Spiritually, if not geographically, SURFERS PARADISE is the heart of the Gold Coast, the place where its aims and aspirations are most evident. For the residents, this involves making money by providing services and entertainment for tourists; visitors reciprocate by parting with their cash. All around and irrespective of what you're doing – sitting on the beach, partying in one of the frenetic nightclubs along Orchid or Cavill avenues, shopping for clothes or even finding a bed – the pace is brash and glib. Don't come here expecting to be allowed to relax; subtlety is nonexistent and you'll find that enjoying Surfers depends largely on how much it bothers you having the party mood rammed down your throat. You can easily spend 24 hours a day out on the town – and another thing you'll spend is money: the only free venue is the beach and with such a variety of distractions it can be financial suicide venturing out too early in the day – the city is full of tourists staggering around at noon with terrible hangovers and empty wallets, complaining how expensive their holiday has become.
Surfers' beaches have been attracting tourists for over a century, though the town only started developing along commercial lines during the 1950s when the first multistorey beachfront apartments were built. The demand for views over the ocean led to ever-higher towers which began to encroach on the dunes; together with the sheer volume of people attracted here, this has caused erosion problems along the entire coast. But none of this really matters. Though Surfers Paradise is a firm tribute to the successful marketing of the ideal Aussie lifestyle as an eternal beach party, most people no longer come here for the sun and sand but simply because everyone else does.