Beach carrying capacity: Has it been exceeded on the Gold Coast?

P. Williams, C. Lemckert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Australia has more than 70,000 kilometres of coastline, 7000 km of those in Queensland. The beach has long occupied a special place in the Australian identity. The beaches are not only important to the Australian people but they are also a highly valuable tourist resource and with the number of tourists visiting the Gold Coast steadily increasing each year, determining their carrying capacity is an essential factor for their effective use and management. This study explored the concept of social carrying capacity, as well as the way Gold Coast beaches are used by locals and visitors. For the social carrying capacity concepts, several user counts using beach web camera images and more than 160 personal interviews were conducted at four different Gold Coast beaches, exploring coastal perception and beach usage. Preliminary results have revealed details including that while the majority of people surveyed thought beach crowds were perfect in their current state, 79% of the remaining respondents indicated carrying capacity had already been exceeded; that is that with Gold Coast beaches were perceived as either over-crowded or that they could do with fewer people. Through the analysis of interviews with beach users during April, 2006 and previously with University students in 2005, this paper explores the perception of beach users, with the aim of creating an understanding of their behaviour and attitudes and liasing with them in future planning and management processes used by local councils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-24
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Coastal Research
Issue number50
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


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