Surfers Paradise

The entertainment heart of the Gold Coast, the high rise development and nightlife of Surfers Paradise has come to represent what, for many, the Gold Coast lifestyle is all about.

Location: 80 km south of Brisbane.

Events: Surfers Paradise hosts a calendar of free public events, largely targeting residents of the Gold Coast, visitors from southeast Queensland and interstate and international tourists.

Surfers Paradise Festival

Staged each June and July, the annual Surfers Paradise Festival is a celebration of local music, food, fashion, film and art and is a key driver of the Gold Coast's long-term cultural development. Across the four weekend of the festival, the Surfers Paradise precinct is transformed into a vibrant showcase of the Gold Coast’s emerging arts and cultural scene. The festival comprises an accessible mix of family events, exhibitions, live music, street markets and short film screenings.

Colloquially known as 'Surfers', the suburb has many high-rise apartment buildings and a wide surf beach. The feature of the central business district is Cavill Mall, which runs through the shopping precinct. Cavill Avenue is one of the busiest shopping strips in Queensland, and the centre of activity for night life.

Surfers Paradise is the Gold Coast's entertainment and tourism centre and the precinct's high-rise buildings are the best known feature of the city's skyline. Surfers Paradise is also one of Australia's iconic coastal tourist destinations, drawing visitors each year from New Zealand, China, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and around Australia.

Places of interest: Surfers Paradise Beach; Nerang River; Budds Beach; Ripleys Believe It Or Not Museum; Flycoaster; Bungee Rocket; Snow World; Australian Shooting Academy/Timezone; Gold Coast City Art Gallery; Buccaneer Bay theme park play area; Whirlpool Hot Springs; Conrad Jupiters Casino.

Brief history

The Surfers Paradise area was a popular spot among the Bandjalang Aboriginal peoples. It remained their domain well into the 1860s. The Gold Coast district was not surveyed until 1869, Southport was established in 1874. In 1923 James Cavill paid £40 ($80) for a block of land and proceeded to build his famous Surfers Paradise Hotel. Two years later the bridge across the Nerang River was built, improving access to the hotel which by then had a small zoo and excellent gardens among its attractions.


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During World War II, the hotel was used to convalesce soldiers and their wives. After the war, the area's potential as a major resort for holidaying families was realised. An influx of holidaymakers and the easing of building restrictions led to the intense high rise and canal developments seen today. The nature of the amusement park-style attractions now on offer at Surfers has seen many families move on, either to the quieter, southern section of the Gold Coast, or to other areas like the Sunshine Coast. In their place are young people who come to let their hair down, which has changed the feel of the place in recent years.

Origin of name: The name 'Surfers Paradise' was first used for a hotel built here in 1923. At that time, surfing as a sport had just been introduced to Australia.

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