Only six months later, on 16 May 1959, the Queensland Government proclaimed the Gold Coast a city. In 1995, Albert Shire Council merged with the existing Gold Coast City Council to form a supra-local authority that maintained the existing name Gold Coast City Council.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission has held an inquiry into allegations of official misconduct against candidates who ran in the 2004 Council elections. The CMC found “secrecy, deceit and misinformation” had corrupted the electoral process during the 2004 Gold Coast City Council election.

Fourteen divisions represent Gold Coast, numbered from division 01 (based at Beenleigh) to division 14 (based at Coolangatta). Former Olympian Ron Clarke was elected mayor of the city in 2004. Former mayors of the city include Gary Baildon, Lex Bell, Ray Stevens, Ern Harley and Sir Bruce Small.

In July 2007, the Queensland state government announced local government reforms for Queensland that included removing division 01 (Beenleigh) from Gold Coast City and adding it to Logan City. The new city boundaries will come into effect in association with the local government elections of March 2008.

The city is represented at the state level by nine members in the Queensland Legislative Assembly. The seats they hold are: Broadwater, Burleigh, Currumbin, Gaven, Mudgeeraba, Robina, Southport and Surfers Paradise.

Federally, Gold Coast is represented by four members in the House of Representatives, whose seats are Fadden (northern), Moncrieff (central), McPherson (southern) and Forde (western). Historically, the Gold Coast has remained a very safe conservative electorate. Three of the Gold Coast electorates (Fadden, Moncrieff and McPherson) have returned only Liberal Party representative since 1986.

Southport Courthouse is the city's major courthouse and has jurisdiction to hear petty criminal offences and civil matters up to AU$250,000. Indictable offences, criminal sentencing and civil matters above AU$250,000 are heard in the higher Supreme Court of Queensland which is located in Brisbane. There are subsidiary Magistrates Courts, also located at the northern and southern suburbs of Beenleigh and Coolangatta.


According to a study completed by the Centre for Economic Policy Modelling (CEPM) at the University of Queensland, Gold Coast regional gross domestic product for financial year ending June 30 2002 was nearly AU$8.9 billion, contributing to the regional gross domestic product included property services, construction, retail trade, business services, transport, tourism (accommodation, cafes and restaurants), finance & insurance, health services, education, wholesale trade and entertainment.


The Gold Coast hosted 857,000 international tourists and approximately 3.7 million domestic tourists in year end March 2008.

Film production

Gold Coast City is the major film production centre in Queensland and has accounted for 75% of all film production in Queensland since the 1990s, with an expenditure of around $150 million per year. Gold Coast is the third largest film production centre in Australia behind Sydney and Melbourne. Warner Brothers have large studios located just outside of the city, at Oxenford which have been the filming locations for films such as the Scooby Doo films and House of Wax (2005). Many Bollywood films also use GC as a filming location, such as Singh Is Kinng.

Warner Roadshow Studios are situated adjacent to the Warner Bros Movie World Theme Park at Oxenford. The Studios consists of eight sound stages, production offices, editing rooms, wardrobe, construction workshops, water tanks and commissary. These sounds stages vary in size and have an overall floor area of 10,844 sq metres, making Warner Roadshow Studio one of the largest studio lots in the Southern Hemisphere. The Queensland Government actively supports the film and television production industry in Queensland and provides both non-financial and financial assistance through the Pacific Film and Television Commission

The Gold Coast is also the filming site for the popular TV series, H2O: Just Add Water.

Big Brother Australia is also filmed here, at Dreamworld studios.


Sport and recreation

The Gold Coast is represented in 3 national competitions by the following teams:

Team name Competition Sport
Gold Coast Titans National Rugby League Rugby League
Gold Coast Blaze National Basketball League Basketball
Gold Coast Blue Tongues Australian Ice Hockey League Ice Hockey

These three teams all have their first season in 2007 and are the first national teams in many years to be situated on the Gold Coast.

There are many recreational activities situated on the Gold Coast ranging from (famously) surfing to fishing and boating to golf. The Gold Coast has numerous golf links, including Hope Island, Sanctuary Cove and The Glades.

There is a range of sporting facilities on the Gold Coast from the Carrara Stadium, Carrara Indoor Sport Centre, Nerang Velodrome and the Sports Super Centre. Some of these facilities are being superseded by newer and larger capacity facilities. Two examples of these are the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre to play host to a Gold Coast Basketball team and Skilled Park to host NRL games.

The Gold Coast has been accepted as one of two expansion tams in the A-League for he 2009/2010 season(The other team is based in Townsville, also in Queensland). The name of the franchise is to be Gold Coast united FC and will also play out of Skilled Park.

Former World Wrestling Entertainment Superstar Nathan Jones comes from the Gold Coast, as does Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Grant Hackett.

In 2008, the AFL announced that there will be a new AFL franchise based on the Gold Coast in 2011. However it faces a lack of state government and public support, as well as a stadium contract with the Gabba in Brisbane that threatens to lock the AFL out of the Gold Coast until 2015. The previous AFL team based on the Gold Coast failed and was relocated to Brisbane.

The city was formerly represented in the now defunct Australian Rugby Championship by the East Coast Aces, who played out of Carrara Stadium.


The Gold Coast Indy 300 (formerly known as Lexmark Indy 300) is a car racing event held annually, usually in October. The course ventures through the streets of Surfers Paradise and Main Beach. The Indy 300 comprises many other events such as the Indy Undie Ball and the Miss Indy Competition. The V8 Supercars event also coincides with the Indy 300, using the same track route.

The Magic Millions carnival is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Gerry Harvey (of Harvey Normans) and John Singleton. There are plans to relocate and build a state of the art new racetrack at Palm Meadows which will incoporate the Magic Million sale with facilities for up to 4000 horses.

Each June, Coolangatta hosts the Wintersun Festival, a two-week 1950s and 1960s nostalgia festival with free entertainment and attractions, including hot rods, restored cars and revival bands playing music of the era.

Each July, more than 16,000 congregate on the Gold Coast from around the world to participate in the Gold Coast Marathon. It is also the largest annual community sporting event held on the Gold Coast.

Late November to early December sees thousands of school leavers across the country descend on the Gold Coast for Schoolies, a two week period of celebration and parties throughout Sufers Paradise, hosted by the Gold Coast City Council . The event is often criticised nationally and locally for its portrayal of drinking and acts of violence, however every effort by the Queensland Police and State Government to ensure all school leavers have a good time are put into place, including locals volunteering by walking the streets and keeping an eye out for those in need of assistance on where to go, what to do and how to have a good time.

Early each year the Gold Coast hosts one leg of the ASP World Tour of surfing, where some of the worlds best surfers compete in the Quiksilver Pro at Coolangatta.

The Gold Coast Arts Centre located in Evandale, features a fine art gallery featuring local and international works from painting to sculpture and new media. In addition, there is a theatre for live productions including musicals as well 2 arts cinemas showing foreign and independent films from Australia and abroad.


The daily, local newspaper is The Gold Coast Bulletin which is published by News Corporation. The Gold Coast Sun and Gold Coast Mail are other local newspapers.

Gold Coast is unique in that it is officially in the television broadcast licence areas of both Brisbane (metro) and Northern New South Wales (regional). The Brisbane networks are Seven, Nine and Ten. The regional affiliates are Prime Television, NBN Television and Southern Cross Ten. Also broadcasting to the area are the ABC and SBS television services. Subscription television services Foxtel (via cable) and Austar (via satellite) are also available.

Major FM radio stations include 107.3 FM (Christian Rock), 88 BeachFM (tourist info., Top 40), 89.3 4CRB-FM (Christian), 90.9 SEAFM (Top 40, pop), 91.7 ABC Coast FM (contemporary, ABC local news and information), 92.5 Gold 92.5 (mix of 70s, 80s, 90s, and Top 40), 93.5 SBS (Brisbane), 94.1 Jazz Radio (jazz, blues and swing music), 97.7 JJJ Triple J (alternative and chart music), 102.9 Hot Tomato (Top 40, pop), 104 4MBS Classic, 105.7 Radio Metro (dance, pop, R&B, and left field), 106 ABC Classic FM, and 107.3 LifeFM (Christian) Several Brisbane AM and FM radio stations can also be received in various areas.

National surfing magazine Australia's Surfing Life is published in the Gold Coast suburb of Burleigh Heads, by Morrison Media.

Tourism and landmarks

Tourism is Gold Coast City's main industry, generating total revenue of $2.5 billion per annum. Gold Coast is the most popular Queensland tourism location. with over 13,000 available guest rooms contributing over $335 million to the local economy each year. Accommodation options available range from backpacker hostels to five star resorts and hotels. The most common style of accommodation is three and four star self-contained apartments.

Major tourist attractions include internationally renowned surf beaches, and theme parks including, Dreamworld, Sea World, Wet'n'Wild Water World, Warner Bros. Movie World, WhiteWater World, Currumbin Sanctuary, Fleays Wildlife Park, Australian Outback Spectacular and Paradise Country.


Since the opening of the worlds highest residential tower in 2005, the Q1 building has been a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. It is the second highest public vantage point in the southern hemisphere after the Eureka Tower in Melbourne. The observation deck at level 77 is the highest of its kind in Queensland and offers expansive views in all directions, from Brisbane to Byron Bay. It towers over the Surfers Paradise skyline, with the observation deck 230 metres high, and the spire extending nearly another hundred metres up. In total, the Q1 is 322.5 metres high.

Meter maids

Bikini-clad meter maids were introduced in Surfers Paradise in 1965 in an attempt to put a positive spin on new parking regulations. To avoid tickets being issued for expired parking, the Meter Maids dispense coins into the meter and leave a calling card under the windscreen wiper of the vehicle. The Maids are still a popular part of the Surfers Paradise culture but the scheme is now run by private enterprise.


The Gold Coast's education infrastructure includes:



The Gold Coast Hospital at Southport is the city’s major teaching and referral hospital and the third largest in Queensland, attending to over 58,000 cases a year , and overseeing other services of the Gold Coast Health Service District as its head office. There is a second public hospital situated in Robina but this second campus is smaller and mainly comprises rehabilitation, psychiatric and palliative wards along with a recently opened Emergency Department.

A number of private hospitals also exist throughout the city, notably Allamanda Private Hospital located at Southport, Pindara Hospital at Benowa and John Flynn Gold Coast Private Hospital at Tugun in the city's south.


The Gold Coast has a wide range of public transport modes including buses, rail and monorail. The car is the dominant mode of transport for Gold Coast but with the increasing population that leads to more traffic congestion. This has led to the Queensland State Government and Gold Coast City council placing more effort into providing public transport including a new Ferry service and the proposed Rapid Transit System. The Gold Coast's main provider of public bus services is Surfside Buslines.

Gold Coast Airport is located at Coolangatta, approximately 22 kilometres south of Surfers Paradise. Services are provided to interstate capitals and major cities as well as to major New Zealand cities, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia and Japan.



Electricity for the Gold Coast is sourced from Powerlink Queensland at bulk supply substations which is provided via the National Electricity Market from an interconnected multi-State power system. The Government-owned electricity corporation Energex distributes and retails electricity, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and value-added products and services to residential, industrial and commercial customers in South-East Queensland.

Water supply

The Hinze Dam 15 km southwest of Nerang is the population's main water supply. The Little Nerang Dam which feeds into Hinze Dam can supplement part of the city area's water needs, and both are managed by the city council directorate Gold Coast Water. Reforms of the way in which the water industry is structured have been announced by the State Government, with transfer of ownership and management of water services from local government to the state occurring in 2008-09. Gold Coast City Council also sources water from Wivenhoe Dam, west of Brisbane for northern suburbs when the Hinze Dam, at one-tenth of Wivenhoe's capacity, becomes low. Water shortage and water restrictions have been current local issues, and a few new Gold Coast residential areas have recently included dual reticulation in their planning and development to supply water from a new water recycling plant being built concurrently. This will make available highly treated recycled water for use around the home in addition to potable water. The Gold Coast has received world recognition for this scheme in its Pimpama-Coomera suburbs. Gold Coast Water has also been recognised for its world leading HACCP water quality management system by the World Health Organisation which published Gold Coast Water's system as a good model for managing water quality and safety from catchment to tap. A desalination plant is currently under construction at Tugun to supplement Southeast Queensland via a water grid.

Future projects


The Gold Coast has been also debating a controversial cruise ship terminal.


Public Transport

  • Gold Coast Rapid Transit System a light rail or bus rapid transport system running mainly along Smith Street and Gold Coast highway from Southport down to Coolangatta is expected to start construction in 2008.
  • The existing heavy rail Gold Coast line will be progressively extended to Coolangatta.

Sister cities

According to the Gold Coast City Council Website
Country City (and Province or State)
People's Republic of China Beihai, Guangxi Zhuang
France Noumea, New Caledonia (overseas territory)
Greece Corfu
Israel Netanya
Japan Kanagawa Prefecture and Takasu, Hokkaido
Mongolia Ulaanbaatar
New Zealand Horowhenua
Republic of China Taipei and Tainan
United Arab Emirates Dubai
United States of America Ft. Lauderdale, Florida


Gold Coast, Australia

Category:Gold Coast, Queensland

Buildings and structures on the Gold Coast



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