The Gold Coast was once an informal name for the stretch of coastal towns from Surfers Paradise in the north to the state border with New South Wales in the south. With a warm climate and miles of beaches, the towns have grown rapidly, especially with migrating southern retirees. The merged towns are now suburbs of the City of Gold Coast, and the city has also stretched out to take in more areas to the north and west.
The northern end (especially Surfers Paradise to Broadbeach) is more commercialised, with plenty of action for backpackers and "schoolies" (school leavers celebrating the end of exams). The southern end still mainly caters to families holidaying from the colder southern states. Away from the coast, the western side, called the "hinterland", consists of mountain ranges covered with rainforest, much of it national park.
Gold Coast Airport (OOL) is located in Coolangatta and has frequent connections from major Australian cities and some international flights from New Zealand and Asia. A viable alternative is to fly into Brisbane Airport (BNE), and catch the direct train (90 minutes from International Terminal to Robina).
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