Gold Coast Stories and Tips

Surfers Paradise

Urban paradise? Photo, Gold Coast, Australia

Surfers Paradise is a suburb on the Gold Coast. The suburb has a population of around 20,000. 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, named after Jim Cavill, an early hotel owner, is one of the busiest shopping strips in Queensland, and the centre of activity for night life.

While Surfers Paradise is a high-rise heaven today, less than eighty years ago it was virgin beachfront land in an area called Elston. In 1917, a land auction was held by a Brisbane real estate company to sell subdivided blocks in Elston as the 'Surfers' Paradise Estate', but the auction failed because access was difficult. This was the first recorded reference to Surfers Paradise. Elston began to get more visitors after the opening of Jubilee Bridge and the extension of the South Coast Road in 1925. The area was serviced before then only by Meyer's Ferry at the Nerang River. Elston was no longer cut off by the river and speculators began buying land. Estates down the coast were promoted and hotels opened to accommodate tourists and investors.

Brisbane hotelier Jim Cavill opened Surfers Paradise Hotel that year, and the town had its first landmark. Located between the ferry jetty and the white surf beach off the South Coast Road, it became popular and shops and services sprang up around it. In the following years Cavill pushed to have the name Elston changed to the more marketable Surfers' Paradise and in 1933 the town acquired its present name.

The boom of the 1950s and 1960s was centred on this area and the first of the tall apartment buildings were constructed in the decades that followed. The early subdivision pattern remains, although later reclamation of the islands in the Nerang River as housing estates, and the bridges to those islands, have created a contrast. Some early remnants survived such as Budd's Beach — a low-scale open area on the river which even in the early history of the area was a centre for boating, fishing and swimming.

Surfers Paradise is the jewel of Queensland's Gold Coast and one of the most popular holiday destinations in Australia. Surfers Paradise is where you'll find the fusion of city and beach lifestyles set amidst a spectacular skyline and brilliant stretch of coast. Vibrant and eclectic, Surfers Paradise provides non-stop action. We have stopped here several times and have never been disappointed. You do have to be careful after midnight, however, as there always seem to be a few troublemakers around. With an abundance of theme parks and family attractions all in easy access, you're never short of finding things to do. The trouble instead may be finding enough time to do everything.

Surfers Paradise invites exploration. It’s fun to wander through the winding streets lined with alfresco dining restaurants or to browse the art galleries that showcase local artists' works and Aboriginal exhibitions. There are the numerous shopping options from top-end designers to outlet bargains and Friday night beachfront markets. When nightfall comes, Surfers bursts into action with a different type of excitement. Bars and nightclubs start pumping with live music and dance beats, while non-stop events keep you entertained. And of course, there are the car races, which jumpstarts Surfers Paradise into action every October.

Then on the next day when you're tired from all of the action, grab your towel and hit the beach. It’s the perfect cure.

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