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Surfers Paradise
Gold CoastQueensland
Surfers Paradise Skyline
Population: 18,501 (2006)[1]
Postcode: 4217
Location: 78 km (48 mi) from Brisbane
LGA: Gold Coast City
State District: Surfers Paradise
Federal Division: Moncrieff
Suburbs around Surfers Paradise:
Southport Main Beach Pacific Ocean
Bundall Surfers Paradise Pacific Ocean
Broadbeach Wtrs Broadbeach Pacific Ocean
Main entrance to the beach
Surfers Paradise beach
Surfers Paradise by day during Schoolies week, in Cavill Mall

Surfers Paradise (28°00′S 153°25′E / 28°S 153.417°E / -28; 153.417) is a suburb on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. At the 2006 Census, Surfers Paradise had a population of 18,501.

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. It's the best known feature of the Gold Coast's skyline. Burleigh and Coolangatta also have skyscrapers, though shorter and fewer.



James Beattie, a farmer, became the first European to settle in the area when he staked out an 80-acre (32 ha) farm on the northern bank of the Nerang River, close to present-day Cavill Avenue. The farm proved unsuccessful and was sold in 1877 to German immigrant Johann Meyer, who turned the land into a sugar farm and mill. Meyer also had little luck growing in the sandy soil and within a decade had auctioned the farm and started a ferry service and built the Main Beach hotel. By 1889, Meyer's hotel had become a post receiving office and subdivisions surrounding it were named Elston, named by the Southport postmaster after his wife's home in Nottingham, England. The Main Beach Hotel licence lapsed after Meyer's death in 1901 and for 16 years Elston was a tourist town without a hotel or post office.

In 1917, a land auction was held by Brisbane real estate company Arthur Blackwood 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, but like the Gold Coast, the title may already have been local vernacular.

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 around Elston and Burleigh Heads. 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. Little remains of the early vegetation or natural features of the area and even the historical association of the beachfront development with the river is tenuous. 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 reflected in subdivision and building form. 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.

Some minor changes have occurred in extending the road along the beachfront since the early subdivision and The Esplanade road is now a focus of activity, with supporting shops and restaurants. The intensity of activity, centred on Cavill, Orchid and Elkhorn Avenues, is reflected in the density of development. Of all places on the Gold Coast the buildings in this area constitute a dominant and enduring image visible from as far south as Coolangatta and from the mountain resorts of the hinterland.


The Gold Coast Oceanway is a foreshoreway along a beachfront alignment between Narrowneck and Surfers Central, then inland along a narrow corridor along Garfield and Northcliffe Terraces behind the beachfront highrises. Gold Coast City proposed a new Oceanway pavement along the public road reserve between the highrise buildings and the dunes but there was considerable opposition from local residents.[2]

The Surfers Riverwalk travels along the Nerang River foreshores through to Surfers Paradise.

The CavilWest corridor is proposed to link Cavil Mall west to Gold Coast Arts Centre and on through the Bundall business district to the Gold Coast Turf Club. The corridor will encourage pedestrians and cyclists through construction of two greenbridges

  • From Tiki Village Surfers to Tarcoola Avenue Chevron Island.
  • From Mawarra Street Chevron Island to Evandale


Schoolies week is celebrated by around 50,000 high school graduates each November.


Motor Racing

The Surfers Paradise International Raceway was a purpose built motor sport facility which was operational from 1966 to 1987.

Since 1991 the Champ Car World Series has run an annual race on the streets of Surfers Paradise, an event known as the Nikon Indy 300. For 2008 Indy Racing League will take up the event.


  • In the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior), the paradise that the refugees hoped to reach is Surfers Paradise.
  • Surfers Paradise beach was voted as one of the best beaches in the world by the American Travel Channel.[3]
  • Surfers Paradise beach was judged Queensland's Cleanest Beach in 2006 by the Keep Australia Beautiful Council[4]
  • Surfers Paradise was voted Australia's top landmark for destruction.[5]

Surfers Paradise in Song

The musical act, Jaded Cadence has released a song about living in Kallangur[6], and traveling upon the Bruce highway to destinations such as Redcliffe, Mooroochy, and Cavill Ave (Surfers Paradise).

The Australian Crawl song Boys Light Up also mentions the line "That flat in Surfers Paradise, with the ocean view"

The Redgum song Gladstone Pier mentions the line "From Surfers up to Townsville..."


External links


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