"It's beach Time" Gold Coast by Ramonq

Gold Coast Travel Guide: 845 reviews and 1,790 photos

The sun city

The seemingly endless stretch of golden sand facing the deep blue waters of the Pacific coast of Queensland has been transformed into Australia's premier playground. And the largest centre in this region, called the "Gold Coast", is Surfers Paradise. I suppose it's called Surfer's Paradise because the beach is just ideal for surfing that the place has become so popular with domestic and overseas sun and sea worshippers, particulaly from Japan and the southern Australian state of Victoria. I found it quite quirky to see young Japanese men and women donned in the full Australiana life-saving gear while they train how to be a life saver for back home. It's such a contrast to see them in such an extremely laid back atmosphere compared to the hectic realities I assume they have in Japan

Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise has become too popular that a long string of high rise apartments have mushroomed along its coastal road, giving it a "big city" look, and there are more in the pipeline! Its prime existence is leisure and although it has a city-like appearance it's not a working city at all unlike Rio de Janeiro or Honolulu. Surfer's Paradise is one big resort city more like Las Vegas on a beach. The streets of Surfers Paradise look spanking new and flashy. Convertible sports car roam the highways and the people who walk around the streets are dressed in the most casual leisure wear. And of course the main business in town is entertainment, leisure and real estate. Real estate is the talk of the town. As a new flashy condominium rises, along comes a feeding frenzy by real estate speculators and agents and Surfers Paradise enjoys a property boom, which may not last. Australians are obsessed with water views, and so, artificial lakes, inlets and canals, are constructed to make their properties more attractive to investment buyers who come mainly form the cold southern states.

And to keep the tourists and new settlers happily occupied, the Gold Coast Region has developed an incredible array of massive American-style theme parks such as Movie World, Sea World and the like. Many families from around Australia fly or drive up here for the complete Gold Coast experience, and the children love it albeit an expensive affair for the family breadwinner. It's this complete focus on a leisurely lifestyle that many Sydney-siders and Melburnians have decided to uproot themselves from their towns and settle here, creating a population boom of sorts.

Past and Future

Despite its new appearance, Surfers has an interesting history in which it transformed itself from a coastal village for Brisbane weekenders in the late 1800's, into its trademark strip of high rise coastal development much disliked or envied by the rest of Australia. Aboriginal tribes once led an idyllic life around the area. But when the young Queensland colony chose Brisbane as its capital city, a few of its new citizens soon discovered this long stretch of beach and used it as their holiday place. Access then was by ferry across the Nerang River, but in 1925 a wooden bridge was built and the place became much more accessible. But it was a certain James Cavill, who promoted the place by building the Surfers Paradise Hotel in 1923, along what's now known as the Gold Coast Highway. The establishment was so successful that the name was changed from the dour-sounding Elston to a more evocative Surfers Paradise in 1933. The thriving holiday resort soon had a post office and facilities for weekenders and campers. Its growth during the post war period reflects some of the social changes that have happened in Australia which absorbed so many aspects of American beach and leisure culture and the gradual erosion of British imperial conservatism. Enter the blonde metre maids, bikinis, beach volleyball, sunglasses and of course surfing.

And so Surfers Paradise is an Americana-Pacifica. It's Australia's centre for consumption and excess. There's casinos, Las Vegas type shows, theme pubs, open air cafes, more pubs, malls, arcades and more pubs. It's focal point is named after its promoter, Cavill Street,. A few Australians say that Surfers Paradise is the epitome of what's worst in development and progress. They're concerned that this type of development at all cost, will extend to Coolangata and even further down to Byron Bay. I don't mind the place. A country like Australia is large enough to handle a small area of hyper-development. Surfer Paradise is definitely not for the serious culture-vultures, this place does not pretend to be one anyway. All I can say is just enjoy the beach and the carefree lifestyle!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great weather
  • Cons:A bit on the tacky side
  • In a nutshell:Australia's playground resort
  • Intro Updated May 1, 2004
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