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  • Writer's pictureJanneke

Pros & cons of waterfront living on the Gold Coast + A full list of the canal suburbs

The Gold Coast has an impressive 135 manmade lakes and over 400 kilometers of canals. The Gold Coast in fact boasts the largest constructed canal network in the southern hemisphere, offering picturesque waterfront living like no other. From stunning views to endless recreational opportunities, the Gold Coast waterfront presents a dream come true for those seeking a tranquil yet vibrant lifestyle.

We explore the pros & cons of waterfront living, along with a full list and map of all Gold Coast canal suburbs.
Canal & Waterfront Suburbs of the Gold Coast
Palm Beach luxury waterfront mansion. Image: Kollosche

The waterways of the Gold Coast offer an abundance of recreational activities, and not just to those lucky enough to live on its shores. With publicly accessible boat ramps, foreshore parks and playgrounds, walkways, and beaches, all Gold Coast residents can easily engage in many watersport activities including fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating. However, it's important to note that the rivers and canals are also home to a diverse range of marine life, including some dangerous ones like stingrays, stonefish, catfish, and bull sharks. Therefore, swimming in these waters is never recommended.


Living in a waterfront home on the Gold Coast is a desire shared by many, and for good reason. A waterfront home can offer beautiful views, a sense of seclusion and privacy, and easy access to water activities. These highly sought-after homes come with a premium price tag, as reflected in research by Knight Frank^, which indicates a substantial 71% uplift in price compared to comparable properties without water access or water views.


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Pros of Waterfront Living on the Gold Coast:

  1. Breathtaking Views: Waterfront homes offer a unique waterfront perspective and often stunning views. On a wind-still day the reflections at sunrise and sunset are just spectacular.

  2. Recreational Opportunities: Living on the water unlocks a world of water sport activities. Enjoy boating, fishing, kayaking, or paddleboarding right at your doorstep.

  3. Sense of Privacy: Many waterfront properties offer a sense of seclusion and privacy and the natural surroundings create a peaceful and relaxed living environment

  4. Great Investment Potential: Waterfront homes hold a higher market value due to their limited availability and high desirability. Investing in a waterfront property can lead to long-term capital growth and potential financial gains.

Cons of Waterfront Living on the Gold Coast:

  1. Higher Costs: Waterfront properties often carry a significantly higher price tag, with potential price uplifts of up to 71% compared to similar non-waterfront properties. Apart from a higher purchase price, your council rates will also be higher as the general rates are amongst other things based on land value.

  2. Risk of Flooding: Depending on the location and elevation, waterfront homes may face a higher risk of flooding and storm damage during extreme weather events. It is essential to assess flood zones, building and floor levels and consider appropriate insurance coverage to mitigate these risks.

  3. Maintenance and Upkeep: The exposure to saltwater, humidity, and storms may increase maintenance costs and require more frequent repairs and replacement. There are also additional costs with the upkeep of pontoons, seawalls, and landscaping specific to waterfront properties.

  4. Noise and Privacy: Noise travels on water, and narrower canals may amplify noise from neighbours' activities and passing boats. Waterfront areas, especially on popular canals and lakes, may also experience increased foot and boat traffic, potentially impacting your privacy.

  5. Midges: from time to time, you may experience more midges and mosquitoes, especially if your property is near mangroves or areas where the water is more stagnant. The Gold Coast City Council has control strategies in place to manage the population of mosquitos and midges, including spraying natural insecticides on the canal beaches. And there's plenty you can do yourself.

List of Gold Coast Waterfront & Canal Suburbs

Southern Gold Coast Canal Suburbs:

  • Currumbin Waters

  • Elanora

  • Palm Beach

Central Gold Coast Canal Suburbs:

  • Benowa / Benowa Waters

  • Broadbeach Waters

  • Bundall / Sorrento

  • Burleigh Waters

  • Carrara

  • Clear Island Waters

  • Mermaid Waters

  • Robina

  • Varsity Lakes

Northern Gold Coast Canal Suburbs:

  • Biggera Waters

  • Coomera Waters

  • Helensvale

  • Hope Island

  • Hollywell

  • Jacobs Well

  • Main Beach

  • Paradise Point

  • Runaway Bay

  • Sanctuary Cove

  • Southport

  • Sovereign Island

  • Surfers Paradise

Map of Gold Coast Canal Suburbs

Click on the expand symbol [ ] in the top right corner to enlarge the map or click on the open menu symbol in the top left corner (next to the title) to open the menu & filter by region.

Sources & disclaimer:

We have in preparing this information used our best endeavours to ensure that the information contained herein is true and accurate but accept no responsibility and disclaim all liability in respect of any errors, omissions, inaccuracies or misstatements that may occur