Located about eighty kilometres from the state capital, Brisbane, Surfers Paradise is the main attraction of the forty-two kilometres of coastline and beaches which make up the Gold Coast. But, this hasn’t always been the case.
The area began to develop in the late 1800s when small groups of fishermen and holiday-makers began to realise just how much Surfers had to offer as a destination. In fact, local Aboriginal tribes had learned of the excellent fishing conditions many centuries prior to this but had obviously managed to keep the good news pretty much to themselves. By, 1888 the region had its first hotel, the Surfers Paradise Hotel, but it could only be reached by ferry until 1925 when a new wooden bridge was built.
Then, just ten years later the local residents petitioned to have the town’s original name, Elston, changed to Surfers Paradise after the hotel built by James Cavill. They felt it would add to the appeal of the area, and how right they were.
Yet, despite the presence of the bridge and its new name the town really didn’t take off until the 1950s when construction began on the first beachfront apartment blocks. As well as this, the Surfers Paradise Hotel had been used as a convalescent home during World War II by soldiers who were now they were coming back with their families to enjoy the weather and the atmosphere under much happier and healthier conditions.
As well as changing in size and popularity as a tourist destination, the type of tourists that visit Surfers Paradise has also changed dramatically. Now a mecca for the youth of Australia and the world, the town and its beaches attracts three million tourists per year but the families staying there now are few and far between. Instead they prefer the quieter resorts in nearby locations. But, for those who do want to mix the two, you only have to travel a few kilometers up or down the coast from Surfers to discover your own private beach paradise meaning you get the best of both worlds.