The Gold Coast is a coastal city located in the South East of the state of Queensland, Australia. The city is 94 km south of the state capital Brisbane. It is the second most populous city in the state, the sixth most populous city in the country, and also the most populous non-capital city in Australia. The Gold Coast also holds the title of the largest cross-state population of any metropolitan area in Australia, due to the inclusion of Tweed Heads, New South Wales in its metropolitan area. The Gold Coast’s metropolitan area converges with that of Greater Brisbane, forming part of an urban conurbation of over 3 million people.
While the origin of the city’s name is debatable, the name “gold coast” was bestowed upon the city by real estate investors. The first settlement in what is now South East Queensland was as a penal colony at Redcliffe. The Gold Coast region remained largely uninhabited by Europeans until 1823 when explorer John Oxley landed at Mermaid Beach. The hinterland’s red cedar supply attracted people to the area in the mid-19th century. Later in 1875, Southport was surveyed and established and quickly grew a reputation as a secluded holiday destination for upper class Brisbane residents. The Gold Coast region grew significantly after the establishment of the Surfers Paradise hotel in the late 1920s. The area boomed in the 1980s as a leading tourist destination and in 1994, the Gold Coast City local government area was expanded to encompass the majority of the Gold Coast’s metropolitan area, becoming the second most populous local government area in Australia after the City of Brisbane.
The Gold Coast is today known as a major tourist destination with its sunny subtropical climate, surfing beaches,canal and waterway systems, its high-rise dominated skyline, theme parks, nightlife, and rainforest hinterland, making tourism one of its most significant industries. Gold Coast will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.