Helensvale, a residential suburb on the Gold Coast, is eight km inland from Hollywell and immediately south of Hope Island on the Coomera River.
The landscape was originally dotted with wetlands and crossed by the Coombabah and Salt Creeks. Each join the Coomera River, and Coombabah Creek passes through a large lake before doing so. The area was acquired by William White for grazing, one of several holdings under his control, including Beau Desert and Pimpama. The Coombabah grazing run was renamed Helensvale when White's son, Ernest, established it as a sugar plantation in partnership with Arthur Robinson. It is thought that the plantation was named after Ernest White's sister, Helena. Helensvale was a stopping place on the South Coast railway (1889-1964).
Helensvale's residential development began in 1974, planned as a Canberra-style suburb around a curving park and the Helensvale golf course. Substantial buffer space was provided along the Pacific Highway. A buffer on the other (eastern) side was subsequently disturbed by the Gold Coast railway (1996), but Helensvale was rewarded with a station. Numerous linear parks run like wheel spokes from the central reserve, putting most residents within a short distance of open space. A second golf course, Gold Coast Country Club, is in the south of Helensvale.
Helensvale primary school (1984) is near the middle of the suburb and other facilities are near the periphery - the high school (1990), Helensvale Shopping Plaza (1991), the community centre, bowling club, and a second shopping centre in the north west. The Plaza shopping centre on Sir John Overall Drive (named in honour of the ex-Canberra designer of the town) was later overshadowed by a Westfield drive-in centre near the railway station. It has about 160 outlets, including two discount department stores and three supermarkets. A bowls club and a community centre are also near Westfield.
Although the centre of Helensvale approximates the location of the primary school, the town centre has been skewed to the south-east around the railway station and Westfield. The shopping centre is known as Westfield Helensvale and faces Town Centre Drive.
Helensvale's central reserve merges into the Coombabah Lake nature reserve which ends abruptly with a canal estate next to Saltwater Creek. The estate includes the Monterey Keys shopping centre. In 2003 Brisbane developer Vergepoint purchased Helensvale Plaza and the surrounding land and released a masterplan to develop the 4.7 hectare site over seven stages known as Helensvale Central and including residential, retail outlets and offices. The residential development was completed in 2009 with a 69 unit complex. Elsewhere houses have been built on middle-range estates, a few on luxurious golf-course frontages and a small number on rural/residential acreages. (The Gold Coast Country Club lies between the railway line and Coombabah Creek.)
Helensvale's unique parkland design and its relationship with Canberra, Australia's pre-eminent Garden-City, provide a point of contrast to its canal estate in the north and the many water-based suburbs elsewhere on the Gold Coast.
Helensvale's census populations have been:
Further growth is likely, as Helensvale is a vast suburb with potential for more residential development.