The Isle of Capri, a relaxed waterfront island known for its luxurious houses, is a very important landmark for the Gold Coast. It is the place where the city’s famous canal developments started.
When Europeans first settled the area in the late 1800s it became a sugarcane growing district with farmers supplying a sugar mill in an area now known as Benowa. In the early 1900s the land usage changed to dairy farming until the 1950s when Italian-Australian developer Efim Zola started a residential development in the area. Mr Zola named the estate The Isle of Capri, after Capri island in Italy.
Sir Bruce Small, the retired owner of the southern hemisphere’s biggest bicycle brand Malvern Star, bought the remainder of the site and modified plans for the estate. Sir Bruce teamed up with engineer Jock McIlwain, who had worked on the Snowy River Hydroelectric Scheme, to develop the Gold Coast’s first canal estate. The pair were inspired by the success of canal estates in Miami, Florida and looked to replicate the US success.
The first canal was created linking the Via Roma shopping centre to the Nerang River. More quickly followed. The development was a huge success with buyers and many more canal estates were developed throughout the coast The development of the Gold Coast’s canal estates between the 1950s and 1990s changed the face of the city and played a key role in its expansion and popularity.
The Gold Coast now reportedly boasts more waterways than the Italian city of Venice and it all started on the Isle of Capri.
These days Isle of Capri, which is not a suburb itself but actually a precinct that forms part of the glamour suburb of Surfers Paradise, is a prestigious enclave of exclusive waterfront houses, boutique restaurants, and plenty of parklands.
The popularity of the precinct continues to grow today because it does not have the large number of high-rise units seen in the centre of Surfers Paradise but it is still an easy stroll to all the entertainment and the beach. It also a central suburb that is close to all the attractions that the Gold Coast has to offer and the transport links are excellent.
It is also exceptionally popular with boating enthusiasts because many of the homes are waterfront and have easy access to the Nerang River.
As a result, the Isle of Capri boasts some of the most expensive property on the Gold Coast with the highest price ever recorded in the enclave being $27 million in 2020 for a sprawling mega mansion at The Promenade.