The Southport Spit

The Southport Spit
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 Nara Resort, the Sheraton Mirage Resort and Spa, as well as Palazzo Versace. Adjacent to 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 Gold Coast Oceanway and the Federation Walk provide opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists to explore the Spit's environments.


As a product of longshore drift, its growth and establishment as a landform saw demand for private leasehold title of land, along with applications for dredging rights of mineral sands. The Spit was later stabilised in 1986 by the construction of the Gold Coast Seaway, thus preventing rivermount it from becoming a baymouth bar connecting to South Stradbroke Island. The Gold Coast Seaway was the first entrance in the world to include the construction and operation of a permanent sand bypassing system at the same time that the entrance was trained. The new entrance and sand bypassing system opened in 1986 and pumps about 500,000 cubic meters of sand from the spit to South Stradbroke Island each year.

Proposed development

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.

The State Government’s vision for the Southport Spit includes:

    * 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.
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