The Northern Gold Coast area runs from Beenleigh in the north down to Southport. It includes the Broadwater, Hope Island and South Stradbroke Island. Here you will find an array of options for enjoyment. Boutique resorts and shopping as well as water activities of every kind. However there are no surf beaches in this area unless you make the trip across to South Stradbroke Island. The area is the most recently developed of all the Gold Coast areas with the opening of Theme Parks and the creation of luxury lifestyle residential and tourist developments.
There is an abundance of varied accommodation alternatives and restaurants to satisfy any requirement throughout the Northern Gold Coast area. From apartments with views of the Broadwater to Holiday villages and camping sites this is a great alternative to the more glitzy and crowded areas of the Gold Coast. There are also some world class resorts and golf courses.
Home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest collection of Theme Parks and known as Australia’s Theme Park capital, the trip up the M1 Highway to the northern Gold Coast precinct is an exciting day out for Australian families and visitors to the Gold Coast. The Theme Parks are located just off the M1 motorway at Oxenford, Helensvale and Coomera.
South Stradboke Island:
However the area has more to offer than Theme Parks. Only minutes off the coast is South Stradbroke Island a rare sand island. This natural island environment is a true retreat that is complemented by world class resorts. It is in essence a world away from the typical Gold Coast experience. Here you are surrounded by the still waters of the Broadwater on one side, natural flora and fauna in the centre and pristine surf beaches on the other side.
Back on the mainland, and on to Hope Island you will find a variety of chic restaurants, a marina, boutique shops, a world class resort and two of the Gold Coast’s premier golf courses.
Heading south you will find the "Broadwater" dominates the Northern Gold Coast area. This is an outstanding protected natural waterway which attracts every kind of on water activity imaginable, from kayaking, tall ship cruising and jet boating, to snorkelling, parasailing and whale watching. The Broadwater, (also known as Gold Coast Broadwater or Southport Broadwater) is a large shallow body of water reaching in the south from the locality of Southport, north to the southern section of the World Heritage Listed Moreton Bay. There is no surf beach here but the stretch of flat tidal water and foreshore are among the city's most utilised areas. The ease of access and still water swimming make the Broadwater a popular choice, particularly among locals and young families.
Part of a day here is enjoyed by watching the waterways get busy with all kinds of boats, luxury vessels, jet-skis as well as pursuits including wind-surfing, kayaking and canoeing. There is also the convenience of swimming, fishing, or a picnic with plenty of space for games and fun.
The Broadwater is separated from the ocean by Stradbroke Island, The original body of water was a lagoon created from water deposited from the Nerang River. There is a popular part of the shoreline of the Broadwater that stretches from Paradise Point down to Southport. Favourite places amongst locals and visitors for walking, picnicking and family fun are the popular spots of The Spit, Southport Broadwater Parklands, Marine Parade and Harley Park Labrador, the Broadwater Esplanades of Biggera Waters, Runaway Bay and Hollywell and Paradise Point Broadwater Parklands.
"The Spit" is off Sea World Drive. Here there is a total lack of development and facilities which is all part of the attraction of the area. However this is an area to bring your own chairs, tables, food and drinks. Alternatively it is worth a visit even for a couple of hours as it is a great spot to watch activities. Generally you can park wherever takes your fancy and set up for a day by the water.
The Southport Broadwater Parklands, opposite Australia Fair shopping centre in Southport, is a very popular spot on the Broadwater with its netted off swimming beach, massive kids' playground and 'Rockpools' water play area. The area has undergone a $42 million revamp to become one of the Coast’s recreation and events havens, with rolling lawns, an outdoor cinema and a café. There are wide open spaces to kick a ball, perfect pathways to ride a scooter, and even a BMX circuit. The swimming enclosure has a jumping pontoon permanently located at the end of the enclosure. There is an Aquatic Centre and Pier and it is also a popular location for weddings.
At Labrador, the Ian Dipple Lagoon in Harley Park is another popular foreshore spot near the corner of Broad Street and Marine Parade at Labrador The dedicated still water swimming area with sun shades over the sandy shoreline is a haven for kids. There are loads of picnic tables and seating plus electric BBQs and beach showers to rinse off as well as kids' play equipment. ‘Fish and Chips’ is a favourite meal pastime here and there is a hotel across the road offering bars and restaurants. For those fishing enthusiasts, the area provides access to a boat ramp and fishing spots. The swimming Lagoon is flood-lit in the evenings for the convenience of patrons.
The northern Gold Coast area with its Theme Parks, Hope Island, and The Broadwater offers a variety of things to do and enjoy on any day on the Gold Coast.