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. It is also the most populous non-capital 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, a peaceful rainforest hinterland in the west of the city, active nightlife and its wide variety oftourist attractions.
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, 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 theNew 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.
While the beaches are beautiful and enticing, there are also inherent dangers, and the Gold Coast has Australia’s largest professional surf life saving 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.
Around 10 million tourists visit the Gold Coast every year; comprising of 849,114 international visitors, 3,468,000 domestic overnight visitors and 5,366,000 daytrip visitors.
Tourism is the region’s biggest industry, directly contributing more than $4.4 billion into the city economy every year and directly accounting for one in four jobs in the city.
There are approximately 65,000 bed spaces, 60 kilometres of beach, 600 kilometres of canal, 100,000 hectares of nature reserve, 500 restaurants, 40 golf courses and 6 major theme parks in the city.
Gold Coast Airport provides connection across Australia with airlines including Jetstar, Virgin Blue and Tiger Airways. International services from Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia and Fiji also land at Gold Coast Airport with airlines including Jetstar, Air New Zealand, Pacific Blue, Airasia X and Air Pacific.
Less than one hour from the centre of the Gold Coast is Brisbane Airport which provides wider domestic and international access to the Gold Coast.
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, includinghot 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.
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.