Great Dividing Range
The Great Dividing Range, or the Eastern Highlands, is Australia's most substantial mountain range and the third longest land-based range in the world. It stretches more than 3,500 kilometres from Dauan Island off the northeastern tip of Queensland, running the entire length of the eastern coastline through New South Wales into Victoria and turning west, before fading into the central plain at the Grampians in western Victoria; the width of the range varies from about 160 km to over 300 km. The Greater Blue Mountains Area, Gondwana Rainforests, Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Areas are located in the range; the sharp rise between the coastal lowlands and the eastern uplands has affected Australia's climate due to orographic precipitation, these areas of highest relief have revealed an impressive gorge country. The Dividing Range does not consist of a single mountain range, it consists of a complex of mountain ranges, upland areas and escarpments with an ancient and complex geological history.
The physiographic division name for the landmass is called the East Australian Cordillera. In some places the terrain is flat, consisting of low hills; the highlands range from 300 to 1,600 metres in height. The mountains and plateaus, which consist of limestones, quartzite and dolomite, have been created by faulting and folding processes; the crest of the range is defined by the watershed or boundary between the drainage basins of rivers which drain directly eastward into the Pacific Ocean, or southward into Bass Strait, those rivers which drain into the Murray–Darling river system towards the west and south. In central Queensland, the rivers on the west side drain into Lake Eyre basin. In north Queensland, the rivers on the west side of the range drain towards the Gulf of Carpentaria; the higher and more rugged parts of the "range" do not form part of the crest of the range, but may be branches and offshoots from it. The term "Great Dividing Range" may refer to the watershed crest of the range, or to the entire upland complex including all of the hills and mountains between the east coast of Australia and the central plains and lowlands.
At some places it can be up to 400 km wide. Notable ranges and other features which form part of the range complex have their own distinctive names; the Great Dividing Range was formed during the Carboniferous period—over 300 million years ago—when Australia collided with what are now parts of South America and New Zealand. The range has experienced significant erosion since. For tens of thousands of years prior to British colonisation the ranges were home to various Aboriginal Australian nations and clans. Evidence remains in some places of their traditional way of life including decorated caves and trails used to travel between the coastal and inland regions. Many descendants of these nations still exist today and remain the traditional owners and custodians of their lands. After British colonisation in 1788, the ranges were an obstacle to exploration and settlement by the British settlers. Although not high, parts of the highlands were rugged. Crossing the Blue Mountains was challenging due to the mistaken idea that the creeks should be followed rather than the ridges, impenetrable, sandstone mountains.
Knowing that local Aboriginal people had established routes crossing the range and by making use of Aboriginal walking trails, a usable ridge-top route was discovered by Europeans directly westward from Sydney across the Blue Mountains to Bathurst by an expedition jointly led by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth. Towns in the Blue Mountains were named after each of these men; this was the start of the development of the agricultural districts of inland New South Wales. A road was built to Blaxland by convicts within six months. Easier routes to inland New South Wales were discovered towards Goulburn to the southwest, westwards from Newcastle. Subsequent explorations were made across and around the ranges by Allan Cunningham, John Oxley, Hamilton Hume, Paul Edmund Strzelecki, Ludwig Leichhardt and Thomas Mitchell; these explorers were concerned with finding and appropriating good agricultural land. By the late 1830s the most fertile rangelands adjacent to the mountain ranges had been explored, appropriated from the traditional inhabitants and some settled.
These included the Gippsland and Riverina regions in the south, up to the Liverpool Plains and the Darling Downs in the north. Various road and railway routes were subsequently established through many parts of the ranges, although many areas remain remote to this day. For example, in eastern Victoria there is only one major road crossing the highlands from north to south, the Great Alpine Road. Parts of the highlands consisting of flat and, by Australian standards, well-watered land were developed for agricultural and pastoral uses; such areas include the Atherton Tableland and Darling Downs in Queensland, the Northern Tablelands, Southern Highlands and Southern Tablelands in New South Wales. Other parts of the highlands have been used for forestry. Many parts of the highlands which were not developed are now included in National Parks. All of mainland Australia's alpine areas, including its highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, are part of this range, called the Main Range; the highest areas in southern New South Wales and eastern Victoria are known as the Australian Alps.
The central core of the Great Dividing Range is dotted with hundreds of peaks and is surrounded by many smaller mountain ranges or spurs, vall
South East Queensland
South East Queensland is a bio-geographical and administrative region of the state of Queensland in Australia, which contains 3.5 million people out of the state's population of 4.8 million. The area covered by South East Queensland varies, depending on the definition of the region, though it tends to include Queensland's three largest cities: the capital city Brisbane, its most common use is for political purposes, covers 22,420 square kilometres and incorporates 11 local government areas, extending 240 kilometres from Noosa in the north to the Gold Coast and New South Wales border in the south, 140 kilometres west to Toowoomba. South East Queensland was the first part of Queensland to be explored by Europeans. Settlements arose in the Brisbane and Ipswich areas with activity by European immigrants spreading in all directions from there. Various industries such as timber cutting and agriculture developed at locations around the region from the 1840s onwards. Transport links have been shaped by the range of terrains found in South East Queensland.
The economy of South East Queensland supports and relies on a wide diversity of agricultural manufacturing industries and tourism. The region has TransLink. South East Queensland, classified as an interim Australian bioregion, comprises 7,804,921 hectares and includes the Moreton Basin, South Burnett, the Scenic Rim along with ten other biogeographic subregions; the term South East Queensland has no equivalent political representation. The area covers many lower house seats at the federal and state levels; as Queensland has no upper house, there are no Legislative Council provinces or regions to bear the name either. South East Queensland was home to around 20,000 Aboriginals prior to British occupation; the local tribes of the area were the Yuggurapul of the Central Brisbane area. According to history researchers the Aboriginal population declined to around 10,000 over the next 60 years. Early explorers in the area including Matthew Flinders, Allan Cunningham, John Oxley and Patrick Logan. Around 1839, European settlers were able to move into the region.
Logging was the first industry to develop. The first railway built in Queensland linked Grandchester to Ipswich in 1865 along a narrow 1067 mm gauge. Major floods were experienced in 1893, 1974 and 2011. In 2005, the region suffered its worst drought in recorded history. Queensland's third highest peak, Mount Barney, is located in the south of the region; the Cunningham Highway passes southwest to the Darling Downs via Cunninghams Gap. Several highways including the Bruce Highway, Warrego Highway and the Pacific Motorway link to the adjoining regions; the region is mountainous. McPherson Range, Teviot Range, D'Aguilar Range, Little Liverpool Range, Blackall Range as well as the Springbrook Plateau and Tamborine Mountain Plateau. Isolated volcanic peaks are found at the Glass House Mountains. Along the coast are several large islands including Bribie Island, Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island with many smaller islands in Moreton Bay. Several major water supply and flood mitigation dams have been constructed here.
The Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme and Gold Coast Desalination Plant were built to counter the effects of drought in South East Queensland. South East Queensland consists of the following regions, each of, a local government area: Brisbane – the capital and largest city of Queensland; the Brisbane metropolitan area consists of the City of Brisbane, as well as the following local governments: Ipswich City – an outer-suburban city with an industrial and mining heritage west of Brisbane. Logan City – a residential area between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Moreton Bay Region – a residential area between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. Redland City – a residential and agricultural area on the shores of Moreton Bay to the south-east of Brisbane. City of Gold Coast – a major tourist and retirement destination to the south of Brisbane, the largest non-capital city in Australia. Sunshine Coast Region – a coastal tourist and agricultural region to the north of Brisbane; the Glass House Mountains are a symbol of this region.
West Moreton, a rural area in the Great Dividing Range consisting of: Toowoomba City – the Toowoomba city is included in both the South East Queensland region and within Western Downs region due to its importance to both regions as a gateway city providing access to the west of the state. Lockyer Valley Region – an agricultural area west of Ipswich, known for its fruit and vegetable production. Scenic Rim Region – a pastoral area inland from the Gold Coast known for its scenic mountains and villages. Somerset Region – a pastoral area north west of Brisbane and location of two major dams supplying South East Queensland with water; this area is known as the Brisbane Valley. The Tweed Shire is within NSW but is included in planning processes for SEQ. While not part of the
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Sunshine Coast is a peri-urban area and the third most populated area in the Australian state of Queensland. Located 100 km north of the state capital Brisbane in South East Queensland on the Pacific Ocean coastline, its urban area spans 60 km of coastline and hinterland from Pelican Waters to Tewantin; the estimated urban population of Sunshine Coast as at June 2015 was 302,122, making it the 9th most populous in the country. The area was first settled by Europeans in the 19th century with development progressing until tourism became an important industry; the area has several coastal hubs at Caloundra, Kawana Waters and Noosa Heads. Nambour and Maleny have developed as primary commercial centres for the hinterland, although Maleny falls outside the urban area defined by the ABS that this article refers to; the Sunshine Coast, as a term recognised by most Australians, is the district defined in 1967 as "the area contained in the Shires of Landsborough and Noosa, but excluding Bribie Island".
Its use is colloquial however. Since 2014, the Sunshine Coast district has been split into two local government areas, the Sunshine Coast Region and the Shire of Noosa, which administer the southern and northern parts of the Sunshine Coast respectively. James Cook on the deck of HM Bark Endeavour in 1770 became the first known white person to sight the Glass House Mountains, located south-west of Caloundra. In the 1820s, the Sunshine Coast saw its first white inhabitants: three castaways who shared the life of the local Aborigines for eight months. Thereafter, during the 1830s to 1840s, the district became home to numerous runaway convicts from the Moreton Bay penal colony to the south. In 1842, Governor George Gipps had the entire Sunshine Coast and hinterland from Mt Beerwah north to Eumundi declared a "Bunya Bunya Reserve" for the protection of the bunya tree after Andrew Petrie advised him of the importance of bunya groves in Aboriginal culture. However, during the 1840s and 1850s, the Bunya Bunya Reserve and its vicinity became the scene of some of the most bitter skirmishes of Australia's "Black War".
The Blackall Range, on account of the tri-annual Bunya Festival, served as both a hideout and rallying point for attacks against white settlement. By the 1850s timber cutters and cattlemen had started exploiting the area. Many of the Sunshine Coast's towns began as simple ports or jetties for the timber industry during the 1860s and 1870s, as the area once had magnificent stands of forest; the region's roads began as snigging tracks for hauling timber. Timbergetters used the region's creeks and lakes as seaways to float out their logs of cedar – the resultant wood being shipped as far afield as Europe. During the Gympie Gold Rush, prospectors scaled the Sunshine Coast mountains to develop easier roadways to and from the gold fields of Gympie. After construction of the railway line to Gympie, the coastal and river towns, being ports for the early river-trade, were bypassed. By the 1890s diverse small-farming had replaced the cattle-and-timber economy of earlier decades. Sugar cane and pineapples proved important produce for the district.
Many small hamlets and towns now emerged. Produce was taken by horse to Landsborough to Eudlo in 1891. After World War II, the Sunshine Coast grew into a favoured holiday and surfing destination; this tendency was further expanded in the development boom of the 1970s. Around the same time, various tourist/theme parks were created – the most iconic being the Big Pineapple in Woombye. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Sunshine Coast attracted persons drawn to alternative lifestyles; these newcomers developed a range of craft industries, co-operatives and spiritual centres in the hinterlands. After the 1980s, the Sunshine Coast experienced rapid population growth; as of 2016 it had become one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia. As the region becomes residential, most of the district's distinctive small farms – tropical-fruit and sugar-cane farms have disappeared, as have most of its theme parks; the Moreton sugar mills closure in 2003 removed a market for the district's 120 cane growers, harvesting cane in the region.
Instead, businesses concerned with retail and tourism have assumed increasing importance. In 2008, The Shire of Noosa, Shire of Maroochy and City of Caloundra merged to form the Sunshine Coast Region; the 2007 referendum conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission and leading to the merger remained controversial in Noosa Shire, where 95% of voters had rejected amalgamation. In March 2013, a second referendum resulted in 81% of residents voted to leave the amalgamated Sunshine Coast Region. On 9 November 2013 an election resulted in Noel Playford being elected to take office as mayor on 1 January 2014 with the new council; the Shire of Noosa was re-established on 1 January 2014. This resulted in two geopolitical areas occupying the area recognised as'The Sunshine Coast'; the Sunshine Coast Region, governed by the Sunshine Coast Council and the Shire of Noosa, governed by Noosa Shire Council. Major rivers of the Sunshine Coast include Noosa River, Maroochy River, Mooloolah River and the Stanley River.
The region includes several lakes such as Lake Weyba. Ewen Maddock Dam, Wappa Dam and Baroon Pocket Dam have been built for water storage. Several stretches of the Sunshine Coast are lined with unbroken beaches – from Sunshine Beach near Noosa to Coolum Beach.
Lamington National Park
The Lamington National Park is a national park, lying on the Lamington Plateau of the McPherson Range on the Queensland/New South Wales border in Australia. From Southport on the Gold Coast the park is 85 kilometres to the southwest and Brisbane is 110 kilometres north; the 20,600 hectares Lamington National Park is known for its natural environment, birdlife, ancient trees, walking tracks and mountain views. Protected areas to the east in Springbrook National Park and south along the Tweed Range in the Border Ranges National Park around Mount Warning in New South Wales conserve similar landscapes; the park is part of the Shield Volcano Group of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia inscribed in 1986 and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007. The park is part of the Scenic Rim Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance in the conservation of several species of threatened birds. In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, the Lamington National Park was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as a "Natural attraction".
Most of the park is situated 900 metres above sea level only 30 kilometres from the Pacific's ocean shores. The plateaus and cliffs in Lamington and Springbrook National Parks are the northern and north western remnants of the huge 23-million-year-old Tweed Volcano, centered around Mount Warning. Elevation in the south of the park is above 1,000 metres in some parts; the land declines to under 700 metres in the north. Some of the mountains in the park include Mount Hobwee, Mount Widgee, Mount Toolona, Mount Cominan, Mount Roberts and Mount Bithongabel, containing much of Australia's few cloud forests; the Nerang River, Albert River and Coomera River all have their source in Lamington National Park. Eastern parts of the park feature high cliffs; the park is within the City of Gold Scenic Rim Region local government areas. Southern Lamington and sections of O'Reilly, Binna Burra and Natural Bridge are protected with Lamington National Park. For at least 6000 years, Aboriginal people visited these mountains.
The Wangerriburras and Nerangballum tribes claimed home to the plateau territory. 900 years ago the indigenous population began to decline. Bushrangers Cave, close to Mount Hobwee and is 60 metres long, was once an aboriginal camp; this site shows Aboriginal occupation going back 10,000 years. Captain Patrick Logan and Allan Cunningham were the first European explorers in the area; the timber cutters soon followed, including the Lahey family who owned one of Queensland's largest timber mills at the time. In 1863 a survey of the Queensland/New South Wales border was conducted; the task was carried out by Francis Edward Roberts and Isaiah Rowland, both surveyors, who had to define the border along the highest points in dense rainforest where there were few clear lines of sight. Robert Collins campaigned for the protection of the area from logging from the 1890s. Collins entered state parliament and saw a bill passed that preserved state forests and national parks but he died before the McPherson Range was protected.
It was another local, Romeo Lahey who recognised the value of preserving the forests. He campaigned to make it one of the first protected areas in Queensland; the O’Reilly family established a guesthouse near the park in 1926, now named O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, founding members of the National Parks Association of Queensland built Binna Burra Lodge next to the park in the 1930s. Lamington National Park was established in 1915; the park was named after Lord Lamington, Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1902. In 1937, Bernard O'Reilly became a hero when he rescued the survivors from the Airlines of Australia Stinson Model A airliner City of Brisbane, which had crashed in the remote Lamington wilderness. In typical Australian bushman fashion he embarked on his rescue mission taking only onions and bread to eat. Only a small portion of the original wreck remains today, 10 km south of the O'Reilly's guesthouse. Rugged mountain scenery, caves, wildflower heaths, tall open forests, varied wildlife and some of the best bushwalking in Queensland are protected in Lamington National Park.
One of Queensland’s best-loved parks, Lamington is the core of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves Australia World Heritage Area along the adjoining Border Ranges National Park in New South Wales. David Attenborough visited and filmed the park while making the 1979 television series Life on Earth in which beech trees and bowerbirds were featured; the national park protects one of the most diverse areas of vegetation in the country. The park’s lush rainforests include one of the largest upland subtropical rainforest remnants in the world and the most northern Antarctic beech cool temperate rainforests in Australia; the roots of the oldest Antarctic beech trees are over 5,000 years old. Around Mount Widgee numbers of Antarctic beech appear to be increasing; the park protects one of the country's largest remaining forests of hoop pine which are found on the drier slopes. Below 880 metres the white booyong and black booyong are found. In higher elevations the yellow carabeen, red carabeen, pigeonberry ash and soft corkwood trees predominate.
Many of Lamington's plants are found nowhere else on earth, such as O’Reilly's pittosporum, the Lamington peach myrtle, the Mt Merino eyebright and everlasting daisy which are subalpine relics from the last ice age. In 2006 it was realised that an old collection of the eastern underg
Queensland is the second-largest and third-most populous state in the Commonwealth of Australia. Situated in the north-east of the country, it is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Pacific Ocean. To its north is the Torres Strait, with Papua New Guinea located less than 200 km across it from the mainland; the state is the world's sixth-largest sub-national entity, with an area of 1,852,642 square kilometres. As of 15 May 2018, Queensland has a population of 5,000,000, concentrated along the coast and in the state's South East; the capital and largest city in the state is Australia's third-largest city. Referred to as the "Sunshine State", Queensland is home to 10 of Australia's 30 largest cities and is the nation's third-largest economy. Tourism in the state, fuelled by its warm tropical climate, is a major industry. Queensland was first inhabited by Torres Strait Islanders.
The first European to land in Queensland was Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606, who explored the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula near present-day Weipa. In 1770, Lieutenant James Cook claimed the east coast of Australia for the Kingdom of Great Britain; the colony of New South Wales was founded in 1788 by Governor Arthur Phillip at Sydney. Queensland was explored in subsequent decades until the establishment of a penal colony at Brisbane in 1824 by John Oxley. Penal transportation ceased in 1839 and free settlement was allowed from 1842; the state was named in honour of Queen Victoria, who on 6 June 1859 signed Letters Patent separating the colony from New South Wales. Queensland Day is celebrated annually statewide on 6 June. Queensland was one of the six colonies which became the founding states of Australia with federation on 1 January 1901; the history of Queensland spans thousands of years, encompassing both a lengthy indigenous presence, as well as the eventful times of post-European settlement.
The north-eastern Australian region was explored by Dutch and French navigators before being encountered by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. The state has witnessed frontier warfare between European settlers and Indigenous inhabitants, as well as the exploitation of cheap Kanaka labour sourced from the South Pacific through a form of forced recruitment known at the time as "blackbirding"; the Australian Labor Party has its origin as a formal organisation in Queensland and the town of Barcaldine is the symbolic birthplace of the party. June 2009 marked the 150th anniversary of its creation as a separate colony from New South Wales. A rare record of early settler life in north Queensland can be seen in a set of ten photographic glass plates taken in the 1860s by Richard Daintree, in the collection of the National Museum of Australia; the Aboriginal occupation of Queensland is thought to predate 50,000 BC via boat or land bridge across Torres Strait, became divided into over 90 different language groups.
During the last ice age Queensland's landscape became more arid and desolate, making food and other supplies scarce. This led to the world's first seed-grinding technology. Warming again made the land hospitable, which brought high rainfall along the eastern coast, stimulating the growth of the state's tropical rainforests. In February 1606, Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon landed near the site of what is now Weipa, on the western shore of Cape York; this was the first recorded landing of a European in Australia, it marked the first reported contact between European and Aboriginal Australian people. The region was explored by French and Spanish explorers prior to the arrival of Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. Cook claimed the east coast under instruction from King George III of the United Kingdom on 22 August 1770 at Possession Island, naming Eastern Australia, including Queensland,'New South Wales'; the Aboriginal population declined after a smallpox epidemic during the late 18th century. In 1823, John Oxley, a British explorer, sailed north from what is now Sydney to scout possible penal colony sites in Gladstone and Moreton Bay.
At Moreton Bay, he found the Brisbane River. He established a settlement at what is now Redcliffe; the settlement known as Edenglassie, was transferred to the current location of the Brisbane city centre. Edmund Lockyer discovered outcrops of coal along the banks of the upper Brisbane River in 1825. In 1839 transportation of convicts was ceased, culminating in the closure of the Brisbane penal settlement. In 1842 free settlement was permitted. In 1847, the Port of Maryborough was opened as a wool port; the first free immigrant ship to arrive in Moreton Bay was the Artemisia, in 1848. In 1857, Queensland's first lighthouse was built at Cape Moreton. A war, sometimes called a "war of extermination", erupted between Aborigines and settlers in colonial Queensland; the Frontier War was notable for being the most bloody in Australia due to Queensland's larger pre-contact indigenous population when compared to the other Australian colonies. About 1,500 European settlers and their alli
D'Aguilar National Park
D'Aguilar is a national park in Queensland, Australia, 31 km northwest of Brisbane. The southern part of the park was known as Brisbane Forest Park, while the northern part of the park is at Mount Mee; the park contains eucalypt woodlands, sheltered pockets of subtropical rainforest, a number of gorges and views of Moreton Bay and the Glass House Mountains. The Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre is located at the edge of the park. There are two formal, vehicle accessible camping areas in the Mount Mee section and eight remote bush camping sites in the southern D'Aguilar section. Woodlands and dry eucalypt forests predominate on the drier, shallower soils of the park's foothills. Spotted Gum and Narrow-leaved Ironbark are two of the main species. There are small areas of heath and ridges dominated by grass trees. Remnant pockets of lowland rainforest occur in the valleys along some of the watercourses. At higher altitudes the forests become more complex due to the increased rainfall and deeper soils.
These mid-altitude forests are dominated by Pink Bloodwood and Brush Box. Occasional rainforest species are present and there is a thick understorey of ferns and shrubs. Moist sub-tropical rainforest grows on the highest parts of the range where the rainfall is two-thirds greater than in the foothills on the rich basaltic soils north of Mt Glorious. Huge strangler figs can be seen emerging through the canopy. More than 240 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including the noisy pitta, southern logrunner, paradise riflebird, regent bowerbird, satin bowerbird, brush-turkey, laughing kookaburra, pied currawong, red goshawk, marbled frogmouth, bush-hen, black-breasted button quail, white-bellied sea eagle, comb-crested jacana and cotton pygmy goose.66 mammal species have been recorded in the park, including the echidna, red-necked pademelon, short-eared possum, common ringtail possum, northern brown bandicoot, long-nosed bandicoot, Long-nosed potoroo, insectivorous bats, fruit bats, several species of gliding possums and small numbers of koalas and kangaroos.
There are a variety of reptile species in the park. This includes the tree goanna/lace monitor, a large monitor lizard and the land mullet, a large, shiny black skink. 26 species of frogs have been recorded in the park, including the great barred frog. The most common amphibian in the park is the cane toad. Protected areas of Queensland D'Aguilar National Park — Queensland Government website
Gold Coast, Queensland
The Gold Coast is a coastal city in the Australian state of Queensland 66 kilometres south-southeast of the state capital Brisbane and north of the border with New South Wales. With a census-estimated 2016 population of 638,090, the Gold Coast is the sixth-largest city in Australia, making it the largest non-capital city, Queensland's second-largest city; the Gold Coast region remained 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. In 1875, Southport was surveyed and established and grew a reputation as a secluded holiday destination for wealthy Brisbane residents. After the establishment of the Surfers Paradise Hotel in the late 1920s, the Gold Coast region grew significantly; the area boomed in the 1980s as a leading tourist destination and in 1994, the City of Gold Coast local government area was expanded to encompass the majority of the Gold Coast's metropolitan area, becoming the second most populous local government area in Australia after the City of Brisbane.
Today, the Gold Coast is a major tourist destination with its sunny subtropical climate and has become known for its surfing beaches, high-rise dominated skyline, theme parks and rainforest hinterland. The city is part of the nation's entertainment industry with television productions and a major film industry; the city hosted the 21st Commonwealth Games which ran from 4 to 15 April 2018. The Gold Coast is the ancestral home of a number of Indigenous clans of the Yugambeh people, including the Kombumerri and Tulgi-gi-gin clans. Lieutenant James Cook became the first European to note the region when he sailed along the coast on 16 May 1770 in HMS Endeavour. Captain Matthew Flinders, an explorer charting the continent north from the colony of New South Wales, sailed past in 1802. Escaped convicts from the Moreton Bay penal settlement hid in the region; the region remained uninhabited by Europeans until 1823 when explorer John Oxley landed at Mermaid Beach, named after seeing a cutter named Mermaid.
The hinterland's red cedar supply attracted people to the area in the mid-19th century. A number of small townships developed in the hinterland; the western suburb of Nerang was surveyed and established as a base for the industry and by 1870 a town reserve had been set aside. By 1873, the town reserve of Burleigh Heads had been surveyed and successful land sales had taken place. In 1875, the small settlement opposite the boat passage at the head of the Nerang River, known as Nerang Heads or Nerang Creek Heads, was surveyed, renamed Southport with the first land sales scheduled to take place in Beenleigh. Southport grew a reputation as a secluded holiday destination for wealthy Brisbane residents; the Gold Coast was known as the South Coast. However, inflated prices for real estate and other goods and services led to the nickname of "Gold Coast" from 1950. South Coast locals considered the name "Gold Coast" derogatory. However, soon the "Gold Coast" became a convenient way to refer to the holiday strip from Southport to Coolangatta.
The Town of South Coast was formed through the amalgamation of Town of Coolangatta and Town of Southport along with the coastal areas from the Shire of Nerang on 17 June 1949 with the effect of having the present-day Gold Coast coastal strip as a single local government area. As the tourism industry grew into the 1950s, local businesses began to adopt the term Gold Coast in their names, on 23 October 1958 the Town of South Coast was renamed Town of Gold Coast; the area was proclaimed a city less than one year on 16 May 1959. In 1995, the Albert Shire was amalgamated into the City of Gold Coast. In 2007, the Gold Coast overtook the population of Newcastle, New South Wales, to become the sixth largest city in Australia and the largest non-capital city. Today the Gold Coast is known for its golden sanded surf beaches, theme parks and rainforest hinterlands; the Gold Coast hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The Gold Coast is half covered by forests of various types; this includes small patches of near-pristine ancient rainforest, mangrove-covered islands, patches of coastal heathlands and farmland with areas of uncleared eucalypt forest.
Of the plantation pine forests that were planted in the 1950s and 1960s, when commercial forest planting for tax minimisation was encouraged by the Commonwealth government, tiny remnants remain. Gold Coast City lies in the southeast corner of Queensland, to the south of Brisbane, the state capital; the Albert River separates the Gold Coast from a suburban area of Brisbane. Gold Coast City stretches from Beenleigh and Russell Island to the border with New South Wales 56 km south, extends from the coast west to the foothills of the Great Dividing Range in World Heritage listed Lamington National Park; the southernmost town of Gold Coast City, includes Point Danger and its lighthouse. Coolangatta is a twin city with Tweed Heads located directly across the NSW border. At 28.1667°S 153.55°E / -28.1667. From Coolangatta forty kilometres of holiday resorts and surfing beaches stretch north to the suburb of Main Beach, further on Stradbroke Island; the suburbs of Southport and Surfers Paradise form the Gold Coast's commercial centre.
The major river in the area is the Nerang River. Much of the land between the coastal strip and the hinterland were once wetlands drained by this river, but th