Gold Coast, Queensland facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsGold Coast
|Population||507,642 (2010) (6th)|
|• Density||972/km2 (2,520/sq mi)|
|Area||414.3 km2 (160.0 sq mi)|
|Time zone||AEST (UTC+10)|
|Location||66 km (41 mi) SSE of Brisbane|
|LGA(s)||City of Gold Coast|
Gold Coast is a coastal city in the Australian state of Queensland, approximately 66 kilometres (41 mi) south-southeast of the state capital Brisbane and immediately north of the border with New South Wales. With a population of 494,501 in the 2011 Census, the Gold Coast is the sixth-largest city in Australia, making it the largest non-capital city, and the second-largest city in Queensland. The city is counted as part of the Gold Coast–Tweed Heads Significant Urban Area (pop. 624,918, 2015) and the larger South East Queensland Region.
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 wealthy 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 City of Gold Coast local government area was expanded to encompass the majority of Gold Coast's metropolitan area, becoming the second most populous local government area in Australia after the City of Brisbane. 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.
- Tourism and landmarks
- Sister cities
- Images for kids
- See also: Timeline of Gold Coast, Queensland
Lieutenant James Cook became the first European to note the region when he sailed along the coast on 16 May 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. Escaped convicts from the Moreton Bay penal settlement hid in the region. The region remained largely uninhabited by Europeans until 1823 when explorer John Oxley landed at Mermaid Beach, which was named after seeing a cutter named Mermaid. The hinterland's red cedar supply attracted people to the area in the mid-19th century.
A number of small townships developed along coast and in the hinterland. The western suburb of Nerang was surveyed and established as a base for the industry and by 1870 a town reserve had been set aside. By 1873, the town reserve of Burleigh Heads had also been surveyed and successful land sales had taken place. In 1875, the small settlement opposite the boat passage at the head of the Nerang River, known as Nerang Heads or Nerang Creek Heads, was surveyed, renamed Southport with the first land sales scheduled to take place in Beenleigh. Southport quickly grew a reputation as a secluded holiday destination for wealthy Brisbane residents.
Gold Coast was originally known as the South Coast (because it was south of Brisbane). However, inflated prices for real estate and other goods and services led to the nickname of "Gold Coast" from 1950. South Coast locals initially considered the name "Gold Coast" derogatory. However, soon the "Gold Coast" simply became a convenient way to refer to the holiday strip from Southport to Coolangatta. As the tourism industry grew into the 1950s, local businesses began to adopt the term in their names, and on 23 October 1958 the Town of South Coast was renamed Town of Gold Coast. The area was proclaimed a city less than one year later.
In 2007, Gold Coast overtook the population of Newcastle, New South Wales to become the sixth largest city in Australia and the largest non-capital city.
The Gold Coast is approximately half covered by forests of various types. This includes small patches of near-pristine ancient rainforest, mangrove-covered islands, and patches of coastal heathlands and farmland with areas of uncleared eucalypt forest. Of the plantation pine forests that were planted in the 1950s and 1960s, when commercial forest planting for tax minimisation was encouraged by the Commonwealth government, tiny remnants remain.
Gold Coast City stretches from Beenleigh and Russell Island to the border with New South Wales (NSW) approximately 56 km (35 mi) south, and extends from the coast west to the foothills of the Great Dividing Range in World Heritage listed Lamington National Park.
The southernmost town of Gold Coast City, Coolangatta, includes Point Danger and its lighthouse. Coolangatta is a twin city with Tweed Heads located directly across the NSW 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 Gold Coast's commercial centre. The major river in the area is the Nerang River. Much of the land between the coastal strip and the hinterland were once wetlands drained by this river, but the swamps have been converted into man-made waterways (over 260 kilometres (160 mi) in length or over 9 times the length of the canals 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 borders a part of the Great Dividing Range commonly referred to as the Gold Coast hinterland. A 206 km2 (80 sq mi) 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 attracts bushwalkers and day-trippers.
Gold Coast includes suburbs, localities, towns and rural districts.
The declaration of Southport as a Priority Development Area (PDA) and new investment into the CBD is driving transformative change and creating new business and investment opportunities. At the heart of the Gold Coast is the emergence of a CBD that is revitalised, dynamic and vibrant; a CBD that will position the Gold Coast as a globally competitive business, investment and lifestyle destination.
Waterfront canal living is a feature of Gold Coast. 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 in Gold Coast in the 1950s and construction continues. Most canals are extensions to the Nerang River, but there are more to the south along Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin Creek and to the north along the Gold Coast Broadwater, South Stradbroke Island, Coomera River and southern Moreton Bay. 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 are over 890 kilometres (550 mi) of constructed residential waterfront land within the city that is home to over 80,000 residents.
The city consists of 70 kilometres (43 mi) of coastline with some of the most popular surf breaks in Australia and the world including, South Stradbroke Island, The Spit, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach, Nobby Beach, Miami, Burleigh Beach, Burleigh Heads, Tallebudgera Beach, Palm Beach, Currumbin 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 Gold Coast's 860 km (530 mi) 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
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. 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 Narrow Neck 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. City of Gold Coast commenced implementation of the Palm Beach Protection Strategy but ran into considerable opposition from the community participating in a NO REEF protest campaign. The City of Gold Coast 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 organisations including the Environmental Protection Agency, City of Gold Coast and the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management. Gold Coast City is also investing into the quality and capacity of the Gold Coast Oceanway that provides sustainable transport along Gold Coast beaches.
Gold Coast experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with warm winters and hot, humid summers. The city experiences substantial summer precipitation mostly concentrated in thunderstorms and heavy showers with rain events occasionally lasting up to a few weeks at time giving residents "the Summer blues", while winter is pleasantly mild to warm with little rain. In fact, it is for this pleasant winter weather that both the city and the Sunshine Coast—the coastal region north of Brisbane— are internationally renowned. Extreme temperatures recorded have ranged from 2.5 °C (36 °F) on 19 July 2007 to 40.5 °C (105 °F) on 22 February 2005, although the city rarely experiences temperatures above 35 °C (95 °F) in summer or below 5 °C (41 °F) in winter.
|Climate data for Gold Coast (1992-2017)|
|Record high °C (°F)||38.5
|Average high °C (°F)||28.7
|Average low °C (°F)||21.8
|Record low °C (°F)||17.2
|Precipitation mm (inches)||136.6
|Avg. precipitation days||14.2||14.6||15.1||12.0||11.6||10.9||8.3||7.2||8.8||9.5||12.0||12.7||139.6|
The Gold Coast's culture has been impacted by rapid development and traditional marketing programs orbiting around ‘sun, sand, surf and sex.’
Despite rapid socio-economic changes and a tourist-centred image, there is evidence of local resident-driven culture (such as surf gangs) in geographical pockets and a broader 'Gold Coaster' identity drawn from globalised resort and real estate marketing discourses.
The Gold Coast hosts cultural activities that attract tourists and 'Gold Coasters' alike.
Music groups in this region include the Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra and Operator Please. Musicians Casey Barnes, Cody Simpson and Ricki-Lee Coulter are from Gold Coast. Music events include Big Day Out, Good Vibrations Festival, Summafieldayze, the Blues on Broadbeach Festival and V Festival (2007–2009).
The Arts Centre Gold Coast is the Gold Coast's premier cultural facility for visual and performing arts with a performance Theatre, two Cinemas and an underground venue. The Theatre has hosted performance by The Imperial Russian Ballet Company, the Australian Ballet Company and the Queensland Ballet. Musicals, Plays and a variety of performances are regularly scheduled. Film Festivals and the Comedy Club host international Artists. A redeveloped Gold Coast Cultural Precinct is in planned to be functioning when the city hosts the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Sport and recreation
Gold Coast is represented in two national competitions by the following teams:
|Gold Coast Titans||National Rugby League||Rugby league football||2007 – present|
|Gold Coast Suns||Australian Football League||Australian rules football||2011 – present|
Burleigh Bears football club play in the Queensland Cup and have won two premierships (in 1999 and 2004)
There are a number of libraries located on the Gold Coast. For a full list see Gold Coast libraries.
Sporting facilities include 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.
Five time 500 cc Grand Prix motorcycle racing World Champion Mick Doohan was born on the Gold Coast.
Former World Wrestling Entertainment performer Nathan Jones comes from Gold Coast, as do Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Grant Hackett, 2011 US Open tennis champion Samantha Stosur and Sally Pearson (who recently received the keys to the city).
Former teams in national competitions
|Gold Coast-Tweed Giants||New South Wales Rugby League||Rugby league||Seagulls Stadium||1988–1990|
|Gold Coast Seagulls||NSWRL/ARL||Rugby league||Seagulls Stadium||1991–1995|
|Gold Coast Rollers||National Basketball League||Basketball||Carrara Indoor Stadium||1990–1996|
|Gold Coast Chargers||ARL/NRL||Rugby league||Carrara Stadium||1996–1998|
|East Coast Aces||Australian Rugby Championship||Rugby union||Carrara Stadium||2007|
|Gold Coast Blaze||National Basketball League||Basketball||Gold Coast Convention Centre||2007–2012|
|Gold Coast United FC||A-League||Association football (soccer)||A-League||2009–2012|
|Gold Coast Blue Tongues||Australian Ice Hockey League||Ice hockey||Gold Coast Iceland||2007–2012|
The Gold Coast 600 (formerly known as Lexmark Indy 300) is a car racing event held annually, usually in October. The course runs through the streets of Surfers Paradise and Main Beach. The GC 600 comprises many other events such as the Indy Undie Ball and the Miss Indy Competition. Formerly an Indy car event, V8 Supercars are now the headline attraction, using a similar track route, as the circuit was cut in half by a hairpin. 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 incorporate the Magic Million sale with facilities for up to 4000 horses.
Each June, Coolangatta hosts the Wintersun Festival renamed as Cooly Rocks On for 2011, 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. Every July, more than 25,000 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. In 2015, it will be held on 4–5 July and the 37th Gold Coast Airport Marathon is set to motivate and challenge more than 25,000 people of all ages and abilities. The Gold Coast Airport Marathon will feature an event for all ages and abilities, including the full Gold Coast Airport Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Southern Cross University 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) Run, Suncorp Bank 5.7 kilometres (3.5 mi) Challenge, and Junior Dash over 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) and 2 kilometres (1.2 mi).
In August Currumbin hosts the annual half distance Challenge Gold Coast triathlon, with the 1.9 km swim taking place in the Currumbin River, the 90 km bike going through the Currumbin and Tallebudgera Valleys in the Hinterland, and the 21.1 km run going along the beach to Elephant Rock and Tugun.
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 Surfers Paradise, hosted by the City of Gold Coast . The event is often criticised nationally and locally for its portrayal of drinking and acts of violence, however every effort by the Queensland Police Service 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. 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 Arts Centre Gold Coast 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 two arts cinemas showing foreign and independent films from Australia and abroad.
Chinatown, Gold Coast, located in Southport, hosts the annual citywide Lunar New Year festival as well as regular monthly events.
Tourism and landmarks
Tourism is Gold Coast City's main industry, generating a total of $2.5 billion in revenue per annum. Gold Coast is the most popular tourist destination in Queensland. It is Australia's 5th most visited destination by international tourists.
The city has 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. Tourist attractions include surf beaches, and theme parks including Dreamworld, Sea World, Wet'n'Wild Water World, Warner Bros. Movie World, WhiteWater World, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, David Fleay Wildlife Park, Australian Outback Spectacular, and Paradise Country.
Since the opening of what was then the world's highest residential tower in 2005 (it is now the fifth highest), the Q1 building has been a 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 views in all directions, from Brisbane to Byron Bay. It towers over the Surfers Paradise skyline, with the observation deck 230 metres (755 feet) high, and the spire extending nearly another hundred metres up. In total, the Q1 is 322.5 metres (1058 feet) high. Another famous tourist attraction are the Surfers Paradise Meter Maids, instituted in 1965 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 part of the Surfers Paradise culture but the scheme is now run by private enterprise.
Chinatown, Gold Coast, is an integral part of the revitalisation of Southport as an international CBD. It is the place on the Gold Coast to celebrate diversity through culture, design, people and food.
The car is the dominant mode of transport in the Gold Coast, with over 70% of people using the car as their sole mode of travelling to work. A number of major roads connect the Gold Coast with Brisbane, New South Wales, and the surrounding areas. The Pacific Motorway (M1) is the main motorway in the area. Beginning at the Logan Motorway (M6) in Brisbane, it travels through the inland Gold Coast region and links with the Pacific Highway at the New South Wales/Queensland border near Tweed Heads. Before the Tugun Bypass was completed in 2008, the motorway ended at Tugun. The Gold Coast Highway services the coastal suburbs of the Gold Coast, including Surfers Paradise, Southport, and Burleigh Heads. Starting at the Pacific Motorway at Tweed Heads, it runs parallel to the coast until it reaches Labrador, where it turns inland to meet the Pacific Motorway again at Helensvale. Other arterial roads include the Smith Street Motorway, Reedy Creek Road, Nerang–Broadbeach Road and Bermuda Street.
Public transport modes in the Gold Coast include buses, heavy rail & the new light rail for commuting to work, visiting attractions, and travelling to other destinations. The two primary pieces of public transport infrastructure on the Gold Coast are a light rail line running along the coast and a heavy rail line running inland and providing a connection to Brisbane.
The Gold Coast's light rail service is called G:link. A 13 km (8.1 mi) line between Gold Coast University Hospital and Broadbeach connecting the key activity centres of Southport and Surfers Paradise opened in 2014. A 7.3 km (4.5 mi) extension, from the current terminus at Gold Coast University Hospital to Helensvale railway station, was announced in October 2015. The extension is expected to open before the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Queensland Rail operates rail services from Brisbane to the Gold Coast along the Gold Coast railway line. The line follows the same route as Brisbane's Beenleigh railway line, continuing on after reaching Beenleigh. It then follows a route similar to that of the Pacific Motorway, passing stations at Ormeau, Coomera, Helensvale, Nerang and Robina before terminating at Varsity Lakes. An extension to Coolangatta and the Gold Coast Airport is proposed.
The Gold Coast's main provider of public bus services is Surfside Buslines. It is a part of the TransLink initiative by the Queensland Government, designed to coordinate the public transport providers in Brisbane and the surrounding areas. The majority of the bus routes that Surfside operates run along the Gold Coast Highway. Services are frequent during the day, with intervals being as little as 5 minutes between Southport and Burleigh Heads.
Gold Coast Airport is located at Coolangatta, approximately 22 kilometres (14 mi) south of Surfers Paradise. Services are provided to interstate capitals and major cities as well as to major New Zealand cities, Malaysia, Japan and Singapore.
According to the BusinessGC Council Website, Gold Coast is twinned with:
- Beihai, Guangxi, China
- Acapulco, Mexico
- Netanya, Israel
- Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
- Horowhenua, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand
- Kanagawa, Japan
- Takasu, Hokkaido, Japan
- Nouméa, New Caledonia (France)
- Tainan, Taiwan
- Taipei, Taiwan
- Ulan Bator, Mongolia
Images for kids
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