The modern history of the Gold Coast, a seaside city on the East Coast of Australia, began nearly a century ago with the construction of a bridge, a road extension and a hotel in the late 1920s. The holiday crowds flocked here, igniting one of the world’s great beach culture explosions.

The ensuing decades saw a number of growth spurts. The region fast became a haven for surfers as well as a popular vacation destination for servicemen after World War II. Speculators saw opportunity and moved in. As the story goes, so much land changed hands between buyers and sellers by the late 1940s that local journalists started calling the area the Gold Coast. The name stuck. It also turned out to be an apt description for the region’s golden sand beaches and 300 days of sunshine a year.

The area, some 93 kilometres (58 miles) south of Brisbane, is surrounded by mountains, national parks, wetlands and remote back country. Tourism is the main industry, built on its 40 kilometres (24 miles) of coastline, subtropical climate and entrepreneurial spirit. Two international airports are less than an hour’s drive away.

Where seaside shacks and cottages once sat, today’s real estate offerings include opulent high-rise apartments, executive mansions and canal front estates. Those seeking resort-style living find it in master-planned communities with championship golf courses, tennis courts and deep-water harbours for mega-yacht mooring.

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