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The Gold Coast

One of the most popular destinations in Australia offering a wealth of attractions, entertainment, facilities and services.

Palm Beach Shoreline Project

Click to enlarge Palm Beach Shoreline

Looking south towards Palm Beach during June
2016 swell event.

The beautiful 3.8 kilometre sandy shore at Palm Beach is an important part of the Gold Coast’s iconic coastline. However, it is more susceptible to serious beach erosion than other Gold Coast foreshores.

As part of the Ocean Beaches Strategy 2013–2023, the City is developing the Palm Beach Shoreline Project – a holistic plan to provide a sustainable solution for the ongoing protection of the foreshore at Palm Beach. The project aims to:

  • reduce the vulnerability of the beach and beachfront development to storm damage
  • protect, and if practical, enhance the beach amenity for the community
  • provide a sustainable, cost effective and integrated solution
  • avoid or mitigate adverse environmental and social impacts.

This initiative will ensure the shoreline continues to be the social and economic centrepiece of Palm Beach.

Developing the project solution

The City monitors Gold Coast beaches through hydrographic survey and coastal imagery analysis. Historic survey results show that Palm Beach is the most vulnerable to erosion during large storms.

The work completed on the project to date shows that beach nourishment stabilised by an artificial reef is the best long-term solution for Palm Beach. The further development of this coastal protection solution was endorsed by Council of the City of Gold Coast (Council) in March 2014 (refer ex Minute G14.0325.004).

The shape and orientation of the artificial reef is being designed to consider wave breaking characteristics on the reef and the surrounding shoreline. This is important for the consideration of surf and beach amenity.

The delivery of coastal engineering projects of this nature are complex and challenging. To meet these challenges the City adopted an approach to incorporate multiple investigations, which include; wave studies, surveys, physical modelling, numerical modelling and beach width analysis.

Project update – March 2017


Tenders for the delivery of the beach nourishment phase of the Palm Beach Shoreline Project have been received from a range of international dredging contractors. Tender evaluation and final clarifications have been completed. A recommendation to progress with award of the tender was endorsed by the Governance Administration and Finance committee on 2 March 2017. Award of the contract is subject to final approval by Council at meeting 732 on 7 March 2017.

Beach nourishment:

The beach nourishment phase of the Palm Beach Shoreline Project (PBSP) will be undertaken as part of the Gold Coast Beach Nourishment Project between June and October 2017.

Nourishment objectives:

  • The City has identified the most vulnerable areas of Palm Beach through beach survey analysis since the 1960’s. A grid system has been designed using this data to identify areas requiring nourishment. The contractor will use this grid system as a map to place sand along Palm Beach.
  • Sand will be strategically placed around the wave breaking zone to increase the volume of sand at Palm Beach to buffer against future storms and coastal erosion.
  • The nourishment design will protect, and where possible enhance, beach and surf amenity. This includes the placement of sand to reproduce natural beach conditions.
  • While the sand will not be placed directly on the beach, over time the additional sand will move with the coast’s natural processes adding extra sand supply to our beaches and acting as a natural buffer during storms.
  • The nourishment will be undertaken in accordance with the City’s existing development approvals, which were previously used between 2004 and 2006 to deliver beach nourishment at south Palm Beach.
  • The nourishment is the initial phase of the holistic solution for Palm Beach to improve coastal protection. The second phase includes construction of an artificial reef in 2019.

Project videos

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