Introduction to the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is seemingly Australia’s answer to Las Vegas - all glitz, glamour and neon signs . A 24/7 party town where school leavers run amok and high-rollers live the Champagne life in penthouse apartments at designer hotels. But scratch that gilded surface and you’ll discover a surprising natural side that’s not just beaches and bikini babes, but also pristine wilderness and pockets of idyllic serenity and scenery. Where tacky touristy shops make way for up-and-coming artists and local fashion designers who find beauty in simplicity and the understated.
After all, it’s hard to compete with Mother Nature. All that stunning surf and sand within a 57-kilometre stretch of coastline from Beenleigh to Coolangatta and the hinterland behind suburbia has been a beacon for those seeking a laidback lifestyle since that first Surfers Paradise hotel went up in 1925. From the white shoe brigade and retirees moving north for the winter to the influx of holidaymakers from home and overseas, the Gold Coast remains Australia’s favourite playground and a popular international tourist destination.
With a population of over 515,000, the Gold Coast has weathered the high-rise boom and bust and shrugged off its small-town rep to become Australia’s largest non-capital city and the country’s 6th largest metropolis as well as one of the fastest-growing regions nationally. But the GC’s best attributes are actually the simplest. Locals love that the Pacific Ocean is just a 20-minute drive away from anywhere, and that they can choose world-class entertainment, dining and shopping or escape to hinterland retreats and secluded nature sites. Where you can spend winter in the city without scarves and jackets, and spend balmy summer nights alfresco.
Maybe the reason the locals are happy to embrace and play up to the Gold Coast’s glam reputation is because they know all that glitters really is gold.