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The Gold Coast is a coastal city located in South East Queensland, Australia. The city is 94km south of the state capital Brisbane. With a population approximately 540,000 in 2010, it is the second most populous city in the state, the sixth most populous city in the country, and also the most populous non-capital city in Australia.
The Gold Coast also holds the title of the largest cross-state population of any metropolitan area in Australia, due to its close proximity to Tweed Heads which is located in New South Wales. The total metropolitan area of the region is over 600,000 people, many of whom cross the border daily. In addition, the urban area of the Gold Coast has almost joined with the urban areas of Logan and Brisbane, some 50km north.
While the origin of the city's name is debatable, it earned a reputation as being the "gold coast" area by real estate investors. The first settlement of the area of Queensland was as a penal colony at Redcliffe. The Gold Coast urban area remained largely uninhabited by Europeans until 1823 when explorer John Oxley landed at Mermaid Beach. The hinterland's red cedar supply attracted people to the area in the mid-19th century. Later in 1875, Southport was surveyed and established and quickly grew a reputation as a secluded holiday destination for the upper class Brisbane residents. The region of the Gold Coast grew significantly after the establishment of the Surfers Paradise hotel in the late 1920s.
The area boomed in the 1980s as a leading tourist destination and by 1994, Queensland decided to amalgamate the city with Albert Shire to develop it as one of Australia's "super cities." This amalgamation made Gold Coast the second largest municipality in Australia after Brisbane. Its new boundaries extend south to Coolangatta on the border with New South Wales, west to Mount Tamborine in the remote interior, and north to Beenleigh of Brisbane.
Gold Coast is today known as a major tourist destination with its sunny subtropical climate, surfing beaches, canal and waterway systems, its high-rise dominated skyline, nightlife, and rainforest hinterland, making tourism one of its most significant industries.
The Gold Coast will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games