Low Isles

Situated 15 kilometres north-east of Port Douglas, the Low Isles comprise a four acre coral cay surrounded by 55 acres of reef. The reefs are very close to the island, which makes snorkelling an easy and enjoyable experience. The two small islands are separate but share the common reef.

The larger of the two, Woody Island, is uninhabited except for a large bird population. It is a vital habitat for many species.

The smaller of the Low Isles is a coral cay with a lighthouse that has been operating since 1878. Weather data has been gathered from the island since 1887, and scientific associations date back to 1928 when it was the base for a year-long scientific survey that examined the structure and ecology of the surrounding reef. This was the first scientific study of a coral reef anywhere in the world, and many current theories of coral reef ecology are based on the findings of this expedition.

There are 150 different species of hard corals in the waters surrounding Low Isles, although these are dominated by 15 species of soft corals. If you look closely, the feathery tentacles of soft corals can often be seen collecting tiny food particles from the water around them. Living amongst the corals is a large variety of fish, molluscs, sea cucumbers and other animals. Colourful blue, green and purple parrotfish are a common sight as well as angelfish, damselfish, anenomefish or clownfish, trevally, rabbitfish, sweetlip, moon wrasse and fusilleers, just to name a few! Plus, you might run into the resident turtles.

The lightstation (controlled by Queensland Parks and Wildlife) on the flat low lying western island, was completed and exhibited in 1878. The 18 metre tower was originally constructed on a timber frame with a galvanised sheath in the typical Queensland fashion, however Low Isles was the first to have porthole windows.

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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.

Scottish Prince Dive Site

Southport, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
The Scottish Prince, 800 metres off the Gold Coast’s Southport Spit, features the wreck of a three steel-masted, 64 metre iron barque ship. The Scottish Prince sank as it was sailing from Glasgow, Scotland to Brisbane with a cargo of whiskey, mousetraps, linen and other assorted cargo, with only the hull of the ship remaining.

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.

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.

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.

Southport

Southport, Gold Coast Area
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.

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.

South Stradbroke Island

South Stradbroke Island, Gold Coast Area
Step aside Gilligan. Should you ever find yourself stranded on South Stradbroke Island or 'South Straddie' as the locals like to call her, then you can count your lucky stars. For you are visiting a Gold Coast destination as pretty as Ginger and as down-to-earth as Mary Ann.

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.

The Seaway Dive Site

Southport, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
The Seaway is the most popular shore diving site in Queensland, and is found at the mouth of the Nerang River at Southport. There are several different areas that can be dived at The Seaway, with the Short Pipe and Sand Pipe area the most popular, and the easiest to access.
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