The Gold Coast, the stretch of sandy beaches from the Stradbroke islands, south of Brisbane to the border with New South Wales, was the region of the Bundjalung people before the first Europeans settled here after expeditions in the 1820s, attracted by the cedars that grew in the forests here. Coolangatta, on the border and nowadays almost continuous with Tweed Heads in New South Wales, was first a cedar port and later became one of the first resort towns, a position it still holds because of its beautiful beach. The coast curves towards Surfers Paradise and Southport in an almost continuous urban strip and is known as the City of the Gold Coast since 1959.
To the north of Brisbane is the Sunshine Coast, stretching for 100 kilometres north from the Glasshouse Mountains, once the homeland of the Gubbi Gubbi people. Now Caloundra, the southernmost town on this coast, is a popular holiday destination, as is Maroochydore with its great beaches and beautiful scenery inland.
Nambour is the centre of the sugar industry inland from the Sunshine Coast and also various tropical fruits are grown: The "Big Pineapple" is the entrance to the Sunshine Plantations, that can be toured with a small train. The Glasshouse Mountains (named by Captain James Cook in 1770, as they reminded him of the glass furnaces back in England) are a striking sight; these are the remnants of huge lava cores that were formed in the vents of volcanoes, now long extinct. Erosion over 20 million years have given them the shape we see today. A National Park has been established here.
The town of Warwick, in the hills along the Condamine River, south of Toowoomba along the New England Highway, was established in 1840 as the first settlement of free men in Queensland in land of the Bundjalung people. It has still impressive stone buildings and an active Lawn Bowls club, as in most other Australian towns.