Southport

If you squint into the sunshine and cast your mind back a little over a century, you can almost picture the Southport of old, one of the Gold Coast's earliest and most fashionable seaside destinations. Originally called Nerang Creek Heads, it wasn't long before Southport's name was changed to mirror that of the English resort of the same name.

This area has a rich romantic history which in the 1890s attracted Queensland Governor Anthony Musgrave and his entourage for its sideshow theatre, the Southport pier and its picture theatre. Brisbane's well-heeled arrived by cutter or steamer and were rowed to shore. While access to this pretty place has since improved vastly, its appeal remains. Just north of Surfers Paradise, it is one of the major business hubs of the Gold Coast and overlooks the dazzling Broadwater and the Southport Spit which divides the Broadwater from the Pacific Ocean.

Shop at Australia Fair Shopping Centre, or escape to the languid stretch of parklands here, along which you can wander and daydream that you are back in the days of petticoats and parasols.

High Street
Southport, Gold Coast Area
Queensland
Australia

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Runaway Bay

Runaway Bay, Gold Coast Area
Escape enthusiasts will adore Runaway Bay and not just for the name. Bracketed by South Stradbroke Island to the east and a colourful canal system to the west, it's simple to see why this northern Gold Coast suburb was originally better known as Angler's Paradise.

Pine Ridge Conservation Park

Runaway Bay, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Discover one of the last remaining wallum banksia stands on the Gold Coast in this small park featuring banskia woodland, heath and paperbark swamp forests. While dune vegetation on the Gold Coast has all but disappeared due to urban development, the remaining patch of wallum heath protected in this small park is culturally important to the Kombumerri-Ngarangwal people.

Biggera Waters

Biggera Waters, Gold Coast Area
Beautiful Biggera Creek lent this suburb its name which is famous for its heritage-listed "land's end" site, but there is nothing final about a visit here. Those searching for a sedate spot in the northern part of the coast will adore a trip here, opposite the bustling Broadwater and the sizzling Gold Coast Spit and across from Wavebreak Island.

Main Beach

Main Beach, Gold Coast Area
While other suburbs snatch their names from exotic Aboriginal meanings or English seaside villages, Main Beach is far more literal. Situated at the northern end of the Gold Coast, Main Beach was so named as it was the main surf beach to the town of Southport.

Labrador

Labrador, Gold Coast Area
Like a loyal puppy, Labrador has been one of the Gold Coast's mainstays since its hotel was built in 1884. Back in the day, this 15-room hotel complete with three sitting rooms, outhouses and stables, was perfect for the Cobb and Co coach service which transported boat passengers arriving from Brisbane.

Gold Coast Oceanway

Main Beach, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Even die-hard Gold Coast fans may not realise this but there is an official section of the coast known as the Gold Coast Oceanway, a 36-kilometre network of pathways which connects The Spit at the north to Point Danger in the south.

Oxenford

Oxenford, Gold Coast Area
It's difficult to believe but this rather unassuming suburb, which lies just off the Pacific Highway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, is home to some of the best movie-making facilities in Australia.

Sanctuary Cove

Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast Area
If you stand along the marina and use a little imagination, you can almost picture the famous Gold Coast white-shoe brigade who put Sanctuary Cove on the map during those crazy, hazy 1980s. While that kind of excess has long departed, the style synonymous with Sanctuary Cove remains in this exclusive master-planned community.

The Spit

Main Beach, Gold Coast Area
“The Spit” is the northern most section of the famous Gold Coast stretch of beach incorporating Main Beach and Surfers Paradise all the way south to Coolangatta. As the name suggests, The Spit extends into the seaway and is the gateway between the Gold Coast Broadwater and the open ocean.

Hope Island

Hope Island, Gold Coast Area
You would expect anticipation to be fairly high when travelling to a place called Hope Island and this destination doesn't disappoint. But rather than being named after the positive emotion, it actually borrowed its name from a colonial aristocrat Captain Louis Hope who was granted land at the mouth of the Coomera River in recognition of his sugar industry contributions.
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