Coombabah, a residential suburb and wetland area, is immediately west of Runaway Bay and Hollywell, Gold Coast. The wetland adjoins Coombabah Lake, the mouth of the Coombabah Creek, just before the creek joins the Coomera River. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word meaning a place of turtles.
Coombabah was a residential extension of Hollywell and Paradise Point, taking advantage of the wide creek mouth. It began with the Esplanade and a few streets running back toward Oxley Drive. Paradise Lake was formed, and remains among the best addresses for houses. Places overlooking the creek have good views, and some of the fibro holiday homes of the 1970s seemed destined to become choice locations in the 2000s.
During the 1990s and 2000s residential development proceeded along the boundary with Runaway Cove. The former Cable Ski site became part of Runaway Lagoons, giving numerous waterfront sites for new homes. On Coombabah Creek, Edgewater Landing and The Estuary were built in the late 1990s. The Coombabah Lake wetlands (partly in Arundel) received national recognition for their conservation and bird habitat qualities. The Lakeside golf course is next door, close to the Lakeside Manors estate.
Coombabah is a mixture of older average homes and modern upmarket estates. There are also relocatable home parks, caravan parks and retirement villages. There are State primary and high schools (1981, 1986) and a community hall and local shopping in Hansford Road. Coombabah's census populations have been:
In 2011 over one quarter of the population was 65 years or more, reflecting the numerous retirement villages and residential resorts in Coombabah.