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  • Writer's pictureJanneke

Differences between the Northern, Western, Central and Southern Gold Coast explained.

The key differences and characteristics of each of the different areas of the Gold Coast explained.

The Gold Coast is located in south-east Queensland, about 78 kilometres south of Brisbane. There are a total of 81 suburbs covering an area of 1,358 km2 with a total population of 635,191.

You can loosely divide the Gold Coast into 4 main area:

1) Southern Gold Coast from Palm Beach south to Coolangatta / Tweed Heads

2) Central Gold Coast from Burleigh Heads north to Southport

3) Northern Gold Coast everything north of Southport

4) Western Gold Coast or Gold Coast Hinterland everything further inland

Each of these areas offers a different lifestyle and feel, from laid-back beach vibes of the Southern Gold Coast, to bustling precincts in the Central Gold Coast, to the urban sprawl of the Northern Gold Coast and quiet rural lifestyle of the Gold Coast Hinterland. Here we explain some of the differences of each area.

Areas of the Gold Coast, Southen Gold Coast, Northern Gold Coast, Central Gold Coast
Image courtesy: Destination Gold Coast

Living in the Southern Gold Coast Suburbs

Palm Beach south to Coolangatta / Tweed Heads

The southern end of the Gold Coast has some of the best beaches and surf breaks in the world. It has a laid-back feel and is a favourite with lovers of the great outdoors.

Key characteristics & selling points:

  1. Known for its laid-back lifestyle

  2. Good selection of trendy cafes and a thriving food culture

  3. Continuous stretch of beautiful beaches and the best surf breaks

  4. Pristine rainforest, mountains, lots of parks and green spaces

  5. Home of the Gold Coast Airport

  6. 100km from Brisbane CBD

  7. Relatively low crime rate

  8. Median house price $1,450,000 (Jun 2022)

  9. High-density living (apartment blocks & high-rises) along the coastline

  10. Medium-density living, free-standing homes & townhouses on medium to small blocks between the GC Highway and the M1

  11. Low-density living, free-standing homes on larger blocks and acreage properties west of the M1

  12. Home to John Flynn Private Hospital (nearest Public Hospitals Robina and NSW Tweed Hospital) and Southern Cross University

  13. Congested motorway (M1), although widening of the motorway is underway due for completion '23. No heavy rail or light rail (yet...)

Living in the Central Gold Coast Suburbs

Burleigh Heads north up to The Spit, including Southport & Surfers Paradise

The suburbs of Central GC are vast and varied, from the more laid-back suburbs of the south end to the bustling entertainment precincts of Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise and Southport CBD further north, to small bush-fringed communities further inland.

Key characteristics & selling points:

  1. A mix of bustling nightlife precincts, laid-back beachside living and quiet bush-fringed communities

  2. Good selection of trendy cafes and restaurants up and down the coast

  3. Developed foreshore with playgrounds, walking & cycling paths, outdoor gyms and surf beaches

  4. Endless canals and waterways with premium waterfront living

  5. 15-30mins to Gold Coast Airport and 80-90km from Brisbane CBD

  6. Areas with higher crime rates, due to entertainment precincts and more transient population

  7. Median house price $1,330,000 (Jun 2022) with a big disparity between the suburbs with the lowest median $750k-$850k (e.g., Nerang, Highland Park, Labrador, Southport) and the highest $1.9M up to $3.2M (e.g., Broadbeach Waters, Mermaid Beach, Main Beach)

  8. Home of the most densely populated suburbs of the Gold Coast including Surfers Paradise, Mermaid, Broadbeach, Labrador and Southport)

  9. Areas of medium-density living, free-standing homes & townhouses on medium to small blocks between the GC Highway and the M1 (Miami, Burleigh Heads, Burleigh Waters, Varsity Lakes etc)

  10. Areas of low-to-medium density living, free-standing homes on larger blocks and acreage properties in the suburbs west of the M1 (Worongary, Mudgeeraba, Bonogin, Reedy Creek, Tallai)

  11. Home to Robina Hospital and Gold Coast University Hospital in Southport and Bond University & Griffith University

  12. Connected via Heavy Rail (Train) Varsity Lakes to Brisbane and Light Rail (Tram) Broadbeach to Helensvale via Southport

Living in the Northern Gold Coast Suburbs

Everything north of Southport

Home to the famous Gold Coast Theme Parks, the Northern Gold Coast is growing at a rapid pace with major urban development taking place in this region. The largest of the suburbs is Upper Coomera with a population of 30,078, with Pimpama and Ormeau not far behind.

Key characteristics & selling points:

  1. Large suburbs each offering all the amenities you need in one place; shopping, dining, entertainment, sports

  2. Not much available in the way of trendy cafes, bars and restaurants

  3. Easy access to parks and conservation areas

  4. Convenient location for those working in Brisbane, approx. 50-60km from Brisbane CBD

  5. 20-30mins to the nearest beach and 45mins to Gold Coast Airport

  6. Medium level crime rate

  7. Lots of gated communities and retirement living villages

  8. Median house price $850,000 (Jun 2022) with a big disparity between the suburbs with the lowest median $632k-$702k (Pimpama, Ormeau, Ormeau Hills) and the highest $1.4M to $1.8M (Hope Island, Runaway Bay, Paradise Point)

  9. Home of the fastest growing suburbs on the Gold Coast, Pimpama +141% & Coomera +48% since 2016

  10. Predominantly medium-density living.

  11. Older suburbs in the area (Helensvale, Oxenford) predominantly feature wide streets, with free-standing homes on large blocks (+600m2) with lots of greenery while in the newly developed areas (Pimpama, Coomera, Ormeau) the streets are sparse and narrow and blocks are smaller (-400m2)

  12. Some areas of low-density, rural living with large free-standing homes on big blocks and acreage properties located west of the M1 (Willowvale, Maudsland)

  13. 15-20min to Gold Coast University Hospital

  14. Connected via Heavy Rail (Train) to Brisbane and Light Rail (Tram) up to Helensvale

Living in the Western Gold Coast Suburbs

Also referred to as the Gold Coast Hinterland which includes Lamington National Park, Mt Tamborine, Springbrook National Park, Numinbah Valley

Head further inland, and be surrounded by pristine rainforest and charming mountain villages and close-knit communities. This area is for those who love nature, space and peace & quiet.

Key characteristics & selling points:

  1. Dotted with small villages and remote communities, surrounded by bushland

  2. Quiet rural lifestyle, removed from city, commerce and services

  3. World-heritage listed rainforest on your doorstep

  4. 60mins to Gold Coast Airport and 80km from Brisbane CBD

  5. 50mins to the nearest beach

  6. Very low crime rate

  7. Median house price $1,385,000 (Jun 2022)

  8. Low density living, primary acreage properties and working farms

  9. 40mins to nearest Hospital

  10. 25-30mins to the M1 Motorway


Not sure which area or suburb of the Gold Coast to move to?

Let me help you! I can assist in finding the right suburbs and the best schools for you. This starts with a list of questions and a phone call to gather more information. I then conduct a review of the suburbs and schools that best suit your requirements and lifestyle, and create a recommendation report that details key information about the suburbs and schools. Finally, we will discuss the findings in a call to answer all your questions. If this is something that you're interested in email me at