Wondering what the words in your gold coast tourism guide actually mean and how to pronounce them? Let the locals tell you…
Any Gold Coaster will tell you that SURFERS PARADISE isn’t a surfer’s paradise at all – it was actually named after the Surfers Paradise Hotel, founded by Jim Cavill (sound familiar?) in 1925.
COOLANGATTA is named after a ship that wrecked off its coastline, which was in turn named after a nearby mountain, which was in turn named after the Tharawal Aboriginal word for “splendid view”.
The name TUGUN (pronounced more like CHEW-gun) is believed to have been derived from a local Aboriginal language meaning “breaking waves”.
BURLEIGH HEADS was originally dubbed ‘Burly Head’ because of its massive appearance, but the spelling was changed when the town was declared in 1871. To the native Komberri clan, it’s Jellurgal.
Whether the word CURRUMBIN means “high up”, “place where high trees grow”, “quicksand” or comes from the word “kurrohmin” (meaning kangaroo), no one seems to know?!
MIAMI was likely named after the city in Florida, which drew its name from the Mayaimi, a Native American tribe. Both Miami and Palm Beach can also be found on Florida’s ‘Gold Coast’.
MERMAID BEACH was named by explorer John Oxley, who discovered the Tweed and Brisbane rivers aboard the HMS Mermaid in 1823.
GAVEN (pronounced GAY-ven) is named after the Gaven family, who have lived in the area since 1880. Eric Gaven was a local shire councillor responsible for allowing alcohol to be served in Surfers Paradise restaurants.
COOMBABAH (Coom-buh-bar) is an Aboriginal word that means “home of the turtles”, although you’re more likely to spot kangaroos and even koalas there these days.
There are a few different theories about how MUDGEERABA (Mud-JEER-a-bar) got its name, and none all that appealing! Take your pick from “place of infant’s excrement”, “place where someone told lies” or “place of sticky soil”.
BIGGERA WATERS (pronounce with emphasis on the ‘big’) gets its name from an Aboriginal word referring to the red ironbark tree.
KURRAWA (KUH-ruh-wuh) means “deep blue sea” in the local Aboriginal dialect – fitting, seeing as it’s now the name of the well-known Broadbeach surf club.