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The Southport Spit (also referred to as The Spit) lies opposite Southport to the north of Main Beach, Gold Coast. It is a permanent sand spit that separates the Southport Broadwater from the Pacific Ocean.
Today the Southport Spit is home to Sea World, Sea World Resort, the Sheraton Mirage Resort and Spa, as well as Palazzo Versace. On the end of The Spit is the Gold Coast Sand Pumping Jetty, a popular destination for fishermen and part of the Gold Coast Seaway's Sand Bypassing System.
The Spit was formed between 1897 and 1898, a product of longshore drift when high seas broke through a small area of land called Jumpinpin on Stradbroke Island. This made a new ocean passage and divided Stradbroke Island in two (North & South). The continuous longshore drift continued to eroded South Stradbroke Island. Navigational difficulties lead to boating accidents, prompting the planning and design of the Gold Coast Seaway.
Design of the Gold Coast Seaway relied on data from the Beach Protection Authority. to prevent it becoming a baymouth bar connecting to South Stradbroke Island. Construction of the project had six main phases: Retaining walls using approximately one million tonnes of imported rock, Dredging 4.5 million cubic metres sand, closure of the old entrance, sand bypassing system, revegetation and sewage outfall. As The Spit then drew demand for private leasehold title of land, along with applications for dredging rights of mineral sands.
During the 1940s the Southport Yacht Club grew and added marina facilities for an the increasing number of private boats wanting to moor on the Spits' eastern side of the Broadwater. Since the 1950s and '60s, the local prawning industry used the The Spit for their berth.
The Spit continued to develop, with tourist attractions opening in the 1960s. It is now home to Sea World theme park, an upmarket shopping restaurant and bar precinct and several resorts.
Seaworld Drive is the main street connecting the area of The Spit to the neighbourhood of Main Beach. Parklands and naturally vegetated sand dunes on the eastern Ocean side of the Spit start in Main Beach at Kemp St and Main Beach Parade and run continuously to the tip of the Spit. Some popular parks are within this nature strip. In the southern end toward Main Beach neighbourhood is Hollingdale Park with picnic facilities. Further north past Seaworld Resort, is Phillip Park popular for wedding photographs.
At the northern end is Doug Jennings Park. A large area with parking and Public facilities. It covers the whole north end of The Spit, with views to Wave Break Island to the east and South Stradbroke Island to the north. It is a popular family park and with rod fishing a familiar sight. The park has been a popular outdoor concert and event venue. It is now part of annual music events like Summadayze.
There is a proposed marine development of the Southport Spit which includes the provision of recreational facilities for the construction of a marina facility for superyachts, recreational and commercial boats. The US Navy has also been approved for the ability to dock military vessels in the terminal.
- A preservation program for Doug Jennings Park and the western section of The Spit known as the Marine Stadium that people go to play football in.
- The provision of recreational facilities for public use.
- A protection and enhancement program for the 93ha Federation Walk and Nature Reserve areas east of Seaworld Drive.
- Construction of a marina for recreational and commercial vessels at either the Marine Stadium or adjacent to Sea World.
- The development of 5 ha of State-owned land south of Sea World. In Feb 2011 the Government commenced the bidding process for site development with the release of the Invitation for expressions of interest.
This proposal has strong local support from some parts of the community and vehement criticism from others due to the effects the development will have upon the landform, seascape and environment of the location.
The Government has withdrawn a proposed cruise ship terminal on the basis of the EIS but is encouraging the public to participate in the consultation process.
- The Spit History. City of Gold Coast. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
- "The Gold Coast Seaway". Griffith.edu.au. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- Salter, L 2002, South Stradbroke Island Lindy Salter, The Gap
- "City of Gold Coast | Libraries | Beach Protection Authority". Goldcoast.qld.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "The Spit — Gold Coast Australia". Goldcoastaustralia.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "Gold Coast Spit Development project". Department of Infrastructure and Planning. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
- Gold Coast City Council - Federation Walk
- Save Our Spit website
- Queensland Government - Gold Coast Marine Development Project
- GHD - Notional Seaway Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement