The Gold Coast is a coastal city in southeastern Queensland on the east coast of Australia. The city is 94 km (58 mi) south of the state capital Brisbane. It is the second most populous city in the state, the sixth most populous city in the country, and the most populous non-capital city in Australia. The Gold Coast has the largest cross-state metropolitan area population in Australia, due to the inclusion of Tweed Heads, New South Wales in its metropolitan area. The Gold Coast’s metropolitan area converges with that of Greater Brisbane, forming part of an urban conurbation of over 3 million people.
While the origin of the city’s name is debatable, the name “Gold Coast” was bestowed upon the city by real estate investors. The first settlement in what is now South East Queensland was as a penal colony at Redcliffe. The Gold Coast region remained largely uninhabited by Europeans until 1823 when explorer John Oxley landed at Mermaid Beach. The hinterland’s red cedar supply attracted people to the area in the mid-19th century. Later in 1875, Southport was surveyed and established and grew a reputation as a secluded holiday destination for upper class Brisbane residents.
The Gold Coast region grew significantly after the establishment of the Surfers Paradise hotel in the late 1920s. The area boomed in the 1980s as a leading tourist destination and in 1994, the Gold Coast City local government area was expanded to encompass the majority of the Gold Coast’s metropolitan area, becoming the second most populous local government area in Australia after the City of Brisbane. The Gold Coast is today a major tourist destination with its sunny subtropical climate, surfing beaches, canal and waterway systems, its high-rise dominated skyline, theme parks, nightlife, and rainforest hinterland, making tourism one of its most significant industries. Gold Coast will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Tackle the huge waves off Broadbeach, snorkel through a shipwreck off Main Beach or walk golden sand fringed by high rises in Surfers Paradise. Get your thrills on virtual reality rides at Dreamworld, swim with dolphins at Sea World and watch movies being made at Warner Bros Movie World. Explore the waterfalls, rainforest, lookouts and scenic bushwalks of the lush Gold Coast hinterland. Shop til you drop in art and craft markets, huge airy malls and high-end boutiques. Then get into the Gold Cost’s glitz, glamour and fun at its bars, nightclubs and events.
Roll with the vibrant energy of the Gold Coast, where there are beaches, rainforests, restaurants, theme parks and shopping strips to visit. Swim, surf or dine alfresco in relaxed, glamourous Main Beach and shop up a storm beneath the towering Surfers Paradise skyline. Learn to surf here or in Burleigh Heads, where afterwards you can explore the national park. Enjoy thrills, spills and animal interactions in any of the many huge theme parks. Discover the best breaks or learn to surf in our surfing paradise. With 70 kilometres of sun-drenched beaches and four epic point breaks, it’s easy to see why the Gold Coast is home to a city called Surfers Paradise. As well as an international party destination, the Gold Coast boasts some of Australia’s best, most consistent waves and hosts many international surfing competitions. Drive from the surf beaches, thrilling theme parks and lush hinterland of the Gold Coast to the vibrant capital of Brisbane. Cruise down the Brisbane River, climb the Story Bridge and satisfy your culture cravings in South Bank. Soak up sunny sophistication on Noosa’s Hastings Street or meet koalas in the coastal rainforest of Noosa National Park.
Sun, surf, sand and sport: all the trademarks of Australia’s beach culture are on display in the Coolangatta Ocean Swim. Open water swims happen all across the country, but the ‘Cooly Classic’ in April is one of the most iconic. Both swimmers and spectators flock to the Gold Coast for the challenging course and beach carnival atmosphere. Capture some of Queensland’s biggest coastal attractions– from the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef to the pristine islands and rainforest national parks. Four wheel drive Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island and see manta rays and turtles at Mon Repos, near Bundaberg.